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Guidelines on Telecommuting Staff and Managers

HSU leadership has been working on steps to combat the spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus community safe. The following is effective immediately.

Managers should be flexible. In order to facilitate social distancing, as suggested by the California Department of Public Health, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to provide as much flexibility as possible given personal considerations, including to our working parents (in light of many school districts closing) and those caring for or living with vulnerable populations, managers should exercise flexibility with employees. One potential step is telecommuting where and when work can be handled remotely. 

Guidelines. Below are some guidelines to help you in your communications with staff regarding potential telecommuting.

• As of March 15, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at HSU, and the campus is open and operational.

• All employees are expected to continue to perform their job functions to the best of their abilities, whether working on campus or telecommuting if they are not on leave status.

• This does not apply to the Governor’s mandate for employees who are 65 or older or employees with underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. These employees must not come to campus and are advised to practice self-isolation.

• The appropriate Vice President, working through managers, must approve any telecommuting requests. The approval may be changed or ended at any time, as indicated in the telecommuting agreement. Please review the Temporary Telecommuter Agreement (pending and expected March 16 or 17) for all details. 

• Based on previous communications, you have probably already begun to assess which staff in your area might be able to perform their job functions remotely. It is up to you to assess whether that is possible for each employee and to communicate your assessment and recommendation to your VP.

• If you determine that a staff member is able to perform their job functions remotely, the staff member may choose to do so with approval. They may also choose to continue coming into the office on their regular schedule or on a partial schedule.

• Because the campus is open and operational, employees who are telecommuting are free to come into the office as needed or when circumstances change and we need them to come to campus. 

• Telecommute options may include various scenarios, for example three days of work at home and two days of work on campus; split hours in a day or rotational schedules with colleagues. In addition, employees and their supervisors may determine that a flexible daily schedule is needed, allowing for evening hours, for example, if all agree.

• Employees who are approved for telecommuting should review the Temporary Telecommuter Agreement form (pending and expected March 16 or 17). The forms are to be provided to each divisional Vice President and do not need additional HR approval.

• For purposes of information security, it is preferred that telecommuting staff use HSU-issued computer equipment. This is especially important for staff with access to Level One Data. If the employee does not have an HSU issued laptop, they can contact IT at (707) 826-4357 for a remote access solution. 

• For employees who have work that cannot be performed at home, please consider flexibility in where they sit/work to allow for greater social distancing in close/open workspaces.

• While we want to encourage as much flexibility due to school closures, it is not appropriate for children to be brought to campus.

Summary

The campus is open and operational, but to facilitate social distancing managers are asked to be flexible in allowing for telecommuting if appropriate to individual job functions.

As a reminder, please continue to follow the well-established measures to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. If you have a fever at or over 100.4 degrees, cough or shortness of breath, do not come to work. Supervisors should not require notes from medical providers for those who may have absences due to illness.

Additional changes to campus operations will be updated on HSU’s COVID-19 website. We will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (LADPH) and the Office of the Chancellor. Should you have any specific workplace questions, please refer to our COVID -19 website. Also, please contact your supervisor or reach out to Human Resources at (707)826-3626 or hsuhr@humboldt.edu.