COVID-19 Road to Recovery
UIC Returns to Campus
Phase 4 Restore Illinois-Recovery
The University of Illinois at Chicago’s COVID-19 pandemic response protocols and policy guidance focus on the safety and well-being of all employees – our health care providers, faculty, staff, student workers, our future and currently enrolled students, as well as the public with whom we interact.
All employees who can work from home should continue to do so. As we move to Phase 4 of reopening, our plans will conform to requirements from Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois and University of Illinois System guidance.
We will also continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and applicable federal requirements. Expanding staffing on campus will be tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve.
Plans for how campuses can open to all constituents safely this fall semester are still under discussion and will follow guidance obtained from the Illinois Board of Higher Education COVID-19 Guidance issued on June 23, 2020.
COVID-19 Return to Work
Given the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 virus crisis, this guidance will be updated as needed when new information emerges or as the situations change.
All faculty and staff returning to work on campus must fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in this document.
I have an employee who is required to work on-site who is refusing to comply with the required health and safety measures (e.g. wearing a mask, washing hands, etc.). What can/should I do?
- All employees must comply with these requirements. Should an employee refuse to comply, the supervisor should initiate a conversation reminding the employee that these measures are required by the University (https://uofi.app.box.com/s/gp0q3bky955pglqeksldis0rp36rvaqi) in conjunction with CDC and State of Illinois guidelines and also state that discipline could result if the requirements are not followed. The supervisor should also remind the employee that these steps are not only for the employee’s own benefit, but also for the health and safety of co-workers as well as family members at home.
- If the employee still indicates that they will not comply, the employee should not be allowed to work in close contact with others. The next step depends on the employee group and any pertinent collective bargaining agreements. For all employee groups, the supervisor can contact the Environmental Health & Safety Office (EHSO) for specific guidance regarding safety requirements.
- Academic Professional: There is no prescribed disciplinary procedure for these employees. If a discussion with the employee is not successful, the supervisor should instruct the employee to leave the workplace. If possible, the employee could be allowed to work remotely but if that is not possible and the employee refuses to leave the workplace in an agitated state, contact the Campus Police (if there is an imminent threat) or the Employee Behavioral Threat Assessment Team (for a consultation). The supervisor should document the employee’s behavior/failure to follow campus guidelines with a letter of expectation to the employee and to be placed in the personnel file. This incident should be addressed again as part of the annual performance review and can be utilized in decision-making regarding an annual merit salary increase.
- Civil Service: Most Civil Service employees are part of a union and there are specific disciplinary and grievance guidelines. Contact the Office for Labor and Employee Relations.
- Faculty: Most faculty are part of a union which has specific disciplinary and grievance procedures Contact the Office for Labor and Employee Relations.
- Student Employee: Contact the Office of the Dean of Students to file a disciplinary charge for failure to adhere to university rules.
All University Buildings will remain closed for visitors during Phase 4 operations. Clinical operations have provided their own guidance. Staff may not bring non-employees (friends, family members, etc.) into any UIC building.
Specific guidance has been developed for faculty and staff working in laboratory environments.
Here are the necessary steps UIC employees must take in the event of exposure to COVID-19, or if you become ill with the symptoms of COVID-19.
As a reminder, do not report to work if:
- you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to be tested,
- you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or
- you were tested positive for COVID-19 outside of University Health Services.
Isolate at home, contact your UIC supervisor, call University Health Services at 312-996-7420, and select the COVID-19 option. The call will be directed to a customer service agent who will ask for employee-identifying information (including UIN and supervisor’s email), any potential exposure, and any symptoms you may have. Please have this information available when making the call. The agent will provide you with information on your next steps. This line is available seven days per week, 24 hours a day. Nurse consultation and scheduling will occur Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm. Calls outside these times will be returned on the next business day.
If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek the closest care as soon as possible. This may include dialing 911.
Any employee who has been instructed to return to work on campus during the Phase 4 Recovery that is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 may request Reasonable Accommodation.
OAE will review and respond to all requests for accommodation in the most expeditious manner possible.
