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Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Information + Guidance

Behaviors to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Social Distancing + Off Campus Safety

What is considered social distancing?

Social distancing is keeping 6 feet between you and the next person. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to social distancing.

When is masking, social distancing and other COVID-19 protocol required while not on campus?

Individuals should apply these precautions at all times. You should wear a face covering, practice social distancing and robust personal hygiene in every area of your life in order for these safety protocols to be most effective. This means follow masking and social distancing practices while in public settings – going to the store, library, gym, etc. Evidence supports the effectiveness of wearing a face covering. If you develop symptoms at any time you should go home/return to your residence hall and contact Student Health (620-341-5222) or contact your primary care physician.

Can I gather with friends off campus?

Students, faculty and staff should follow ESU’s safety protocols everywhere you go - including wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and robust personal hygiene). You may gather with your friends any group gathering – family, friends, public settings, but you should avoid large off-campus gatherings and use caution when going to a friend’s place of residence or vice versa (social distance, sit outside when possible, wear a mask). Following safety protocols are critical to keeping our campus community safe, and to the continuation of face-to-face courses.

Wear A Mask

When are masks required?

Faculty, staff, students, vendors and visitors are required to wear a face mask while in campus buildings. They must also be worn in outdoor settings where safe social distancing is not possible. The following in-building exceptions apply:

Employees working alone in their offices

Students in their residence hall room or apartments

While participating in activities in which a face mask cannot be worn, or would prohibit respiratory function (like eating, drinking, playing a musical instrument or singing, playing sports)

Individuals with a recognized disability and have an accommodation that prevents the wearing of a mask.

Mask availability?

Students, faculty and staff are accountable for supplying their own masks. ESU has provided, or made available, cloth masks to students, faculty and staff. Disposable masks are also available when a visitor needs a mask, or in the rare instances when a student, faculty/staff member is without a mask. Disposable masks are not an alternative for students, faculty or staff obtaining their own mask.

Where do I go if I need a disposable mask?

A supply of disposable masks has been distributed to every building on the Emporia campus. Disposable masks are not an alternative for students, faculty or staff obtaining their own mask. Locations where disposable masks have been distributed. Please be aware, the supply of disposable masks is finite.

What if someone is wearing an inappropriate mask?

Masks fall under the same guidelines as the dress code outlined in the policy manual. You may ask the person to replace their mask with a temporary mask.

How to Wear a Mask

Wash your hands before putting on your mask

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

CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent

Wear a Mask to Protect Others

Wear a mask that covers BOTH your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms

Wear a mask in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart

Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection

Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead

Don’t touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect​

Evidence for Effectiveness of Masks

Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain. CDC’s recommendations for masks will be updated as new scientific evidence becomes available.

Face shields

A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.

However, wearing a mask may not be feasible in every situation for some people for example, people who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired. Here are some considerations for individuals who must wear a face shield instead of a mask:

Although evidence on face shields is limited, the available data suggest that the following face shields may provide better source control than others:

Face shields that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin.

Hooded face shields.

Face shield wearers should wash their hands before and after removing the face shield and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth when removing it.

Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use and disposed of according to manufacturer instructions.

Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use according to manufacturer instructions or by following CDC face shield cleaning instructions .

Face shield availability

Face shields were provided to every dean’s office and should only be used as necessary as a result of an accommodation or in instances where instruction requires students to see the faculty’s mouth. Face shields are in limited supply and should not be requested if not a necessity.

Are neck gaiters considered an appropriate face covering?

At this time, Lyon County Public Health has deemed neck gaiters as an approved face covering. Not all neck gaiters are made from the same material. Thus, it may be beneficial to test your neck gaiter via the candle test or light test. The candle test explained, if you can blow out a candle while wearing the gaiter, the gaiter is not effective. The light test explained, if you hold the gaiter up to a light and you can see through the material, it is not an effective gaiter. Research shows if you have a neck gaiter made from thin material, you can fold over the neck gaiter (doubling the layers) to help increase the effectiveness (90% of particles blocked) of the mask.

Can white face masks be worn after Labor Day?

Yes! The old fashion rule to not wear white after Labor Day has gone by the wayside. Wear whatever color of mask makes you happy!

