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Funding Guidelines for Costs Related to COVID-19

Notice: Please read Important Financial Guidance for University Leaders in response to COVID-19. Additional Q&As are available below.

As requirements related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response continue to evolve, questions have been raised related to handling the potential unanticipated costs of taking action. As a result, three areas of guidance have been developed for broad communication:


Tracking Costs Related to COVID-19

Costs related to COVID-19 must include the word COVID in the description field on PO and Non-PO Vouchers. This description should only be added on transactions where the activities are specifically tied to COVID-19. T&E transactions for travel or OneCard activities relating to COVID-19 must use the “COVID Cancellation” expense type.

The types of costs recorded will vary by department. Examples are anticipated to include: additional staffing or supplies, cancellation fees, student and other refunds, maintenance of labs/facilities, etc. Costs could be related to travel, attending/hosting a conference, reduced operations, evacuation, facilities management, program cancellations, etc. Payroll expenses and new leave codes should be used, as appropriate, in accordance with guidelines issued by HR. Please see HR-700 Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19.

Departments should continue to use all other Chart of Account values (Fund, DeptID, Program or Project, Account, etc.) as applicable to identify the respective chart string for the activity.

For specific information related to travel cancellations, refer to the Travel Refund Guidance FAQ.


Revenue Losses

It is likely that some departments will experience a revenue loss, specifically associated with cancellation of or reductions in activities and services. It is encouraged for all losses to be recorded in PeopleSoft utilizing “COVID” in the description field for all units to document these losses, including auxiliary operations. For student refunds, a separate item type must be set up to identify lost revenues related to student system activities.


COVID-19 Reporting

The University will report the overall impact of these expenses and any revenue losses by type and business unit to the campus and hospital finance offices each month.


Q&As

Posted March 27, 2020

What do we mean by “restrict hiring?” Does that mean a hiring freeze?
No, that term is not accurate. Hiring is restricted and rare exceptions will need to be approved at the highest levels of leadership. We will continually assess the situation. All positions must be approved by the appropriate administrator.

Does these restrictions include ALL positions, including high-level administration positions?
Yes. We will be reviewing every position to ensure that it is vital to meet our needs as they are right now. We will approve positions as necessary. We understand that all positions needing to be filled are important. However, many of these were posted before in-person classes were suspended and before we asked everyone to work at home. Therefore, we want to ensure that any new hires will be able to meet the university’s needs in the current environment.

How does this affect student employees or hiring students?
Students who have work-study funds can be hired. Other positions should be evaluated carefully. We know that students rely on many of these positions. However, we also must remain mindful of our fiscal resources and how they might be impacted in the future.

What if I have already offered someone a job but they haven’t started yet?
If possible, please consider delaying the start date. Those already with offers will be decided by leadership on a case-by-case basis. If you have not made a job offer, you should wait to extend an offer until the position is properly reviewed/approved.

How long is this in effect for?
Right now, we expect to be in this status for 60 days. We will continue to keep the campus up to date with any changes to that timeline.

What do you mean by supporting activities that grow revenue for the university? Why did you shut down research as that is a significant source of revenue for the university?
Due to the restrictions put in place by the nation and the county stay-at-home orders (Boone, Jackson, St. Louis), it was prudent for us to stop many research projects. We do understand that some research is continuing, and we are encouraging any research related to the current health crisis to continue if it can be done in a safe manner. We have to work on balancing personal safety with our mission to serve the state and help Missouri citizens, especially in times of crisis.

Why are we doing this now? Shouldn’t we have been planning for a larger financial problem several months ago?
We regularly plan for crises that could affect the campus, but this current health crisis only came to our attention in the last several weeks and has continually changed each day, affecting the country in ways that no one could have predicted. We are fortunate that the university has so many dedicated faculty and staff, and we are grateful to each and every person who has helped maintain our missions in spite of all the disruptions. We expect to come out of the health crisis stronger and more vibrant than before.

Is the NextGen project still on task? Will this financial hit have an impact on that?
Yes, the construction project remains on time. However, we are planning in case we have to halt the work due to the health crisis. We are also reviewing the impact of COVID-19 to our finances and how it could affect our overall financial health. Currently, we expect to finish the building as planned. We remain grateful to our donors and the state and federal governments for their support of this facility.

Am I still able to spend money from my research grant?
Yes, this action is aimed at saving money from our operations budget. Money that comes from grants for research can continue to be used as necessary.

Can you provide more details about what you mean when you want us to limit contracts, leases or purchase orders?
Information can be found on the website that was provided in the email chancellors sent to campus.

Reviewed 2020-03-27