Human Resource Information - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Q & A Related to Employees
What steps should be taken if an employee becomes ill with fever, cough or other concerning symptoms?

Managers and supervisors should recommend that employees who are sick remain off-duty (i.e., on sick leave) until symptoms resolve, and that they seek medical assistance, as appropriate. Anyone sick and believed to be at risk for COVID-19 infection should be advised to seek medical assistance and follow the CDC recommendations:

  •  Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home and avoid sharing personal household items.
  • If you have a medical appointment, call the health care provider and tell them that you are concerned about the possibility of COVID-19 infection before going to the doctor’s office. 
  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening.
  • If you are placed under active monitoring, or facilitated self-monitoring, follow the instructions provided by your local health department or occupational health professional, as appropriate. 
  • Consult with your health care provider before discontinuing home isolation.

If an employee declines to take leave, managers and supervisors should consult with Human Resources and Division Offices for assistance in determining whether there is objective evidence of illness. If there is objective evidence of illness, and an employee refuses to take leave, a manager or supervisor may, over the objection of the employee, require that the employee leave the workplace.

Managers and supervisors should seek assistance from their HumanResources or Division Offices before taking any action to ensure that all appropriate options have been considered. Action should not be taken based solely on a manager’s or supervisor’s subjective assessment of an employee’s medical condition.

Employees who are sick with a contagious acute respiratory illness should be advised to remain at home for at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (≥ 100° F / 37.8° C) and signs of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) to minimize the spread of the pathogen. Employees should seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe (e.g., high fever, difficulty breathing, etc).

Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA) entitle an employee to take leave to avoid contracting COVID-19?

 

No. The FMLA and CFRA entitle employees to job-protected leave when they have a serious health condition or when they need leave to care for covered family members who have a serious health condition. Leave for the purpose of avoiding exposure to the COVID-19 is not protected under the FMLA or CFRA.

Should it be required that an employee who is out sick (not due to COVID-19) to provide a health care provider’s note?

No. Supervisors should actively encourage sick employees to stay home, but should not require employees who are sick to validate their illness. A statement from a qualified physician verifying the employee’s absence due to illness or injury may be required on the third (3rd) day of absence, except when the employee has exhausted all earned sick leave, then a verifying statement may be required at any time.

May the College prohibit an employee from coming to work if the employee is known to have contracted COVID-19 themselves, or to have had close contact with someone who has?

Yes. The College is obligated to provide a safe workplace and may take necessary and reasonable steps to minimize health risks for its employees, such as requiring that employees not come to work if they have COVID-19.

If an employee has had very close contact with a person who has COVID-19 (such as living in the same household), the employee should be told to watch carefully for symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Employees should stay home if COVID-19 symptoms develop and should go home immediately if COVID-19 symptoms occur at work.

If any employment actions are taken as a result of COVID-19, such as requiring that employees not come to work, such actions must be consistent with federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.  A statement from a qualified physician verifying the employee’s absence due to illness or injury may be required on the third (3rd) day of absence, except when the employee has exhausted all earned sick leave, then a verifying statement may be required at any time.

If the employee provides a statement from a qualified physician taking them off work for COVID-19, then no leave balances shall be deducted. Refer to the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Exposure in Travel-Associated or Community Settings and follow the orders of your local public health authority.

What signs and symptoms may indicate that an employee has become ill with COVID-19?

The CDC reports that COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

At present, the CDC also includes epidemiologic risk factors, such as a history of travel from affected geographic within 14 days of symptom onset or close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset as criteria for health care professionals to identify individuals as patients under investigation (PUI). Refer to the most current CDC guidance as the PUI criteria will likely change as further information becomes available.

What additional steps should be taken if an employee is suspected to be ill with COVID-19 at work?

In addition to understanding the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (refer to previous answer), the response to employees who appear to have an acute respiratory illness, including COVID-19, may depend on the resources. 

If an employee declines to take leave, managers and supervisors should consult with Human Resources or Division Offices for assistance in determining whether there is objective evidence of a suspected case of COVID-19. If possible, managers and supervisors should ask on-site employee health services, if available, to assist in making this determination. If there is objective evidence that an employee has acute respiratory illness and that employee refuses to take leave, a manager or supervisor may, over the objection of the employee, require that the employee leave the workplace. In such circumstances, the absence should be recorded as “approved,” and no leave balances deducted.

