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HR-700 Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19 Q&A

Please note: On June 1, 2021, President Choi rescinded three HR policies related to COVID-19: HR-700 Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19; HR-710 Payroll Reduction Measures for Administrative, Service and Support Employees; and HR-720 Policy on Salary Reductions for Faculty and Other Academic Appointees. While HR-700, 710 and 720 have been rescinded, some of the measures outlined in those policies may continue to occur based on existing authority.

We recognize that there may be times when employees require additional support that our current policies do not contemplate or accommodate. If you confront a particularly difficult circumstance, Human Resources is available to offer employment-related guidance and support.

Because the situation is rapidly evolving and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State change daily, members of the University community are encouraged to monitor the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites for the most up to date information.


General Questions

1. What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common throughout the world that can cause illness in both animals and people. This is a virus with symptoms similar to an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and may include but is not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Refer to the CDC for up-to-date list of symptoms at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

2. What is the difference between “isolation”, “social distancing”, and “quarantine”?
Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health orders.

Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, rideshare), and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others. If social distancing is recommended, presence in congregate settings or use of local public transportation should only occur with the approval of local or state health authorities.

Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

3. What should I do if I have been in contact with someone who returned from a Level 3 location prior to their self-quarantine?
Contact your healthcare provider to determine if precautions should be taken. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent contact and your symptoms (if any are present). Follow the advice of your healthcare professional and consult with human resources as needed.

4. What if I think I was exposed to the Coronavirus and am experiencing symptoms? (Updated 11/2020)
If you have reason to believe you were in close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, and are experiencing symptoms that cannot be explained by existing conditions (e.g. allergies), please contact your health care provider and follow any advice given. A close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (see CDC for detailed definition).

If you would like to call or video-chat with a doctor, virtual visits are available to those covered by a UM System health insurance plan.


Travel-related questions

5. When should employees avoid traveling?
Guidance about traveling for personal reasons may be found at CDC Travel Health Notices.

For information about university-sponsored travel, please visit 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates for information.

6. If an employee’s travel is delayed due to the virus, will the University pay for the additional travel costs (e.g., additional hotel, meals)?
It depends. There are several factors that may contribute to determining if travel costs will be approved per University policy. Examples include if the employee is traveling due to university-related or personal business, or if the employee will be working remotely during the delay, etc.

Please consult with your HR Business Partner/HR Consultant and Finance Officer to assess the situation.

7. My family is returning from a Level 3 location. Should I self-quarantine?
In some situations, it may be appropriate to stay home from the worksite for a period of time based on reliable information about potential virus exposure. If returning from work related travel, contact your HR Business partner for options related to paid leave and/or working from home. If returning from personal travel and you have to quarantine, the employee should work remotely to the extent feasible or use their accrued paid time off.

Please contact your local health authority or personal healthcare provider to determine if precautions should be taken.

8. What precautionary steps should I take when traveling?
Given the fluidity of the situation, supervisors and employees are encouraged to discuss in advance, and plan for, the possibility of telework for a period of time after returning from all travels.

Please refer to the CDC guidelines for up-to-date information.


COVID Leave and Pay Questions

(added 04/06/2020; revised 08/2020, 09/2020, 01/2021)
*FCCRA effective April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020

9. How many “15-days of administrative leave” can an employee have? Can an employee receive it multiple times? (Added 08/2020)
Administrative leave under HR-700 is not available after a total of 15 days leave has been exhausted. Ex: An employee is paid 10 days administrative leave in March, and 5 days in April. If the employee is quarantined later in the year, they are not eligible for additional administrative leave.

10. Are Graduate Assistants eligible for up to 15 days paid leave? (Added 08/2020)
For purposes of this policy graduate students, such as Graduate Research Assistants and Graduate Teaching Assistants, are eligible for up to 15 days paid leave per HR-700 section II.D.(Administrative Leave) due to the student employment status. They are not eligible for Academic leave identified in HR-700 section II.E. (Academic Appointments).


Benefits-related Questions

(effective 03/18/2020)

11. What resources does UnitedHealth Care (UHC) provide for COVID-19? (updated 08/2020)
UHC provides a number of resources including: a new online symptom checker, access to Telehealth and Virtual Visits, emotional support resources and more. For additional details employees enrolled in the university sponsored health plans can visit myuhc.com/covid and login to their account. You can also visit the CDC Coronavirus page.

