Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Staff FAQ

Returning to Campus

When will employees be allowed to return to campus? (6/23)

A number of USF employees are already back on campus as part of the university’s phased plan. On June 15, the university moved into Phase I of our plan, which allows no more than 25% of our employees on campus at any time.

We hope to advance to Phase II of the plan beginning on June 29, which allows even more employees to return to campus. Your dean, department chair or other unit leader will contact you if your return to campus is upcoming.

Our intention is to reach Phase III of the plan by the start of the fall semester, at which point up to 75% of employees will be able to be back on campus.

Are health care-delivery employees reporting to work? (3/15)

USF Health clinical staff, Student Health Services staff and veterinary staff are expected to report to work as usual unless they receive separate guidance from their supervisors.

Will face-to-face classroom instruction resume in Phase I? (6/23)

No. All course instruction continues online.

Can face-to-face meetings and/or events resume in Phase I?  (6/23)

No. Events and meetings will continue to be held online during Phase I. Additionally, all common areas and gathering spaces will remain closed.

Staff and faculty can conduct meetings remotely via Microsoft Teams. Teams combines persistent chat rooms, video/voice, file sharing, meetings, and many other features into one application. Teams is a great solution for a group of any size, allowing you to take the conversation anywhere you go. Find more information on how to access and use Microsoft Teams.

I am in a high-risk category and am not comfortable returning to campus. What do I do? (6/23)

In the early phases of returning to regular on campus work, employees able to continue working remotely should be permitted to do so. Our return-to-campus plan has further guidance for employees not able to work remotely, but who are concerned about returning to campus. Employees limited in returning to campus because of a disability, for example, should consult Central HR or your unit’s HR professional to consider available options for ADA accommodations or the possibility of FMLA leave. If an employee is limited in returning to campus due to general concerns, then regular leave and assignment policies should apply.

Faculty members in a “high risk” category will be given priority to teach their courses online as a reasonable accommodation consistent with their collective bargaining agreement.

I have been instructed to report back to campus in phase I or phase II; however, I have some concerns about returning so soon. Whom should I contact? (6/23)

Please contact the Employee Relations team or your Regional HR office and they will assist you.

What are the guidelines to returning to work on campus after being exposed to COVID-19 and/or testing positive/negative? (7/3)

Employees working remotely should continue to do so until otherwise notified. (Based on CDC Recommendations May 2, 2020)

Any High-Risk Contact (household member tests positive, co-worker tests positive and person has been in close contact with that person for at least 15 minutes, Florida Department of Health indicates there has been high risk exposure)

  • Exclude from work until:
    • 14 days have passed since the exposure

*Testing recommended

Persons with Symptoms awaiting a COVID-19 Test Result

  • Exclude from work:
    • While awaiting test results
    • May return to work following a negative test if symptoms clear or a non-COVID-19 diagnosis has been made. If symptoms do not improve, follow-up with a medical provider who may suggest retesting

Negative COVID-19 Test with Symptoms

  • As above, may return if symptoms clear or if a non-COVID-19 diagnosis is made. If symptoms do not improve, follow-up with a medical provider who may suggest retesting

Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Test with Symptoms

  • Exclude from work until:
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
    • AND at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)

Confirmed Positive COVID-19 test without Symptoms 

  • Exclude from work until:
    • 10 days have passed since the date of the first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since the test 

NOTE:  Special Considerations apply if the employee or the student is a health care worker

Healthy Campus Environment

How will the university keep employees safe? (6/23)

The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students is our highest priority as we plan for resuming additional operations on campus. A variety of mitigation measures will be implemented to maintain a healthy environment, including requiring face coverings in enclosed spaces such as classrooms or conference rooms, enhancing cleaning protocols and following CDC guidance on physical distancing and limiting the number of people in spaces.