Managers and supervisors should seek assistance from HumanResources or Division offices before taking any action, to ensure that all appropriate options have been considered. Action should not be taken based solely on a manager’s or supervisor’s subjective assessment of an employee’s medical condition.

May the College require an employee who contracted COVID-19, or who was possibly exposed to COVID-19 and directed to remain quarantined or practice social distancing, to provide certification from a health care provider before returning to work?

Yes. An employer may require a certification from a health care provider clearing an employee to return to work if they have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. However, managers and supervisors should work with HumanResources and their Division Offices to ensure consistent practices and uniformed treatment of employees.

Must the College grant leave to an employee who is sick with COVID-19?

Employees who are ill with COVID-19 should be advised to remain at home until cleared by their local public health department to minimize the spread of the virus.

If an employee was traveling on College business when they were instructed to self-isolate, time off would generally be covered as administrative leave or workers’ compensation. This is because the illness arose out of, and in the course of, their employment.

Employees who contract the virus on vacation, or who are directed to self-isolate following a vacation or other personal time, and obtain a statement from a qualified physician verifying the employee’s absence is due to this illness will not have time deducted from their leave balances.

An employee who is sick may be entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) under certain circumstances. The FMLA and CFRA entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a fiscal year if they have a serious health condition. Some instances of COVID-19 may qualify as a “serious health condition.”

Must the College allow employees who are parents or caregivers time off from work to care for sick family members with COVID-19?

Employees who are healthy but whose family members are home sick with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for COVID-19 for guidance on conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

If certain members of an employee’s family are sick, the employee may be entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FMLA and CFRA entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a fiscal year to care for certain family members with a serious health condition.  COVID-19 may qualify as a “serious health condition.” 

Additionally, under certain collective bargaining agreements, employees with accrued sick leave may use it to care for ill family members. If an employee has no accrued time off, the employee may be granted unpaid time off to care for an ill family member. Applicable policies and collective bargaining agreement provisions should be consulted. Employees should be encouraged to avail themselves of options available under the applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement provisions.  

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

What are the Guidelines for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and who is eligible to go on FFCRA?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

In general, employees of private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and certain public sector employers, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (see below). Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 below.

  • NOTE: Health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded by their employer from being able to take expanded family and medical leave under the Act.

 

Do employees still get paid while on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

Generally, employers covered under the Act must provide employees:

Up to two weeks (80 hours, or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave based on the higher of their regular rate of pay, or the applicable state or Federal minimum wage, paid at:

  • 100% for qualifying reasons #1-3 below, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total;
  • 2/3 for qualifying reasons #4 and 6 below, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total; and
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total. A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

NOTE: An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks (80 hours) of partial expanded family and medical leave. This is concurrent to the 10 weeks paid at 2/3rd an employee’s regular rate.

 

What are the Qualifying Reasons for Leave Related to COVID-19?

An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Who do I contact if I have additional questions regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

If you are inquiring about FFCRA or intend on utilizing this leave act, please contact the Benefits & Leave Analyst, Marc Balba by phone at (209) 954-5016 or by email marc.balba@deltacollege.edu

Click HERE for a downloadable version of the FFCRA guidelines.

Q & A Related to Students
What steps should be taken before the College initiates quarantine or isolates students who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19?

The CDC recommends that individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive remain in isolation, either at home or in a health care facility (as determined by clinical status), until they are determined by state or local public health authorities, in coordination with the CDC, to be no longer infectious.

The location of this isolation will be determined by public health authorities and isolation may be compelled by public health order, if necessary. College locations may support the isolation of confirmed COVID-19 cases as approved by public health authorities. Mandatory quarantine orders are issued by public health authorities. College locations may be asked to help implement quarantine or isolation orders or may request self-monitoring and implement social-distancing measures, including requesting students to restrict their movements and public activities, including attending class.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is authorized to establish and maintain places of isolation and quarantine, and has the final authority to implement statutes and regulations pertaining to the control of communicable diseases. Because the CDPH has ultimate authority in this area, all College locations should coordinate with local public health agencies to ensure that their actions are consistent with the most current CDPH orders, rules and regulations pertaining to the control of COVID-19.

May the College prohibit students who have possibly been exposed to, or who have contracted COVID-19, from attending classes?

