Employee Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19

Updated October 1, 2020: Student-specific health screening information added.
Updated October 16, 2020: Information on how to notify Facilities Management of your unit’s return to campus needs.
Updated October 21, 2020: Information on Campus Clear use as the health screening app added.
Updated October 29, 2020: Information on how to protect your nest during the pandemic.

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Questions related to return to in-person work

Has the college administration considered furloughs at this point? If so, what might they look like and how should we prepare?

  • We are not considering furloughs through at least the fall term. We continue to make decisions on our three key principles. One of those is to keep our employees as whole as possible for as long as possible. If we are able to return to in-person and hybrid instruction in the Winter term, we will need faculty and those who support them to be here. It is likely we would first look at proportional salary reductions, with those who earn more taking greater reductions than those who make less. While difficult, we need to wait for final enrollment numbers and I want to emphasize that one of our key priorities is to maintain employment as long as possible.

If salary reductions become necessary, will we receive any advance notice?

  • If salary reductions become necessary, the College will provide 30 days’ notice.

If it comes to salary cuts, will the college talk about progressive cuts that would help protect lower earners?

  • Yes, if we reach the point of salary reductions, higher wage earners will be impacted differently than lower wage earner.

What considerations is the college making given that the Kalamazoo Public Schools have announced their plan to start school only virtually in the fall? Will employees with young children or immune compromised children/or parents still be able to work from home?

  • The Return to Work form on the HR website asks for any concerns you may have, including childcare, or living in a household with immuno- compromised individuals. The purpose of the form is to identify those concerns so that HR can assist in conversations with supervisors. If work can be done remotely, it can continue to be done remotely. Given Executive Order 2020-160, any work that can be done remotely must be done remotely. Only essential employees should be commuting to campus.

What’s the stance or policy on employees bringing their kid(s) to work?

  • Given the current health situation it is not advisable to bring children to work. The Return to Work form provides a mechanism for considering childcare issues when determining whether employees may continue to work remotely. Again, at the current time, it is anticipated that ll those who can work remotely will continue to do so.

With the start of classes on September 14, will the buildings on campus (Mandelle, Hicks, ULC, etc.) remain locked to outside visitors?

  • Employees and students will be able to access some buildings on campus, however, the campus remains closed to visitors.

​Will athletes and coaches be allowed to get together for workouts/practices on outdoor facilities during the fall term?

  • We must discourage in-person gatherings as COVID-19 thrives in such gatherings. We must continue to gather virtually.

What is K’s reopening plan for faculty and staff?

  • K has adopted a phased-in approach to the re-engagement of in-person work for employees. The reopening plan covers how to keep our valuable human resources safe while we perform in-person work as permitted under the State of Michigan’s orders related to emergency management of the COVID-19 crisis. Find more on the reopening plan.

Is there one page where I can find all of the COVID-19 information as it relates to me as an employee?

I will be returning to on-campus work soon. What do I need to know and do?

Who can I contact about when I will return to on-campus work?

  • All decisions about who will return to on-campus work, and when, will be made by division heads. You can contact your supervisor for more information.

Who are the division heads?

  • The division heads refer to the President’s Staff members who are responsible for a certain area of the College.
    • Academic Affairs: Danette Ifert Johnson
    • Advancement: Karen Isble
    • Business and Finance: Karen Sisson
    • Enrollment: M.J. Huebner
    • Information Services: Greg Diment
    • Student Development: Sarah Westfall

Where can I learn more about resources and expectations for remote instruction?

Will staff be able to purchase lunch from the Cafe, Richardson Room, or the Book Club?

  • Discussions are continuing with Creative Dining at this time. In order maintain the health of our community, we must reduce queueing and the length of lines. Meals will be available at several different points on campus in order to meet those goals. We will know more as soon as possible.

What online resources will staff/faculty be provided with, besides MS Teams?

  • We are putting our resources towards MS Teams as the primary tool. Teams has and is adding many new features including up to 49 simultaneous videos and it is secure because it requires K credentials. It also has many file sharing and collaboration tools. If a person feels a Zoom license is needed they should discuss with their VP and then contact Media Services with an account number.

Is travel for the College permitted?

  • International travel is suspended. Domestic travel must have the approval of the relevant vice president and will only be approved if it is essential for the operation of the College.

What is the status of campus employment? Will the College be paying students even if they can’t work?

