Dec. 2, 2020
Dear faculty and staff,
With case counts spiking locally and around the state nearly 10 months into the pandemic, now is a good time to share reminders about COVID-19 requirements and policies as well as highlight best practices.
Telecommuting and leave policies
The University continues to encourage telecommuting in the wake of COVID-19. Employees who can perform their job responsibilities remotely and remain productive and effective may continue to do so with prior approval from their supervisor and department head. It is imperative that offices continue to provide services. If you require some flexibility, speak with your supervisor to develop a plan that achieves work goals and meets your needs. The requirements and continuity of university operations may not allow for telecommuting in certain instances.
Paid leave of absence (time-off) may be available. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), known as FMLA+ on our campus as offered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), are available for eligible employees until December 31, 2020. Beyond 2020 or if the employee has exhausted EPSL, employees are encouraged to use First Day Illness and Major Medical Leave, as needed. Employees should not report to work if they feel ill or show any possible signs of COVID-19.
For more information, visit the HR site on Leave Programs & Work Arrangements Due to COVID-19.
What to do after taking a COVID-19 test
These helpful flow charts are a good resource that offer options for what to do based on why you took a COVID-19 test and the results of the test. The flow charts outline next steps if you have taken:
- a PCR COVID test because you have symptoms,
- a PCR COVID test because you had close contact with someone who has COVID,
- a PCR COVID test as surveillance testing, or
- a rapid (Antigen) COVID test
Reporting positive tests
Employees must report COVID-19 positive tests to their supervisor and to Employee Health (662-915-6550).
- The anonymity and confidentiality of persons with COVID-19 will be protected during this process.
- University Health Services will collaborate with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) for contact tracing and to determine additional precautions that may be warranted.
Isolation and quarantine orders
If you tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact, please be aware of the following MSDH orders:
- COVID-19 Isolation Order stating that persons infected with COVID-19 must remain in the home or other appropriate residential location for 10 days from onset of illness (or 10 days from the date of a positive test for those who are asymptomatic).
- COVID-19 Quarantine Order requiring a 14-day quarantine period from last exposure for all household contacts to a person with COVID-19.
Return to work authorization
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need clearance from your healthcare provider to return to work. For additional guidance, please visit this CDC resource.
Be sure to read the recent blog we shared about how the protocols are working for employees working on campus. And while the holidays typically present plenty of opportunities for people to celebrate with coworkers, the COVID-19 pandemic is complicating things this year. Please read this article from UM experts who share tips for modifying gatherings and events – including celebrating virtually as much as possible – to reduce the spread of the virus to keep friends and communities healthy and safe.
Continue to stay safe,
Andrea M. Jekabsons
Interim Chief Human Resources Officer