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COVID-19 Information for Faculty and Staff

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The health and well-being of our employees is a top priority.

In difficult times like these, we are especially thankful to the staff who come to campus each day to ensure that the college’s critical operations are maintained. As the campus adjusts to a new environment where our students LEARNremote and faculty members TEACHremote, teleworking arrangements provide an opportunity for some staff to perform the essential functions of their job from an alternate work location.

A REMINDER:  Employees and their families facing challenges posed by COVID-19 may apply for additional leave options under the FFCRA through December 31, 2020.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1, 2020, provides State employees with additional emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Please refer to the FFCRA Policy for additional information.

NOTICE: On April 11th, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Policy (FFCRA) was issued and as such replaced and revoked the Family Responsibilities and Sick Leave temporary measure that went into effect on March 23rd. Any requests that were approved prior to the issuance of the FFCRA will be honored, but as of April 11th new requests under the temporary sick leave measure will not be considered.

Upon receipt of the completed FFCRA form and documentation, the employee will be informed by the RIC Office of Human Resources whether the request for leave has been approved or denied, and/or whether additional information or clarification is needed.

An eligible employee must notify his or her supervisor of the request and submit a FFCRA form to the RIC Office of Human Resources to Beth Cabana, Manager of HR at ecabana@ric.edu, or Matt Hicks, Manager of HR mhicks@ric.edu along with required documentation.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Eligible employees may discharge up to two weeks of emergency paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2)
  5. Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Please note that health care providers and emergency responders, as defined in the FFCRA Policy, are only allowed to request emergency paid sick leave under scenarios 1, 2 or 3.

If an employee is unable to work or telework because of scenarios 1, 2 or 3, they are entitled to be paid at their regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day and $5,110 in total over the two weeks).

If an employee is unable to work or telework because of scenarios 4, 5 or 6, they are entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of their regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day and $2,000 in all over the two weeks).

(Please Note: Supplemental accrued time/paid leave (sick, vacation, personal, etc.) to supplement pay under emergency paid sick leave for scenarios 4, 5, or 6 ended on June 26, 2020.)

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)

This option is only available to an employee who is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19 (Scenario 5 above).

The expansion allows an employee who has been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request to be eligible for two weeks of unpaid leave, followed by 10 weeks of partially paid leave.

For the first two weeks, the employee may elect to discharge the leave provided by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and be paid an amount equal to two-thirds of their regular rate. For the next 10 weeks, the employee will continue to be paid two thirds (2/3) of their regular rate.

(Please Note: Supplemental accrued time/paid leave (sick, vacation, personal, etc.) to supplement pay under emergency paid sick leave for scenarios 4, 5, or 6 ended on June 26, 2020.)

For additional information, please read the Department of Labor notice at:

English: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

Spanish: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/1422-spanish.pdf

Rhode Island College adopted the Department of Administration Teleworking Policy as a temporary measure to address the Governor's recommendation that an option to work from home, where feasible, be allowed. Teleworking agreements are anticipated to remain in place for the fall semester. However, as we enter different stages of reopening according to the state’s plan, we welcome the opportunity to have more and more employees return safely to work.

Please learn more about teleworking at RIC..

Whether our employees are working on campus or remotely, we seek to maintain consistent work crews so that we can fulfill our mission.

To that end, the college is taking steps to:

  • Continue teleworking arrangements where appropriate;
  • Adapt or revise policies/procedures that include employee health and safety protocols;
  • Develop new hiring practices specific to potential permanent remote workers;
  • Develop on-line assessment/performance evaluation tools; and
  • Ensure equity

Since the onset of this pandemic, the Department of Administration has issued guidance and put into practice a number of policies that the college’s Office of Human Resources has implemented, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Responding to Illness in the Workplace
  • Daily Visual/Verbal Health Screening
  • Teleworking
  • Contact Tracing
  • Testing and Support
  • High Risk Employees and Americans with Disabilities (ADA)

In order to respond to the needs of our employees, the college has identified two (2) HR managers who will serve as case managers, supporting employees impacted by COVID-19. A standardized questionnaire has been developed for case management to ensure consistency.

