New College of Florida college’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for our staff, safety for our faculty and students and for the public we interact with. The primary goals for New College of Florida’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect public health, support the community, and continue the institution’s vital mission of education and research.
New College’s plans will be aligned and consistent with local orders and ordinances of the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County, as well as the State of Florida’s Phased Reopening Model. NCF’s plans will also follow recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health, and New College Counseling and Wellness Center Advising Team.
Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve, and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.
As a result of Governor DeSantis’ “Safer at home” order, The College is restricting all on-campus operations to essential functions only effective Sunday, April 5, 2020, until at least April 30, 2020. The restriction of on-campus operations means that only essential personnel is permitted on campus. However, College business operations will continue and faculty and staff who are working remotely should continue to work their normal hours. If an employee remotely needs to return to campus to gather work items, they must continue to practice social distancing.
On-Campus Essential Employees
At this time, on-campus essential employees are defined as employees designated to report to the workplace while on-campus operations are restricted. Vice President, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads must designate which on-campus College functions are essential and require an employee to be on-campus to perform critical on-campus College functions. On-campus essential personnel that may be required to work on campus include, but are not limited to the following:
Leave for on-campus essential employees may be approved for employees that have a qualifying illness; are required to self-quarantine due to travel outside of the Sarasota area and surrounding counties; or due to a recommendation by a health care provider.
Remote Work Employees
All employees who are not designated as on-campus essential employees will be required to work remotely, as long as their duties and responsibilities are conducive to such work. Although on-campus operations are restricted, remote work will continue. Employees are still required to submit the Alternate Work Location Form.
The College’s restriction of on-campus operations will include significantly reducing the amount of facilities staff available to provide the usual cleaning and sanitation services in all campus buildings. As a result, while we are making the best efforts, we cannot guarantee that facilities will be maintained daily in a manner that meets with best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For these reasons, and your continued health and safety, the College must insist that all employees not designated as on-campus essential work remotely. If there are additional measures you need to accomplish remote work, please advise your department head or chair.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201). The law is effective April 1, 2020, and the provisions end on December 31, 2020.
The law requires employers to provide their employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. This law has two key parts: (1) Emergency Paid Sick Leave and (2) Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion:
1. Expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for employees unable to work (or telework) due to school closures or the unavailability of childcare; and
2. Sick leave for employees unable to work ( or telework) because of a diagnosis, symptoms, quarantine or self- isolation related to COVID-19, the care of someone under similar conditions,
or to care for a child due to a school closure or the unavailability of childcare.
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Are employees expected to be at work?
At this time, all healthy New College employees (faculty, staff and OPS non-student) are expected to maintain normal work operations, although some adjustments may need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Supervisors are encouraged to provide remote working options to employees whose job duties can be performed remotely without hampering operations. An Alternate Work Location Agreement form is under development. Meanwhile, supervisors should document any agreed-upon alternative work location arrangements, and communicate this to the second-level supervisor.
What is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation?
Quarantining means separating a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, but who are not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been exposed. Self-isolation means separating a person or group known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease (and therefore potentially infectious), from those who are not infected. In both cases, the goal is to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
What if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or am directed to quarantine or self-isolate?
Please notify Human Resources at 941-487-5020 and your supervisor immediately. This will allow us to track those affected and work with them, as we know each situation will vary. Any employee (USPS, A&P, Faculty and Executive) who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or directed to self-isolate by a medical professional or government agency will be placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of their isolation in accordance with their FTE appointment. The attending physician’s office should fax notification of illness to Human Resources at 941-487-5021 or send notification of illness via email to Benefits@ncf.edu. In the event that the notification of illness does not specify a return date, written medical clearance indicating that the employee is approved to return to work must be received by Human Resources in advance of the return-to-work date.
I am an OPS employee. What should I know about working from home?
Such OPS employees are paid for the hours they actually work. Work hours are reflected on timesheets and approved by supervisors. Some OPS staff members perform work that can be done remotely, as approved by the supervisor and depending on the needs of the department. Those who can work remotely should be permitted to do so, if necessary. Note that, due to equipment and/or staffing constraints, some departments may not be able to accommodate those in OPS positions with remote work and/or may not be able to provide as many hours as they might typically be available for work on campus. OPS employees whose positions cannot accommodate remote work may have hours extended upon returning to the College to mitigate the impact of lost work time. However, in no case may any such employee work more than 29 hours per week. This option is available only if the supervisor approves it and if the work warrants it.
What if I choose to self-isolate but have not been directed to do so by a medical professional?
Employees choosing to self-isolate out of concern for their health or the health of others must follow normal work rules, which cover sick leave, vacation leave or other leave policies. Leave must be requested through their supervisor. Note: If anyone in self-isolation would like to continue to work remotely, they may do so with the approval of their supervisor.
What if the College closes?
In the event that more extensive college closures are required, additional procedures may be developed to cover employees’ time off.
Can my supervisor schedule me to work hours or shifts that I normally do not work?
Yes, you may be asked to work more hours or different hours than normal, especially if you have been designated as an essential or critical employee, or if the College is short-staffed as a result of a virus or influenza outbreak. Care will be taken to provide as much advance notice as possible.
Do I have to use my own accrued leave if my supervisor sends me home even though I think I’m well enough to work?
Yes, you must use your own accrued leave. If you obtain documentation from a medical provider that you are able to return to work, the situation will be reassessed by your supervisor in consultation with Human Resources. Depending upon the nature of your illness and your job responsibilities, you may be able to make up the work in the same workweek, or work from home with supervisory approval.
If an employee is sent home or stays home from work due to an illness that is not related to COVID-19, or they have no childcare arrangements due to school closings and must stay home, how will they be paid?
The following options may be available depending:
We recognize that flexibility will not always be possible, given the complexity of our work environment and that the College is open and fully operational at this time. This scenario presents many challenges and potential hardships. We are here to help support you. If Human Resources can answer any questions, please contact us at email@example.com or 941-487-5020.
During the coronavirus outbreak, can my supervisor cancel my annual leave request that has already been approved?
Yes, your supervisor has the authority to cancel any pre-approved leave request, especially in circumstances where there are serious staffing shortages as a result of illness. Your leave can also be cancelled if you have been designated as an essential or critical employee due to the nature of your job responsibilities.
Are student employees that have been approved to remain on campus allowed to work during the next three weeks (encompassing spring break week and the two following weeks)?
Student employees who have been approved to remain on campus should communicate with their supervisor about whether there is work for them. If the work is needed, the supervisor may allow the student employee to work. If a student employee has missed work, they may have hours extended upon returning to the College to mitigate the impact of lost work time. However, in no case may student employees work more than 29 hours per week. This option is available only if the supervisor approves it and the work warrants it.