these faqs are based upon our current understanding of the pandemic and the official guidance, standard practices, and legal restrictions. there may be gaps or scenarios that we have not anticipated. employment questions related to covid-19 can be directed to the human resources office at (785) 628-4462. general questions about covid-19 and fhsu’s planning around covid-19 health and safety protocols can be directed to the student health center at (785) 628-4293.
fhsu is following guidelines from the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc), the kansas department of health and the environment (kdhe), and the ellis county health department (echd), and working with our local health partners, to implement policies and practices that will be needed to confront the uncertainties around opening a university during a pandemic. further details can be found in the university’s framework plan to reopening and phased reopening plan.
returning to the workplace
who decides when and which employees return to work on-site?
supervisors in operational areas have submitted operational area re-opening plans for review by the crisis incident policy group. vice presidents communicate the approval of plans to supervisors, and employees will continue to receive advance notice of their expected return from supervisors. for further information about the university’s approach to remote versus on campus work, please see the “can i continue to work remotely?” faq referenced below.
will employees returning to work on-site be tested for covid-19 as part of the screening process?
the university is not currently mandating mass entry testing of all returning students and employees. all employees coming on-site will need to conduct a pre-arrival health assessment. employees are to perform a self-evaluation, utilizing the personal wellness check form provided on the covid-19 response web page. employees who are not feeling well must stay home and are asked to call their health care provider for medical advice, including advice on testing and related matters. employees are responsible for following and complying with advice and instructions from medical and public health officials and are reminded that haysmed has a hotline to call for covid-19 questions (1-913-588-1600).
what is the process for an employee who is unable to return to the office due to a health condition?
if the employee’s health condition falls within one of the cdc high-risk categories, then the employee may seek a temporary covid-19 workplace accommodation. employees that have underlying health conditions – such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease, or weakened immunity – that may put them at higher risk if exposed to the virus can work directly with human resources on any accommodation requests. for further information and advice concerning potential high-risk factors, including age and underlying medical conditions, employees can refer to the cdc website and should consult with their medical providers.
accommodation requests are determined on an individualized basis. hr will use the same process for covid-19 as it uses for other ada accommodation requests. details and forms are available through hr, including its guidance for high-risk populations. forms should be completed as soon as possible so the university can ensure employee work is covered appropriately. per federal guidelines, employees requesting accommodations should be prepared to provide documentation from their medical provider when they apply. if it is the case that a requesting employee is not eligible for an accommodation, hr will work with the employee to determine what options may be available to meet specific needs .
what are the guidelines for social distancing and group sizes?
supervisors and employees are responsible for monitoring and adhering to any group size limitations imposed by state or local authorities. employees will continue to avoid gatherings or face-to-face meetings and discussions in favor of telemeetings and teleconferences. employees are responsible for maintaining social distancing (i.e., 6 feet) whenever possible. supervisors should continue to ensure that office spaces remain reconfigured to enable employees to remain at least 6 feet apart whenever possible.
if schools or day-cares close, how will employees whose jobs require them to be on-site record their time away?
in accordance with the families first coronavirus response act (ffcra), an employee who is unable to report to work or who is unable to work remotely because a) of the need to care for their child under the age of 18 whose school or place of care is closed or b) whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to covid-19 may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave. the human resource office can answer your specific questions.
it is important to note that an employee may use the expanded family and medical leave only for those hours when they are actually caring for the child. generally, an employee does not need to take such leave if a co-parent, co-guardian, or usual childcare provider is available to provide childcare.
M ay i bring my child to work?
due to liability reasons, children cannot accompany staff members in the workplace. tiger tots may be an option for some parents. the current plan is for tiger tots to be open, implementing health and safety protocols issued by the university, as well as local, state, and national entities.
can i continue to work remotely?
departments are expected to maintain a sufficient level of on campus (and on site for other university properties) employees to support on campus and in person operations, but otherwise remote work continues to be an option. decisions concerning remote versus on campus or onsite work will continue to be made by supervisors after sharing plans and consulting with the appropriate vice president. opportunities for staggered scheduling and remote options should continue to be explored, but supervisors are expected to continuously evaluate their areas of operation to ensure that a sufficient level of on campus and on site employees are present to support in person operations.
for more information about support resources for working remotely visit the fhsu how to work remotely website.
i am a student employee. am i allowed to work remotely during the covid-19 period?
contact your manager to discuss your work options.
are employees returning to the workplace required to wear a mask? what are the implications if an employee refuses to wear a mask?
use of face coverings in the workspace and across the university
- general rule: when present on university property, all employees, students, and visitors must wear face coverings over their mouths and noses when in common areas of a building (including hallways, elevators, public spaces, classrooms, conference rooms, and other common areas), and when within six (6) feet of another individual anywhere on university property. if you are alone in your office or personal workspace and are able to socially distance, or if you are outside and can socially distance, you may remove your face covering.