  • The College will not be paying students even if they can’t work. Students will need to perform some kind of work in order to be paid. If you have needs for student workers, please follow the usual procedures for creating a position.

I feel uneasy about returning to on-campus work. Who can address my concerns?

  • An uneasy feeling about returning to work is understandable. You may express your concerns by contacting your supervisor and/or a member of Human Resources.

I saw someone who was not following the expectations of the Preparedness and Response Plan. What can I do?

I am able to get my office deep cleaned before I return to on-campus work?

  • Unfortunately not. The “COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan” calls for those of us in offices to be responsible for our own disinfecting and daily cleaning.  The reason for this is to minimize the exposure of custodial staff to surfaces and airborne droplets in smaller spaces and to free their time for more frequent cleaning of bathrooms, high touchpoint locations, common areas, and classrooms. The priority for summer is the cleaning of residence halls; cleaning has been delayed because of the number of students who left belongings in their rooms and limited custodial staff.

Does my unit need to notify anyone when we return to work on-campus?

  • Facilities Management has not daily cleaning areas believed to be unoccupied.  As the community begins a gradual return to campus, it is important that you let us know when you plan to be using spaces so that Facilities can resume regular cleaning accordingly or leave undisturbed if you prefer. As you plan your return, please use the Modified Schedule form on the Facilities Management page to let them know your schedule and preference for service.

How often will my office be cleaned when I return to on-campus work?

  • Offices will be cleaned once weekly; trash will be picked up if custodial staff sees a wastebasket placed outside an office door.  Our resources are limited: priority goes to student residential areas, bathrooms, classrooms, dining facilities and other common areas.

How will shared work spaces such as shared copiers, microwaves, and refrigerators be sanitized?

  • Users of shared spaces are asked to sanitize after each use. Doing so will ensure that the next user approaches a sanitized location. Supplies will be provided from Facilities Management.

How do I get cleaning supplies?

  • ALL cleaning supplies will be provided by Facilities.  Facilities will be ordering these supplies based on the nature of the location and frequency of cleaning.  You will not need to order supplies directly as the custodial staff have knowledge of each area.  Please do not place orders for cleaning supplies. 

How will cleaning supply acquisition work?

  • You will receive plastic bins with disinfectant wipes in bulk identified with your department and location along with instructions for use and for obtaining refills.  DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR BIN.  The bins are difficult to acquire and spray bottles are not available.  Should you require supplies before students return to campus, please contact Facilities and they will make sure you have what you need.

Is it possible to acquire hand sanitizer for my workspace?

  • Facilities will be installing hand sanitizer dispensers across the campus that can be easily refilled. If you have a special circumstance that requires you to have pump bottles, please alert Facilities, but we ask that you wait until the dispensers are installed.

Who can I contact about the College’s Plan for the return to on-campus work?

Questions related to facial coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)

If I am on campus, do I need to wear a face covering?

  • Effective July 17, Executive Order 2020-153 states that any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth—such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief—when in any indoor public space or in a crowded outdoor space. With the majority of campus working and learning from home, this may be of limited necessity; however, please wear a face covering when entering any indoor public spaces or crowded outdoor spaces where others may be present and social distancing may be difficult.

I need a facial covering. How do I get one?

I forgot to bring a face covering with me today. What options are available to me?

  • A disposable face mask may be obtained my contacting Campus Safety. Some departments might also keep a small supply of disposable face masks by contacting Facilities Management.

My student forgot to bring a face covering with her/him/them today. What options are available?

  • A disposable face mask may be obtained my contacting Campus Safety. Some departments might also keep a small supply of disposable face masks by contacting Facilities Management.

I am required to wear a facial shield for my job. Do I also need to wear a mask/facial covering?

  • Based on CDC guidance, one must wear a facial covering even if a face shield is worn.

I work in an individual space. Do I need to wear a facial covering when I am by myself?

  • No, you do not need to wear a facial covering when you are by yourself in a single-occupancy location.

I work in an individual space. Do I need to wear a facial covering if someone enters my workspace?

  • Yes, you should wear a facial covering if someone enters your workspace. A best practice might be to have the facial covering easily accessible to don quickly, such as hanging from around your neck.

I work in a shared space. Do I need to wear a facial covering?

  • Yes, if you are in a shared space, you need to wear a facial covering.

I have a condition that prevents me from wearing a facial covering. What can I do?

