Western Carolina University leadership continues to closely monitor the spread of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus and is in regular communication with local, state and UNC System officials.
Please Note: These resources will be updated as additional information becomes available or the situation changes. The latest update was Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
For policy, employment, and leave related questions, you may reach HR at ext. 7218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Resources has released new COVID-19 guidance and protocols for employees and supervisors.
The UNC System Resource for Resilience during COVID-19 is also available for faculty and staff.
Additional information regarding classroom procedures, faculty and academic affairs is available in the Academic Affairs FAQ
The following COVID-19 Special Faculty and Staff Work and Leave Provisions are effective January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 or until revised/rescinded. Effective August 12, 2020, the Mandatory Onsite Employee Designations were discontinued.
Updated February 22, 2021
COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave: Effective January 1, COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave (PAL) will be applicable to the following situations:
Other Leave Provisions for Permanent and Temporary Employees
Updated February 22, 2021
Use of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave for the purposes listed below is cumulative from March 16, 2020 through June 30, 2021. If an employee used FFCRA emergency paid sick leave in 2020 for any of the reasons below, then those hours must be deducted from any remaining paid administrative leave available through this option.
Temporary employees and student workers are eligible for up to 160 hours of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave when meeting one of the eligibility criteria described above.
In accordance with State of North Carolina guidance, any gathering or meeting of more than 10 people Inside and 25 outside is not allowed.
Yes. NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that people can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources related to COVID-19. You can call 2-1-1 or 888.892.1162 or access the NC 2-1-1 website. You can also text COVIDNC to 898211 to register to receive general information and updates about COVID-19 and North Carolina's response to the rapidly evolving situation. NC 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and resources are available in most languages.
The Office of State Human Resources has also created a FAQ for state employees.
Additional information about testing and contract tracing is available at info.wcu.edu/testing.
Learn more about our community standards, Catamounts Care, at info.wcu.edu/catamountscare
Human Resources has released new COVID-19 guidance and protocols for employees and supervisors.
Additional information regarding classroom procedures, faculty and academic affairs is available in the ACADEMIC AFFAIRS FAQ
If you become sick due to COVID-19 contracted during your work for WCU or due to a workplace exposure, a Workers’ Compensation claim should be submitted with the Campus Risk/Safety Office.
If you think you are developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you should not report to work. Follow the recommendation of the CDC and call your doctor or public health department, then notify your supervisor that you have taken this step. If you are subject to quarantine order or have been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider or public health official; or have had exposure with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is awaiting diagnosis (may or may not be demonstrating symptoms) COVID-19 Paid Administrative leave of up to 80 may be available
The employee should not report to work onsite. Close contacts will need to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. Employees who are required to self-quarantine should telework if available. Supervisors should notify the appropriate division head and Human Resources whenever an employee has been ordered not to report to work.
The supervisor should consult with Human Resources for additional guidance on the appropriate time to physically return to work.
An employee(s) may learn that someone has symptoms, is being tested or has tested positive – either from their infected colleagues themselves, or through the rumor mill. If there has been a confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace, supervisors can address this issue and let others know that an unnamed member of the workforce has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They should be told that there is no action they need to take unless they are notified otherwise.
Because employee well-being, privacy, and workplace safety remain priorities at all times, no additional information should be provided. The language below is offered as an example:
"I received a report that a colleague in our unit was diagnosed with COVID-19. If you don’t receive a notification, there is no further action that needs to be taken on your part. Please continue to monitor yourself closely for symptoms and practice disease prevention behaviors such as hand washing and social distancing. Should you not feel well, please stay home and contact your primary care provider.”
Employees known to be exposed to an individual diagnosed with coronavirus will be notified that a case of coronavirus has been confirmed, but the Americans with Disabilities Act protects the identity and medical information of people with communicable diseases.
The State Health Plan is encouraging members to stay informed, calm and prepared about the global coronavirus outbreak or COVID-19. The Plan is coordinating with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), its third-party administrator, as well as CVS Caremark, UnitedHealthcare and other vendors, to ensure that Plan members have full and timely access to services involving the detection and treatment of coronavirus.
ComPsych has provided the following resources for all employees:
The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has put organizations and employees on alert. This information can help keep employees informed about the coronavirus, as well as offer guidance on how to remain healthy and deal with the emotional impacts of the outbreak. Keep in mind that your GuidanceResources program is available to you and your employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with virtually any issue.
As the COVID-19 virus spreads, it’s normal to feel fear and uncertainty. This course offers tips for coping with uncertainty and regaining control. View the Webinar
Download this list for links to public health and safety resources from WHO, the CDC and others across the globe. View the PDF
In Navigating Your Work From Home Transition Due to the Coronavirus, a ComPsych expert trainer offers tips and answers questions. Watch the Webinar
This short video explains how your EAP program can help, particularly during stressful times. Learn how the EAP Program can help
With more people being asked to work from home, these guides offer tips to managers and employees for adjusting to the change.