- exceptions: students in their residence hall rooms and individuals while participating in activities in which a face covering cannot be worn or would prohibit respiratory function (like eating, drinking, or playing sports). additionally, employees and students with a recognized disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering can contact the human resources office (if an employee) or student accessibility services (if a student) to discuss possible accommodations and the appropriate documentation process.
- basic ground rules: we ask that employees, students, and visitors provide their own face coverings, but the university will have a supply available to provide to those that do not have one. individual supervisors and faculty members should offer university provided face coverings to those who do not have one and make an initial effort to educate and hold employees and students accountable within their respective areas.
- enforcement and additional guidance: complaints concerning violations of this policy by faculty, staff, or visitors should be reported to human resources, and complaints concerning violations of this policy by students should be reported to student affairs. individuals may utilize the coronavirus (covid-19) concern reporting form for this purpose. additional guidance and best practices information concerning face coverings can be found on the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) website.
is it ok to wear a mask below your nose or must it cover nose and mouth?
a face mask or cloth covering must cover your nose and mouth to be effective. otherwise, droplets can be spread through coughing, sneezing, talking and other similar behaviors.
are there specific criteria for what types of cloth face coverings are recommended or approved by fort hays state university?
any face covering that is commercially produced or improvised (i.e., homemade) garments, scarves, bandanas, or items made from t-shirts or other fabrics is generally acceptable (as long as the design/pattern are appropriate for the workplace). the face covering should cover the mouth and nose and may be disposed of or reused after proper washing. employees are encouraged to review cdc guidance regarding face coverings.
what will happen when there is a positive case on campus?
every positive covid-19 test case diagnosed locally is reported to the kdhe, and ultimately to the ellis county health department (echd). the echd is responsible for contacting individuals who test positive, giving them instructions for isolating and collecting information on their close contacts.
- if a case is diagnosed off campus, the university is not likely to know of the infection unless the patient reports it to someone on campus. if the university receives such first-hand information, representatives from administration, student health, residential life and human resources will assess the relevance and prepare the appropriate response, which could include a notice. the notice may include the building spaces affected if it is relevant and does not compromise the confidentiality of individual patients. if warranted, the university could close all or part of a building for disinfection, notifying the occupants of that building in advance as appropriate.
- if the diagnosis is made in student health, the patient’s personal health information is protected from disclosure by privacy law. the patient will be directed to isolate and to notify their close contacts advising them to quarantine. the patient’s physical locations in the previous 48 hours will be attempted to be identified. an assessment related to the relative risks to others within those locations will be made by representatives from administration, student health, residential life and human resources. a notification informing the campus community of their relative risk related to those locations may be sent out. the notice may include the building spaces affected if it is relevant and does not compromise the confidentiality of individual patients. if warranted, the university could close all or part of a building for disinfection, notifying the occupants of that building in advance as appropriate.
will the university notify us when there is a positive case on campus?
not necessarily. the university may not be aware of a case on campus unless informed of it by the patient or the echd. if the university receives such first-hand information, representatives from administration, student health, residential life and human resources will assess the relevance and prepare the appropriate response, which may include a notice. the notice may include the building spaces affected, if it is relevant and does not compromise the confidentiality of individual patients.
what should i do when there is a covid infection on campus?
as long as there is community spread in ellis county, there may be infections on campus. the best preventative measures each of us must take as part of our daily routine include:
- wearing a mask to protect others
- washing your hands routinely
- keeping a minimum 6-foot distance between yourself and others whenever possible
what should i do if i do not feel well or have a fever?
