Employee Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19

Is the University continuing normal operations?

At this time, supervisors should implement plans to socially distance their workforce utilizing telecommuting, alternate work shifts, days, hours and have limited staff on campus no later than March 23, 2020.

In Governor Laura Kelly’s address on March 17, 2020, she indicated that some State employees are ordered to stay home on administrative leave for two (2) weeks beginning March 23, 2020. Does this apply to University employees?

The Governor’s reference to “some State employees” refers only to executive branch employees and does not include employees of Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) institutions.

What should I do if I’m not feeling well or I am ill?

If you are not feeling well or are ill, you are encouraged to stay home from work. Notify your supervisor and use any leave that you might be eligible to use for an illness. This will help keep our workforce healthy.

If you feel that you need to seek medical attention, you are encouraged to contact your primary care physician, the local health department, or use telehealth services through your health plan, if available.

Has the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) made any special provisions for plan participants related to COVID-19?

Yes, Governor Laura Kelly announced four (4) provisions on March 13, 2020 that are effective immediately and for the next 60 days.

  1. SEHP will cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to the COVID-19 at no cost share to member, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response.
  2. SEHP will allow early refills on 30 or 90-day prescription medications and/or allow members to use their mail order benefit.
  3. Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in person medical care has the potential to further spread the virus. SEHP partners with Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to provide Telehealth services with a virtual doctor’s office. There is 24/7/365 access to this service. The member cost share will be waived for any Telehealth service.
  4. For plan participants that reside in the Topeka area, the HealthQuest Health Center available to members enrolled in the health plan, is located at 901 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka
    • Phone screening is recommended before going to the center: 785-783-4080
    • If a patient walks into the clinic, they will have them put on a mask and clean their hands with hand sanitizer. The health center staff will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and recommend they isolate if the initial findings and/or symptoms present are a positive indicator for the virus.
    • Testing is not available at the health center for COVID-19 and the clinic will refer all patients that meet the risk criteria to the local health department for testing and further evaluation.
What are telehealth services?

Telehealth services are virtual doctor’s office visits and are available in the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) medical plans. Aetna provides telehealth services through Teledoc and Blue Cross Blue Shield provides telehealth services through Amwell. If you are covered by another health plan, please check with your health plan provider to see if telehealth services are available.

What options do I have if I or a family member have a medical condition that makes me vulnerable to COVID-19?

If you or a family member are part of a medically vulnerable population and are concerned about contracting COVID-19 by reporting to work, please contact the Human Resources office at 316-978-3065 or e-mail TotalRewards@wichita.edu to discuss leave benefits that you may qualify for under the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What should I do if I need to request leave related to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus)?

You can contact the Human Resources office at 978-3065 or e-mail TotalRewards@wichita.edu. They will send you a Leave Request form specifically related to COVID-19. You can also access the form at Wichita.edu/covid19news.

What if I need to take leave because I am sick or have a compromised immune system, but do not have enough vacation, sick or other accrued time to use?

Notify your supervisor, stay home and do not come to work. Please contact the Human Resources office at 316-978-3065 or e-mail TotalRewards@wichita.edu to discuss leave benefits or alternative work arrangements that you may qualify for under the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What should I do if I have if I don't have a medical condition, but I am concerned about workplace exposure to COVID-19?

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is of the utmost importance. We are closely monitoring the status of COVID-19 and updates specific to Wichita State University will be provided on Wichita.edu/covid19news.

We understand that members of the Wichita State University community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. The HR Total Rewards team encourages employees who feel anxious or worried about COVID-19 to contact the State of Kansas Employee Assistance Plan, or EAP, which is available to help. Kansas EAP is available 24/7 at 888-275-1205, press option 1.

What do I do if I am returning from a location that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises self-isolation and not returning to work?

Employees should follow CDC travel health guidance when self-isolation or not returning to work for a period of time is advised. If an employee is required to self-isolate and/or stay at home based on these guidelines, they should use approved leave and monitor their health during travel and for the recommended 14 days after returning to the United States. A request for leave related to COVID-19 may be done by phoning Human Resources at 978-3065 or by emailing TotalRewards@wichita.edu or by accessing the site dedicated to COVID-19 updates for WSU — Wichita.edu/covid19news.

