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FAQs for Managers

Updated on April 22, 2020


I have employees impacted by the K-12 closure. How should I handle this?

Please work with your employees to determine what type of temporary modified work schedule can assure their employee’s children get the child care they need with the least amount of disruption to your team. Consider a modified work schedule (like a flexible schedule, working from home, making up hours over the weekend, etc.). This could be a very stressful situation for your employee. We ask that you be as flexible as you can. If you have a situation where you cannot find or come up with a workable agreement, consult with your supervisor or contact OHR. We can talk through the situation with you and, if needed, also meet with the employee. This topic was covered in greater detail in a March 13 email from Maureen De Armond (e: Maureen.DeArmond@oit.edu, p: 541-885-1108) in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). If you have additional questions, please contact Maureen or discuss with your supervisor.

I have employees who can easily work from home. Should I send them home right away?

Start by having a conversation with each of your employees to assure they understand your work expectations while they work remotely. Employees should be available by phone or email and be prepared to come to campus, if needed. You may have some employees who can work from home the majority of the time, but perhaps you still want them at work in a limited capacity. Be clear that you have the authority to revisit or revise any modified work schedule, as needed. We are working on updating the Telecommuting Agreement, but you can use the existing form for now. Please try to meet with your employees about the possibility of remote work as soon as possible. Track the agreements you make with your team, so you can maintain a global view of the arrangements you have made.

I have been reading guidance from health officials about social distancing practices. I have employees who share work space or closely interact with others during the workday. For employees who need to be on campus, how can I assure they can do their work while also following health official guidance?

There are several pieces in motion right now to make that easier. First, you should be determining which of your employees can work remotely and send as many of them home as possible. 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. If you have such a situation, consider options to spread out employees who need to be on campus (e.g., temporarily reassigning them to another person’s office who is now working remotely). 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.

I have an employee who I think has an underlying health condition and I think they may be at a greater risk of getting sick (i.e., I think they have a compromised immune system). What should I do with them?

First, we cannot presume to know an employee’s health condition or how it may be impacted by COVID-19, nor can we “regard them as disabled.” This would be considered discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, we also want to be sure our employees are safe. Here’s how we propose balancing these needs:

If the employee you are concerned about has a job that can be done remotely, work with your employee to make remote work arrangements. In other words, if you have employees who can perform their jobs from home, the institution’s new guidance should address the exposure concern without asking about an employee’s health condition. This should address your concerns without having to get into any medical details or discussions.

If your employee is required to be on campus to perform their work, treat them the same as your other employees. Again, we cannot make presumptions about health conditions. However, any employee who shares that they have a health condition should be directed to contact Sarah Henderson in the Office of Human Resources (e: sarah.henderson@oit.edu; p: 541.885.1028) right away. Sarah can facilitate an abbreviated disability accommodation process (if the employee can safely still perform some of their job) or medical leave analysis (if the health condition warrants leave) to assure that the employee’s medical needs are met in an appropriate way.

Some of my employees seem anxious about the current situation. What resources do we have to help them through this crisis?

We understand that some people may be feeling more stress and anxiety about COVID-19. This is normal and likely quite common at the moment. First, be kind, flexible and understanding. Everyone deals with stress differently (and even this may vary from day to day). Give your employees room to be human. We need to be extra compassionate right now, especially as leaders.

Remember that Oregon Tech has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Cascade Centers, which is a free and confidential resource for employees. EAP provides 24/7 counseling and other support resources.

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.

(Note: As a manager, you should already be familiar with EAP. If you are not, please visit the page linked above and contact HR. We would be happy to share details about this free resource with your team. We also have EAP business cards with key information displayed. You can come by OHR to pick up cards, if you would like to have them on hand to provide to employees.)

What can I be doing now to prepare in case there is a temporary university closure?

It is the University’s hope to not close as we focus on both slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and ensuring the continued academic progress of our students. However, as a manager, you should be determining which of your employees you would consider essential in case of a temporary closure. You should also be assessing on-going projects and your team’s job duties to determine whether there are projects that can be put on a temporary hold or regular job duties that may also be temporarily halted to assure that the essential functions of your team are still performed.

Can I allow my employees to work from home?

Yes! In fact, the University is now encouraging employees who can perform their jobs from home to do so. This will depend in part on the employee’s job duties and ability to effectively perform their job remotely. Some positions can be performed from home, others cannot. Your responsibility as a manager is to assure that the university’s work gets done. If you believe an employee can perform work at an acceptable level remotely the university encourages you to approve remote work.

As a manager, you retain the right to direct the employee back to work, if a telecommuting arrangement is not working out. Any classified staff who have job duties suitable for remote work must be reminded to record their time and take breaks/lunch consistent with their regular work schedule. Note: Oregon Tech will be working on a Telecommute/Remote Work Policy. In the meantime, you can use the existing Telecommuting Agreement if you think you have employees who are suitable for working from home in the immediate future and have questions, contact OHR with any questions you may have.

What key reminders should I be giving to employees who will be working from home? How often should I be checking in with them?

If you have all or some of your employees working remotely, consider setting up a quick team update in the morning. This could be done by Skype or phone. Starting the day at the regular start time together helps maintain the team culture and assures major projects, tasks, and “to-do’s” remain top of mind for everyone.

