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FAQs for Employees

Updated on April 3, 2020

New 4/3 I understand there are some new federal laws that were passed to help employees impacted by COVID-19. What can you tell me about them? How do I know if I qualify to use them?

Oregon Tech’s regular employees can now access 80 hours of paid emergency sick leave, and for childcare situations also may have extended leave available.  Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to explore what lave options may work for your situation. See also this simplified summary of options “COVID Leave-at-a-Glance Guide” available under File Downloads.

New 4/3 My child(ren) are not in school due to K-12 closures and they are in need of direct supervision, what are my options?

First, please speak to your supervisor about a modified work schedule, including working from home. Each situation is unique, so we are encouraging supervisors to work with employees on solutions which are mutually beneficial and meet the needs if our students and our University. If a workable solution is not possible, or only a part time work solution is possible, leave may be an option. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to explore what leave options may work for your situation. See also this simplified summary of options “COVID Leave-at-a-Glance Guide” available under File Downloads.

New 3/31 Are potential impacts to my benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Possibly. Depending on your situation, your PEBB benefits and FLEX spending needs may have changed. For more information, visit OHR’s page: Benefits – COVID-19. If you have specific questions, please email Sarah Henderson (Sarah.Henderson@oit.edu).

In terms of Spring Term classes, what are Oregon Tech's plans?

On March 19, Oregon Tech’s President emailed students and employees an update about Spring Term. That message is available on the main COVID-19 webpage under Communications. We continue to assess this changing situation. If the current plan changes, there will be additional communications shared directly with campus and this FAQ will be updated as well.

  • Spring Break: Will be extended to a second week (March 23 – April 3)
  • Classes and Labs: All spring term classes and labs will be delivered remotely for spring term from April 6 through June 12.
  • Computer Labs: Select computer labs will remain open for student use during Spring Term to ensure all students have access to courses delivered remotely.

The Oregon Tech - Boeing campus is working to balance needs with information relative to the Seattle area and at the relevant Boeing facilities with the university's support.

I am an employee and have used the staff fee privilege discount for my child. Now that the courses will have remote delivery in the spring term, can I still use the Staff Fee Privilege for them?

Yes. The switch to remote delivery this spring term has no impact on the applicability of the Staff Fee Privilege.

Do I really need to stay 6 feet away from people to comply with the “social distancing” guidelines?

Yes. As awkward as it may be around friends and colleagues, the social (physical) distancing is a critical component to minimizing the likelihood of someone acquiring COVID-19. If someone gets too close to you, it’s okay to remind them (some people are giving friendly reminders, like: “you’re in my bubble”). Remember that many people who acquire COVID-19 are symptom free for all or part of the time. In other words, you cannot tell by just looking at someone whether they may be carrying the virus. Play it safe, respect other’s space and mind your own.

I have been reading guidance from health officials about social distancing practices. I share an office with another person or closely interact with others during the work day. How can I do my job and also follow health official guidance?

There are several pieces in motion right now to make social distancing easier. First, we are asking that supervisors determine who can work remotely. Fewer people on campus will generally make social distancing easier. For the next several weeks, there will be fewer students and faculty on campus as well, resulting in even less congestion. Additionally, we will be asking building managers to review shared office space.

For those employees who share space, we will be looking for specific solutions, if remote work does not already address that. For interactions that are typically in-person, we are asking that more meetings and conversations take place by phone, Skype, or email. Our hope is that this combination of actions (which may still take a few days to work themselves out) will result in an easier path for everyone to practice social distancing.

My job is the type that can be performed remotely. Can I just work from home?

Not unless your supervisor gives approval. We are now asking as many employees to work from home as possible. However, this is still a supervisor decision and your supervisor may want you to come to work some or all of the time. Your supervisor should be reaching out to you to discuss coming up with a modified work schedule, which may be revisited and tweaked, as needed. We are asking that employees and supervisors work together to come up with a game plan for the next several weeks.

I’m very worried about COVID-19 and I am starting to feel a bit stressed out. What can I do?