The essential steps in the case management process are as follows:

  • HR Manager contacts employee identified and conducts an in-depth and confidential interview with the employee to determine their risk status
    • Symptomatic employees are asked to contact their PCP and the RIDOH for diagnosis and/or instructions.
    • Employees who disclose contact with someone who has tested positive or is suspected of having COVID-19 are required to provide a list of contacts both at work to HR and outside of work to RIDOH for the purpose of contact tracing.
  • HR Manager contacts Facilities and Operations to conduct cleaning and sanitization of work areas exposed by a symptomatic employee.
  • HR Manager stays in contact with the employee throughout the process and can assist employee with leave options (i.e., paid time options and benefit eligibility to include but not limited to: federal sick time and FMLA eligibility)
  • HR Manager works with the supervisor to determine employees’ eligibility to work remotely;
  • HR Manager provides information regarding health, well-being resources and other resources and
  • HR Manager remains in contact with the employee from day of illness/contact notice through day the employee is released to return to work.

The State and RIC continue to make the health and well-being of our employees a top priority. The visual/verbal health screening per Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) regulations has been updated. All employees who report to the work place either daily or occasionally, must complete a screening before entering the workplace.

Utilizing the visual/verbal screening form on a daily basis, immediate supervisors will ask whether an employee is experiencing any of the following symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, and recent loss of taste or smell.

Employees will also be asked if they have returned from any travel within the last 14 days outside RI or outside the continental US and if they have been in close contact (less than 6 feet) from someone with COVID-19 or someone with symptoms of COVID-19.

The screening process and forms are only a tool and does not include the following: Temperature checks or recording and storing of personal information reported.

All information provided by employees will be handled with confidentiality to the extent possible.

If employees answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, they will be instructed to leave the workplace and return home and to contact Human Resource (HR).

IMPORTANT NOTE: The visual/verbal screening questions may change as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health issue further guidance.

DO NOT REPORT TO WORK if you are sick or not feeling well or suspect that you have COVID-19 or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, call your primary care physician or other healthcare provider and inform your supervisor and HR. If you are teleworking and develop symptoms, or come in close contact with someone that has tested positive or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, please also immediately notify your supervisor and HR.

In the event a staff or faculty member becomes ill during the workday, their supervisor will instruct the employee to leave campus, go home and/or seek appropriate health consultation. The supervisor shall close off the work station/area and notify HR that a sick employee was sent home. HR will request that Custodial Services clean the work station/area in accordance with CDC guidelines and our policies regarding cleaning and sanitation, including deep cleaning of all touchpoints throughout the impacted area and wiping down all surfaces, including glass.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any person who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider (PCP) first and prior to going to a healthcare facility, unless they are experiencing a medical emergency.

If an employee is instructed to be tested,
They must report it to HR. At that point, an HR manager will be assigned as a case manager and will support that employee through the testing process and beyond.

If an employee is not referred for testing,
But is still feeling ill, they must be symptom free for three days before they can return to work.

If an employee tests positive,
They must quarantine/isolate for fourteen (14) days and must follow up with their PCP. At the end of the designated quarantine/isolation period, the HR case manager will confirm the employee is free from a fever without medication for the recent seven (7) days and they must be symptom free for at least the last three (3) days. A doctor’s note does not have to be provided. If symptom free as outlined above, the employee will be informed they may return to work.

Once an employee is notified that they have tested positive for COVID-19, they must contact their supervisor and HR. Thereafter, the HR case manager will:

  • Contact with the supervisor and the employee to obtain at work contact information
  • Contact other employees who have been identified as coming in contact (within 6 feet) with an employee suspected of having COVID-19 and instruct them to quarantine (go home). Employees instructed to remain at home may telework where appropriate. Employees who are not able to telework will be placed on paid administrative leave for up to 14 days and/or pending the infected employee’s testing results
  • Contact vendors identified to inform them one of their employees may have been exposed and recommend they contact their PCP and RIDOH
  • Contact RIDOH to share the contact information collected

Employees who notify their supervisor and HR that they are high risk to contracting COVID-19 will be asked to request a leave of absence and provide medical documentation when the request is due to an underlying medical condition.

Employees who have a disability and seek to self-identify or have already self-identified and wish to request a new or modified ADA accommodation are asked to follow the Request for Accommodation process found at the following web page: http://www.ric.edu/affirmativeaction/Pages/Individuals-with-Disabilities.aspx

When an employee is symptomatic and/or tests positive for COVID-19, or is required to quarantine based on potential exposure, the college will provide support to the employee who must stay out of the workplace until cleared to return.

Employee Assistance Program
Visit optumeap.com for the latest COVID-19 support resources from the EAP provider Optum, including educational flyers and new webinars that help you cope with the stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19. The Optum Public Crisis Hotline (866-342-6892) is free and open to anyone seeking emotional support during this difficult time.

COVID-19 Testing and General Information

RI Dept. of Health site for COVID Testing: https://health.ri.gov/covid/testing/#how

CVS clinics – fast but use the Abbott testing which has a high false positive: https://cvshealth.com/covid-19/testing-information-locations

HealthRI.gov: https://health.ri.gov/covid/testing/

Crush COVID app info too: https://health.ri.gov/covid/crush/

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Violence Helpline – RI  https://www.helplineri.com/domestic-violence  24 hour helpline 1 800 494-8100

Domestic Violence agencies in RI http://www.riag.ri.gov/ndva/agencies.php

Women’s center of RI – 24 hour helpline  401 861-2760  http://www.womenscenterri.org/

Rhode Island Domestic Violence and Abuse Organizations - https://ridivorcemediationcenter.com/ri-divorce-resources/ri-domestic-violence-and-abuse-help-directory/

Food and Housing

RI Food bank - https://rifoodbank.org/ - Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Here is a link from economic progress institute which is an excellent guide based on needs: http://www.economicprogressri.org/index.php/guide-to-assistance-5/

Health and Wellness

RIC & State of RI Employees Assistance Program with Optum (FREE for RIC employees and others in your household): http://www.employeebenefits.ri.gov/wellness/eap.php

United Way 211: https://www.uwri.org/2-1-1/ 

Behavioral Health Providers in RI link - https://www.bhlink.org/

Counseling and legal help – Sojourner House – Helpline 401 765-3232  24 hour/day http://www.sojournerri.org/partner-organizations

The Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of RI: https://www.sumhlc.org/resources/health-home-resource-guide/

Lifespan Community Health Institute - Connect for Health:  https://www.givepulse.com/group/124654-Lifespan-Community-Health-Institute-Connect-for-Health

Legal Assistance

Rhode Island Family Court: https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/FamilyCourt/Pages/default.aspx

RI Legal Services: http://www.helprilaw.org

RI Disability Law Center http://www.ridlc.org/index.htm

Office of the Child Advocate (OCA): http://www.child-advocate.ri.gov/

Victim's Witness Assistance Program: http://www.risp.ri.gov/importantinformation/victimsassistance.php

Primary Care Providers

Atmed Primary Care
1524 Atwood Avenue Suite 340,
Johnston, RI.
401-272-5468

Atmed is taking new patients. Tuesday through Friday they have a Medical Assistant who is fluent in Spanish and one MD who is fluent available on Wednesdays. Hours of operation:  

Day Hours of Operation

Monday

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thursday

10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Friday

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed


During State of Emergency BC/BS (and other health insurance providers) offer (these may change as new Executive Orders are issues and patients are encouraged to check with the provider first):

  • No referrals needed for specialists
  • No fees for COVID 19 testing (includes lab)
  • No fees for calling PCP for triage
  • No copays for audio-visual telephone calls with in-network specialists
  • No fee for triage calls in-network for behavioral health providers
    BC/BS offers Doctors On-line – free 24/7 without appointment doctors to assist with other common non-emergency medical conditions such as allergies and sinus pain.

For additional information regarding PCP’s, the following web sites may be helpful:

BC/BS: https://www.bcbs.com/find-a-doctor

HealthRI.gov:  https://health.ri.gov/find/primarycare/

Additional Resources

Rhode Island Resource Guide Book: http://www.riema.ri.gov/forms-additional­resources/documents/2018%20Resource%20Guidebook.pdf

Department of Human Services: http://www.dhs.ri.gov/includes/LocalResources.php

Thundermist Health Center: community based, language diversity, Trans Health certified: https://www.thundermisthealth.org

Lifespan: LGBTQ+ healthcare; language diversity: https://www.lifespan.org/centers-services/gender-and-sexual-health-at-lifespan

The following guidance pertains to employees returning to work after illness:

  • Employees who show symptoms must be free of symptoms for a minimum of three (3) days prior to being allowed to return to work.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days and be fever free without the use of fever reducing medication for at least seven (7) days and they must be symptom free for at least three (3) days prior to being authorized to return to work.