12. Will I have an out-of-pocket expense if I receive testing for COVID-19? (updated 08/2020)
Out-of-pocket expenses include copays, coinsurance and deductibles. Effective 03/18/2020 the University is waiving out-of-pocket expenses COVID-19 testing and certain related services provided at approved locations in accordance with the CDC guidelines. These costs will be waived effective 03/18/2020 until the Department of Health and Human Services ends the Public Health Emergency Declaration, unless otherwise determined by the University of Missouri.

Testing and related services are items and services related to the furnishing or administration of the COVID-19 testing or to the evaluation of such individual for purposes of determining the need for the test at approved locations.

13. Where can I receive free COVID-19 testing? (updated 08/2020)
The University will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing at approved locations, which include either in-network or out-of-network in a health care provider’s office, an urgent care center, or emergency department. No prior authorization is required. Please be aware that you may receive a bill for non-covered costs.

14. Does the no-cost member share apply for care or treatment for COVID-19? (updated 08/2020)
No, care or treatment for COVID-19 will be covered in accordance with your health benefit plan. Copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will apply.

15. What is the difference between a virtual visit and a Telehealth visit?
A virtual visit connects you to a doctor from Amwell, Doctor on Demand or Teledoc, whereas Telehealth is an electronic visit with your regular established physician (PCP) or Specialist provider. Please note, not all providers offer Telehealth visits.

16. What will be my cost share for care and treatment, including for COVID-19, if I receive treatment through a virtual visit? (updated 04/2021)
Services received through a virtual visit related to COVID-19 will be available at no-cost member share through the national public health emergency period ending July 19, 2021. A copay will be required upfront and will be reimbursed by the virtual visit provider through the original payment method once the COVID-19 coded claim has been processed. After the national public emergency period ends, applicable copays, coinsurance and deductibles will apply.

17. What will my cost be for a Telehealth visit for services other than for testing of COVID-19?
Copays, coinsurance and deductibles will apply for visits that are not for COVID-19 testing or certain related services.

18. Are virtual visits available for behavioral health?
Yes, copay, coinsurance and deductibles will still apply to these visits. To learn more, visit the behavioral health webpage.

19. Will my University medical insurance or prescription benefit cover the COVID-19 vaccine? (added 01/2021)
Yes. Members will have a $0 cost (no copay, coinsurance, or deductible) including when two doses are required for FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines. This $0 cost will apply to the University self-funded plans at both in-network and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period, and network pharmacies.

20. How will employees and their dependents know if they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and where can they get it? (added 01/2021)
The CDC will review and approve who should get the vaccine first. Employees can go to www.vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine to locate vaccine providers. Employees can also contact their primary care physician or health care professional to discuss the vaccine with regard to their specific health conditions.


Return to the Workplace

(added 05/13/2020)

21. What if an employee is unable to return to on-site work?
Employees who are directed to return to work on-site work who are unable to do so may be eligible for leave, alternative work arrangements, or enhanced precautionary measures in accordance with HR-700 (FFCRA leave expired December 31, 2020):

  • Employees who are caring for an immediate family member whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19 may be eligible for enhanced University leave in accordance with HR-700.
  • Employees who are subject to a quarantine or isolation order or have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, or who are caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, may be eligible for enhanced University leave in accordance with HR-700.
  • Employees who have been exposed or are reasonably believed to have been exposed to the coronavirus causing COVID-19, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have a diagnosis of COVID-19, may be eligible for enhanced University leave in accordance with HR-700.
  • Employees who may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should contact human resources to discuss possible reasonable accommodations in accordance with HR-700.

22. What if an employee discloses that they are at increased risk for COVID-19?
Employees directed to return to work on site, who may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, should notify their supervisor and their university’s human resources office to request a reasonable accommodation.

23. Where are face coverings required and not required?
A cloth mask or other appropriate face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required when social distancing is not feasible.

Examples of where masks or coverings are required include:

  • Classrooms
  • Hallways, stairwells, and elevators
  • Common areas
  • Offices if closer than 6 feet to other employees

Examples of where masks or coverings may not be required include the following (consult with your campus policies, as they may require masks in these or additional circumstances):

  • Private offices when working alone
  • Meeting room space when working alone or able to maintain 6 feet or more physical distance from others
  • Dining facilities or lunch rooms when consuming food or beverages if social distancing is not possible
  • Outdoors when unable to maintain 6 feet or more physical distance from others

24. May employees be required to wear personal protective equipment (e.g., medical-grade mask, gloves, or gowns)? (Updated 08/2020)
Employees in a medical setting may be required to wear personal protective equipment (“PPE”) during a pandemic. All other employees may be required to wear face coverings on campus. Employees should refer to their campus guidelines for further details.

