Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Updated: Friday, April 3, 2020 


PASS/FAIL GRADING. Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Beryl McEwen and the Division of Academic Affairs have approved an option for undergraduate and graduate students to choose pass/fail grading rather than letter grading for the Spring 2020 semester. Details on the process of making that selection, as well as information on dropping classes or withdrawing from the Spring 2020 semester, are available for undergraduate students here, and for graduate students, here.

Academic Affairs has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help students navigate the Pass/Fail option. Read it here.  

HOUSING AND DINING REFUNDS. In the interest of resolving student and parent financial issues for the Spring 2020 semester, the University of North Carolina System has approved the granting of partial refunds on housing and dining fees for the term. Refunds will be determined on housing/dining services that have gone unused as a result of the UNC System's response to COVID-19. Details on how the refund process will be implemented and timing for the process are expected to be available to A&T students by the end of the week.

 

GUILFORD COUNTY STAY-AT-HOME ORDER. On Monday, March 30, Guilford County expanded its stay-at-home order, which covers the entirety of Guilford. Read the amended order here, an extensive FAQ related to the order here and a helpful "quick guide" to the order here.

ACCESSIBILITY HELP FOR FACULTY. The Office of Accessibility Resources has tools and suggestions to help faculty make online content accessible. No matter how well designed an academic experience is, accommodations may still be necessary. If you have students in your classes who have been using accommodations, those accommodations should still be available to them. Need assistance? Call 336-334-7765 or e-mail  accessibilityresources@ncat.edu.

SUMMER SESSION. Consistent with new guidance from the UNC System, online/alternative course delivery at North Carolina A&T will continue through Summer 2020 Sessions I and II. Summer can provide an opportunity to take additional courses to help you stay on track for timely graduation. The initial list of Summer Session course offerings is avaialble now in Aggie Access Online. Please continue to check back, as more will be added in coming weeks.

As of Friday, April 3, 2020

  • At noon on Friday, April 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 239,279 cases of COVID-19 from 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of the total cases, 1,348 are travel-related; 4,325 are believed to be from close contact with others; and for the remaining 233,566, the source of exposure is still under investigation. A total of 5,443 deaths have been reported nationwide.
  • There are now 2,093 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina in 86 counties, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services; 259 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms and 19 have died. A total of 31,598 coronavirus tests have been performed. The virus is classified as "widespread" across North Carolina and is being spread predominantly through "community transmission." In Guilford County, 88 cases have been diagnosed, and four individuals have died.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper declared an official State of Emergency for North Carolina on Tuesday, March 10.
  • The University of North Carolina System has issued multiple directives for all constituent campuses, including North Carolina A&T. See the March 11 news release for further information on UNC System changes.

 

About Novel Coronavirus

The CDC reported an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that can cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and congestion, shortness of breath, and flu-like symptoms, such as fever. The risk of infection is dependent upon exposure. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed.

Symptoms

According to the CDC, symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath and a general feeling of being unwell. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The illness can be more serious for those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and those with underlying respiratory problems. It can result in bronchitis, pneumonia and even death.

What to do if you believe you may have been exposed to coronavirus

Anyone sick with fever and a cough or has difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of any recent travel and symptoms.

Guidance from the CDC on testing for COVID-19 is available here.

Recommendations to stay healthy include

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick; do not travel.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as countertops, phones, keyboards, laptops, doorknobs, and bathroom fixtures.
  • Immunize yourself against the flu if you have not already.

 

Campus Updates

Messages are being sent to campus constituents regularly with coronavirus updates as new information and direction becomes available. Those communications are archived here.

Students are encouraged to follow the Recommendations to Stay Healthy posted higher on this page. If you have cold or flu symptoms, practicing social distancing until you see a health care professional is also advised.

 

Student Worker Q&A

The following questions and answers are intended to assist students who work in part-time positions across the university.

