FAQs for Employees

Last updated August 12, 2020.

As COVID-19 continues to have a presence in all of our communities, a new requirement for wearing a face covering is now in place. Please see the Face Covering Requirement for more information.

If you are in need of a face covering, the Information Desk in the College Union will have face coverings available for faculty and staff until the Oregon Tech branded face coverings arrive. The Information Desk is located on the lower level of the College Union near the fireplace. Their hours are Monday – Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The University plans to begin in-person fall classes on September 21, a week earlier than originally scheduled. Resumption of in-person teaching will be guided by Governor Brown’s staging plan for the state to reopen higher education institutions across Oregon; as well as guidance received from state health, education and other officials. Continue to check University email for communication regarding this plan or check the Re-Opening and Resumption Plan at www.oit.edu/coronavirus/resumption-plan.

First, don’t make just one. There are many patterns available online to make masks. Here are some good resources: the CDC offers guidance on making masks. Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Portland released a helpful guide on mask making. Joann Fabrics provides instructions and a pattern. See here and here and a video here. As a reminder, if you are going to wear a cloth mask in public, you should only wear it once per outing and then promptly wash it. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling a dirty mask.

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 leave options may work for your situation. See also this simplified summary of options “COVID Leave-at-a-Glance Guide” available under File Downloads on this page.

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).

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.

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. 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.

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.

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). 

  • Symptoms: individuals with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic but still contagious (i.e., there are not symptoms and thus the person may be unaware that they are infected and possibly unknowingly spreading the virus). For this reason, it is advisable that even if you don’t have any reason to think that you have been infected, to take precautions as if you do. People with COVID-19 who develop symptoms may experience: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and/or fatigue. 
  • Incubation: As common with other coronavirus strains, signs of illness usually show up 2–14 days after exposure.
  • Transmission: While the science isn’t yet definitive, it’s currently thought that the virus is primarily spread through droplets and contact. The CDC indicates that COVID-19 is primarily spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes of individuals who have the illness. Through these means, the virus can be transferred to surfaces as well as possibly aerosolized, (suspended in the air around the infected individual), where you may come into contact. It’s currently thought that the most common method of transmission is from touching your face with your hands after they have come in contact with the virus, where the virus then has an opportunity to enter your system via your mouth, nose or eyes.

  • Washing your hands frequently and cleaning often-touched surfaces with disinfectant will help to prevent both the spread of the virus as well as your chances of becoming infected.
  • Treatment: Treatment for patients with COVID-19 is currently supportive care only. There are currently no known disease-specific medications or vaccines.
  • Further information, as it becomes updated, can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Yes, you will need to get your COVID-19 test results (and the results will need to be negative) before returning to work. If your test was positive, the Public Health department will be in touch through the contact tracing investigation. They will provide you with a letter which gives you a specific date when you would be able to stop quarantining IF your symptoms have improved AND at least 24 hours have passed since your last fever without medication. You will not be allowed to return to work until those have occurred.

It depends. Currently, the State of Oregon does not have requirements for domestic travel for most employees (if you provide direct patient care, contact OHR. Special guidance may apply in those situations). There is a CDC requirement for 2 weeks of self-isolation for anyone coming back into the US after international travel.

If an employee travels domestically on vacation and maintains physical distancing of at least 6 ft, consistently wears face coverings, regularly washes their hands, and has no COVID-19 symptoms then they do not need to self-quarantine and may return to work right away.

If these preventative measures cannot be maintained, we can explore remote work (if that’s possible for your position) or you will need to work with OHR and your supervisor to come up with a return to work plan. For example, for employees who can work from home temporarily, that may be the best way to allow for 10-14 days to pass before coming to campus. For employees who cannot work remotely, additional vacation time may be used (if the leave was voluntary, such as for a vacation, we would not use sick leave). Employees may always consult with their medical provider and request a letter from their medical provider advising they return to work, or get a COVID-19 test and present negative test results.