Offer this interactive experience to employees who are feeling stressed about recent events. Take a Relaxation Break
With financial markets in turmoil and many people facing income disruptions, it's a good time to make sure that personal finances are on a solid footing. Explore the financial handout
In uncertain times, staying healthy at work can feel like an uphill battle. These materials offer tips to keep your workforce feeling well. See the handout
Stress and anxiety are normal reactions to current events. These materials explain how to keep those emotions in check. Explore the Resources
Any person, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin, can contract the COVID-19 virus. Western Carolina University is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of all, and, as a community, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and caring environment, even as many of us are worried and stressed by the spread of the coronavirus.
To prevent stigma, bias, or xenophobia against individuals or groups, it is absolutely critical that we equip ourselves with current and accurate information – facts. Commit to speaking up if you hear, see or read misinformation, or witness or experience bias or harassment.
Updated: February 9, 2021
As part of the institutional response to COVID-19, the University is committed to supporting university staff who may be at increased risk (or have a household member at increased risk) of severe illness from COVID-19, which generally includes all individuals over the age of 65 and anyone with an underlying medical condition. Please review this link for additional information regarding COVID-19 and the risks associated with it.
Consistent with current University protocols and when requested by an employee considered at risk from exposure to COVID-19, the University will provide options for reasonable alternative work arrangements such as telework, alternative work locations, reassignment, or social distancing measures whenever possible.
Employees who meet increased risk criteria (or have a household member who meets these criteria) and for which onsite work could place them further at risk may request assistance through the University’s formal request process (COVID-19 Assistance Request Form).
As a general rule, removal of University equipment, furnishings, and similar property from campus is not permitted. However, specific exceptions for legitimate university business may be made when all of the following conditions are met:
Prior to temporarily removing any university property, the Permission to Remove University Assets from Campus form must be completed and signed by the employee and appropriate supervisor/department head.
The IT News site has an informative article with ideas for improving your access to the internet at home.
INTERCHANGEABILITY OF LEAVE: Through March 31, 2021, employees may use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, and bonus leave interchangeably for COVID-19 related absences (child/elder care, cannot telework, etc.). his provision does not allow interchangeability of leave usage in regard to the leave options provided in state policy for retirement, transfer, or separation. Additionally, employees who have exhausted all personal leave may utilize the COVID-19 VOLUNTARY SHARED LEAVE BANK PROGRAM for COVID-19 related child/elder care issues.
In the event an employee is quarantined by a public health official, they will be eligible to receive up to 80 hours of COVID-19 paid administrative sick leave for the duration of the quarantine period. COVID-19 Paid Administrative leave is available for permanent employees once all other personal leave (vacation, sick, bonus) has been exhausted.
Any travel to off-site meetings and between university worksites requires unit or supervisor approval. When possible, two employees should not share the same university vehicle. Essential travel outside of the US requires pre-approval by the Chancellor. Essential travel within the continental US requires pre-approval by the appropriate division head.
COVID-19 can be spread in busy travel environments like in airports and bus and train stations. This can be taken back to the community after travel and potentially spread. Prior to returning to work onsite, faculty and staff should adhere to the following protocols:
Also take these actions for 14 days after you return from travel to protect others from getting COVID-19:
Isolate yourself and follow public health recommendations if you get sick.
All university-sponsored travel outside of North Carolina has been suspended, as has travel within the state to gatherings of 10 or more people. In addition to faculty and staff, this restriction also applies to university-sponsored travel by students and student organizations.
When you cancel your university-sponsored travel, you will be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred but not refunded. The traveler shall make a good faith effort to obtain a refund for any air travel paid and/or conference fees paid before submitting a reimbursement request to the University. If the University has already reimbursed the traveler in advance of the planned travel, then the traveler shall attempt to recover a refund of airfare and/or conference fees, and shall remit any recover to the University.
For personal travel (both domestic and international), please refer to CDC guidelines and make informed decisions.
Maintain contact with your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources and Payroll. You may be eligible for leave without pay or may be advanced leave to be made up within 24 months of the declared State of Emergency.
Yes, your supervisor has the right to temporarily reassign employees to work outside their usual responsibilities to the extent they are qualified and can safely perform the work. While this situation may not be ideal – both for employees and their home units – it is important that we are all willing to adjust our “normal” work in the event of an emergency.
Reassignment may include deploying employees with certain necessary skill sets outside their colleges/divisions. Depending on the circumstances, the University will notify employees who are designated as performing essential functions, as well as when and where they should report to work.
Yes. Your supervisor may temporarily adjust employees’ work schedules to meet operational demands, based on business needs and circumstances, so that Western Carolina University can appropriately respond to the situation. These adjustments may be made on a case-by-case basis depending upon operational considerations. Your supervisor should work closely with you to discuss any changes to your assigned shift and/or work schedule and any questions or concerns you may have with the changes.