“Return To Work” FAQs
Am I required to physically return to work?
Yes, all current VSU employees who were physically working on campus prior to the pandemic are expected to return to work on campus no later than July 12, 2021, even if you have been performing well remotely in your position. Exceptions have been granted to employees whose supervisors have deemed their position is eligible for telework and have submitted appropriate forms.
What should I do if I am afraid to return to work?
We understand that this pandemic has made people fearful. However, fear alone cannot prevent an employee from returning to work. We want to assure faculty and staff that we are taking all necessary precautions to maintain a safe work environment. Personal protective equipment is available throughout campus to help ensure your safety.
I am unable to return to work due to an underlying health condition, what are my options?
If you are unable to return to campus due to an underlying health condition that makes you vulnerable to COVID-19, you should begin the American Disabilities Act (ADA) interactive process, which starts with a conversation between you and the ADA Coordination Team. The purpose of this process is to allow the ADA Coordination Team an opportunity to do the following:
- Understand how your condition prevents you from returning to work;
- Identify your specific limitations; and
- Determine if there are any reasonable temporary accommodations that will allow you to perform the essential functions of your job.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that accommodations may include changes to the work environment to reduce contact with others, such as using Plexiglas separators or other installing barriers between workstations.
Consideration for a temporary accommodation requires you to submit an application and medical evidence of your underlying medical condition and the physician suggested accommodation(s). The form can be found here.
You will not be required to disclose your medical condition to your supervisor. The ADA Coordination Team will keep your medical information confidential. Once you have completed the form, send it to the Office of Human Resources confidential email address: email@example.com.
It is important to note that submitting an application for temporary accommodation(s) to the ADA Coordination Team does not guarantee approval.
If I have been denied for a work accommodation, what are my options?
If you cannot return to the workplace and based on your Employee Work Profile (EWP) your position must be performed on campus (due to supervision of students or other job-related functions that can only be performed on campus), there may be other options:
- Option 1 – you can use any personal leave balances (in accordance with policy)
- Option 2 – you can submit the appropriate documentation requesting eligibility/usage of Family Medical Leave (FMLA) if eligible. Because FMLA is unpaid leave, you can use your available leave to continue your pay during your absence.
What are my options if I have an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19?
Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on association with an individual with a disability, that protection is limited to different treatment or harassment. The ADA does not require that an employer accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom she/he is associated. If you are unable to work remotely and choose not to come to work due to an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition, you may use one of the options noted above.
Am I required to be vaccinated before returning to work?
While getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines is not a requirement for returning to campus, it is strongly encouraged. Vaccinations are safe, effective, and free. More information is available on the CDC website. In addition:
- VSU is working to make vaccinations available on campus in the fall semester.
- VaccineFinder is a helpful resource to find vaccination locations near you.
- We encourage you to speak with your primary care physician if you have additional questions or concerns about any of the COVID-19 vaccines.
If I am vaccinated, do I need to provide my vaccination card prior to returning?
No. Faculty and staff are not required to provide a copy of the vaccination card.
Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to work?
Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. No-cost testing is available on campus in Whiting Hall.
If vaccinated, am I required to be tested?
It is always good to know your status. It is strongly recommended that faculty and staff get tested for COVID-19 monthly. No-cost testing is available on campus in Whiting Hall. The University will be conducting surveillance testing for vaccinated and non-vaccinated faculty, staff and students.
If I have COVID-19 symptoms, what should I do?
The University encourages employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or who have a sick family member with COVID-19 symptoms, to notify their supervisor and stay home. If you are well enough, you can continue to telework with approval from your supervisor. We encourage you to contact your Primary Care Physician to seek medical care and to confirm your status. Please note that if you are absent for three days or more, you are required to submit the appropriate documentation to your supervisor and Human Resources to include any available leave (sick, annual or family/personal) to cover for your absence.
What is the protocol for social distancing in offices/workspaces/ classrooms?
In classrooms, the social distancing requirements will be three-feet (3-ft) a part. In shared office spaces, you are required to wear your masks, and if you have an office alone, you are not required to wear your mask. Transparent shields or other barriers may be utilized where possible to separate employees and visitors where social distancing is not an option. To request a transparent shield and any other PPE items, please work with your supervisor for additional assistance.
Do I have to wear a mask or face covering at work?
If you are vaccinated and in an office alone, you do not need to wear a mask while in your office. However, if you are working in a common space, shared with other faculty and staff, it is recommended that you wear a mask. We require all faculty, staff and students who are not vaccinated to wear face coverings at all times while inside on campus with the exception of when alone in a private office or outdoors in settings where you are able to maintain appropriate social distancing. If you have a medical condition that restricts you from wearing a mask or face covering, please contact HR@VSU.EDU for additional guidance.
What safety protocols have been implemented on campus?
We have and are taking every precaution to ensure our workplace is safe. We are following federal health and safety guidelines as well as guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. We have implemented temperature check and sanitizing stations throughout the campus. In addition, the University has purchased an abundance of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used while on campus. Receiving the vaccine, masking and frequent hand washing is still strongly encouraged and considered the best safe guard against COVID-19.
Who do I contact to get PPE?
Please contact your Dean/Chair/Supervisor to get items ordered and distributed immediately. The supervisors will coordinate with the Building Managers to secure the necessary PPE.
Whom can I contact if none of the questions above fit my situation?
You can send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will reach out to you as soon as possible. https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws