COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

For general information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), refer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at cdc.gov.

What is the University’s current operational status?

As of August 17, all departments should have some presence while still minimizing their on-campus footprint. Departments should decide which positions require an on-campus presence to support essential University business and which should remain remote.

My position is not designated as on-campus essential, and I do not have duties that can be performed remotely. What does that mean for me?

Employees who have previously been unable to perform their work remotely may return to campus to perform their job duties if the work is available. Employees who report to campus should obtain supervisor approval and continue to practice the CDC Guidelines for Social Distancing. Flexible or rotating schedules for on-campus employees may be appropriate to reduce the amount of people in the department at one time. Employees should continue to refrain from conducting in-person meetings with groups of 10 or more people, and when possible, utilize technology resources to host virtual meetings. All employees must wear a cloth face covering when in common spaces.

I have been able to perform my job successfully while working remotely. Can I just remain remote?

Positions that are designated to work on campus will remain that way. Department heads are responsible for determining who should return to campus and in what capacity. These decisions are based on the need for in-person presence, and other business-related factors. Supervisors who have concerns with an employee successfully completing duties remotely may require those employees to return to campus. When the threat of COVID-19 infection has subsided, everyone who is designated to work on campus will return to their normal work location.

I have been told to report back to campus, but I have childcare issues. What are my options?

Departments should follow the assignment instructions outlined in the HR Campus Repopulation Guidance. For employees that are assigned to return to on-campus duties but have childcare issues, supervisors should examine the employee’s specific concern and direct the employee appropriately. Supervisors can allow employees to work a rotating on-campus and remote schedule, or a fully remote schedule. If a rotating or fully remote schedule cannot be accommodated, employees may also be eligible for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA).

I have been told to report back to campus, but I am high risk. What are my options?

Employees may request a temporary modification to their on-campus work assignment, based on high-risk concerns.  Requests for modifications may include a request for Temporary Remote Work, if appropriate, but other modifications may include options for physical distancing (including staggering shifts), alternative work locations, reassignment, modified or flexible schedules, and/or the use of personal leave. To request a modification, employees should fill out the Request for Temporary Modification form and submit it to the supervisor.  For more information, please see the Workers at Higher Risk section on the HR Workplace Guidance webpage.

Do I have to wear a face covering on campus?

Yes. Face coverings are required on campus. The University has bulk ordered face coverings which are available for department purchase to distribute to employees. Please see the Face Covering and Social Distance Compliance Matrix

Are H-1B employees or employees on training visas allowed to temporarily work remote?

At this time, employees can return to campus to perform their work duties. H1-B employees who cannot work remotely within the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) must report back to their normal campus work location and are not authorized to continue remote work outside of the MSA.

My department is implementing a remote work and on-campus hybrid schedule, but I do not have sufficient work during my scheduled remote work hours. What can I do?

Please discuss your concerns with your supervisor. We understand that some employees are only able to perform a portion of their duties remotely or that work may be limited due to curtailment of certain operational processes. In these cases, employees may need to supplement their duties in other ways. Here are some options that should be explored:

  • Special Projects: Employees who are limited in duties that can be performed remotely may be able to work on special projects as deemed appropriate by the supervisor or department head.
  • Online Training: Florida State University's Office of Training & Organizational Development (TOD) offers many learning opportunities in an online or remote format. Supervisory approval is required if an employee attends a class during their assigned work hours, which is then considered time worked. Classes are free of charge to FSU employees. Contact TOD at training@fsu.edu if you need assistance with registration or cancellation.
  • Leave: An employee may be unable to perform their duties remotely due to other personal reasons. In these instances, the employee can request vacation or sick leave, whichever is appropriate.
  • Mixture of Leave and time-worked: Employees who may not be able to fulfill their normal work schedule have the option to report leave for any hours not worked during their scheduled work hours. For example, with appropriate approval, an employee may report 6 hours of work time and 2 hours of annual leave if their job duties only required 6 hours of work that day.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Employees who are balancing childcare during the Leon County School closure may want to request approval from their supervisor to adjust their work hours to work during non-traditional hours, if appropriate.
  • Return to campus with supervisor approval.
  • Voluntary Reduction of Hours

What do I do if I need to self-quarantine due to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

If you come into close contact with an individual that tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact. Close contact is defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 cumulative minutes.
  • You live with or provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

During the quarantine, if you are employed in a position that is suitable for remote work, you should perform your duties remotely unless you are unable to do so for some other reason.  

What should I do if I start experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19?

Employees who are ill for any reason should inform their supervisor and isolate at home. Employees who first experience symptoms in the workplace should notify their supervisor and leave the worksite immediately. Employees who believe they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as outlined by the CDC should consult with their health care provider on any recommended testing. For employees who are ill (more than a mild symptom that resolves itself in 24 hours), a CDC time-based strategy should be utilized before the employee returns to their worksite:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

Are employees restricted from traveling?

The University has cancelled all international and domestic university-related travel.  Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to refrain from personal, international, or domestic travel, unless the reason for such travel is designated as essential. However, personal travel is not prohibited. If employees choose to travel, they should review COVID-19 data at their anticipated destination in order to make an informed decision about their exposure risk. Personal domestic travel will no longer require a 14-day self-quarantine unless the employee presents COVID-19 related symptoms upon return from travel.  Individuals who travel internationally and/or on any cruise to any location, should not return to campus until they have been COVID-19 symptom free at their normal place of residence for 14 days. Notify your supervisor if you have experienced COVID-19 symptoms, travelled internationally, or recently been on a cruise. Supervisors can consult with HR regarding the 14-day quarantine period, if needed.

Are there alternative options to completing Section 2 of the Form I-9?

Human Resources recommends departments conduct a physical examination of the section 2 documents by the third business day provided the necessary safety precautions are taken. If employees are being hired remotely or will not be on campus to complete their I-9 with the department representative, a Remote I-9 form can be completed. Departments should complete the Remote Hire with Agent Request Form to initiate this process. If in-person document verification is not possible, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently allowing a deferment of the physical presence requirements for completing Section 2 of the Form I-9 and will allow a remote inspection of the documents. Departments will need to contact Christie Riley to set up the virtual verification option via email. If documents are verified virtually, this will require an in-person verification within three business days of FSU resuming full operations.

Is the University still in a hiring freeze?

In response to the continuously changing circumstances involving COVID-19, the University is suspending all hiring with the exception of 9-month faculty, Graduate Assistants, Postdoctoral Scholars and critical need-based positions. The hiring freeze is effective immediately and until further notice. We are continuously evaluating the situation and will provide communication when regular hiring practices can resume. For additional information, please see the Hiring Freeze Frequently Asked Questions.

I am currently working my normal scheduled hours (FTE) and need to request a day off for personal reasons. What should I do?

Upon approval, employees can use compensatory/vacation or their personal holiday for a personal day off. Please follow your department’s protocol to submit these requests and ensure they are approved in advance.

I’ve exhausted all paid leave options. What should I do? Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

Once an employee has exhausted all paid leave options, they must report Leave Without Pay. Employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits due to a partial or total loss of wages due to COVID-19. Faculty, A&P, USPS, and OPS employees can apply for benefits through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) website. DEO makes the determination regarding eligibility and benefit payments. Information regarding eligibility, what you need to apply, and other frequently asked questions can be found on the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide – COVID-19 document.

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:18 AM