Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Staff FAQ

Working Remotely

Are USF employees reporting to work as normal? (4/1)

President Currall continues to urge any USF employees who can work from home to do so until further notice. Only employees who have been designated as critical staff by Emergency Management for the purpose of the COVID-19 response should come to campus for any reason. These employees have official documentation from Emergency Management that they must keep with them at all times while on campus.

Employees whose job duties do not allow for remote work should work with their supervisors to design work arrangements that fulfill their obligations while complying with CDC social distancing guidance and protecting their health, as well as the health of others. If you have questions or concerns about your specific work assignment, contact your supervisor or Division of Human Resources Employee Relations team at employee-relations@usf.edu or your Regional HR Office or USF Health HR Office.

What about health care-delivery employees? (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.

What if I am unable to report to work or work remotely? (3/15)

Employees whose personal situations prevent them from working, or who choose to self-isolate on their own accord away from work duties, may use one of the following types of time off, with supervisory approval:

  • Accrued annual leave
  • Accrued sick leave (if the employee or family member is ill, consistent with USF policy)
  • Unpaid leave

Employees should contact their immediate supervisors as soon as possible once they know they will be unable to report to work to develop a plan. 

How can I conduct staff and/or departmental meetings remotely? (3/15)

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 assist students who are not returning home and are likely to be on campus – should I still be available to meet with them face-to-face or should all interactions with students be conducted virtually? (3/19)

To the extent possible, meetings should be conducted remotely. There may be exceptional circumstances where this is not feasible, but the intent of the current directive is to reduce face-to-face contact as per CDC guidelines.

Is there a template for the remote work plans we are devising with our supervisors? What specifically should be documented in these plans? (3/19)

There is not a university-wide template; however, the employee relations department can assist supervisors in creating acceptable plans. Please reach out to employee-relations@usf.edu to request assistance.

Am I required to work traditional workday hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or may I flex my hours? (3/19)

Employees should work directly with their supervisors to determine an appropriate telework schedule.

What do I tell my student workers, graduate assistants and Federal Work Study (FWS) students? Should I create work assignments they can complete at home? Usually they greet guests and answer phones (FWS). (3/19)

As long as the campus continues to remain open and operational, supervisors should adjust work assignments to be more conducive to current operations.

We have a main number that receives frequent calls. How do we manage these calls from home? (3/19)

This capability and capacity is being reserved for emergency operations. It is suggested that an “out of office” message be created for these main numbers that give the caller the email address of a commonly monitored mailbox where contact information can be left.

I work with personnel files – how do I access them from home? (3/19)

Unfortunately, sensitive information cannot be taken off campus.

A lot of what our teams do (human resources, accounting, research administration) is process things to send somewhere else on campus. What expectations do we have for the ability of these central offices to keep functioning as per usual? (3/19)

Many central offices are communicating their operating availability using listservs and through their websites. If you are unsure of availability, employees should reach out directly to other central departments.

Technology Resources

Can our technology infrastructure support a large influx of users? (3/15)

Yes. A majority of the technology is provided by cloud vendors, USF IT has been in touch with these vendors to ensure that there is adequate capacity to handle the increased demand. IT however anticipates significant demand on its manpower which could result in longer than normal wait times on the phones. IT continues to encourage the use of live-chat options for faster resolution. Contact the IT Service Desk.

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.

My operational responsibilities at USF have shut down temporarily. What do I do now? (3/19)

Please talk to your supervisor to explore the possibility of assignment of alternative responsibilities related to your skills and expertise during the temporary shutdown.

If my job duties are temporarily suspended, is it okay to take on new or different responsibilities to help my unit? (3/19)

Each supervisor is responsible for assigning and monitoring work assignments/completions for their employees.

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: 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: 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: 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

If we are on campus, will we be provided with sanitizing supplies to further clean our areas? (3/19)

With the nationwide shortages in sanitizers and related materials, we cannot provide supplies to individual buildings or occupants. To the extent possible, we are allotting these supplies to areas that have high traffic. In addition, building services is making best efforts to redeploy staff to clean high traffic and high touch areas on a more frequent basis.

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.