If I have a possible exposure to COVID-19 or illness and am required to go home for self-isolation, will I get paid?

If you are required to self-isolate, you may be eligible to receive COVID-19 Administrative Leave.

Can I choose to work from home or an alternate location?

Upon prior authorization from your supervisor and if business operations allow, employees may request telecommuting from home or an alternate location. Faculty members should seek approval from the appropriate department chair, head or dean.

If you request to work from home/alternative location, you should discuss with your supervisor to identify the location you wish to work from and for how long. The supervisor will either approve or deny the request, based on business needs. The supervisor should also clearly identify the expectations for the work and the time period approved. You should be in regular contact with your supervisor during this time about your work, productivity, etc. Supervisors may, at any time, adjust the arrangement for employees to work from home/alternate work location.

Who determines if I may work from home or an alternate location?

During the COVID-19 period, departments have been authorized to make this decision. Factors to consider are type of job duties and whether they can be performed remotely and/or if the employee is considered at high risk of serious illness if infected with the illness.

When can I start working from home or an alternate location during the COVID-19 period?

The decision has been delegated to the departments and may start immediately. For at-risk employees, the sooner the better.

Am I required to have a dedicated home office for telecommuting?

Employees can work from any alternative work site that allows them to perform the duties of their position.

Where can I find tips and resources for working at home or an alternate work location?

If you need tips for working from home or an alternate work location, you can find information on the Wichita.edu/covid19news webpage.

If you need guidance on remote work tools, please go to the Working Remotely Resources website. The site includes instructions regarding how to stay connected from a remote location (VPN access to your work computer), web conferencing options, and telecommunications options for voicemail and forwarding calls.

What if I need to work from home or an alternate location, but I do not have resources to work at home?

The University has leased 200 dell laptops that are expected to arrive on March 25, 2020. It will take ITS two to three days to have all the laptops ready for distribution. Of the total, 170 are prioritized for faculty use, and 30 are prioritized for staff use. Please go to the Working Remotely Resources website to submit a ticket to request a laptop. Once approved, the faculty / staff member will receive an email regarding when and where they can pick up the device. It is possible that not everyone submitting a request will be approved. The laptops are required to be returned back to ITS when we return to normal operations, unless the College / Department chooses to continue the lease arrangement.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A LIMITED SUPPLY AND IS INTENDED FOR THOSE WITH NO OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE.


 

We’ve heard that both students and faculty/staff may have limited or no internet access. We have purchased 150 cellular hotspot devices from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. The timing of delivery is not yet known. We will be adding link to the Working Remotely Resources website to request a device once they are received. These are cellular based, so keep in mind that if in an area with limited cellular access, these likely will not provide the needed internet service.

PLEASE NOTE: LIKE THE LAPTOPS, THIS WILL BE A LIMITED SUPPLY WHEN RECEIVED AND IS NOT INTENDED FOR THOSE WITH EXISTING INTERNET ACCESS AVAILABLE.

If I am having issues with any IT resources, who should I contact?

Your initial contact should be the University IT HelpDesk at helpdesk@wichita.edu or 316-978-HELP, Option 1.

Will the University cover the cost of my personal phone or internet for working at home?

The University is not prepared to reimburse for these costs. If this prevents you from working at home, please coordinate with your supervisor to determine if it would be appropriate for you to work on campus.

If the University suspends operations, will I still get paid?

More information will follow if the University does suspend operations or closes. Various options may be provided, including employees working from home or an alternate location.

How will WSU notify us if operations are changed?

The most up-to-date information about how the University is preparing and handling programs in response to COVID-19 will be posted in WSU Today and Wichita.edu/covid19news.

What if I still have questions regarding leave and work options?

If you have questions regarding the use of leave, please contact the HR Total Rewards team at TotalRewards@wichita.edu. If you have questions about telecommuting or other employment concerns, please contact your supervisor or your department’s HR Business Partner. You may also email HR.ServiceCenter@wichita.edu.