First, know that this is very normal. The abundance of news and updates about COVID-19 is making many people feel anxious. The American Psychological Association has put together tips to manage your anxiety, put news reports in perspective, and maintain a positive outlook. If you’re having trouble managing your concerns on your own, reach out for help. Oregon Tech offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as a free benefit to its employees. EAP offers free counseling to eligible employees, their dependents, and eligible household members through Cascade Centers, Inc. Counselors are available 24/7. To access the EAP just call: Portland (503) 639–3009; Salem (503) 588–0777; Toll Free (800) 433–2320.

Our EAP provider recently held a 30 minute webinar which is now available on YouTube and can be watched at any time: (Webinar) COVID 19 - Managing Stress and Anxiety During Uncertain Times.

Can I still travel for work?

Do not schedule any work travel without getting your supervisor’s approval. Oregon Tech will be limiting work-related travel to only essential matters. Any institutionally sponsored travel must be approved by the employee’s direct supervisor and student event travel will be approved by Vice President for Student Affairs, athletic travel will be approved by the Director of Athletics.

What should I do if I think I may have COVID-19?

First, if have active COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), do not come to campus. Follow your regular call-in process.

If you develop symptoms (including mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath) and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider before going in person. Tell them about your recent travel or contact. They will work with the local or state public health departments to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Who should I notify if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

First, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, do not come to campus. Follow your regular call-in process.

As soon you can, regardless of what site you are affiliated with, contact the Klamath Falls Integrated Student Health Center at 541-885-1800 if you have been on a campus or teaching site within the last 3 weeks. The university will take the necessary steps to alert/safeguard campus or site authorities and will contact local public health entities as appropriate.

What guidance or directives is the state providing to Oregon Tech and other universities in the event of a positive case of COVID-19?

The Governor established a statewide response team and information will be shared as the situation develops. Any new positive results in the state will be communicated to the public.

On March 16, the Governor issued new orders on COVID-19 cancelling all events and gatherings with more than 25 attendees; and asking for social distancing to be put into use (The social distancing model advises 6 feet of physical distance between all individuals. 

Social Distancing Guidance

  • University Events: All in-person university sponsored public gatherings and events will be cancelled unless otherwise announced. Work related events will provide remote participation options. Per orders from the Governor, all events will be strictly limited to no more than 25 participants and encouraged to be less than 10 participants and in spaces designed to accommodate at least double the number of occupants.

  • Sporting Events: The NAIA athletic conference cancelled the spring 2020 sports season. 

  • Continuity of Work and Remote Work: Wherever possible, Telework and Remote Work for employees will be approved. When employees are on campus, supervisors are working to maximize social distancing, and janitorial operations are being adjusted to increase disinfecting of utilized spaces.

What is the COVID-19/Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 is a virus that causes mild to severe illness in the lungs.

  • Symptoms: People who are ill with the virus may have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Incubation: With other coronavirus strains, signs of illness usually show up 2–14 days after a person is exposed to the virus.
  • Transmission: The CDC has indicated that COVID-19 is spread through droplets from the coughs and sneezes of people who have the illness. If they cough on something or cough on their hand and then touch something, the virus might be on that object. If someone then touches that object a short time later, and then touches their eyes without cleaning their hands, that could lead to infection too. Cleaning often-touched surfaces with disinfectant helps prevent this.
  • Treatment: Treatment for patients with COVID-19 is supportive care only. There are currently no known disease-specific treatments or vaccines.

How can I protect myself against COVID-19?

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and reduce likelihood of transmission is to take the same basic precautions to prevent any flu or cold strain including:

  • Thoroughly washing hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds
  • Refraining from touching ones face
  • Covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoiding close contact (within 6 feet) of others who appear to be ill.

What should I do if I have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

Many people with fever, cough, and mild illness can recover at home. They don’t need to seek medical care. If you are feeling reasonably well, you might not need to go to visit a clinic or hospital. That allows healthcare providers to focus on care of people who most need care. If you are unsure, please contact a health provider by phone to report this (such as your primary care doctor, local hospital or local urgent care facility; or Oregon Tech Integrated Health Center at 541-885-1800 if you attend Klamath Falls campus) and they will direct you to the right resources and/or medical site.

