Tufts is now requiring vaccination against COVID-19 for ALL faculty, staff, vendors, and affiliates. More Information
I have been deemed an essential employee but a member of my household has COVID-19. Should I go to work?
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.
If I am an essential employee and unable to come into work due to COVID-19, what are my sick-time benefits?
If you are unable to return to work on-site, you should notify and work with your manager to determine if there is work that you can do remotely. All benefits-eligible, non-exempt employees receive annual awards of sick time upon their anniversary dates, which can be used as soon as it is awarded. If you have a unique circumstance, contact your supervisor or your Human Resources Business Partner for help with paid time off and/or leave options.
My health-care provider has advised me to self-quarantine. What should I do?
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.
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?
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.
Are there other benefits and resources available for child care needs?
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.
Do I have to bring a physician’s note clearing me to return if I have COVID-19?
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.
What if faculty or staff need technology (software, laptops, etc.) to enable work from home?
Please review the Working Remotely page and contact IT for any laptop or other technology needs: https://it.tufts.edu/working-remotely.
What resources are available to assist faculty and staff?
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.
A staff member does not want to take public transportation for fear of contracting COVID-19. Can we make other arrangements for this person?
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.
If I can’t take time off because of my specialized role, can I get an exemption from the new vacation time policy?
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.
What if I have questions about how to handle a work-related issue involving COVID-19 that is not addressed here?
The university is regularly posting updates to its guidelines, procedures, and approach to COVID-19. If you have questions, you may also contact your Human Resources Business Partner.
What are my options if my department is short-staffed because of COVID-19?
Please consult with your supervisor/manager and EAD or VP.