Coronavirus Update

March 13, 2020

Employee Information Update

Dear Colleagues:

By now, I hope that you’ve all seen President Thorsett’s message to our community. We know the coming days and weeks are and will continue to present us with uncertainties and challenges. I want to take this opportunity to provide the information I have on how things will work for employees as student learning moves to distance learning from March 16 through April 12.

Are employees expected to continue working from March 16 through April 12?

Yes. The University is open although classes will be conducted remotely. Employees should continue to perform their job duties during this time.

Can employees work from home from March 16 through April 12?

Supervisors are encouraged to allow employees to work from home or to provide flexible or staggered work schedules for employees whose job duties allow for these adjustments. Decisions on remote work should be done with the recognition that not all jobs can be done remotely and that we will need to continue to provide core services to students who remain on campus.

VPN connections are available to employees who need remote access to Willamette network drives.

What if an employee’s workload reduces because students are taking classes remotely?

If an employee’s core job duties are reduced by the university’s move to distance learning, we encourage supervisors to find other work that employees can safely and competently perform that will benefit the department or division. If a supervisor is struggling to find this work, please reach out to Human Resources.

What should an employee do if they are sick?

If an employee is sick, the employee should not come to work. Sick employees should notify their supervisor as soon as possible and contact their healthcare provider for guidance.

Willamette’s Sick Leave Policy provides paid leave to employees. If a staff member is out of paid time off and needs additional sick time due to COVID-19, they should work directly with Human Resources.

If an employee is immunocompromised or has a close family member who is immunocompromised, who should the employee contact?

If you need an accommodation for your health or the health of a family member, you should contact Human Resources.

What should I do if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19?

The CDC offers guidance and recommended precautions for household members and intimate partners of people with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a person under investigation.

Can I use sick time if my child’s school closes and I have caregiving responsibilities?

Yes. COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. It is appropriate in this circumstance to use sick leave to care for school age children because schools have closed to slow the spread of the virus.

Can I travel for university-related business?

The university is not allowing any air travel by employees engaged in university-related activities. Requests for exceptions must be made to a vice president, provost or dean and then forwarded to the Provost’s Office.

What if I am traveling for personal reasons?

Employees are strongly encouraged to consider how personal travel plans could be affected by the spread of the virus. Self-isolation for 14 days will be required for people returning from Level 2 and 3 countries. Employees must tell their supervisor and HR of travel plans to a Level 2 or 3 country before departure.

What about student employees?

We understand that disruption of pay is a substantial concern for student employees. Campus remains open and student employees who stay on campus should plan to continue their employment. We will be providing a separate email to student employees and their supervisors more fully addressing student employment by Monday, March 16.

As a reminder, students accrue sick leave of up to 80 hours under the university’s Sick Leave Policy. Students may use sick leave for the time period of March 16 through April 12, see Instructions on Recording Student Sick Leave in Workday.

This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and we appreciate your dedication to the university, our community, and each other.

If you have follow up questions or concerns about COVID-19 and your employment, please contact Human Resources.

For general updates and FAQs, please visit the university’s COVID-19 Update Site.


Shana Sechrist
Vice President of Human Resources

Non nobis solum nati sumus — Not unto ourselves alone are we born

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