do not come to work, quarantine yourself, monitor your symptoms, and contact your health care provider for advice. also contact your supervisor to report your absence. if you are subject to isolation or quarantine requirements, for example due to being a confirmed or suspected case or being identified through contact tracing, or if you fail to satisfy the self-assessment, you need to follow the applicable requirements and guidelines. otherwise, once you are free of all symptoms for at least 72 hours, without using a fever-reducing medication like tylenol, you may return to work.
employees are expected to know and comply with public health guidelines and directives. this includes, but is not limited to, the various guidelines for individuals set forth in the governor’s reopening plan. if symptomatic or otherwise not feeling well, or if the employee has been in close contact with someone who is sick, the employee should stay home, except to get medical care, and avoid high-risk individuals
what should i do if i test positive or think i have covid-19?
contact your health care provider for medical advice and follow any isolation requirements or guidelines issued by the local health department, kdhe, or cdc. do not come to work, monitor your symptoms, isolate for the 10 days after your symptoms first appeared, or for at least 72 hours after your symptoms disappear, without using fever-reducing medication like tylenol, whichever time frame is longer. contact your supervisor to advise of your absence or ability to work remotely. contact human resources to understand your leave options.
what if i know someone who has tested positive and had contact with others on campus?
contact tracing is the responsibility of echd unless it has authorized others to do it. the authority to do contact tracing, or to delegate the authority, has been legislatively placed within the local health agency. in ellis county that is the echd. because of this, and because of privacy laws, individuals who test positive should assume some responsibility to inform their close contacts.
what should i do if, as a supervisor, one of my employees reports a positive covid test?
the employee can be instructed to contact the student health center, which has been designated as the main point of contact for purposes of responding to specific covid-19 case concerns or reports on campus. the employee should also contact human resources for instructions on recording the leave in workday. you may recommend the employee inform others who they may have exposed so they can respond accordingly. the authority to do contact tracing, or to delegate the authority, has been legislatively placed within the local health agency. in ellis county that is the echd. supervisors should make efforts to safeguard the personal health information of individuals who report a covid-19 illness. the minimum necessary information should only be shared with others who have a need to know. supervisors may also want to contact the student health center and human resources for guidance and suggestions relative to their area of responsibility.
i was exposed to a person who tested positive. should i be tested?
people who have had close contact with an individual infected with the coronavirus may be tested but there is currently no requirement to be tested. the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) recommends a person stay home, maintain social distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure. this is important to reiterate : if you believe you have been exposed, you should self-quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days.
i’m not feeling well, should i be tested?
contact a health care provider for medical advice. you may be tested to confirm or exclude the possibility of an infection, but you are not likely to be required to be tested. in any case, if you are feeling unwell, you should self-quarantine. this means stay home, maintain social distancing, and monitor your temperature and other symptoms. once you are free of all symptoms for at least 72 hours, without using a fever-reducing medication like tylenol, you may return to work.
in accordance with public health guidelines, if you suspect you have a covid-19 infection, you must isolate for the 10 days after your symptoms first appeared, or for at least 72 hours after your symptoms disappear, without using a fever-reducing medication like tylenol, whichever time frame is longer.
you may call the haysmed covid hotline at (877) 261-7140, seven days a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to discuss your options, and you may call the student health center at 785-628-4293 during normal business hours.
where can i get tested?
hays medical center and the student health center can collect specimens for testing when ordered by a provider. affordalab in hays will do testing without a provider’s order. call your healthcare provider for instructions to get tested or contact affordalab to arrange for testing without an order.
will university personnel do contact tracing after a positive case is reported on campus?
no, not unless the contact tracing function has been authorized by the echd. the authority to do contact tracing, or to delegate the authority, has been legislatively placed within the local health agency. in ellis county that is the echd.
a student in my class was diagnosed with covid-19. what should i do?
the local health department is responsible for contacting those who have had close contact with an infected individual. close contact is defined by cdc as spending 15 minutes within 6 feet of the infected individual in the two days prior to symptom onset. note that it is possible that a faculty member could be contacted for information regarding the classroom set up and other protocols. if you have not been contacted by echd, then you were not identified as a close contact. if you believe you were exposed, you should self-quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days. you may call the haysmed covid hotline at (877) 261-7140, seven days a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to ask questions about such a quarantine. you may also contact the student health center during normal office hours at (785) 628-4293.