If you very ill or have trouble breathing those are important reasons to be seen. In this case, call 911 or call your doctor. Tell them if you have traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 or had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, within the last 14 days. If you let them know, they can take precautions and make a plan to see you without exposing others.

I have an underlying health condition and I think I may be at a greater risk of getting sick (i.e., I have a compromised immune system). Do I still have to come to work?

We are now pushing to have as many people work remotely as possible. If you have the type of job that can be done remotely, your supervisor should be working with you make those arrangements, just as your supervisor is with each of your co-workers. In other words, if you can perform your job from home, the institution’s new guidance should address your issue without a need for you to disclose your health condition.

If you do not have the type of job that can be done remotely and you think you may be in a high-risk category, please contact Sarah Henderson in the Office of Human Resources (e: sarah.henderson@oit.edu; p:. 541.885.1028). Sarah can facilitate an abbreviated disability accommodation process (if you can safely still perform some of your job) or medical leave analysis (if your health condition warrants leave) to determine what process to assure that your medical needs are met. If you do not have a medical note from your medical provider, please get one. We realize that some medical providers may be extremely busy right now and visiting a medical office visit may be the last thing you would want to do. If that’s the case, let Sarah know. With your authorization, we may be able to get necessary medical information by phone, email, or fax and spare you the trip to the doctor’s office and save some of your medical provider’s time.

I am concerned about COVID-19 being an excuse to target certain nationalities or races. What should I do if I encounter this within the Oregon Tech community?

Remember that viruses don’t discriminate based on nationality or race. Unfortunately, there have been reported incidents of anti-Asian discrimination over COVID-19 fears in Portland and the Pacific NW generally. Concerns about such sentiments need to be taken seriously. Racism, nationality bias, and xenophobia have no place at Oregon Tech. If you feel you have been targeted or witness an incident involving one or more Oregon Tech community members, please contact Maureen De Armond (e: maureen.dearmond@oit.edu; p: 541.885.1108), who serves as Oregon Tech’s Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordination, and Affirmative Action.

If I appear to have symptoms of the Coronavirus, can Oregon Tech force me to see a doctor, take a test, or send me home?

Oregon Tech can always send an employee home on paid administrative leave, if Oregon Tech determines it is in the best interests of the employee, other employees (or students), or the institution. Under normal circumstances, Oregon Tech cannot require employees to go to a physician (some existing exceptions apply, for example, if the employee files a workers’ compensation claim, files for leave under FMLA/OFLA, or in cases of an urgent medical emergency, Oregon Tech can call for an ambulance). However, employees may be required by the local, state, or federal public health officials to be medically examined to determine if they have contracted COVID-19.

What should I do if I suspect that a student, employee, or other person on campus is ill?

Remember that just because someone has a fever or cough does not mean that they have COVID-19. Encourage them to call their health provider to determine whether they need to receive medical care. Try to refrain from being in close contact with anyone who appears to be ill, staying at least 6 feet away if possible.

How is Oregon Tech preparing to handle a positive case of COVID-19 on campus?

Oregon Tech has assembled a response team that is developing and implementing (as needed) plans related to all known aspects of a university response, should one be needed. Oregon Tech prefers to be proactive rather than reactive in case such a closure becomes necessary. The contingency areas upon which the response team are focused include: academics – including teaching delivery; student affairs/life/residence halls and housing; business continuity; and communication with internal and external stakeholders. These areas will be examined from the perspectives of the different Oregon Tech campuses and sites, as response tactics may vary depending on the location.

If an Oregon Tech student, faculty, or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, will the university shut down for a period of time?

While every situation will be evaluated based on the circumstances, there may be a temporary closure of a campus for thorough cleaning and evaluation.