As members of our community, you must take it upon yourselves to stay home if you feel sick and practice good hygiene by frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer. It is imperative that we all see this as a shared responsibility to adopt these new behaviors for the health and safety of the entire university community, especially staying mindful of any individuals who are at high risk or may have family members considered as such.

What is the plan for testing employees when they return to campus? (6/23)

Prior to the first day of the Fall 2020 semester, all faculty, staff and students will receive and be required to complete a Baseline Symptom Tracker Survey to evaluate their exposure to COVID-19, current state of COVID-19 symptoms, and whether they will be physically returning to any of the USF campuses for the fall semester. A certain segment of the USF community will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing before the start of the fall semester, including student-athletes, students returning from international locations, and those returning from locations with COVID-19 positivity rates of more than 7 percent.

Additionally, residential students and a random sampling of 10 percent of students will be required to be tested. Any student, faculty and staff whose COVID-19 test comes back positive will be notified of their test results and instructed to self-isolate away from campus until medically cleared. Additional details will be available in the complete plan. 

Will I be required to wear a face covering or PPE when returning to campus?  Will USF provide coverings/PPE? (7/9)

The University of South Florida requires students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear face coverings inside university facilities on campus including, but not limited to, classrooms, conference rooms, shared work spaces, academic and administrative buildings, lobbies and lounge areas, research facilities, residence halls, student unions, performance spaces, retail spaces, museums, libraries and dining facilities.  Anyone using a dining facility should cover their face until they sit down to eat and then put the face covering back on immediately after. 

Face coverings are required when moving through shared spaces (lobbies, elevators, stairwells, lounges, etc.), when using campus public transportation and while inside university vehicles or golf carts if more than one person is present.

Face coverings may be removed when inside of a private building space, such as a single use, completely enclosed office or residence hall room. Based on the latest research that suggests the coronavirus can travel through the air and transfer from person to person, face coverings should be worn in cubicles even if they are spaced at least six feet apart and have vertical barriers in place between workstations.

USF recommends wearing face coverings in outdoor public spaces on campus when six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following for properly wearing a face covering:

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily

Any individuals who fail to comply with these requirements may face consequences, starting with removal from the class, workspace or activity until university guidance is followed.   

  • Students who have medical issues that may make wearing face coverings difficult should contact Dr. Joseph Puccio at USF Student Health Services:jpuccio@usf.edu.  Faculty and staff should contact Dr. Asa Oxner at USF Health: aoxner@usf.edu.         
  • Children under age 2 are exempt.
  • Both washable cloth and disposable face coverings are acceptable, as long as the employee is not in an area or performing a task in which a higher level of Personal Protection Equipment is required.


The university has purchased two reusable and washable cloth face coverings for each student, staff, and faculty member. They will be made available upon your return to campus. You can find information on how to request face coverings and other supplies on the Administrative Services website.

Will there be any protection for me, other than a face covering? Plexiglass shield? Anything? (6/23)

Additional Personal Protective Equipment including, but not limited to, gloves and face shields will be provided if the daily activity/tasks necessitate the usage of such equipment. Facilities Management/Environmental Health & Safety will evaluate all products and associated application processes to ensure appropriate PPE is identified and available for end users. Information regarding the proper use, risks (if any), proper health & safety practices and PPE requirements will be provided to all end users.

Are USF employees allowed to travel over summer? (6/23)

The university continues to restrict domestic and international travel for university-related business. While we cannot restrict personal travel, USF employees are asked to follow CDC guidance and abide by any statewide travel restrictions and executive orders that are in place.

At this time, the state advises against travel to the tristate area (NY, NJ & Connecticut), and requires a 14-day quarantine period for anyone traveling to Florida from these areas. Although domestic travel to regions outside of these areas is not prohibited on personal time, out of an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety, employees should self-isolate after domestic travel and monitor their symptoms daily. If they are already working remotely, this should not be a problem. If they are essential employees and must be on campus, they must wear a face coverings at all times and must do everything possible to stay away from people while monitoring their symptoms for two weeks from when they return to Tampa. If they develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and contact a medical provider close to where they live.