what is close contact?
per the cdc, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes beginning 48 hours before the onset of symptoms.
who do i speak with about a health problem that puts me at higher risk for complications from covid-19?
contact the human resources department at (785) 628-4462 to discuss your situation.
is there a difference between the terms isolate and quarantine?
yes. isolate means to separate people who are ill from people who are healthy. quarantine, on the other hand, is the term used when a well person is separated and restricted from others because of an exposure to a contagious disease. the cdc provides more detailed information on how to isolate or be quarantined.
are there plans to isolate or quarantine students on campus?
yes. if a student has a housing contract with the university, they may isolate or quarantine on campus in spaces specifically designated for the purpose. in addition, the university has arrangements to access additional spaces off campus for isolation or quarantine should they be needed.
my supervisor has asked if my illness is related to covid-19, do i have to answer that?
yes, in the case of a potential pandemic situation, you may be asked to disclose whether your absence/illness is related to covid-19.
what resources are available if i am feeling anxious about covid-19?
the kelly center is available as a resource and can be reached at (785) 628-4401. the state of kansas employee assistance program (eap) is available on the eap website.
how will my building be cleaned?
fhsu has implemented enhanced cleaning/sanitizing and ventilation protocols in offices and workspaces.
employees will continue to be responsible for disinfecting their own workspace throughout the day, and supplies will be provided for this purpose. supervisors are responsible for ensuring that adequate supplies are in place in the work areas. custodial staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect common touchpoints and other common areas during their normal assigned schedule and will thoroughly disinfect offices and restrooms, including in any specialized instances where directed by the university due to infection control concerns. the option of increasing outside air ventilation will be based on recommendations of cdc.
custodial staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect common touch-points and other common areas during their normal assigned schedule, and will thoroughly disinfect offices and restrooms, including in any specialized instances where directed by the university due to infection control concerns. outside air ventilation will be increased based on recommendations of the cdc.
who can help me with reconfiguration in offices and workspaces?
supervisors, directors and department heads remain responsible for evaluating their physical workspace and workplace environment to implement the measures that prioritize the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including reconfiguring spaces for social distancing requirements, utilizing physical barriers and/or sneeze guards if appropriate, confirming that appropriate signage is installed (in coordination with building supervisors), and ensuring that adequate amounts of hand sanitizer, extra face coverings, and any other necessary ppe is in place. such measures should continue to be included in the planning and consultation between supervisors and the appropriate vice presidents and are always subject to further vetting by cipg or designees. requests for equipment, supplies and workspace redesign should be routed through the appropriate channels within each division.
will there be building access restrictions?
most university buildings will continue to be open for public access, albeit with limited public entryways to control traffic flow, and subject to any building closure decisions made by the university due to health and safety conditions. again, supervisors are responsible for ensuring that appropriate signage, office configurations, and supplies are in place for areas that are open to the public.
if i have recently traveled within the united states to a location that has reported covid-19 infections, do i need to be cleared by my doctor before returning to work?
employees are responsible for checking the latest guidelines and mandates issued by kdhe, which are posted on the kdhe website, and should understand the risks and be ready to take appropriate leave in the event they engage in personal travel to high-risk areas.
can i travel for university travel?
for the time being, university sponsored travel will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case and mission critical (or “essential travel”) basis, with advance approval by vice presidents required. while a gradual increase in approved travel is anticipated, any proposed university travel to areas identified as high risk by cdc or the kansas department of health and environment (kdhe) will be subject to a higher level of scrutiny. for any approved travel, cancellation policies must be considered, and should generally be used when booking travel requiring hotel or air travel. employees will continue to be expected to follow cdc, kdhe, and any local health department travel/quarantine guidelines and mandates, including in their personal travel. employees are responsible for checking the latest guidelines and mandates issued by kdhe, which are posted on the kdhe website, and should understand the risks and be ready to take appropriate leave in the event they engage in personal travel to high-risk areas.
i still have questions, who should i contact?
employment questions related to covid-19 can be directed to the human resources office at (785) 628-4462. general questions about covid-19 and fhsu’s planning around covid-19 health and safety protocols can be directed to the student health center at (785) 628-4293. we appreciate your patience, particularly in situations where we may need to do some additional research in order to answer your question or address your concern.