Common COVID-19 Campus Scenario Questions

What if I heard there was a positive COVID case in my class/office/?

You will be contacted by public health if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. If you feel like you have been exposed to COVID-19, students should contact the Student Health Center at 620-341-5222, and faculty/staff should contact their primary care physician.

As faculty/staff, can I confirm a known positive case when asked?

When asked directly about a person’s COVID test status, privacy needs to be kept in mind. Start with reminding the concerned person that any close contacts will be notified by public health regarding the need to quarantine. In general, it is acceptable to confirm with a generic statement such as “I have received notification of a positive COVID case in the classroom” or “we are aware of positive cases of COVID on campus.” ESU has implemented numerous safety protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

Conduct a daily self-assessment to identify COVID-19 symptoms.

Masks are required in all campus buildings, and also outside when social distancing of 6 ft. is not possible.

Maintain social distancing of 6 ft.

Rigorous protocols instructional + classroom procedures and alterations to student services + amenities.

As faculty/staff, what guidance can I give if a student or colleague is concerned about a known positive case?

If someone has been determined to be a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by public health.

Anyone who is concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 can contact their healthcare provider for guidance. Students can contact the Student Health Center at 620-341-5222, and faculty/staff can contact their primary care physician.

The safety protocols implemented on campus – daily self-assessment, mask requirements and classroom alterations that accommodate for social distancing helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

I know that someone in my class/office has tested positive. Should I alert my students/ classmates/ professor/ colleagues?

You should not attempt to notify others of a positive case. Public health has processes and protocols for contact tracing and will conduct notifications. This is a great example of why wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and ensuring proper hand hygiene and disinfecting processes are so important.

Will a class be moved online if someone in the class tests positive?

Not necessarily. This will be managed on a case-by-case basis. The safety protocols implemented on campus – daily self-assessment, mask requirements and classroom/office alterations that accommodate for social distancing helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Will everyone in the class/office need to quarantine if someone tests positive?

Not necessarily. This will be managed on a case-by-case basis. Public health will evaluate the situation, identify close contacts and provide guidance for those who should quarantine. The safety protocols implemented on campus – daily self-assessment, mask requirements and classroom/office alterations that accommodate for social distancing helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Is there a possibility that we will move to all remote learning this semester?

The campus will continue to be monitored very closely as we all get through the pandemic. Classes will transition to remote delivery if we determine that we can no longer provide a reasonably safe environment. ESU will rely on a combination of information from the community and campus that will influence decisions regarding continued face-to-face, remote learning and potential campus closure. Some factors are availability of local Emporia health resources, significant government action (federal, state, local), significant increases in the percentage of positive symptomatic cases or positive surveillance tests and PPE shortages.

SYMPTOMS + POSITIVE TEST RESULTS - STUDENTS

If I develop symptoms what do I do?

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, students may contact the Student Health Center at 620-341-5222.

If I test positive, what should I do?

All students

A positive test result means you must self-isolate at home. You will be contacted by someone in public health who will provide you with next steps. If you have no symptoms you will still be required to isolate for 10 days from the day of your test. Public health will also need information about people you have been in contact with so they can determine and notify close contacts. They will be in contact daily to monitor your symptoms until you complete your isolation. They will then clear you to resume classes on campus.

On-campus students

If you receive notice that you have a positive test result for COVID-19 or if you are directed to quarantine from others, please contact Residential Life staff immediately via phone. This phone call to Res Life staff is in addition to any directives or guidance you receive from a public health official and/or medical provider. When you contact Res Life staff, we will work with you to move from your assigned room to isolation or quarantine housing.

Here are the numbers to call:

Abigail and Schallenkamp:                 620-794-2648

Singular, Towers, and Trusler:           620-794-0706

If I test positive, how will this impact my classes if I can’t return to campus?

Students who test positive are eligible for an Academic Adjustment. Please complete this form at your very earliest convenience. We will work with you and your faculty to minimize disruption in your studies. We’ll provide an alternative method for your classes while you are in isolation. We are also ready to support you with remote campus resources, such as ACES (Academic Center for Excellence and Success) and tele-counseling (call 620-341-5222).