Oregon Tech will inform the campus in a timely manner if there is a closure, and direct students how classes will be delivered during a closure period when that is possible. If needed, many classes can be taught remotely so that students can continue with their studies. Oregon Tech and/or faculty instructors will contact students with information about remote teaching during any closure.

How will Oregon Tech let the university community know if there is a positive case of COVID-19 on a given campus/teaching site; and if there is a campus/site closure?

Oregon Tech will use multiple channels to contact students, faculty and staff if there is a positive case with a student, employee or visitor who has interacted with others on one of our campuses/sites. This will include email, the Oregon Tech website, and social media. Although unlikely, if there is a campus closure in Klamath Falls or at the Portland-Metro campus in Wilsonville, Oregon Tech will use its alert system to notify students and the campus community by text, email and phone (go to Campus Alerts sign up to make sure all of your contact information is in the system).

What happens if Oregon Tech closes? Will I still get paid?

In the event that we did have a closure, how employees would get paid would depend on their job classification and whether they are able to perform work remotely during a closure (similar to an inclement weather closure). If we have a closure, we will provide detailed information at that time based on employee status (such as classified, unclassified and faculty and any existing union contract provisions)—to assure that our response takes into consideration the specific situation at hand.

How is Oregon Tech staying apprised of the most up to date information on COVID-19?

The university takes health and safety of all its community members as highest priority, and is planning for a variety of contingencies in the event of a virus case on any of our campuses/teaching sites. University administration receives updates from the Higher Education Coordination Commission (HECC) and the Oregon Health Authority. The university’s Director of the Integrated Student Health Center (ISHC) is in regular contact with Klamath County Public Health and participates in a weekly meetings facilitated by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) regarding COVID-19, and provides daily updates to the administration.

Oregon Tech employees are encouraged to watch their emails for periodic updates and to regularly check back on the COVID-19 website (www.oit.edu/coronavirus), which is regularly being updated and expanded with new information.

What about personal travel (e.g., spring break)?

If an employee is on an approved vacation, Oregon Tech cannot restrict an employee’s travel. We would ask that you exercise reasonable care, since your health and well-being is important to us. If you develop any signs of illness, contact your supervisor and use sick time until you are well enough to return to work without getting others ill (this applies to any potentially contagious illness, not just coronavirus).

The university strongly recommends that students, staff and faculty limit travel, particularly international travel or to areas of the United States that have higher infection rates. If you have been to areas with high infection rates, have reason to believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19, or have cold or flu like symptoms, practice increased personal hygiene and social distancing techniques as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you do travel and become ill, please delay your return to campus until you do not have a fever or other symptoms for 24 hours.

Do student workers earn sick leave?

Yes. Student workers (excluding work study positions) accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrued sick leave is available for student workers to us use on 91st calendar day after beginning work on campus. The maximum hours that can be earned and used per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) is 40 hours. The maximum balance of accrued sick leave that a student worker can have is 80 hours (i.e., it is a cap and additional hours will not accrue beyond the 80 hours). Unused accrued sick leave hours will roll over up to a maximum of 40 hours to the following fiscal year.

To find out how many accrued sick leave hours a student worker has earned, students can log into Web for Students, go to the Employee Menu, and pick Leave Balances.

Does Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) leave apply for employees or immediate family members who may contract coronavirus?

Possibly. The treating medical provider(s) would have to conclude that the employee or immediate family member’s experience with coronavirus qualified as a "serious health condition" (it may for some individuals and it may not for others). If you needed guidance on your particular situation, simply reach out to Sarah Henderson (e: Sarah.Henderson@oit.edu, p: 541.885.1028), the Benefits Consultant in Human Resources who is the primary contact for matters relating to benefits, leave, and workers’ compensation. There is also general information about family and medical leaves available on the Office of Human Resources webpage.

If an employee contracted the coronavirus at work, would that be a workplace injury and subject to workers’ compensation?