1. I’m a student in the Federal Work Study program. Will I still get paid during this period?

Yes. You will continue to get paid through the end of the semester if you started working. Students who received a work-study award with a start date of March 16 or later are not able to receive payment, as they did not begin working.

2. I’m a student who is being paid with university funds. Will I still get paid during this period?

Yes. You will continue to be paid through the end of the semester.

3. I’m working on a project funded by a grant. Will I get paid?

Yes. You will continue to be paid through the end of the semester unless the terms of your employment end sooner.

4. I read an online petition that said student workers would not be paid after March. Is that true?

No. Initial guidance from the UNC System stated students and temporary employees would receive “Administrative Paid Leave” through March 31. As additional guidance became available, N.C. A&T updated campus communication to state that students would be paid through the end of the semester.

5. Am I able to continue working if I am staying in the local area?

Yes. ​Any work arrangements, whether teleworking or physically coming to campus, must be approved by your respective supervisor.

6. If I am a bi-weekly employee, will I continue to submit time online for the rest of the semester?

Yes. However, it will be coded as Administrative Leave on your Bi-Weekly Timesheet in Aggie Access. Additional guidance is forthcoming.

 

Policy direction from the University of North Carolina System on matters such as alternative work arrangements, isolation/quarantine, institutional closure and emergency furloughs related to a disease pandemic are available below, along with links to resources beyond the university.

A detailed FAQ for Faculty and Staff is available in the Frequently Asked Questions accordion on this page.

Working Remotely

  1. Employees seeking to work remotely must complete the university's Teleworking Agreement.
  2. Faculty are expected to hold virtual office hours using Blackboard or Zoom.
  3. If you need computing equipment for your telework station, please contact your supervisor.
  4. Please submit an Inventory Form to your supervisor if you are taking computers, notebooks or any other equipment home to support your telework.
  5. Guidance for supervisors is available here for Managing Remote Teams.
  6. Maximize your productivity working remotely with these Effective Tips for Working From Home.
  7. Faculty Commons

Additional Resources

The Division of Research and Economic Development is under normal operating procedures. DORED stresses the following guidance for faculty researchers:

For Faculty and Staff 

  1. Q: I’m not feeling well, what should I do?
A:  If you are sick, notify your supervisor and stay home. If you believe you are developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, follow the recommendation of the CDC, and call you doctor or the local public health department. You can use available compensatory leave, sick leave, vacation leave or bonus leave. Benefits Manager, Kristin Leak, kmleak@ncat.edu or (336) 285-3821, can provide more information about leave usage.
  1. Q: I have been quarantined by a public health official. What leave can I use?

A:  Employees who are quarantined at the direction of public health officials will receive paid administrative leave until the specified period of time ends or the employee becomes symptomatic or has a confirmed case of the virus, whichever comes first. Written verification from a public health official is required to confirm this status as soon as practicable and be submitted to your immediate supervisor and the Benefits Manager Kristin Leak at (336) 285-3821. Once an employee becomes ill, then the employee can use available compensatory leave, sick leave, vacation leave or bonus leave.  If an employee does not have enough sick leave, the institution may work with the employee to advance leave or make arrangements for the employee to make up the time if the University determines that the work situation will allow it.

  1. Q: I don’t have much leave to use in the event I become ill but can’t afford to go without pay.  What can I do?

A:  If an employee does not have enough paid leave, the institution may work with the employee to advance leave or make arrangements for the employee to make up the time if the University determines that the work situation will allow it.

  1. Q: Do I have to cancel my personal vacation due to the restrictions on travel? 

A:  No – However, the University is strongly discouraging personal domestic travel to locations where a state of emergency has been declared related to COVID-19 and coronavirus, and travel to Level 3 and 2 countries as defined by the U.S. Department of State and the CDC due to COVID-19.

