Return to Campus FAQs

Faculty and Staff, New Jersey campuses:  Summer 2021

What specific steps is the University taking to help safeguard the health and safety of employees who are working on each campus?

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, when it is issued. The course, which will be disseminated soon, 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. When an employee completes the module, the Office of Human Resources will be notified.

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 unvaccinated 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 and indicate their status through the Campus Clear application.  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).  This tool is intended to inform you, the user, of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 but is no longer needed to gain entry to the campus or any building.  Employees experiencing COVID 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.

What are the 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 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 2-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 14 days. Current CDC guidance allows for a shorter quarantine period of 10 days for individuals who continue to have no symptoms of illness or 7 days 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. But vaccinated employees who are deemed a close contact should monitor symptoms and immediately isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

What will happen if an employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19, tests positive, or is deemed a close contact?

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.

If a co-worker or a student whom I had contact with becomes ill, will I be informed?

Yes, 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, unless 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 in these FAQs.

What if I have a disability or medical condition that impacts my ability to return to work on campus?

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.  

Is the University mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for employees?

Vaccines are required of all FDU students who will be attending classes or activities on our New Jersey campuses. The University has not yet determined to extend this mandate to all employees, but continues to monitor governmental guidance and best practices, and may in the future make this a requirement for employees working on campus. However, all employees are strongly urged to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

Where can I get the vaccine?

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.

Why should individuals get vaccinated?

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. 

Are vaccines safe?

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.

Will the University provide time off to obtain the vaccine?

Yes, 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.

What do I do if I am residing with an individual who is immuno-compromised or otherwise at high risk for complications from COVID-19?

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.

What happens if I cannot return to work due to caring for young children in the event of a school closure?

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.

What will be the University’s policy regarding wearing face masks and social distancing on campus?

The University will continue to comply with state guidelines regarding masks and social distancing requirements in the workplace.    

Fully vaccinated FDU faculty and staff are not required to wear face masks while indoors on campus — except in classrooms where instruction is taking place — if they provide proof that they are fully vaccinated. (Fully vaccinated means:  two weeks after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.) Faculty and staff must continue to wear face masks (i) at all times while in classrooms, whether or not they are fully vaccinated and (ii) if they are not fully vaccinated or have not provided proof of vaccination to Human Resources, as described below. Regardless of vaccination status, all faculty and staff may remove their face masks while working alone in a closed, walled office, while eating or drinking, and while outdoors.

To be exempt from the mask requirement while working indoors, you must provide proof of vaccination. This information will be maintained as confidential medical information by Human Resources, but confirmation that you can be excused from the mask wearing requirement will be shared with your supervisor as needed to manage our safety protocols.  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 https://www.fdu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/210610-medicat-portal-employees.pdf. Medicat is a secure program, and only limited staff in Human Resources will have access to these records. 

Except when wearing face masks is required (e.g., while in classrooms), fully vaccinated employees should make their own personal decision regarding whether to wear a mask. Many employees will choose to continue to face masks in various settings, even if they are fully vaccinated. In no event should anyone be ostracized or criticized if they choose to wear a face mask even when not compelled to do so.

The University encourages all employees who are not fully vaccinated to maintain social distancing.

These protocols are in effect for the summer and will be updated for the fall semester to keep current with guidance from New Jersey governmental authorities.

Will the University be providing all employees with face masks?

The University will continue to provide all employees with a cloth face mask. Masks will be available at the Department of Public Safety on each campus.

What are some of the hygiene protocols that will be required of our community members, and how will they be communicated?

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.

Will the University continue COVID-19 testing and surveillance for students?

The University is in the process of reviewing our current surveillance testing protocols and will be guided by New Jersey governmental standards.

What will be the protocol for those employees who work in offices, including shared spaces with common surfaces?

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

Will the University be approving travel during the semester?

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.

What resources are available for employees who are experiencing stress and anxiety?

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 ded/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).