HR COVID-19 Protocols

Faculty and Staff, New Jersey campuses:  Fall 2021 HR COVID-19 Protocols

COVID-19 Safety Training

All employees who will be working on campus must complete the most recent version of our online COVID-19 safety training located on the Human Resources Training Site. The course will provide an understanding of the virus and the disease it causes, symptoms to be aware of, and how the disease spreads. It will also educate campus members on screening, testing, contact tracing, vaccination, and daily practices to help prevent the spread of the virus on our campuses.

This updated training module will be required of all employees returning to campus, including individuals who may have taken the initial training course last year, to ensure all employees are apprised of updated recent guidance. When an employee completes the training session, the Office of Human Resources will be notified. The training module is located on the Human Resources Training page and can be located on the following link: Training for FDU Employees.

Due to frequently changing guidance, University policies that are disseminated to the community and updated in this policy, supersede policy information provided in the training module.

When to Self-Isolate and Contact HR

Employees should not come to work, should self-isolate off campus, and must contact Human Resources if they:

  • Test positive for COVID-19 or have any symptoms of the virus;
  • Are not fully vaccinated and were recently in “close contact” with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (see below); or are not fully vaccinated and have travelled internationally or to a state with a high incidence of COVID-19.

For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any unvaccinated individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes cumulative over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection).

New Jersey’s current guidelines indicate that unvaccinated travelers and unvaccinated residents returning from any domestic travel beyond the immediate region or internationally should get tested 1-3 days before their trip, 3-5 days after travel, and stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Under these circumstances, employees are required to notify Rose D’Ambrosio, Vice President of Human Resources, via email at dambrosi@fdu.edu or via phone at (201) 692-2706. Faculty, staff, and students who need to travel should review the state’s website for current information, https://covid19.nj.gov/.

Please review FDU’s current COVID-19 Travel Policy.

Symptom Monitoring

Employees are asked to self-monitor their symptoms each day. All employees must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 before coming to work that day, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Employees and students with positive risk factors will not be permitted to return to campus for the recommended isolation period (see below).  Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact their supervisor and Rose D’Ambrosio at dambrosi@fdu.edu or via phone at (201) 692-2706. Everyone is reminded that medical information about any individual is confidential. Rose D’Ambrosio can provide further guidance on appropriate steps to be taken in handling confidential medical information of any employee.

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of sense of smell/taste
  • Chills/shaking
  • Fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Respiratory illness

In accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you tested positive, you must stay at home and self-isolate. This includes individuals who are fully vaccinated. (Fully vaccinated means: two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.) You must self-isolate until one full day (or 24 hours) has passed since you had a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND other symptoms are greatly improved AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started, or, if you had no symptoms, stay home 10 days after getting tested. Please review the most up-to-date information provided by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html.

Unvaccinated employees who are deemed a close contact are required to quarantine for up to 10 days. Current CDC guidance allows for a shorter quarantine period of 7 days for individuals who continue to have no symptoms of illness if they are tested for COVID-19 on Day 5 or later of quarantine, and results are negative.  Please review the information provided by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.

Fully vaccinated employees who have no symptoms of illness are not required to quarantine if exposed to an individual with COVID-19 and have not tested positive. But vaccinated employees who are deemed a close contact should monitor symptoms and immediately isolate and get tested if symptoms develop. However, fully vaccinated contacts should get tested 3-5 days after exposure even if they are not experiencing symptoms and should wear a mask in indoor public places for 14 days following exposure or until they test negative.

All employees who report having COVID-19 related symptoms or a positive test result will be directed to immediately seek medical care from their healthcare provider. All employees who work on campus (whether full-time or on limited days only) are required to notify Rose D’Ambrosio, Vice President of Human Resources, if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a positive test for the infection. In addition, unless they are fully vaccinated, all employees should notify Human Resources if deemed a “close contact” with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any unvaccinated individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes cumulative over a 24-hour period, starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection). Rose D’Ambrosio can be contacted via email at dambrosi@fdu.edu or via phone at (201) 692-2706. If you have been off campus for more than 14 days prior to diagnosis or exposure, there is no requirement to alert the University.

Contact Tracing Protocol

Upon receipt of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, the University will work closely with the Department of Public Health and take the necessary steps to inform all individuals who have been identified as a close contact (within six feet for a cumulative 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period) of “a diagnosed individual.” However, please note that the name of the individual will not be shared to maintain confidentiality, except on a “need to know” basis or if the individual authorizes disclosure of their identity. Unvaccinated employees who have been in close contact with persons diagnosed with COVID-19, but do not themselves have symptoms of COVID-19, will be required to quarantine as defined by the CDC (noted above). Employees who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of the virus are required to self-isolate as described earlier.

