Faculty/Staff COVID-19 FAQ

Information regarding frequently asked questions for faculty & staff can be found below. This list will continue to be supplemented and modified.

Saginaw Valley State University is closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Learn more about SVSU's response here. 

General Questions

In light of Governor Whitmer’s executive order to “stay home, stay safe” through Monday, April 13, we are moving forward with plans to further reduce the number of staff reporting to campus, while maintaining University operations.

Many faculty and staff have been in a “work from home” environment since March 18, 2020, and that will continue for them. Some individuals who had been reporting to campus now also will transition to work from home. All supervisors and staff should communicate with one another regarding expectations and accountability for assignments during this public health emergency.

Employees who are working remotely must continue to adhere to all University policies, practices, and procedures in the remote environment, including confidentiality, etc.


If you are sick, stay home from work. We ask supervisors to accommodate student workers and employees who stay home while sick. 

If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare professional.

Your healthcare professional will work with your county and the State of Michigan's public health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.


If you cannot come to work due to self-isolation based on a public health department directive, the advice of your doctor, or guidance from human resources (but not showing signs of illness): We encourage you to work remotely if possible.  If remote work is not possible based on your role, you may be eligible for continued wage payments based upon your pay and workgroup status. Your supervisor can provide additional information. 


Yes, faculty and staff will be sent home if they are exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus which include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Pay for this time will be consistent with salary continuation, sick leave or unpaid leave policies. 


No, it is important to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of an employee's information. Local health authorities will be responsible for any investigation to assess the potential risk of exposure associated with a suspected case of COVID-19 and will contact those who may have been exposed.


Yes. Departments will be expected to maintain their existing departmental absence policies. Faculty and staff will continue to be responsible for complying with the established or alternatively agreed-upon work schedule and existing absence reporting policies, regardless of whether work is performed on-site or at home.

To be considered an authorized absence, the employee must follow call-in procedures for use of sick time or the time off must be approved by the supervisor in advance for use of vacation time. 

When an employee has established a remote work arrangement with the approval of their supervisor, the employee will be expected to be available to receive emails, telephone calls, and other assignments even if they do not have regular work assignments

 


Yes, supervisors may ask employees the reason for their absence. A supervisor may ask an employee if they are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms, but the supervisor must treat all information about employee health as confidential. 


Yes. Safety guidelines are being followed to allow faculty and staff to continue to work and maintain the functions of the University.


Consistent with existing policies a supervisor may deny a request for a vacation in order to meet operational needs and employees may be requested to adjust vacation plans based on operational demands. Compliance with CDC and other travel guides is highly recommended as employees may be required to comply with return to work requirements and restrictions. 


We know that the growing number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in our state combined with the K-12 school closings through April 5 will cause many faculty and staff added strain in the coming days and weeks. We want to be flexible and accommodating during this situation as we maintain university operations. 

For the safety of your child as well as your co-workers, do not bring a child to work. Employees should work with their supervisor to determine if appropriate work from home arrangements can be established. Employees working remotely are responsible for the timely completion of work responsibilities. For those who cannot work from home and other work place flexibility options (i.e., adjusted work schedules) cannot be established, you should discuss time off options with your supervisor.


Employees with household members who are experiencing these symptoms should also stay home and report the absence and the reason for it to their supervisor. 


All members of the household should self-monitor for symptoms and practice social distancing to the extent possible, such as using different bathrooms, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces and avoiding close contact.  However, until someone in the household tests positive for COVID-19, household members are at no identifiable risk under CDC guidelines and employees can continue their established work routine. 


An important component of each department’s disease outbreak planning is operational preparedness to identify its critical functions and the personnel required to carry them out. The Controller and other administrative offices have conducted disease outbreak planning, including processing payroll in a timely manner. 

Most employees are on direct deposit and therefore should not be impacted by whether payroll is processed on or off-campus. Although plans have been tested and put in place, our ability to distribute paper checks is still an unknown. The University is encouraging all employees that currently receive a paper check to sign up for direct deposit as soon as possible, to eliminate the possibility of a delay in receiving their pay in the event of a complete University shutdown. This can be accomplished by visiting the payroll department to complete an enrollment form or through my.svsu.edu, under 'Applications', 'Self-Service', 'Banking Information'. 

All plans are in place to process payroll as a crucial priority, but in the unlikely event this is not possible, communications will be issued via appropriate websites and emails providing relevant information.


Some departments require additional workforce support to complete essential functions, provide services and answer questions during this unprecedented time. Supervisors are encouraged to communicate with division leaders about redeploying talent and work capacity to areas of increased need.


Benefit Related Questions

Yes, through your Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage you can consult a physician through Blue Cross Online Visits. Visit bcbsmonlinevisits.com for more information.