What should I do if I see students congregating or failing to maintain physical distancing on campus? What if they are not wearing face coverings while congregating or walking on campus? (6/23)

A marketing campaign will be implemented to educate faculty, staff and students on the new requirements and expectations set for the benefit of community health. Our new community expectations are a shared responsibility and are designed for everyone to follow and enforce. Education is the most important aspect of this campaign, so we’re asking that you help to remind our students of this shared responsibility and provide information on where face coverings may be accessed if they do not have one. Additional information and training will be made available on requirements and escalation processes.

How will we decide when it’s okay to begin moving away from guidelines put in place for physical distancing, wearing a face covering, etc.? (6/23)

Decisions on how and when the university will continue to move through its plan will be made using the latest information and guidance from health professionals. We do not expect linear implementation of this plan and will need to adapt as circumstances change and each campus may progress through the phases at the rate appropriate to each local health environment. We will continue to monitor data on COVID-19 or other communicable diseases that pose a risk to our community and will institute measures as necessary to mitigate transmission. 

Technology Resources

I don’t have a computer at home and/or sufficient high-speed internet access, can I come to the office and/or take a USF computer home with me? (3/19)

If a suitable computer and high-speed internet access are not available, you should consult with your supervisor to develop a plan to use the computer while at your office location, consistent with appropriate social distancing as needed to safeguard your health and that of the campus community. Should you have the need for special accommodations, please consult with your supervisor. Employees may be permitted to take their office computer home to conduct business remotely.

If your supervisor agrees to allow you to utilize your office computer, monitor, or other university equipment at home, you must fill out the Off-Campus Property Permit form and submit it to your supervisor for approval. Please keep a copy of the approved form with you. Campus police are stepping up enforcement during this time to prevent theft and they may ask you to produce the form or request ID to confirm the removal of the property is approved.

How do I best protect sensitive information while working on my home computer? (3/19)

We ask that you be very careful in accessing data and help to protect sensitive data from “data leaks.” Data leak is the unauthorized transmission of information from inside an organization to an external recipient(s). Working from home and accessing USF data can create opportunities for data leaks as home networks and computers are not protected as robustly as the USF network. When data is moved out of USF servers and outside the network, via email or simply copied with a USB drive, university security measures cannot protect that data.

Observe the following rules when working from home:

  1. Do not copy university data to your home desktop or laptop.
  2. Use USF cloud storage Box or Microsoft One Drive to store your work files.
  3. Keep sensitive data out of sight.
  4. Do not use public Wi-Fi whenever possible.
  5. Immediately report a lost or stolen electronic device containing USF data.

Contact the IT Help Desk if you have any questions.

If I download the Teams app for my smartphone, will I incur data charges/minutes for using it for work meetings? (3/19)

Yes, subject to your individual mobile data usage plan, you may incur charges unless your phone is connected to home/other wireless connection.

Human Resources and Job Duties

Is Human Resources open on campus? (3/19)

No. HR is not accepting walk-ins for the safety of all involved and staff is working remotely.

For general questions, please call 813-974-2970 or email your questions directly to the teams below.

Will payroll continue without interruption? (3/19)

Yes, the university is open, and payroll will be processed. Employees are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit if they haven’t already done so. For those not on direct deposit, paper checks will be printed and mailed from the Controller’s Office on Thursdays (both bi-weekly regular payroll checks and on-demand payroll checks).

We have a new hire starting during the current remote work/instruction period. How do we handle that? (3/19)

Any offers of employment already made with a firm start date will be able to start as planned. Please coordinate an alternative onboarding plan for your new hire, including a remote work schedule, flexible work arrangements, personal contact information from you as the supervisor to answer questions, etc. This includes candidates whose offers were made or are in the queue to be made with future start dates. For questions please contact the appropriate HR team from the selections listed in the foregoing answers.