If I think I have been exposed what do I do?

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, students should contact the Student Health Center at 620-341-5222, and faculty/staff may contact their primary care physician.

What is considered a close contact?

KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment) generally defines a close contact as an interaction with an infectious person within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes. A person is generally considered infectious 2 days before symptom onset until released from isolation, or if asymptomatic, from 2 days before tested until released from isolation.

POSITIVE TEST RESULTS – FACULTY/STAFF

If I test positive, what should I do?

A positive test result means you must self-isolate at home. Contact your supervisor and notify them that you have received a positive test, and that you are unable to come to work. Stay in regular contact with your supervisor regarding the direction and guidance you receive from your local public health agency.

Public health nurses in your county will contact you to determine next steps. If you have no symptoms you will likely be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the day of your test. Public health will also need information about people you have been in contact with so they can determine and notify close contacts. They will be in contact daily to monitor your symptoms until you complete your isolation. They will then clear you to come back to campus for work.

Follow the guidance from public health or your health care provider, and do not return to work until you have been cleared to do so by public health or your health care provider.

What happens to my job if I test positive?

If you are able to work remotely, and you feel well, the university will make arrangements so you can continue working.

If you are unable to work due to a positive test result, whether you have symptoms or not, your position is protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). Documentation from your local county public health agency will qualify you for this protected leave.

Follow the guidance from public health or your health care provider, and do not return to work until you have been cleared to do so by public health or your health care provider. Contact Human Resources at humres@emporia.edu with questions.

How will I get paid if I have to be off work?

Under the FFCRA, you have 14 total days of paid leave if you have been diagnosed with, or are exhibiting signs of COVID-19. This time will be reported on your timesheet as Self COVID QRT Leave. You will also need to complete the Employee Leave Form available in Form Central.

If you have used some or all of your allotment of Self COVID QRT Leave prior to the end of your isolation period, you will use your own leave balance. Please contact the Human Resource Office at humres@emporia.edu or Payroll at payrolloffice@emporia.edu regarding any questions or concerns related to leave balances.

What if I’m being harassed, discriminated against or retaliated against as a result of testing positive for COVID-19?

If you believe that you are being discriminated, harassed or retaliated against as a result of a positive test, diagnosis or directive to isolate/quarantine, please contact ESU’s Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Officer, Ray Lauber, or Jennifer Ananda, ESU Title Coordinator, at report@emporia.edu.

As a faculty member, what if I test positive?

Faculty who have tested positive, but are asymptomatic, will be asked to transition face-to-face classes to remote delivery until you are cleared to return to work. If you are unable to teach, the department will utilize established strategies for covering classes.

Follow the guidance from public health or your health care provider, and do not return to work until you have been cleared to do so by public health or your health care provider.

What if I live with someone who tests positive?

Any employee who resides with someone exhibiting symptoms of the virus will continue to be subject to a minimum 14-day quarantine (as determined by the public health department), and the employee will receive full paid leave of the appropriate type for that absence. Employees should record the leave as COVID Dependent Leave. The maximum amount of leave available for this type of leave is 14 days total. Any employee in this situation should inform their supervisor and Human Resources of this fact and should make note of when the household member began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, as well as the last time they were in a State facility or had interactions with any other State employee. Please note that if you have already used this two weeks of paid leave to cover the first two weeks of Childcare Leave, you will need to use your accrued leave balance to cover these two weeks. If you do not have enough leave to cover these two weeks, you may apply for Additional Paid Leave by contacting the Human Resource Office at humres@emporia.edu.

Follow the guidance from public health or your health care provider, and do not return to work until you have been cleared to do so by public health or your health care provider.

General Information

What should I do if I learn I have been exposed to COVID-19?

First, do not come to work. Contact the Flint Hills Community Health Center at 620-208-3741, or refer to the online tool for assistance.

If you are told by Public Health to self-isolate, please follow your regular call-in procedures, and notify your supervisor that you are unable to work due to possible exposure to COVID-19. In the interest of public safety, your supervisor will only inform their chain of command and Human Resources that you are sick with signs of COVID-19.

