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questions and answers are available

I have been deemed an essential employee but a member of my household has COVID-19. Should I go to work?

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Employees who are well, but who have an ill household member at home with COVID-19, should not work. Employees should consult first with their healthcare provider and also notify their supervisor that a household member has COVID-19. (Note: If your school (e.g., TUSDM’s COVID-19 response team) has an exposure response team, please make sure to report any exposure/illness to that response team and follow the protocol of your school.) These situations typically require self-quarantine for members of your household. Please refer to the Q&As regarding self-quarantine.

If you test negative for COVID-19, but live in a household with someone who tests positive, it would be recommended that you quarantine for 14 days following your last close contact with the person who is positive. If household members are not able to avoid close contact with one another, the exposed person will need to quarantine for 14 days after the sick person is cleared by their health care professional.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:43am

Who qualifies as an Essential On-Campus Employee?

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The university has identified certain critical job functions necessary to support a strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The selection of these job functions was informed by guidance at the federal, state and local level. Consistent with that guidance, Essential On-Campus Employees include, but are not limited to, the following job functions:

  • Medical professionals
  • Veterinary health professionals, including animal care attendants, and those involved in the distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines and animal drugs
  • IT staff members
  • Research laboratory staff associated with basic maintenance and limited approved research exceptions afforded by the OVPR
  • Law enforcement officers/dispatchers
  • Food service workers
  • Plumbers, electricians and others necessary to maintain safe operation of essential facilities
  • Custodial workers/cleaning personnel/waste removal
  • Educators and staff performing critical student support functions

To the extent that essential employees in these categories can work from home, they should do so. However, the nature of these job functions may require some essential employees to be physically present on campus to perform duties critical to Tufts’ COVID-19 response.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 11:19am

If my staff are uncomfortable coming to work because of COVID-19, what should I do?

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If “essential on-campus staff” are not ill and have not been exposed to COVID-19, they are expected to come to work (please see possible exceptions below). Please remind staff working on campus to take preventive measures, such as wearing a face mask and other PPE, frequent hand washing, and not touching eyes, nose, or mouth. All staff must complete the Return to Work re-entry work before returning and should practice social distancing (keeping a 6-foot distance from others) as well as refrain from congregating in groups of more than 10 people.

If staff have concerns about exposure, including feeling they have been exposed to the virus or that they have health-related reasons that may support temporary work at home flexibility, you may speak with your HR business partner about resources and options that may be available.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 4:06pm

My health-care provider has advised me to self-quarantine. What should I do?

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Self-quarantine is recommended for individuals who may have been directly exposed to COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms. Follow the guidance of your health-care provider, and notify your supervisor that you cannot physically come to work.

If your work can be performed at home, you will be expected to work as directed and approved by your supervisor as long as you are asymptomatic during the self-quarantine, and you will receive your regular pay. Nonexempt staff must be sure to record and report their hours worked and should not work unauthorized overtime.

If you are unable to do your work from home, speak to your supervisor about alternative work options so that you can continue work at home. If no work is possible, you will receive your base pay for the self-quarantine period (two weeks). During the self-quarantine period please keep in touch with your supervisor regarding on-line training, professional development or other duties that you may be able to perform from home.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:44am

A staff member is unable to return to work because of family care responsibilities. Their job cannot be performed from home and family care services are restricted because of COVID-19. What options can I, as a manager, provide?

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Staff members may use up to 10 days of their sick time in a one year period, in total, to care for children, elders, or other members of the household. This year, in this time of COVID, staff can use or be advanced (if you have no sick time) up to 10 additional days. Once that time has been exhausted, the staff member may use their personal and vacation time.  

Once personal/vacation time has been exhausted, the staff member should speak to their HR Business Partner to determine if alternative work arrangements (such as a change in work hours/days, temporary FTE reductions, etc.) can be made or if the staff member must transition to unpaid status. Managers are expected to work closely with Human Resources and the employee toward identifying options to support continued employment whenever possible.

Care.com is a resource available to our staff for emergency dependent care. Staff members can access the Tufts care.com benefit at:  https://access.tufts.edu/child-elder-care.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 4:04pm

Are there other benefits and resources available for child care needs?

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Subsidized backup care through Care.com now includes some of the displaced childcare workers as care providers with an emphasis on emergency workers and children with special needs. Care.com requires its care providers to adhere to the CDC-recommended best practices related to COVID-19. 

Other elements of our Care.com benefit, such as the personal care network, continue as does the marketplace to find childcare or elder care providers as well as other services.  

Access Care.com’s Coronavirus Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers for articles and podcasts on hiring and employing caregivers during COVID-19, parenting during a pandemic, staying safe as stay-at-home orders lift, and more. 

Tufts’ Employee Assistance Program, KGA, has tips for finding alternative caregivers, and you can contact them for help in your search. They also provide information and support on COVID-19 issues and for a multitude of other topics.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 2:08pm

Do I have to bring a physician’s note clearing me to return if I have COVID-19?

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Medical clearance is necessary to return to work if you have had confirmed COVID-19. According to the CDC, “the decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with health-care providers and state and local health departments.” If your department has additional return-to-work requirements, please adhere to those as well.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 11:06am

What if faculty or staff need technology (software, laptops, etc.) to enable work from home?

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Please review the Working Remotely page and contact IT for any laptop or other technology needs: https://it.tufts.edu/working-remotely.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 10:57am

What resources are available to assist faculty and staff?

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Our goal is to prioritize health and safety by developing policies that will permit employees the flexibility and resources they need to put their health first. Specific information is available at the links above, and your supervisor should be able to help with any particular need that arises during this emergency.

We have created resources specific to the needs of staff employees, including supervisors, which are available here:

Tufts Technology Resources has put together the following materials to support staff and faculty members with technology needs.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 10:13am

A staff member does not want to take public transportation for fear of contracting COVID-19. Can we make other arrangements for this person?

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The university does not pay parking fees or pay for other methods of transportation. 

Tufts Shared Services provides parking at different price points to those who may wish to drive to our Boston Health Sciences campus. For questions pertaining to Boston Health Sciences campus parking, please contact the TSS Parking Office at 1-616-636-5580 or email ParkingandTransportDepartment@tuftsmedicalcenter.org

At our SMFA campus, a limited number of discounted parking spaces are available at the MFA garage. Parking spaces are also available on St. Alphonsus Street.

The Office of Sustainability has a resource section on their website and you can check that page for more information about local options.

Additionally, alternative commuter options are available via Human Resources’ Benefits site.

Last update: Monday, Aug 17, 2020 - 9:47am

If I can’t take time off because of my specialized role, can I get an exemption from the new vacation time policy?

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Managers will be reaching out for their staff’s vacation requests to prepare for operational coverage and to ensure that vacation time is planned. Every person needs time off, and should be encouraged to take time off to support their own health and wellness. There is an 18-month lead into the new vacation maximum accrual, which goes into effect January 1, 2022.  You should work with your manager to plan to bring your maximum vacation balance below the new one-year accrual rate before that date.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 4:03pm

Are Tufts Support Services staff available for drop off and pick up in the three locations?

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All staff are working remotely, therefore, our lobbies are closed. Please use the following guidance for transacting business with TSS. We strongly encourage people to use Salesforce (TSS@tufts.edu), eServe, and other applications supported by TSS such as Medius, PaymentWorks, etc. Everything that can be sent by email should be sent by email (please use your Tufts email, which enhances security).

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 2:23pm

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to COVID19@tufts.edu.