Medical Accommodations

Employees who have a disability or medical condition that impacts their ability to return to work on campus may request a temporary workplace accommodation by completing the Medical Accommodation application. Upon receipt of the application, a representative from Human Resources will  follow up regarding next steps. Please note that medical accommodations provided for the 2020-21 academic year have expired. If you need to apply for a medical accommodation for 2021-22, please submit an application. Employees may of course continue to request an accommodation for a medical condition or disability unrelated to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Employees

Vaccines are required of all FDU faculty, staff and students who will be attending classes or activities on our New Jersey campuses.

The University made arrangements with Atlantic Health Systems and Holy Name Hospital to make it convenient for our community members to receive a vaccine. The facilities are within close proximity to the Florham and Metropolitan campuses. Vaccines are also now available at most pharmacies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all individuals obtain the vaccine, reporting that vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States are highly effective at preventing COVID-19.  COVID-19 vaccination is an important step in stopping the pandemic, protects people from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19, and may also protect others around them. 

According to the CDC, the vaccines are safe and effective, and studies have shown they prevent severe illness and death from the virus. For more information, please visit the CDC website.

The University will provide up to 3 hours of paid time for employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine if scheduled during work hours. Individuals who experience side effects from the vaccine should use paid sick/personal time in accordance with University policy and the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act.

The University will review requests for medical and religious exemptions.

Instructions to Upload Vaccine Records

Vaccine records must be uploaded to the University’s employee portal. This information will be maintained as confidential medical information by Human Resources. Please do not provide any additional medical information when submitting your proof of vaccination. Vaccination records should be uploaded to Medicat by following the instructions at Medicat for employees. Medicat is a secure program, and only limited staff in Human Resources will have access to this system.  

Instructions to Upload Medical or Religious Exemption Forms

Employees requesting a medical or religious exemption from vaccination will be required to complete the exemption form (https://www.fdu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/210812-employee-vaccine-exemption.pdf) and upload the request to the Medicat employee portal. Requests for medical exemption will require documentation from your health care provider to support the reason for the exemption. Instructions for uploading to Medicat can be found at Medicat for employees. Medicat is a secure program, and only limited staff in Human Resources will have access to these records. 

Leaves of Absence

The University will seek to make reasonable accommodations for those employees who themselves have a disability or medical condition that impacts their ability to return to campus. In addition, employees who are not otherwise entitled to an accommodation may be eligible to use both paid and unpaid time off in accordance with University policy, and federal and state laws. Please consult with HR to review these options. Family Medical Leave/Temporary Disability Benefits is outlined in the University’s leave policies. Please contact Stefanie Miller, Director of Employee Benefits (smiller@fdu.edu), for more information. While the University is sensitive to other circumstances, the general expectation is that we are returning to on-campus work. Medical and disability issues should be directed to Human Resources, through the process outlined above. Other special circumstances can be discussed with an employee’s direct report/supervisor.

Employees who indicate the inability to work due to the necessity of taking care of school-aged children in the event of school closures may be eligible to use both paid and unpaid time off in accordance with University policy, and federal and state laws. Please consult with HR to review these options. Paid sick leave is described in the Employee Handbook. Family Medical Leave/Temporary Disability Benefits is outlined in the University’s leave policies. Please contact Stefanie Miller, Director of Employee Benefits (smiller@fdu.edu), for more information.

Face Masks and Social Distancing on Campus

All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear masks while indoors, except when working alone in a closed, walled office or while actively eating.  Unvaccinated employees are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while outdoors when 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained. This policy is subject to change in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the State of New Jersey, and Department of Public Health.

The University will continue to provide all employees with a face mask. Masks will be available on each campus as follows:

Metropolitan Campus

  • Public Safety
  • Fitness Center
  • Student Union Building Information Desk
  • Dickinson Hall – Public Safety Desk in Main Lobby (when Officer is present)

Florham Campus

  • Mansion – University Operations Office
  • Student Center – Student Affairs Office
  • Public Safety – Main Information Desk
  • Ferguson Recreation Center – Main Information Desk on First Floor
  • School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Public Safety Front Desk

The University encourages all employees who are not fully vaccinated to wear face masks even when outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.