  • Please contact a member of Human Resources for next steps.

I saw someone who was not wearing a facial covering. What can I do?

I need personal protective equipment (PPE). How do I acquire what I need?

  • PPE is limited to masks, face shields or other face coverings and gloves.  All PPE needs  should be forwarded to Louise Tenant-Filkins in Student Development at Louise.Tenant-Filkins@kzoo.edu, who has agreed to assist Facilities with orders.  Please use the words “PPE Order” in the subject line.  The request should list the type of PPE, the number required, and the name and department where orders should be sent.  

How much PPE can I request?

  • If you are requesting large numbers, please provide an explanation and purpose for the large amount.   We ask that you do not request more than 2 month’s supply and that you have a secure storage area where supplies may be kept. 

I have a special PPE request. How should it be handled?

  • If you have a PPE request that is unique (athletics, health center, etc.), please contact Susan Lindemann, Director of Facilities at Susan.Lindemann@kzoo.edu.

Questions related to the COVID-19 education modules

I have kept up with the news and know the measures needed to avoid COVID-19. Do I really need to complete the awareness modules?

  • Yes, all community members are asked to complete the modules. It is important that we have a shared understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted and the important steps that all of us can take to mitigate the risk of exposure. Additionally, the modules satisfy a State of Michigan requirement for employees.

Will students be expected to complete the COVID-19 modules?

  • Yes, all students are expected to complete the COVID-19 education modules.

I see that there is a liability waiver on the SafeColleges site. If I complete the training, does that mean that I have waived my rights with Kalamazoo College?

  • The education modules satisfy a requirement by the State of Michigan. The waiver on the SafeColleges site does not relieve Kalamazoo College of our obligations. The usage agreement that the College signed includes language to this effect.

I need my login information for the education modules. Who can I contact for assistance?

Questions related to health and safety

How do I complete the health screening questions?

  • The most efficient way to complete the daily health screening is to use Campus Clear.

Do I need to complete the screening questions if I am working remotely or am not coming to campus today?

  • No, the screening questions only if you will be working on-campus.

I am a staff or faculty member and completed the screening questions yesterday. Do I need to complete the screening questions again today?

  • Yes, if you are working on-campus today. COVID-19 symptoms can appear one day even if no symptoms were present yesterday.

Does my student employee need to complete a health screening before they work their on-campus job?

I used the HR screening form and I answered affirmatively (yes) to at least one of the health questions. How long will it be before I hear from someone about whether I can work or not?

  • The HR office is notified simultaneously when someone submits an affirmative response. A prompt response is crucial and a top priority. Please allow for a response within the hour to the contact information that you provided.

I have COVID-19 symptoms but I want to wait to see if they go away. Can I come to work on-campus while I wait?

  • No, it is important that you remain as quarantined. Please call your medical provider for next steps.

I need/want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I find a testing location?

I need/want to get tested for COVID-19. How much will it cost me?

  • If you are on the College’s ASR health plan, you should expect to pay nothing. Both of ASR health plans cover the cost of COVID-19 testing at 100%.

Are there any suggestions for how I can protect myself as I move through my day?

I am a bi-weekly employee. Will I need to use my emergency time while I wait for my test results to come back?

  • No, please use the C19 paycode to account for time away from work due to COVID-19 related reasons, including waiting for test results.

I am waiting for test results. My supervisor says that I can work remotely if I feel up to it. Is this ok?

  • Yes, if your work supports remote work and you feel physically able to do so, it is permissible to work remotely while you are waiting for test results.

I live on campus. What might I be thinking about?

  • One might think about the complexities of how to self-isolate on campus, should the need arise. One might consider the need to obtain food and/or medications. One might think about how to minimize contact with other people who also live on campus. Be prepared to wear a facial covering whenever you leave your residence.

I tested positive. Is the whole campus going to know?

  • No, the College will not make an announcement about who tested positive. HIPAA regulations forbid this type of communication.

I tested positive for COVID-19. Now what happens?

  • Please self-report your status by contacting Jenn Williams or Renee Boelcke, or by completing the online form. You can expect to be contacted by a member of the Human Resources office. You will be advised of your rights related to a leave of absence and compensation under the COVID-19 Leave Policy.

I heard that another employee has COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive. How will I know if I should be concerned?