Yes. If a student meets the CDC criteria of a High and Medium Exposure Risk Categories or has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, Delta may prohibit them from attending classes at College locations. The College must take appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of its students in the face of a known serious health crisis.

The CDC recommends that persons who have contracted COVID-19 remain in isolation, either at home or in a health care facility, until released by local public health authorities.

The location of the isolation will be determined by public health authorities and isolation may be compelled by public health order.

The response to a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, will be directed by federal, state and local health agencies. It is the responsibility of the College to act in accordance with all applicable public health directives. The College’s guidance, policies and regulations cannot conflict with public health orders regarding control of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Q & A Related to Privacy and Duty to Report
Is there a duty to report COVID-19 cases to state or local health authorities?

Yes. Generally, health care providers — including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, among others — at College student health centers, health care clinics and medical centers who know of, or are in attendance on, a case or suspected case of COVID-19 are required to report it to the local health department immediately, by telephone, in accordance with internal administrative procedures. Where no health care provider is in attendance, any individual who knows of, or suspects that, someone has COVID-19 is permitted to report it to the local health department. Local health departments, in turn, notify the CDPH. Contact information for the local health officers may be found at the CDPH website.  Delta staff are instructed to first report this information to their division office and then division offices will report to Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Services Dr. Lisa Cooper Wilkins.

What are the responsibilities of the local and/or state health departments once they have been notified of a case of COVID-19?

Health officers are legally required to take whatever steps are deemed necessary for the investigation and control of the reported disease. This includes the power to isolate and quarantine individuals per their site-specific isolation/quarantine protocol; inspect and disinfect property; require the examination of a person to verify the diagnosis; investigate to determine the source of the infection; determine the contacts subject to quarantine; issue appropriate instructions; and take appropriate steps to prevent or control the spread of the disease.  Health officers may, for purposes of their investigation, disclose the information contained in an individual case report, including personal information, as may be necessary to prevent the spread of the disease or occurrence of additional cases.  If the disease requires isolation, the health officer must ensure that instructions are given to the patient and members of their household that define the area within which the patient is to be isolated and state what measures should be taken to prevent the spread of the disease, including the isolation technique to be followed.

May student health care providers disclose personal information related to a student suspected to have, or known to have, COVID-19, without consent, as necessary to control the disease?

Yes. Student health center personnel may alert instructors about a student who is a carrier of COVID-19 if the student does not comply with instructions to leave College locations, to stop attending class and/or to go home or to an appropriate health facility for treatment.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act15 (FERPA) permits disclosure of student treatment records for purposes other than treatment to “appropriate persons [to protect others] in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.” The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act16 (HIPAA) provides that such disclosure of protected health information without patient consent is permitted if there is a good faith belief that the disclosure is “necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public; and [the disclosure] is to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat.” California case law holds that health care providers have a duty to take reasonable steps, including breaching patient confidentiality, to warn and protect others at risk from a patient with a communicable disease. California regulations regarding communicable diseases obligate a health care provider in attendance on a case of suspected communicable disease to breach confidentiality to give detailed instructions to household members of a sick person communicable disease. California regulations regarding communicable diseases obligate a health care provider in attendance on a case of suspected communicable disease to breach confidentiality to give detailed instructions to household members of a sick person regarding precautionary measures to be taken for preventing the spread of the disease or condition. Even when circumstances warranting disclosure exist, the disclosure should be as limited as possible; only necessary information should be shared and disclosures should be made only to those people with a need to know.

A local health department may also provide a College location with advance written approval in order to disclose such information in such circumstances. Further, as previously indicated, a health official may release personal information, as necessary to   prevent the spread of disease or the occurrence of additional cases.

Q & A: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
What are the Guidelines for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and who is eligible to go on FFCRA?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

In general, employees of private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and certain public sector employers, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (see below). Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 below.

NOTE: Health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded by their employer from being able to take expanded family and medical leave under the Act.

Do employees still get paid while on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

Generally, employers covered under the Act must provide employees:

 

Up to two weeks (80 hours, or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave based on the higher of their regular rate of pay, or the applicable state or Federal minimum wage, paid at:

  • 100% for qualifying reasons #1-3 below, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total;
  • 2/3 for qualifying reasons #4 and 6 below, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total; and
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total. A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

NOTE: An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks (80 hours) of partial expanded family and medical leave. This is concurrent to the 10 weeks paid at 2/3rd an employee’s regular rate.