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Employees: Message from HR about Employee Certification of Illness/Self-Quarantine

March 11, 2020

Shepherd University is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control regarding steps to diminish the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus.  The CDC is encouraging all persons who have cold/flu-like symptoms to self-isolate until the illness has passed. (See guidance on health care at https://www.shepherd.edu/emergency/coronavirus-information.)  If you are sick, please stay home.  As the CDC Guidance explains, any person with fever or any difficulty or pain in breathing should contact their doctor immediately. It is always okay for anyone who is sick to consult their doctor, even if the symptoms are mild. The CDC hopes that self-isolation strategies will slow the spread of coronavirus around the country. If you are ill, stay home and contact your supervisor regarding your absence and the submission of sick leave in KRONOS.

The CDC has urged colleges and universities to modify, where possible, policies that make it difficult to follow the recommendation of self-isolation.  In support of that guidance, Shepherd University has adopted a CERTIFICATION OF ILLNESS or QUARANTINE form which employees can use during this period in lieu of medical documentation when absent due to illness.

This form can also be used if you need to self-quarantine for a specific coronavirus risk.  Due to the extreme communicability of coronavirus, the CDC is also encouraging certain persons with no current symptoms of illness to nevertheless self-quarantine.  Therefore:

  1. If an employee is confirmed to have been: a) directly exposed to a known coronavirus case, or b) traveled to a location considered “level 3” or higher by the CDC, or c) traveled to a place where health authorities are formally requesting self-quarantines to be used, they should avoid coming to campus and advise the supervisor that they will self-quarantine, and use the CERTIFICATION form.
  2. The self-quarantine would continue 14 calendar days away from campus without requiring any medical documentation; only the CERTIFICATION is required.  Staff may apply either sick leave or annual leave.
  3. If the nature of an employee’s work lends itself to working remotely, they may discuss that with their supervisor, who may ask the area Vice President to approve or deny that request.  Faculty would be expected to continue to teach, remotely.
  4. No employee would be eligible for catastrophic leave in these cases.  If the employee does not have enough leave to cover their time off, and they cannot telework, they would not be paid.

Employees are advised that the use of this form constitutes a legal certification that they genuinely isolated themselves for the period that they designate.  Completion of this form by persons who did not engage in self-isolation due to flu-symptoms or coronavirus risk is a fraud on the University.