  • It is possible that a member of Human Resources or your supervisor might tell you that you may have been in close proximity to someone who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and that you should self-isolate. The College is required to report positive cases to the State of Michigan Department of Health. Employees of the Department of Health will follow their contract tracing processes to contact anyone who may have been exposed.

If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, who should I notify and what are my leave benefits?

  • In such an event, you should notify Jenn Williams at Jennifer.williams@kzoo.edu. She will work with you to identify the leave benefits for which you might be eligible. When you provide notice that you have been confirmed positive, please also provide a list of any members of the Kalamazoo College community who you recall being in direct contact and close proximity to during the previous 14 days.

What if someone in my family is diagnosed with COVID-19? Do I need to notify the College? Can I take time off to care for them?

  • Please notify your supervisor and plan to self-quarantine for the recommended 14 days. You may take time off to care for a member of your household as a result of COVID-19.

How is the College supporting the health and safety of employees on campus?

  • The College has taken important steps in support of social distancing so that those who must remain on campus have minimal contact with others. President’s Staff members will determine who can return to work and how frequently.

What resources are available for employee well-being?

  • Please be reminded that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to help navigate through many of life’s ups and downs. A licensed professional counselor can help with stress and anxiety, relationship issues, and more. The work/life specialists can help to find resources in the community on many topics including elder/child care and financial services.
  • Learn more about this free and confidential program by visiting https://hr.kzoo.edu/current-employees/eap/

Questions related to remote work

What resources does the College provide for working remotely?

  • The Kalamazoo College Information Services website provides information and instructions on resources that can help you work remotely, including access to collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. They are also regularly updating their page with announcements.
  • If you are unable to find the information you need from the IS website, you may contact the Help Desk. Please understand that the Help Desk team is experiencing a high volume of calls and requests and response times may be longer than usual.

What are expectations about staff working from campus verses working from home?

  • The College remains committed to minimizing the population density on campus. Some work must be done on campus while other work can be done remotely. Please work with your supervisor to determine the best path forward.

What do I do if items I need for remote work are still at the office?

  • Staff who need to come to campus to retrieve equipment may do so; however, please coordinate the timing with your supervisor and practice social distancing. Please ensure that return visits to campus are only for essential items in keeping with the governor’s order.

Human Resources and Payroll Support

Is the college planning to participate in the deferring payroll taxes program? If so, will the college collect the deferred taxes in 2021?

  • Guidance on how to implement the social security tax deferrals is starting to be released. A person could defer his/her/their social security payroll tax in October, November, and/or December 2020. However, the person would need to make those deferred payments plus the regular payments in January, February, and March 2021 – essentially doubling the payments. An employee could change their state withholdings to reduce the per-check tax payment. However, the person may owe when their taxes are filed.

How should we track time for hourly employees working from home?

Hourly employees must track all time worked. No untracked work should be performed. Employees may not work overtime without express, written approval from the supervisor. Time spent performing work should be recorded as work time, regardless of your physical location. We anticipate that there may be funding sources available to help offset costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Properly tracking this time will aid the College in providing documentation on COVID-19 response expenses.
Hourly employees should use the special code ‘C19’ on their timesheets to note time that they were available to come to work but were unable to do so because of social distancing requirements or governmental regulation.
The C19 code should be used to fill in for hours that you would have worked if COVID-19 response were not at play. Here’s an example.
Typical, pre-COVID-19 schedule: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with one-hour unpaid lunch:
In: 8 a.m.
Out: 12 p.m.
In: 1 p.m.
Out: 5 p.m.
Total hours worked and paid: 8
Current COVID-19 response situation: Work three hours in the morning.
In: 8 a.m.
Out: 11 a.m.
C19: 5
Total hours paid: 8

How do I contact HR or the business office if I have questions about pay or benefits?

What if I need to pick up a paycheck?

  • Employees are strongly recommended to register for direct deposit. Checks may not be picked up.  The Business Office is closed to all walk-in traffic and the building is locked.  Checks are being mailed.

I have a job posted in my area—can I continue through the hiring process?

  • Yes, the selection process may continue if circumstances permit. There is a message on the staff searches pages that indicates that search processes may be delayed as a result of COVID-19 response. Questions about searches may be directed to Renee Boelcke at renee.boelcke@kzoo.edu.

New questions can be submitted to Renee Boelcke, director of human resources, at renee.boelcke@kzoo.edu.