Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Staff FAQ

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Returning to Campus

When will employees be allowed to return to campus? (8/7)

A number of USF employees are already back on campus as part of the university’s phased plan. On August 6, the university moved into Phase II of our plan, which allows no more than 50% of our employees on campus at any time. It also affirms that all employees who can work remotely should continue to do so. 

Your dean, department chair or other unit leader will contact you if your return to campus is upcoming.

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.

Can face-to-face meetings and/or events resume in Phase II?  (8/21)

No. All meetings and events should continue to be held virtually. While some classes are resuming face to face, it is our intention to minimize any other face-to-face interactions whenever possible. Limited exceptions may be considered and must be reviewed in advance by the COVID-19 Task Force.

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? (8/11)

View the Exposure to possible/confirmed COVID-19 case and the Employee Possible/Confirmed COVID-19 Case flowcharts for details.

Employees working remotely should continue to do so until otherwise notified. 

Healthy Campus Environment

How will the university keep employees safe? (8/7)

The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students is our highest priority as we plan for resuming additional operations on campus. Our enhanced safety precautions include installing thousands of signs with reminders that face coverings are required, to maintain physical distancing and practice good hygiene. Adjustments have been made to our facilities, such as plexiglass shields and limits on room and elevator capacities. New outdoor spaces have been identified and will be furnished as places to work or study between classes.  

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 and those in residential housing. Additionally, a random sampling of students, faculty and staff who are returning to campus for the fall semester will be selected for testing. 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. 

The success of our plan relies on USF’s culture of caring and a shared sense of responsibility to sustain the well-being of our community, even in our daily lives when we’re not on campus. Anyone who feels sick should stay home.

What is the plan for testing employees when they return to campus? (7/29)

Prior to the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester, all students, faculty and staff will receive and be required to complete a Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment 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 and those in residential housing. Additionally, a random sampling of students, faculty and staff who are returning to campus for the fall semester will be selected for testing. 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. 

To learn more, please review the July 29 update

Can I get a COVID-19 test on campus? (11/6)

COVID-19 testing is available on each of the USF campuses. These sites will close prior to Thanksgiving and will reopen January 2021 (dates TBD).

  • Tampa campus: Testing is available on campus through the Hillsborough County testing site located in the parking lot adjacent to the USF Health Therapy (MDT) building until Nov. 12. Please check the county website for details. Staff can also contact Student Health Services for possible testing accommodations.
  • St. Petersburg campus: A testing site will be open every Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside of the Student Life Center by, appointment only until Nov. 18
  • Sarasota-Manatee campus: Testing will be conducted outside of the SMD building by appointment only on Thursdays from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. until Nov. 19Faculty, staff and students who wish to be tested for COVID-19 must register for an appointment online prior to that date.

Where do I find information on the USF Daily Symptom Check, random testing and cluster screening protocol? (8/31)

Please review the Testing page in the Returning to Campus section for more information on the USF Daily Symptom Check, random testing and cluster screening. 

Will I be required to wear a face covering or PPE when returning to campus? Will USF provide coverings/PPE? (9/3)

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 requires wearing face coverings in outdoor public spaces on campus when in the presence of others.

USF will provide cloth face masks to those who may need them. Cloth neck buffs (also known as neck gaiters) will no longer be distributed. 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? (8/7)

Each student, staff and faculty member will receive two reusable and washable cloth face coverings when they return to campus. The university is centrally purchasing and providing certain hygiene and cleaning supplies, and has installed hand sanitizer vending machines across all campus locations. Please visit the Administrative Services Coronavirus Supplies page for details on available supplies and signage, and for maps of hand sanitizer vending machine locations.

We have installed and will maintain standardized disinfecting and sanitizing supplies for all campuses and will provide disposable sanitizing wipes, spray bottles, etc., dependent on supply. Administrative Services and Facilities Management will maintain all USF standardized disinfecting and sanitizing supplies, and staff will be dedicated to monitoring and refilling the standardized sanitizer stations/bottles/kits, disposable sanitizing wipes and restroom hand washing supplies. Please contact your supervisor or building manger for questions about cleaning protocol and with supply requests.

Are USF employees allowed to travel? (11/13)

The current prohibition on any university-sponsored travel, whether international or domestic remains in effect. Any personal travel remains strongly discouraged; in emergency situations where travel is unavoidable faculty and staff should discuss their plans with their unit or departmental leadership to determine whether self-quarantine and/or COVID-19 testing will be required and should make contingency plans (i.e. working remotely or taking annual leave) should self-isolation be necessary upon their return.

Requests for travel relating to essential research purposes are being reviewed by the COVID-19 Task Force and can be submitted hereRead more about travel here.

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, Attendance and Leave

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.

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.

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. 

Facilities and Services

I need to request COVID-19 supplies, such as face coverings and sanitation kits. Where do I do that? (8/7)

USF Administrative Services is centrally purchasing and providing certain supplies. Visit their website to learn more about what is available and how to request those supplies.

Are our buildings open? (8/7)

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, and all staff must complete the Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment by August 7. Please confirm with your supervisor expectations about returning to campus for the fall. 

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.


WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For additional questions about USF and coronavirus, contact usf.edu/covidquestions