Human Resources can help you determine how to code the absence on your time sheet.

Please note: If Public Health tests you for COVID-19, you must self-isolate until you have the test results. Depending on your circumstances, Public Health may not administer a test but consider you a “presumptive positive” case, which also requires self-isolation.

What are my options if I live with someone who has an elevated risk of complications with COVID -19?

If someone living in your home is at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 because of a health condition, you can request a work adjustment for the semester. ESU has created a new policy: Work Adjustments for University Employees Cohabitating with At-Risk Individuals During COVID-19 Pandemic.

Under this policy, you will need to provide medical documentation from a qualified healthcare provider certifying that the person who lives with you is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The medical condition must be on the list of 20 listed by the Centers for Disease Control. These are listed in the full policy. For an updated list, refer to the CDC website.

The policy provides five ways you could adjust your work:

Wear additional or alternative personal protective equipment;

Work remotely if that is an option;

Change your scheduled work hours so you are not around as many people on campus; for instance, working in the office when it is not open to the public and other workers have gone home.

Create a “cohort” with other workers in your department. This smaller group would work the same schedule, again reducing the number of people you are around at work.

Use qualifying personal leave, such as vacation. It is also possible, depending on the specific circumstance, that the Family and Medical Leave Act could apply.

If your work adjustment is approved, you will be required to sign a statement that you, all others living in your home and all visitors to your home will follow social distance requirements, wear face masks and practice appropriate hygiene and other public health guidelines in all areas of your life, not just on the ESU campus. This statement will also acknowledge that if you fail to meet these criteria, the work adjustment can be cancelled.

To request a work adjustment, you should contact your supervisor in writing. Full details are available in the policy.

Can I teach from home because of COVID-19 concerns?

ESU faculty do have the option of teaching classes online under very specific circumstances. These are outlined in the policy, Abbreviated Accommodation Request to Teach Online During COVID-19 Pandemic.

A request to teach online rather than in the classroom requires you to show that you are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because of one of 20 medical diagnoses recognized by the Centers for Disease Control. This full list is available at the link above, and will be updated as the CDC updates its information.

Your request to move your class online should be made through Onbase and submitted to your department chair. Access Form Central in Hornet 365 and use the ADA Accommodation for Faculty form in University Business Forms. Or use this direct link: https://bit.ly/2WyZ9ui.

What are the medical conditions considered high-risk?

1. According to the Centers for Disease Control, these conditions bring a higher risk for servere illness from COVID-19. This list is current as of Nov. 10, 2020. The most up-to-date list may be found at https://bit.ly/2D4yiPG

2. Asthma (moderate-to-severe)

3. Cancer

4. Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)

5. Chronic kidney disease

6. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

7. Cystic fibrosis

8. Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

9. Hypertension or high blood pressure

10. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines

11. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant

12. Liver disease

13. Neurologic conditions, such as dementia

14. Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher as medically documented)

15. Overweight (BMI ≥ 25 but < 30)

16. Pregnancy

17. Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)

18. Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

19. Sickle cell disease

20. Smoking (as determined and documented by the health care provider)

21. Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

22. Type 1 diabetes mellitus

23. Type 2 diabetes mellitus

24. Age 65 and over

How is the personal health information for me and my family being protected?

All documentation for work adjustments and accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is sent to Human Resources. The units and departments destroy all of their copies.

All supervisors are being trained to handle these documents appropriately. Emporia State University takes this information and its security very seriously and will address any breaches of personal health information.

What are my options if I have elevated risk of complications with COVID -19?

If you are a staff member of Emporia State University and have a medical diagnosis that the Centers for Disease Controls considers a high-risk factor for serious complications from COVID-19, you can apply for a work accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Staff Abbreviated Accommodation Request During COVID-19 Pandemic outlines the procedure. To qualify under this condensed process, you can request one of two accommodations — work remotely or flex your work schedule.

You must also provide documentation from a health professional that you do have one of the medical conditions on the CDC list.

Your request should be made through Onbase and submitted to your supervisor. Access Form Central in Hornet 365 and use the ADA Accommodation for Staff in the University Business Forms. Or use this direct link: https://bit.ly/30HjEGh