 **Note the cost of medically-necessary COVID-19 tests for members, including out-of-state members, will have copays and deductibles waived through their Blue Cross/Blue Shield and MESSA coverages.


Please visit the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan COVID-19 information site for resources available through your Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits. 

https://www.bcbsm.com/content/public/en/index/common/important-information/covid-19.html

 


It is very unlikely that this virus will cause such a long-term illness. To be eligible for LTD, you must meet the definition of a disability, as defined by the University’s long-term disability insurance carrier, for a minimum of 90 days, which varies by the workgroup. 


Workers’ compensation is a system established by state law that provides wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Because it is extremely difficult to trace the origin of a communicable disease, an illness such as COVID-19 is usually not a covered illness.


SVSU provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help benefit-eligible employees and their family when they need it most. Offering referral services for life challenges such as stress, depression, addiction, childcare, eldercare and more. The EAP provides confidential, short-term counseling at no cost to the employee. For assistance, call 1-800-854-1446 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). You can also access their website at www.unum.com/lifebalance.  

In addition to the EAP services offered, employees who are actively enrolled in one of SVSU’s medical plans can also access telemedicine behavioral health care through Blue Cross Online Visits bcbsmonlinevisits.com

For additional resources, please visit https://my.svsu.edu/FacStaffInfo/HR/Benefits/Pages/default.aspx 

If you have any questions, you may contact the Benefits Manager at hr@svsu.edu.  

 

Outside Resources – Not Provided by SVSU

Crisis Response and Resources: New Directions is offering emotional support and resources to anyone that is affected by the Coronavirus through their Crisis Response Line 833-848-1764 and website https://www.ndbh.com/CrisisResources

Coronavirus - Coping Tips and Crisis Line (143KB)

2-1-1: Call 2-1-1 from any phone to be connected to a list of statewide resources for everything from food and diapers to rental assistance and bus fare. You can also search their online database. 

AT&T: will offer free internet access to new customers for two months and low-income households can continue to subscribe for $10/month. All public WiFi hotspots are open to anyone. AT&T will not terminate service of any customer due to an inability to pay and all late payment fees will be waived.  

Comcast and Charter Communications: will offer free internet access to low-income families. Internet and cable will not be suspended.

Feeding America: has a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. They help food banks across the country support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. You can donate here or find your local food bank here. 

Meals on Wheels: Delivers nutritious meals to vulnerable seniors. You can contact your local provider or donate to the national group here. 

Michigan Treasury Collections Service Center: Assistance may be available for those who have been laid off due to COVID-19 regarding past due state taxes or other state debts call 517-636-5265 or visit www.michigan.gov/taxes 

United Way of Saginaw County: Has a lot of useful information for those affected by COVID-19 here https://www.unitedwaysaginaw.org/get-help 

 *Please contact the United Way in your county for services in your area


Flex Spending Dependent Care:

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is allowing updates to existing Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. If you have a change in dependent/childcare provider or cost of coverage, you may update your flex spending election. Updates must be made consistent with the change reason. Example, if a daycare provider stopped services due to COVID-19, the election can be reduced or eliminated.

 

Flex Spending Health Care:

The CARES Act for Flex Spending Health Care has now considered over-the-counter drugs & medicines, along with menstrual care products to be qualified medical expenses. These products are eligible for payment or reimbursement through an FSA. All expenses incurred after December 31, 2019 qualify. In addition, employees who have a carry-over balance in their 2019 Flexible Spending account, will have 120 days after March 31, 2020 to file for reimbursement of any unused funds from 2019. Unfortunately, having more or fewer medical expenses does not allow you to make changes to your Flex Spending election amount, only life events qualify.


Student Employment Questions

In light of Governor Whitmer’s executive order to “stay home, stay safe” through Monday, April 13, we are moving forward with plans to further reduce the number of staff reporting to campus, while maintaining University operations.

We strongly student employees who can work from home to do so, in consultation with their supervisor(s).  Student employees who are working remotely must continue to adhere to all University policies, practices, and procedures in the remote environment, including confidentiality, etc. 


Domestic students are temporarily allowed to work up to a maximum of 25 hours per week.

International student VISA’s prevent international students from working over 20 hours per week.  


Please contact Career Services with the student name, ID number and a short description of their job responsibilities. An attempt will be made to temporarily reassign these employees.


CONTACT US.


Office of Human Resources
Wickes 373
hr@svsu.edu
Phone: (989) 964-4108 / Fax: (989) 964-7066

Employment & Hiring
Wickes 373
hremployment@svsu.edu
(989) 964-4108 / Fax: (989) 964-7066

Health & Wellness
Wickes 373
wellness@svsu.edu
(989) 964-2743