  1. Q: I’m not feeling well and I think I may have been exposed while doing my job.  Will I be covered by Worker’s Compensation?
    A:  If an employee becomes ill and it is determined to be work‐related in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, then the workers’ compensation policy applies.  Employees are required to notify their supervisor immediately of any job-related injury or illness. Supervisors should complete the Required Incident Packet and submit those forms to Environment, Health and Safety (EHS).  For more information about the University’s Worker’s Compensation Program, please visit Environment, Health and Safety’s Worker's Compensation Website.

If the illness is deemed to be due to an off‐the‐job exposure, then the sick leave policy will be applied. Family and medical leave and family illness leave policies may also apply.

  1. Q: My manager told me to stay home because they believe I have symptoms that can be related to the communicable disease outbreak, is this allowable?
    A:  If an employee is not subject to official quarantine by public health authorities, but the manager believes that an employee has symptoms associated with a communicable disease, the manager should direct the employee not report to work, in which case use of compensatory time off, sick leave, vacation leave, or bonus leave is required. Likewise, employees who opt to not report to work at their own discretion due to potential illness would use appropriate leave.
  2. Q: Will I get paid if the University closes and I am able to work from home?
    A:  In the event that the campus is closed, you will be paid for any work you do remotely just as if you were performing the work at your normal work location.  If the emergency is severe, the governor, public health officials, the Chancellor may order the University, or part of the University, to close for a period of time. If alternative work locations or teleworking are available, employees should plan to work remotely.
  3. How do I get approval for telework or an alternative schedule?
A. Telework or flexible schedules are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and granted at the discretion of management and based on the operational needs of the department. Alternate work schedules that differ from the standard workweek may be implemented if it helps promote efficient department operations.
  1. Q: Will I get paid during a University closure if my job cannot be performed remotely?
    A:  During a university closure, reasonable efforts will be made to allow non-mandatory employees to work from an alternative location, when possible. If the UNC System or chancellor determines that only mandatory employees are required to report to work, non-mandatory employees who are not required to work shall, at the discretion of the chancellor, be granted paid administrative leave (i.e., not charging leave) for up to 30 calendar days at the same rate the non-mandatory employee would have received had the employee been working. Any necessary pay adjustments shall be made in the next paycheck after returning to work.
  2. Q: Can I work from home to care for my child or elderly parent if I cannot secure other arrangements?
    A:  When the UNC System Office or the University is open, but a Non-Mandatory Employee is required to stay home with a qualifying parent or child (as defined in the FMLA Policy) because of the closure of a day care facility, public school, or eldercare facility, the Non-mandatory employee may, with approval of their supervisor, be allowed to work at home or elect to:
  • Use vacation leave
  • Use bonus leave
  • Use sick leave
  • Use compensatory leave
  • Take leave without pay
  • Make up time in accordance with adverse weather make up parameters.

The UNC System Office or the University may extend the make-up time to 24 months if necessary. The UNC System Office or constituent institution has the right to request appropriate documentation to substantiate need.

  1. Q: I keep reading in the campus announcements about Mandatory Employees. What does that mean and how do I know if I am one? 

A:  Mandatory Employees are employees who are required to work during a public health emergency because their positions have been designated by the University as mandatory to operations during the emergency. You will be notified by your supervisor if you are designated as a Mandatory Employee and of the requirement to report for or remain at work in emergency situations, or to work from home or other alternative location as deemed appropriate.  Additional employees may also be designated to work if needed due to the length of the emergency, illness of Mandatory Employees, or other needs. 

