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COVID-19 Update and Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Update and Frequently Asked Questions

Message from the Dawson Community College President Scott R. Mickelsen, Ph.D.

First and foremost, the Board of Trustees and Administration extend to you, the dedicated faculty and staff, its deepest gratitude for your hard work and professionalism during these challenging times.

Today, based on new guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services, all public events on campus scheduled to take place during the next eight (8) weeks from March 16 through May 8, 2020, have been postponed or cancelled. Any internal meetings with 6 or more people must be held remotely. Please note that other events may also need to be cancelled or postponed.

With the number of students on campus greatly reduced via remote instruction until further notice, there is still a vital need for core services to be maintained on campus. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, I will communicate new information as it becomes available.

We continue moving on-campus instruction to an online learning platform. Instructors are in contact with their students and classes will resume remotely on March 23. Career and technical classes such as welding will continue to meet on campus. Online classes resume today for students who are currently enrolled in such classes this semester.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
 

2. I am worried about being exposed to COVID-19 at work. How can I reduce my risk?
Employees are always encouraged to use general precautions (at work, in public, or at home).
Precautions include:

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Refrain from reusing tissues after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (cell phones, desk phones, keyboards, remote controls, countertops, refrigerator, door handles, etc.).
  • Stay home from work if you are sick.
  • Minimize your direct contact with others who may be unwell or who are vulnerable to illness.
  • Get your flu vaccine if you have not already done so.

3. What if I or a member of my household have a compromised immune system, how can I limit my exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace?
If you or a member of your household are experiencing a compromised immune system and are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, contact your immediate supervisor. You may be required to provide a letter from your health care provider.

4. What should I do if I think I am sick, but I don’t know if I have been exposed to COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of fever and cough or shortness of breath and have not had any known exposure to or tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact your health care provider for further guidance.

5. What should I do if I have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms associated with the virus?
If you have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you should contact your health care provider or the local health department. Notify your supervisor that you have taken this step. Employees may be required to remain under quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 even if they are not symptomatic. If you are told by a health care provider or public health official that you should be under quarantine due to potential exposure, you should not report to work; however, please notify your supervisor. Under these circumstances, you will be required to provide a letter from your health care provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. You may also be required to provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work. If possible and appropriate for your work, you may also arrange to work remotely (telework). You may work with your supervisor to make necessary arrangements so that you may work remotely.

6. What should I do if I have been exposed to COVID-19 and believe I am developing symptoms associated with the virus?
If you think you are developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you should contact your health care provider or local health department. Notify your supervisor that you have taken this step. If you are told by a health care provider or public health official that you should be under isolation due to COVID-19 illness, you should not report to work; however, please notify your supervisor. You will be required to provide a letter from your health care provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. You may also be required to provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work.

7. I am concerned about exposure from a coworker who seems sick. Can I insist that they be sent home?
If you have a concern about an employee who appears to be sick, speak to your supervisor. The President, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, will make appropriate decisions regarding whether the employee will report to work.

8. Will I be notified if someone I work with is confirmed to have COVID-19?
Employees known to be exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 will be notified that a case has been confirmed, but the Americans with Disabilities Act protects the identity and medical information of people with communicable diseases.

9. Should I cancel planned business travel?
All travel must be approved by your supervisor.

10. What will happen if I have personal travel plans?
You should discuss your personal travel plans with your supervisor. If you can postpone your personal travel plans to avoid exposure to COVID-19, it may be in your best interest as well as your coworkers’ best interests. If you do travel, plan to contact your supervisor prior to returning to your workplace.

11. What additional precautions can the College take for employees dealing with the public?
The following precautions are being implemented:

  • Restrict how close the public may come to employees.
  • Educate employees to wash hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Institute hygiene rules for meetings, e.g., no handshakes.
  • Maintain separate pens and other equipment for the public.

12. What options are available for employees who may need to be absent from work as a result of illness from or exposure to COVID-19?
Telecommuting
The option to work from home (telecommute) for employees who need to be absent from work due to COVID-19 may depend on several factors including, but not limited to: job function, essential status, operational requirements of the College, and ability to access required technology. You should seek approval from your supervisor if this is an option for you.

Leave Options
You will be required to provide written documentation from your health care provider or a public health official of the requirement to be absent from work. You will also be required to provide a letter from your healthcare provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period as well as provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work.


13. Am I entitled to use Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) for COVID-19?
You may be entitled to use FMLA for absence related to COVID-19 if you have a qualifying event as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Office of Human Resources can assist you with questions related to FMLA eligibility.

14. What should I do if I have a delayed return from personal travel?
If you have a delayed return from personal travel as a result of any state’s or country’s monitoring or management of COVID-19 or transportation disruptions associated with such monitoring or management, you should contact your supervisor. Employees may be eligible to use available accrued leave to cover the absence.

15. What if I need to miss work due to an immediate family member requiring quarantine as a result
of COVID-19?

You will be required to provide a letter from your healthcare provider or local health department indicating that your immediate family member has completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. Employees who need to be absent for more than 14 calendar days for this purpose may use available leave as outlined in the annual, compensatory time, and personal and sick-leave policies. Contact the Office of Human Resources for the most up-to-date information.

16. What if I need to miss work due to a school, dependent care, or eldercare facility closure due to a COVID-19 outbreak?
If you need to stay home to care for a child because of a school closure you may be eligible to work remotely (telework). You may work with your supervisor to make necessary arrangements so that you may work remotely. If you are not eligible to work remotely or are unable to telework because your child needs full-time care you may take accrued vacation, comp time, personal or sick leave.

17. Where will notifications of State office closures or other announcements for State employees be posted?
Notifications will be posted on the College website at www.dawson.edu. For other questions not covered in this memo, please contact the Office of Human Resources.