Requests based upon medical conditions should be made through the Office for Access and Equity (OAE) following established procedures. Here is a link to the form that is required to begin the process based upon a medical condition.
UIC is committed to supporting employees who are at a higher risk of illness due to COVID-19. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise from the CDC, this may include people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions such as:
- Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
- Chronic lung disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood, bone marrow, or organ transplant; HIV; use of corticosteroids; or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Accommodations for high-risk individuals working on campus may include a temporary adjustment of working conditions, including telecommuting. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, any telecommuting arrangements granted under this provision may be extended or terminated.
Any employee at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, regardless of underlying medical condition, may choose to return to work on campus without accommodation if they are comfortable doing so. The University will not prohibit any employee from returning to work on campus based on underlying medical condition; requests for accommodation should be initiated by the employee.
- Staff returning to the on-campus workplace must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 or have had evaluation and clearance by University Health Services to be eligible to report to work.
- Temperature monitoring will be required following established protocols. For information on temperature monitoring, refer to the COVID-19 Public Spaces and Office Safety Guidance document.
Refer to the COVID-19 Public Spaces and Office Safety Guidance document for information on personal safety practices such as:
- Face Masks
- Social Distancing
- Using Elevators
Returning to work at the UIC campus during Phase 4 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan is limited to the following circumstances, which require advance approval.
- Resumption of mission-critical business operations that require employee(s) to work onsite, whether for a portion of the workweek, or the entire workweek.
- Occasional access is needed by the employee for access to equipment; to retrieve materials required for continuation of telework or pick-up mail; to disburse critical materials or checks; and other business specific reasons.
Those support units that can continue to work remotely in an effective manner will continue to do so until restrictions are eased for larger gatherings (Phase 4). If staff are currently working from home and productive, those employees should continue to work from home.
Phased Staffing: UIC will phase in the return of staff following a coordinated process to ensure PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing capabilities for COVID-19 are available and that the workplace will support appropriate social distancing.
No unit or department should increase on-site staffing levels beyond current needs to support necessary on-site operations during Phase 4.
As staffing on-site increases and operations expand, UIC officials will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus in the local area. Testing will be a critical part of assessing the impact of increased staffing. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented.
If you have questions about the ability to authorize alternate work schedules contact your unit’s HR representative or UIC Human Resources.
Alternating Days: Departments should schedule partial staffing on alternating days to reduce density and enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
Staggered Reporting/Departing: The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing requirements.
Temporary Teleworking Policies and Guidance
Telecommuting agreements approved in March 2020 should continue to be in effect. Supervisors are responsible for updating agreements to account for any changes to business operations and conditions.
For UIC employees working remotely:
- if you are experiencing symptoms and need to be tested,
- if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or
- if you were tested for COVID-19 outside of University Health Services,
Do not come to campus. Isolate at home and contact your provider and your supervisor. Contact University Health Services if you test positive, need guidance on work status, or have any questions by completing the online form HERE.
University Health Services will triage all employee reports, respond to employees, schedule any necessary testing, provide any necessary contact tracing within the University, advise on change of work status, and communicate with employees and supervisors within 24-48 hours.
Please note that the University has several testing locations for employees. These locations are by appointment only and are scheduled through the University Health Services process.
In addition to utilizing University Health Services, you also have options to access care through your primary care provider office or medical home. If your medical home is UI Health, you can also contact 866-600-CARE to connect with COVID-19 nurse triage or your primary care clinic.
Supervisory Guidance for management of employees working from home.
- Establish expectations around work hours and how often you are expecting to communicate with the employee. Supervisors should tell employees how often they should send updates on work plan progress and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while teleworking and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely.
- Accommodate support resources regarding technology. If the employee is using their home computer or laptop, they are responsible for following all university practices and policies to maintain security on their device.
- Use collaboration tools for communication with your team.
- Remind non-exempt employees who work remotely that any overtime must be approved in advance.
- As units begin to return individuals to on-site work, decisions regarding who continues to telecommute should be based on operational needs and appropriately consider equity amongst staff.