  1. Q: I am a mandatory employee. How will I be paid?
    A:  In the event of closure of the University, Mandatory Employees (other than senior officers of an institution) who are required to report to work receive time‐and-a‐half compensation for all hours worked onsite.  Subject to the availability of funds, this additional one-half compensation may be provided as paid time off. This compensation provision applies to employees who are exempt and non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  EHRA permanent employees are eligible for this compensation with the exception of faculty, senior officers of the University (Tier I), associate and assistant vice chancellors, associate and assistant provosts, and associate and assistant deans.   
  2. Q: My co-worker traveled to a location where there have been confirmed outbreaks of said communicable disease. Can I work from home to avoid being near my co-worker?
    A:  Management may request/require that the traveler work remotely during the incubation period if there is a high risk of exposure. If the traveler has been cleared but the coworker doesn’t want to work near them, it is at the supervisor’s discretion to allow the employee to work remotely. They can enforce other social distancing practices for them to minimize contact.
  3. Q: I am a mandatory employee who is ill. Should I still report to work?

A:  NO. Mandatory Employees may be excused from work if they are quarantined or ill, if they are required to care for a member of the immediate family (as defined in the FMLA Policy who is quarantined or ill or if they are required to stay home with parents or underage children because of the closure of a day care facility, public school or eldercare facility. Employees will be required to use available compensatory leave, sick leave, vacation leave or bonus leave.

  1. Q: I am pregnant, and I am concerned about exposure if I report to work.  What should I do?

A: You should contact Kristin Leak, Benefits Manager, at kmleak@ncat.edu  or (336) 285-3821.  The University is monitoring Pregnancy Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 and pregnant women.  While the University does not have a formal pregnancy accommodation policy for employees, the University will work with you to meet your needs, considering the essential functions of your job, information from your healthcare provider, and the most recently available CDC and other relevant public health guidance.

For Managers and Supervisors

  1. Q: I have an employee who is not feeling well and appears to have symptoms that may be related to the communicable disease outbreak.  Can I tell them to stay home? 
    A:  If an employee is not subject to a  quarantine order by public health authorities, but their manager believes that the employee has symptoms associated with a communicable disease, the manager may direct the employee to work remotely. Managers may also direct an employee not to work, in which case use of compensatory time off, sick leave, vacation leave, or bonus leave is required. Employees who opt to not report to work at their own discretion due to potential illness must use appropriate leave.
  2. Q: I have employees who are concerned about potential exposure to a communicable disease outbreak and have asked to work from home until all this blows over.  Is this allowable? 

A: The University’s policy on Flexible Arrangements for SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty Employees has provisions that allow for flexible work locations or teleworking.  In examining remote work requests from your employees, it is important to consider the expected length of the arrangement and, if approved, to ensure appropriate accountability and oversight of the arrangement is in place for teleworking arrangements. Managers are encouraged to provide this flexibility to their employees, where feasible, while also balancing the business needs of their work unit.  Prior to implementing a teleworking arrangement, please contact your Vice Chancellor or the Office of the Provost. 

  1. Q: Should mandatory employees still report to work when ill?

A: Mandatory employees who are quarantined, ill, required to care for a member of their immediate family (as defined in the FMLA Policy) who is quarantined or ill, or required to stay home with parents or underage children because of the closure of a day care facility, public school or eldercare facility may be excused from work. In such instances, mandatory employees will be required to use compensatory time off, sick leave, vacation leave, or bonus leave.

  1. Q: I have an employee who has recently traveled within the United States to locations where a state of emergency has been declared related to COVID-19 and coronavirus.  Can I instruct them to self-quarantine for a period of time before returning to work? 

A: Emergency Declarations are issued for a number of reasons, including to free up resources or receive resources in a rapidly-evolving situation. Given the rapidly changing nature of the communicable disease outbreak, employees who have traveled to an affected area may be asked to do a minimum 14-day self-quarantine off campus upon return after consultation with your Vice Chancellor, Office of the Provost. The Director of Benefits, Kristin Leak will coordinate with the central Office of Human Resources.

  1. Q: I have an employee who has recently traveled to a Level 2 or 3 country as defined by the S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19.  Can I instruct them to self-quarantine for a period of time before returning to work? 