For employees now working from home, be sure to address expectations for the work schedule they need to keep; being responsive to calls, emails, and texts; attending meetings—live or virtually; recording time; requesting vacation for when they are not working.

One of the key reminders supervisors should be giving employees is to not hesitate to ask questions or seek guidance. The next few weeks will be an adjustment for literally everyone on this campus—including your team and including you. Talk through issues, make sure you have mutual understandings of work expectations, and be patient as we all try to manage through this situation.

If there was a temporary closure, how would employees get paid?

Pay practices vary on employee classification. Typically, for a temporary closure, faculty and unclassified staff would continue to get paid at their regular rate. Classified staff would be paid per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). For any closure period where pay is not warranted or permitted, staff would typically be able to use vacation time or sick leave to assure no reduction in take-home pay. However, the exact nature and duration of a closure could result in a different response from Oregon Tech or state officials.

(Note: As a manager, when you onboard new staff it is a good idea to suggest employees build up a bank of accrued leave time for situations like this—as well as personal/family emergencies, inclement weather, and normal cold and flu season.)

What should I do if an employee says they don’t want to come to work because they are afraid they may get sick (i.e., they are not ill and just want to keep it that way)?

We understand that some people may be feeling more stress and anxiety about COVID-19. However, absent a university closure, employees who are not sick are expected to come to work. At the same time, employees who are particularly anxious may benefit from some additional support. Remember that Oregon Tech has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Cascade Centers, which is a free and confidential resource for employees. EAP provides 24/7 counseling and other support resources.

(Note: As a manager, you should already be familiar with EAP. If you are not, please visit the page linked above and contact HR. We would be happy to share details about this free resource with your team. We also have EAP business cards with key information displayed. You can come by OHR to pick up cards, if you would like to have them on hand to provide to employees.)

My team is asking me a lot of questions. I don’t always have the answers. How can I respond and guide them?

First, respond with empathy and understanding. This is a quickly changing situation and everyone responds to change and stress in different ways. As a leader, you should be the voice of calm and reason. Right now, encouraging employees to read all messages sent out by the university and frequently visiting www.oit.edu/coronavirus will keep them up-to-date on university guidance and decisions. Refocusing employees on the work at hand may also be a helpful approach. We still have work to do. If you are not current on all of the projects your team members are working on, consider short 1:1 meetings with each employee to get a quick assessment, which may help with planning. During such sessions, you can also encourage employees to contact EAP if they think they would benefit from talking through how the current situation may be impacting them.

If you don’t know where to start with a tough question, contact your manager and/or OHR. As is always the case, to gain and retain trust with your employees, you must get back to your employees with answers to their questions. Being sure that all of your team is getting the same information is critical during uncertain times. If employees feel like some team members are being better informed than others, this can undermine trust and confidence in leadership. Email can be a great way to assure everyone gets the same information at the same time.

If I have student workers, can I ask them to pitch in and help regularly clean our work area?

Not if cleaning is not already part of their student position. Anyone performing cleaning duties needs to attend bloodborne pathogen training. Additionally, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn. Asking student workers to “pitch in” when they are not properly trained or properly equipped with PPE is not appropriate. If you have employees (student or regular) who need bloodborne pathogen training or you have questions about what PPE is necessary for specific cleaning tasks, contact Sherry Himelwright (e: Sherry.Himelwright@oit.edu p:541-885-1556). If you believe your work area is not being properly or regularly cleaned, speak with your manager. Our custodial staff is working extremely hard right now to regularly clean common areas and surfaces most likely to carry cold and flu viruses.

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.

If I have job openings on my team right now, should I be moving forward with postings? What about interviews?

Since the recruitment process takes time, we presently recommend you proceed with posting jobs as normal. We can easily extend application periods, if it looks like there is a temporary decline in applicants. For any on-going searches, there is no reason to not proceed with scheduling phone or video interviews (though we should allow for greater scheduling flexibility with candidates who may be in areas experiencing a greater impact due to COVID-19). Prior to scheduling any on-campus interviews, check with OHR. Most candidates would be understanding (if not grateful) if we slightly delayed holding any on-campus interviews.

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Klamath Falls: The Integrated Student Health Center on the Klamath Falls campus will continue to offer both medical and mental health support services during Fall Term. Counseling sessions will be available via in-person, telephone and video conference. Medical appointments will continue to be in-person and via telehealth (as appropriate). Call ISHC at 541-885-1800 to schedule.

Portland-Metro: Counseling Services will be available to Portland-Metro students via in-person, telephone, and video conferencing in the Fall term. Appointments can be made by calling 503-821-1313.

All Students: If you are on the Klamath Falls campus and begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever) 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 do not come to campus and call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Regardless of campus, if you experience any of the following, contact ISHC at 541-885-1800:

  • Receive a positive result on a COVID-19 test
  • Been within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes of someone confirmed with COVID-19
  • Are contacted within the course of a public health contact tracing investigation

Faculty& Staff If you begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever), please do not come to campus and call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Regardless of campus, if you experience any of the following, contact ISHC at 541-885-1800:

  • Receive a positive result on a COVID-19 test
  • Been within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes of someone confirmed with COVID-19
  • Are contacted within the course of a public health contact tracing investigation

COVID-19 Testing Locations

Contact

Integrated Student Health Center

 541.885.1866
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