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Cohabitating with At-Risk Individuals During COVID-19 Pandemic

Work Adjustment Guidelines


In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, employees cohabitating with individuals at higher risk of complications related to COVID-19 are provided an opportunity to work with their department supervisors on work adjustments to help reduce the potential of exposure to themselves, and thereby their cohabitants.

The work adjustment program is provided at the sole discretion of the University, and, outside of any applicable federal or state entitlements, may be withdrawn at any time for any reason, as long as that reason does not violate any protections afforded to the employee.

  • The protections offered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and most other related laws only apply to employees themselves and do not apply to when considering the status of the employee’s family or household member.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with protected time away from work, paid or unpaid, and may be available if a family member has a qualifying serious health condition.

This program does not guarantee work adjustments but provides opportunities for employees and supervisors to engage in conversation which may result in work adjustments. All decisions made by the university are final, and not subject to appeal.

The University’s Executive Team, consisting of the Vice President’s and President, will review the program and extend the program on a semester-by-semester basis, at least 30 days prior to the end of the semester period. If the Executive Team does not renew/extend the program in that timeframe, the program will sunset, and the work adjustments will end with the conclusion of the current semester.

Employees will renew their requests each semester. All documentation submitted in relation to this program will be maintained in the employee’s Human Resources medical file.

By requesting to participate in this program, the employee accepts up front the reasonable expectation that the employee, cohabitants of the employee, and visitors of the employee and cohabitant’s home will:

a) Socially distance in every walk of life, not just at Emporia State University.

b) Wear masks inside structures where individuals beyond the employee’s control may risk exposure.

c) Practice appropriate hygiene and other applicable guidelines issued by federal, state, and local levels.

d) The employee will acknowledge that failure to meet these guidelines will end the work adjustment.

Please follow the process detailed below and contact Human Resources with any questions.

Qualifications for Work Adjustments Due to Needs of Cohabitant

To qualify for work adjustments, the employee must:

1) Work in a position requiring face-face delivery of services that, for business purposes, have been identified to not be eligible for working remotely.

2) Limit their request to one or more of the following work adjustments:

  • Alternative/additional personal protective equipment for the employee (depending upon the cost, the cost may be shared with the employee as determined by the department).
  • Working remotely, if remote work is an option.
  • Flexible scheduling, allowing the employee to work during times that reduce the potential for exposure at work.
  • Cohorting with others in the office to reduce exposure.
  • The use of qualifying personal leave (generally not sick leave)

3) Submit a statement certifying that the employee does in fact regularly cohabitate with the individual.

4) Provide medical documentation from a qualified health care provider certifying the cohabitant is at higher risk for severe illness arising from COVID-19 as a result of one or more of the conditions identified at higher risk by the CDC.

  • The documentation should not include a diagnosis, but certify that the health care provider has read and understands the at risk health conditions as defined by the CDC, and that the cohabitant(s) are in fact at risk as a result of one or more health conditions identified by the CDC. For reference, as of 7/13/20, these include:

a) Asthma (moderate-to-severe)

b) Cancer

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

d) Chronic kidney disease

e) COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

f) Cystic fibrosis

g) Hypertension or high blood pressure

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

i) Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant

j) Liver disease

k) Neurologic conditions, such as dementia

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

m) Overweight (BMI ≥ 25 but < 30)

n) Pregnancy

o) Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)

p) Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

q) Sickle cell disease

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

s) Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

t) Type 1 diabetes mellitus

u) Type 2 diabetes mellitus

v) Age 65 and over

5) Renew the work adjustment request on a semester-by-semester basis by following this process.

Requests for work adjustments outside of these criteria will not be eligible for consideration. These criteria will be updated appropriately in conjunction with guidance provided by the CDC.

Process for Requesting Work Adjustments

1) Prior to the beginning of the next semester, the employee will email their supervisor indicating their eligibility for work adjustments including:

a) the requested work adjustment(s) and how service levels will be maintained while on work adjustment

b) the statement certifying the employee’s cohabitation with the individual at high risk

c) the medical documentation from the health care provider

2) Supervisors will only consider fully completed work adjustment requests. Incomplete requests will be returned to employees with the reason the request was returned to the employee. If the work adjustment request is complete, the supervisor will move to the next step.

3) The supervisor will review the request to determine whether the work adjustment presents an undue hardship on the department. In making this determination, the supervisor shall take into consideration the following items, including but not limited to:

a) How service levels in the department will be impacted;

b) The impact to others in the department;

c) The impact to downstream stakeholders, including but not limited to students and new employees;

d) The cost to the department, monetary, resource, and human capital, to implement the proposed work adjustments; and

e) Other factors identified as critical to the decision-making process.

4) Once the supervisor’s analysis is complete, the supervisor shall coordinate with their supervisory chain to ensure consistency and obtain approvals.

5) Once approved, the employee will affirm the following:

a) The employee, cohabitants, and visitors to the home socially distance in every walk of life, not just at Emporia State University.

b) The employee, cohabitants, and visitors to the home wear masks inside structures where individuals beyond the employee’s control may risk exposure.

c) The employee, cohabitants, and visitors to the home practice appropriate hygiene and other applicable guidelines issued by federal, state, and local level.

d) The employee will acknowledge that failure to meet these guidelines will end the work adjustment.

6) Once approved, the supervisor will supply a letter to the employee, copying Human Resources. All additional documentation will be submitted to Human Resources at that time. All documentation at the department, school, or division level, except for the approval letter, will be destroyed.

Effective July 22, 2020