I was in the middle of hiring for a position, should I continue with that process? (3/19)

The decision to continue non-faculty hiring processes are delegated to the deans and VPs of the various campus units. Contact the dean or VP in your area for specific questions. For faculty hiring, please see the Provost’s guidance.

What about background, reference checks and other hiring protocols? (3/19)

Compliance regulations are still applicable. Individuals continue to be held responsible for criminal background checks, education and I-9 verifications, and other clearances. If you have questions about processing these items, please submit an inquiry online. For questions contact the appropriate HR team from the selections listed in the foregoing answers.

I am teleworking. How do I submit my timesheet? (3/19)

The university has approved the use of Docusign (an electronic approval and document forwarding tool) to process/approve all timesheets for remote workers. Instructions on how to utilize Docusign has been sent to each department Leave Coordinator. Should you need assistance in using Docusign, please contact your Leave Coordinator directly. Find a list of departmental Leave Coordinators. For employees who continue to work from campus, please continue to use your current process to submit timesheets.

Attendance and Leave

What leave guidance is applicable to employees who are, or have a family member, infected with COVID-19? (3/27)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides certain employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Please visit the HR website for more details.

If I am sick, will a healthcare provider’s note be required to return to work? (3/19)

USF has elected to follow the CDC’s advice in that if someone is sick with an acute respiratory illness, the requirement for a note from a healthcare provider in that instance will be waived. Per the CDC, employees must be free of fever for at least 72 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medications.

Facilities and Services

Are our buildings open? Should we be restricting hours? Restricting access to computer labs? Should the main building receptionist continue to report to work? (3/19)

Currently, the campus is on “weekend mode,” meaning that most buildings are locked but that staff swipe cards should allow entry should you need access. However, travel to and from campus is discouraged in the best interest of all concerned.

What does it mean to say “research labs are open” for staff? Are staff associated with labs expected to report to work? (3/19)

Employees should speak to their supervisors directly to determine if telework is possible, or if employees will be required to work from campus.

Will mail delivery continue? (3/19)

Tampa campus: The mail services will receive and sort the mail and hold it for pickup at the post office for security purposes and to prevent delivering to empty offices. Departments that desire mail to be delivered to a different location should coordinate with the Post Office; otherwise, they will have to pick up mail at least once a week. Authorization forms for pickup can be found online.

St. Petersburg campus: As of now, mail services will receive and sort the mail and is continuing delivery attempts. Mail services staff will not deliver mail to empty offices and will hold mail for pickup at the central mail room. Departments should consider picking up mail on regular intervals at least once a week. Persons will have to produce identification to allow pickup.

Sarasota-Manatee campus: Mail services will hold mail centrally for pick up.

Will supplies still be delivered to central receiving? (3/19)

Central receiving will continue normal operations. Deliveries will be attempted, but if a department contact is not available to take possession, items will be stored in Central Receiving until contacted to make the delivery. Contact information for Central Receiving is located here.

Are contractors, compliance/inspections and other external personnel still allowed to have access to campus? (3/19)

As long as the campus remains open and operational, construction contractors may access their jobsites on campus. Transactions with other vendors should be conducted remotely.

General

I know of a USF student who needs financial help. Where do I refer them to? (4/27)

Eligible students may apply online for CARES Act funding beginning April 27 through August 7, 2020, or until all funds are exhausted.

Half of the CARES Act funding is going to USF students as required by the federal government. How is the university using the other 50 percent of the funds distributed? (4/27)

Institutions will receive allocations and guidance for the institutional share of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the coming weeks. Institutions will be able to use these funds to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.

I'm really stressed out. I'm nervous about being able to do my job. Is this a normal feeling? (3/19)

The university offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides support and assistance for a variety of concerns.


WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For additional questions about USF and coronavirus, contact COVIDquestions@usf.edu.