Since these benefits are administered by the state, we cannot provide a definitive answer. The best answer right now is: maybe, if it is determined that the Oregon Tech employee contracted the disease in the course and scope of their employment. As with any workplace illness or injury or suspected illness or injury, we want the impacted employee to file a workers’ compensation claim just to be sure. This would be done pursuant to the existing process. Details on filing a claim be found here:  https://www.oit.edu/faculty-staff/human-resources/benefits/workers'-compensation, or contact Sarah Henderson (e: Sarah.Henderson@oit.edu, p: 541.885.1028), the Benefits Consultant in Human Resources who is the primary contact for matters relating to benefits, leave, and workers’ compensation.

If an employee contracted the coronavirus, would they be eligible for short- or long-term disability?

We cannot provide a definitive answer, as our short-term and long-term disability plans are administered by The Standard. If you are enrolled in short-term disability and you have any non-work related illness lasting longer than five (5) business days it would be worthwhile to file. To file a claim call 1‐800‐842‐1707. Our policy number is 442210-D. Long-term disability likely would not apply, as it would require, depending on enrollment and illness lasting greater than 90 or 180 days before coverage would start.

Has the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided guidance on how to handle coronavirus?

Yes. OSHA has issued a fact sheet regarding protecting workers in the case of a global health emergency. Employers should train employees on the following:

  • Differences between seasonal epidemics and worldwide pandemic disease outbreaks.
  • Which job activities may put them at risk for exposure to sources of infection.
  • What options may be available for working remotely, or how to utilize an employer's flexible leave policy when employees are sick.
  • Social distancing strategies, including avoiding close physical contact (e.g., shaking hands) and large gatherings of people.
  • Good hygiene and appropriate disinfection procedures.
  • What personal protective equipment is available, and how to wear, use, clean and store it properly.
  • What medical services (e.g., post-exposure medication) may be available to them.
  • How supervisors will provide updated pandemic-related communications, and where employees should direct their questions.

Has the Oregon Heath Authority posted information about coronavirus? What about Washington State?

Yes, and you can sign up for email updates. The website is frequently updates with the most current information relevant to Oregon: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Pages/emerging-respiratory-infections.aspx..

For Klamath Falls employees, find county information at: https://www.klamathcounty.org/1041/2019-Coronavirus

For Portland-Metro and Salem employees, the surrounding counties all offer websites with information about the Coronavirus:

For members of the Oregon Tech family in Washington:

Has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC) provided any guidance on how coronavirus interacts with federal disability laws?

Yes. The EEOC has some information available on its website.

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The Integrated Student Health Center on the Klamath Falls campus will continue to offer both medical and mental health support services through Spring Break, the extension week, and into the Spring Term. They are able to offer in-person, telephone and video conference counseling to students. Medical appointments will continue to be in-person. The ISHC in coordination with Klamath County Public Health is following the guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority to screen students who call to schedule a medical appointment. Call ISHC at 541-885-1800 to schedule either type of appointment.

Counseling Services will be available to Portland-Metro students over Spring Break (including the extension week) via telephone and video conference. Appointments can be made by calling 503-821-1313.

Students: If you are on the Klamath Falls campus and begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever), or would like to speak with a counselor, call ISHC at 541-885-1800. If you are a student on the Portland-Metro campus or on another site and begin to feel ill, please call your healthcare provider.

Faculty/Staff: If you begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever), please call your healthcare provider. 

Upcoming Webinars

Working from Home - Things You Need to Know

Thursday, March 26th at 11am PDT

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many employees are finding themselves working from home for extended periods of time. Whether this is new for you, or something you do all the time, it’s important to be aware of how to prevent the risks that could lead to problems later on down the road. We’ll share some tips on how to properly set up your own personal remote workstation, how to stay connected with your team, and how to stay sane!

Register Here

On-Demand Webinars

A recording of webinars are posted on YouTube following the live broadcast.

COVID-19 Outbreak: Providing Leadership During Uncertain Times

Maintaining Emotional Well-being During COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID 19 - Managing Stress and Anxiety During Uncertain Times

COVID-19 Q&A with Department of Homeland Security’s Captain Ignacio


Integrated Student Health Center