Conditions for Return
Every UIC department will provide a document that outlines the working location and conditions for each employee. Spreadsheets have been distributed to all units and college for this purpose. In general, information required includes:
- Information about employees who will continue to work from home.
- Information about employees who are required to report to campus for work during Phase 4 including employees allowed to go into the office on a sporadic basis.
If an employee expresses concerns about or otherwise refuses to come back on-site as requested, and the employee has not received an accommodation as outlined above, they will be required to use available sick and vacation leave, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Leave (if applicable), Special Leave and/or Leave without Pay.
Employees required to report to campus to perform job duties
STATUS PAID TIME COMMENTS Able to work on campus Paid for actual hours worked During the Governor’s Stay at Home Order some UIC employees (not Hospital) unable to work remotely but not permitted to work on-site continued to receive normal pay. Unable to work on campus (care for a family member) Use appropriate and available time: Vacation, Sick, FFCRA, or FLH) When benefit time is exhausted, special leave request submitted for Excused Absence without Pay Unable to work on campus (underlying health condition) Based on reasonable accommodation granted Submit Reasonable Accommodation request through OAE Quarantined by University Health Services Excused Absence with Pay (EAP) without loss of benefit leave time Requires University Health Service documentation of quarantine Sick (not COVID-19 related) Use Sick Leave If sick leave is not available, the employee must use other available leave time (vacation), Special Leave (if approved) or move into an approved Leave Without Pay status.
Employees who can perform job duties off campus (approved Telework assignments)
STATUS PAID TIME COMMENTS Able to work on or off campus Paid for actual hours worked Quarantined by University Health Services but able to work from home Paid for actual hours worked Requires University Health Service documentation of quarantine Unable to telework for various reasons, including no childcare. Use appropriate and available time: Vacation, Sick, FFCRA or FLH When benefit time is exhausted, special leave request submitted for Excused Absence without Pay Unable to work on campus (underlying health condition) Based on reasonable accommodation granted Submit Reasonable Accommodation through OAE. Supervisors should not ask for documentation regarding health condition. Refer employee to OAE. Quarantined by University Health Services and unable to work from home Excused Absence with Pay (EAP) without loss of benefit leave time Requires University Health Service documentation of quarantine Sick (not COVID-19 related) Use Sick Leave If sick leave is not available, the employee must use other available leave time (vacation), Special Leave (if approved) or move into an approved Leave Without Pay status.
A. The following leave policies continue to apply:
- 801-04 Sick Leave for Support Staff Employees
- 801-05 Sick Leave for Academic Employees
- 806-01 Special Leave of Absence for Support Staff
- 806-02 Family and Medical Leave
General information about Leave available to employees is found here: https://www.hr.uillinois.edu/leave/
B. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law effective April 1, 2020, was created to help protect families and workers during the COVID-19 outbreak including the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, amending the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Employees are eligible for the benefits defined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provided they meet the qualifying criteria outlined in the Act.
UI POLICY ON FFCRA: https://www.hr.uillinois.edu/leave/coronavirus_response_act
UI Health employees including pharmacists working in ambulatory pharmacies have different requirements under the law as outlined here: FFCRA and Leave Options
UIC employees have continued to be paid during the Governor’s Stay at Home Order including non-exempt employees unable to work remotely but not permitted to work on-site. UIC continued to pay student hourly employees through the end of the semester based on average hours worked in the time period prior to the shutdown. Beyond the end of the semester, hourly appointments will be renewed on an as needed basis and payroll should reflect actual hours worked.
Policies in place for all regular university employees, such as paid time for quarantine, are also applicable to employees funded by sponsored awards. We anticipate these costs will be allowable on sponsored awards. Departments and principal investigators may contact the Office of Sponsored Programs if there are further questions: https://research.uic.edu/sponsoredprograms/find-contacts/
These guidelines will be updated as needed or as the campus operating status changes.
Differential pay will be extended through Phase 3 of Restore Illinois.
Questions about information not addressed here should be directed to your college/unit Human Resources representative.