HR case managers have been provided with a standard list of return to work questions and will conduct an interview of all employees prior to authorizing their return to work. HR case managers will also stay in contact with the supervisor and provide updates as they are received.

To ensure that employees and supervisors meet the safety guidelines, training of all employees and supervisors on the following is critical:

  • Visual/verbal health screening, testing, quarantining and/or isolation
  • Contact tracing
  • Teleworking agreements
  • Response to illness in the workplace
  • Cleaning and sanitation of work spaces
  • Social distancing protocols
  • Implementation of traffic patterns, especially in high traffic areas
  • CDC safety guidelines to include how to properly wear masks
  • Reporting illness and recording
  • Travel considerations, and
  • Criteria for returning to work following illness or quarantine

Targeted training on safety guidelines will be held for all front-facing employees, to include cleaning touch points regularly.

To implement this plan, Human Resources will:

  • Coordinate with Student Success COVID-19 training of supervisors so as not to duplicate the effort, reach more supervisors and ensure supervisor information is consistent.
  • Offer additional training to supervisors to be scheduled prior to start of classes.
  • Provide targeted safety training to front-facing employees prior to start of classes, to include training on wiping touch points regularly. Such training may be done in person where appropriate or via Zoom or other on-line resource.
  • Develop written guidelines in compliance with Executive Orders and CDC guidelines for distribution to remaining faculty and staff prior to start of classes. Update guidelines as needed and distribution.
  • Coordinate with Deans/AVP’s, Department Chairs, Directors and other Supervisors for distribution of guidelines at departmental meetings and provide talking points. Deans and Department Chairs will complete this step during the first department meeting of each semester. To ensure compliance, Deans/AVP’s, Department Chairs, Directors and other Supervisors report completion of this task and list of participants to the Director of HR. Employees identified as not having participated will receive a targeted email from the Director of HR to confirm their understanding of the safety guidelines.
  • Provide additional support for at-risk employees and those with underlying health issues, or where appropriate, ADA accommodations.
  • Create COVID-19 safety site to maintain safety guidelines and CDC guidelines for all employees. This site will include Health and Wellness resources for employees.
  • Add COVID-19 safety guidelines and training requirements to on-boarding of new employees.
  • Continue to provide updated and timely information regarding changes to guidelines to include but not limited to Executive Orders and CDC guidelines.
  • Continue to support employees who telework. Update processes and policies that support teleworking arrangements.

Guidelines may change if a resurgence in COVID-19 occurs, new Executive Orders are issued, or CDC guidelines change placing new restrictions on working conditions. If teleworking or remote learning continues, training may need to be delayed.

Per Governor’s executive order dated 6/29/20 employees who travel domestically for business or pleasure to and from another city, town, county or state that has seen a COVID-19 positivity rate of 5% or more, imposed a stay-at-home restriction, a shelter-in-place restriction or similar restriction, declaration, or announcement due to a COVID-19 outbreak, must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. Employees that provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours prior to returning to RI or are tested after returning to RI and provide a negative test result may return to work.

Employees are required to provide additional information prior to being approved for business travel. Such will include compelling reasons for travel vs. remote participation.

Non-business travel will also be addressed though this policy. Follow-up with employees that travel is mandated through the visual/verbal daily screening. HR will follow-up with an employee before and after the dates of travel as needed. Proposed policy is below. This policy will be disseminated as follows:

  • Email policy to faculty and staff.
  • Post on RIC website in multiple areas to ensure it is easily accessible.
  • Include with any documents required for travel requests.
  • Post links for access to other state websites to assist in finding related COVID-19 restrictions.

Faculty Travel

For the fall semester, there will be no faculty international travel, nor any study abroad travel that is supported by the college. Travel must be at the faculty member’s own expense. Domestic travel is acceptable, provided it follows CDC and state guidelines.

Page last updated: September 10, 2020