A:  Per recently revised CDC Guidelines, any students, faculty or staff returning from Level 2 and 3 countries will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus effective immediately. These advisories are subject to change, so please be mindful of all upcoming domestic and international travel. If you have an employee who travels to a location that is increased to a Level 3 while they are there, they will be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine off campus. Any faculty or staff who have arrived or will be returning from Level 2 and 3 countries should immediately contact Student Health Services and their local health care provider, and to follow their instructions for evaluation.  During a quarantine period, Managers  should determine if there are appropriate remote working options. Managers are also encouraged to be flexible with remote working arrangements and use of sick leave.

6. Q: I am a manager and I have not designated anyone as a Mandatory Employee. Who will make that determination?

A: Your department’s leadership determines what critical operations need to continue in the event of a public health emergency, and also which positions must be staffed to continue those operations.  A primary and secondary Mandatory Employee should be designated. Management must notify employees of their mandatory personnel designation and the requirement to report for or remain at work in emergency situations, or to work from home or other alternative location as deemed appropriate. Managers are responsible for monitoring all Mandatory Employee’s absenteeism. Mandatory Employees should receive appropriate information and training as needed. If Mandatory personnel are required to remain at the worksite for an extended period of time, the University Student Affairs will provide adequate housing and food.

7. Q: I am a manager and I have primary and secondary Mandatory Employee’s designated, but I need more coverage during an emergency event.  Can I designate additional employees as a Mandatory Employee?

A:  Yes – Additional employees may also be designated to work if needed due to the length of the emergency, illness of Mandatory Employees, or other needs. In such situations, management must follow the same notification procedures for primary and secondary Mandatory Employees: Management must notify employees of their mandatory personnel designation and the requirement to report for or remain at work in emergency situations, or to work from home or other alternative location as deemed appropriate. Mandatory Employees should receive appropriate information and training as needed. If Mandatory personnel are required to remain at the worksite for an extended period of time, the University Student Affairs will provide adequate housing and food.

8. Q: How will I know if I am designated as a Mandatory Employee?

A: If designated as a Mandatory Employee, you will be notified by your supervisor of this designation and the designation requirements.  If you are still unsure, check with your direct supervisor. 

9. Q: I’m a Mandatory Employee and my manager informed me I need to report to work for an emergency event.  Can I refuse to do so?

A:  Contact your Vice Chancellor, Office of the Provost or Director of Employee Relations/Affirmative Action Officer, Linda Mangum at lmangum@ncat.edu or (336) 285-3769. Individuals designated as Mandatory Employees may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, for willful failure to report for, or remain at work. Each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate action.

10. Q: Do I get time-and-a half if I am a Mandatory Employee and I work from home?

A:  No – Mandatory Employees who work offsite receive regular pay.

11. Q: Do I get time-and-a-half if I am a Mandatory Employee and I have to come to work?

A: When Management determines that only Mandatory Employees are required to report to work, all permanent SHRA and permanent EHRA Non-Faculty Mandatory Employees who report to a worksite will be granted time-and-one-half pay for all hours worked with the exception of the following:

    1. Faculty
    2. Senior officers of the UNC System who are subject to the provisions of Section 300.1.1.II., of the UNC Policy Manual, Policy on Senior Academic and Administrative Officers
    3. Associate and assistant vice chancellors
    4. Associate and assistant provosts
    5. Associate and assistant deans
12. Q: I am a temporary employee designated as a Mandatory Employee, will I get time and-a-half pay if I have to come to work?

A:  No - temporary employees who are designated as Mandatory Employees are not eligible for time-and-a-half pay when reporting to a worksite during a time that Management determines that only Mandatory Employees are required to report to work.

13. Q: I have an employee who has returned from travel to a CDC level 2 or Level 3 country, and they are refusing self-quarantine for 14 days. What should I do?

A: All employees continue to have an obligation for following State law, UNC System, University policies and directives. In this situation, individuals may be subject to disciplinary action, up to, and including termination of employment, for willful failure to self–quarantine for 14 days.