Employees who are directed to wear PPE or other face coverings, and who need disability-related accommodations should contact their human resources office.

25. May employees be directed to submit to a medical screening to determine whether they have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19? (Updated 08/2020)
Yes. During a pandemic, employees may be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including measuring employees’ body temperature and asking whether they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, specific tools may be implemented to aid with screening for symptoms in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The University is not requiring medical screenings for all employees directed to return to work on site, but units may implement additional precautionary measures, including medical screenings, with approval of the President, Chancellor, or their designees. Units implementing medical screenings for employees working on site should contact their Human Resources Partner / Consultant for assistance with screening protocols to protect employee confidentiality and safety.

26. Are employees required to report their temperature to their supervisor every day, even if they do not have a fever? (Updated 08/2020)
Employees are not required to report their daily temperature. However, the University requires employees take their temperature daily and notify their supervisor if they have a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius.

Employees should remember that coming to work while they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms puts themselves and others at risk, and the University has adopted enhanced leave benefits (including additional paid leave) to help employees keep themselves and the rest of the University community safe.

27. May supervisors send employees home if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19? (Updated 08/2020)
Yes. Employees who have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius or higher, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms unless symptoms are otherwise explained by existing conditions, have received a COVID-19 diagnosis, or who have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 diagnosis or unexplained symptoms, are required to avoid the worksite and other University premises, with the exception of appropriate health care facilities, until authorized to return.

Employees who are sent home or instructed to not come to work because of these reasons may use accrued leave or be approved for leave without pay.

The university’s chief human resources officer or designee may approve exceptions to remain on the worksite.

28. How much information may supervisors request from employees who report feeling ill at work or who call in sick?
Supervisors may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain and new loss of taste or smell not explained by other medical conditions (see CDC for a list of all symptoms). Information about employees’ symptoms must be treated as confidential.

29. May a supervisor ask employees to disclose whether they have a medical condition that the CDC says could make them vulnerable to COVID-19?
No. Employees who may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and their university’s human resources office to request a reasonable accommodation.

30. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, will they be required to provide a release before returning to working on site? (Added 08/2020)
Each university will determine any requirement related to a release. A doctor’s or public health official’s release may be required before an employee is allowed to return to work on site. Such release will be determined with the approval of the president, chancellor, or their designees.

Units considering requiring doctor’s notes should contact their Human Resources Business Partner/Consultant for guidance on how to maintain confidentiality when a doctor’s release is received. Units should also consider whether, as a practical matter, doctors and other health care professionals in the community may be too busy to provide fitness for duty documentation.

31. If an employee is absent related to COVID-19, will department absenteeism rules still apply?
Employees shall continue to follow department established guidelines for attendance and requesting approval for time off. Departments are encouraged to be flexible and support employees to stay home if they are sick, thereby minimizing the spread of potential viruses. Paid Time Off benefits are available in accordance with policy.

32. Are supervisors responsible for contact tracing when an employee reports they have been diagnosed with COVID-19? (Added 08/2020)
No. Supervisors are not responsible for contact tracing. Designated University employees and/or local health department is responsible for contact tracing.

33. What can a supervisor communicate to their unit when they have been informed that someone within their department has been diagnosed with COVID-19? (Added 08/2020)
Supervisors should follow campus guidelines regarding notification of potential exposure to COVID-19. The identity of the employee should be kept confidential, but information may be shared with employees who have a need to know, including employees needed to assist with cleaning or assisting with work arrangements.

34. If an employee is directed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as a precautionary measure (e.g. to avoid potential exposure to COVID prior to a surgery or birth of a child), what leave is available? (Added 08/2020)
To the extent feasible, employees may work remotely. If available, employees may use available accrued leave (e.g., sick leave, vacation, personal), compensatory time, and Enhanced Vacation Leave per HR-700. Unpaid excused leave may be available when approved by your supervisor.

Created: 3/16/2020

Updated: 3/23/2020; 04/01/2020; 04/06/2020; 04/15/2020; 05/19/2020; 08/18/2020; 09/16/2020; 11/01/2020; 01/01/2021; 04/01/2021; 05/18/2021

Reviewed 2021-08-24