 

Hygiene Protocols

According to the CDC, one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 from person to person, and throughout the entire community, is to engage in proper hygiene including the following:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, and after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas routinely.
  • Avoid using shared refill cups and do not share utensils and tools/equipment with colleagues.

COVID-19 Testing of Unvaccinated Employees

In order to ensure the safety of all community members at both New Jersey campuses, the University will be implementing weekly COVID -19 testing for unvaccinated employees who have received an approved exemption or employees who are not yet fully vaccinated (i.e., have received their first but not second dose of a two-dose vaccine). 
To be exempt from weekly COVID-19 testing, employees must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated. (Fully vaccinated means: two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.)

Surveillance testing may be instituted more widely, and may include some fully vaccinated individuals, depending on circumstances and conditions in our region.

Protocol for Shared Spaces

All open public common areas, bathrooms and scheduled classrooms will be cleaned on a daily basis by the University’s cleaning contractor. The cleaning will include the use of an EPA-registered disinfecting product on all high common touch points. Private offices will be cleaned weekly by Facilities and Auxiliary Services. Sanitizing wipes and/or alternate disinfecting products will be available for departments. When opening doors or touching other public surfaces, employees should use an elbow, paper towel, or tissue. If common surfaces are touched, employees should wash their hands with soap and water. Employees should frequently wipe down commonly touched surfaces such as:

  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Desks and tables
  • Copiers
  • Single serve coffee makers
  • Light switches and doorknobs
  • Faucets
  • Cabinet doors, drawers and counter tops
  • Break areas and conference rooms
  • Water coolers/dispensers

University Travel

All University-sponsored domestic travel for students, faculty, and staff has been reinstated. International travel will require the review and approval of the University Risk Manager, as well as the University Provost (academic) or the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration (operations). Please refer to the University’s Travel Policy for more information. 

Please note, as guidance on travel may change, additional information may be forthcoming, especially as it pertains to University-sponsored student travel.

Resources for Employees

The University acknowledges that these uncertain times can be a source of stress for our employees and their family members. As such, we feel it is important to provide the FDU community with emotional support resources. Below are resources available to “all employees,” as well as benefits for “employees enrolled in the University’s medical plan with UnitedHealthcare.”

For All Employees

Optum Emotional Support Help Line at 1-866-342-6892 is free of charge and available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals will connect people to resources. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Available nationwide.

For Employees Covered by UnitedHealthcare

Talkspace is a group of more than 5,000 licensed therapists that provide therapy via video (virtual) and through a secure text platform. Consumers communicate with therapists using texts and audio and video recordings via the Talkspace secure platform. Please visit the Talkspace flier for more information. Copayment or deductible/coinsurance applies depending on your plan and will be charged weekly via credit card. You may use Talkspace as often as desired per week once copayment for that week has been paid.

Sanvello App – To help cope with stress and anxiety, you may find Sanvello a helpful app to download. You can learn new skills, join group conversations, find useful techniques and track your emotions to help you feel calmer and in control. There’s a Staying Socially Connected community that provides support as COVID-19 shifts our daily routines. You can download Sanvello for free from the App Store or Google Play.

United Behavioral Tele-mental Health provides quick and easy access to behavioral health professionals from your mobile device, tablet, or computer. These visits are part of your behavioral health benefit through United Healthcare. The cost for a behavioral health virtual visit is your Mental Health outpatient copay or deductible/coinsurance in the CDHP and is an in-network only benefit. To find a provider, Log in to www.myuhc.com, then click Find a Doctor > Mental Health Directory > People > Provider Type> Telemental Health Providers. Call the provider to set up a time for your visits. Members may also call UnitedHealthcare’s EAP for quick help and then be referred to an in-network mental health provider if more care is needed. You may access the EAP by calling 888-887-4114 or the number on the back of your UnitedHealthcare ID card.

Health Advocate will assist employees, their spouses or domestic partners, dependents, parents and parents-in-law. Health Advocate may be contacted by calling 855-558-2004. Health Advocate’s clinical team will provide support related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the following ways:

    • Obtain a detailed history and current status and guide the member to contact their Primary Care Physician (PCP) or other health care provider, if necessary;
    • Discuss and help guide the member to the current recommendations from the CDC and state and local health departments relevant to their situation;
    • Provide educational materials based on the CDC recommendations regarding prevention of COVID-19 and exposure avoidance;
    • Discuss emotional well-being and guide the member to additional resources as needed (EAP, community support, etc.); and
    • Discuss employer benefit coverage (if available).