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COVID-19 Resources for Drexel Faculty & Professional Staff

 Dragons Taking Care of Dragons: Vaccinate, Mask, Distance, Wash, Test

Drexel University has implemented a phased return to campus. As part of this process, all faculty and professional staff must complete a mandatory online health and safety training, which is located in Career Pathway under "Your Transcript." In order to complete the training, you must sign the online "Dragon Pledge [PDF]."

Drexel University is committed to preserving and maintaining the health and safety of all members of its community. Details on all University-wide measures being taken can be found on Drexel's Response to Coronavirus website.

Benefits — Resources and Updates

Click each subheading below for information about new, existing and expanded benefits available during the COVID-19 crisis.

Medical and Prescription

To help participants access care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following temporary changes have been made to the medical and prescription coverage offered by Drexel.

Keystone Point of Service, Personal Choice Basic, Personal Choice High, Consumer Directed Health Plan

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment:
Costs are waived for diagnostic testing for COVID -19 through July 20, 2021. Costs are also waived for in-network, inpatient acute treatment associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis through June 30, 2021.

Waiver of Certain Prior Authorization Requirements:
If your plan requires prior authorizations, such requirements are temporarily suspended for acute inpatient admissions from the emergency department at in-network facilities for individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis through May 31, 2021.

Telemedicine:
Telemedicine services are available through MDLive that allow you to see a board-certified doctor by secure video, phone or mobile app. Through July 20, 2021, costs for virtual visits through MDLive, your primary care doctor and specialists will be waived for COVID-19 diagnosis only. Virtual visits for non-COVID 19 diagnosis will be covered through June 30, 2021, however, and the normal cost share under your medical plan will apply.

Early Prescription Refills and Out-of-Network Exceptions:
Early prescription refills may be available upon request through your pharmacy. A one-time out-of-network pharmacy exception may be available in the event a drug is unavailable through a network pharmacy or if the out-of-network pharmacy is geographically closer to the member or offers delivery not provided by a network pharmacy.

Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

Recently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act was passed, allowing employers to make temporary changes to the rules governing health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA). These changes offer greater flexibility at a time when the pandemic continues to disrupt access to medical and daycare services. Effective immediately, Drexel adopted the following enhancements to provide the maximum amount of relief permitted by law.

  1. Adjust your FSA election any time in 2021, no qualified life event needed.
  2. Extended deadline for submitting 2020 FSA expenses to March 31, 2022.
  3. Dependent care contribution limit increased in 2021 only.
  4. Dependent care age limit increase for children who turned 14 years old in 2020.
  5. Unused healthcare and dependent care funds from 2020 and 2021 will carry over.

For detailed descriptions, visit the Health Care Flexible Spending and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account sections on the Drexel Voluntary Benefits Website.

Employee Assistance Program, Health Advocacy and Wellness

Counseling/Employee Assistance Program

Employees and family members can access free, confidential counseling sessions though Drexel's Employee Assistance Program by calling 1.888.881.5462. Each individual is entitled to up to six sessions per issue, per year. In addition, employees can obtain guidance with financial matters, including budgeting, as well as legal information and referrals on matters such as family law and estate planning.

Health Advocacy Service

The health-care industry can sometimes be difficult to navigate. In an effort to assist employees, Drexel University partners with Health Advocate, a company trained to understand the nuances within the health-care system. Whether you need help mitigating concerns related to COVID-19, understanding your benefits, or finding a doctor, Health Advocate is available to you and your dependents by phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When it comes to COVID-19, there are many ways Health Advocate can help with your concerns. Health Advocates' experienced clinical team of medical doctors, registered nurses and other health care professionals will guide you through the health-care process, so you can make even the most difficult health decisions with confidence and focus on getting better, sooner. They will work with you and your family to:

  • Help understand diagnoses and evaluate treatment options;
  • Research and identify the most advanced approaches to care;
  • Locate and evaluate "best-in-class" physicians and medical centers;
  • Coordinate the transfer of medical records, lab results and X-rays;
  • Communicate with physicians to ensure needs (and the needs of families) are being met;
  • Help coordinate care and services before, during and after a hospital stay; and
  • Provide end-to-end, personalized support during all phases of care.

Specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Advocate's clinical team will:

  • Obtain a detailed history and current status and guide you to contact your Primary Care Physician or other health care provider, if necessary;
  • Direct you to the current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relevant to your situation;
  • Direct you to the current recommendations from your local department of health;
  • Provide educational materials based on the CDC recommendations regarding prevention of coronavirus; and
  • Guide you to additional resources as needed (EAP, community support, etc.).

Health Advocate is available to the whole family. Employees, their spouses or domestic partners, dependents, parents and parents-in-law can all take advantage of Health Advocate's personalized services. Please note your medical and personal information will be kept completely confidential.

For questions or assistance, call Health Advocate at 1.866.695.8622 or visit their website, members.healthadvocate.com. Users will need to register/create a new account in order to log in.

Ten at 10

Incorporating just 10 minutes of healthy activity into your day can add up to a significant difference in your health, wellbeing and quality of life. And during this era of social distancing, it's more important than ever that we find ways to maintain meaningful connections to our colleagues. This program addresses these needs and encourages life-sustaining activities that will promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Implement A Healthier U's Ten at 10 program with your team!

Learn more 

Health Savings Accounts

Over-the-Counter Drugs and Menstrual Products

Health Savings Account (HSA) funds can now be used to purchase menstrual products as well as over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. This applies to purchases made on or after January 1, 2020. Employees can use their HSA debit cards or obtain reimbursement for out-of-pocket purchases by submitting receipts to the HSA administrator, Optum Bank. As always, remember to retain a copy of your receipts for tax purposes. Please contact Optum Bank at 866.234.89 with any questions.

Commuter Accounts

Adjusting Pre-Tax Commuter Deductions

Mass Transit and Non-Drexel Parking Facilities
Employees who are working remotely may wish to adjust or cancel their commuter benefit elections. Changes must be made by the first of the month prior to the month in which the changes apply. For example, changes to June's contributions must be made by May 1. Note: As long as an employee remains eligible to participate in the commuter program, unused commuter funds will not expire and can be used at a later date.

Change or cancel your commuter election by calling 844.690.3992 or online through the benefits portal as follows:

  • Log in to DrexelOne.
  • Go to the Employee tab and under My Benefits, select My Drexel Benefits.
  • Once in the benefits portal, locate the Commuter Benefits section on the right-hand side of the screen and select the Change button.
  • Update the monthly amount for Transit and/or Parking. Enter $0 to eliminate that month's contribution.

Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange

Pass/No Pass Grading and Tuition Remission

Since the start of the pandemic, students in most programs have had the option of selecting a Pass/No Pass grading option for their classes. The Pass/No Pass option provided flexibility as students and faculty were adjusting to learning and teaching remotely. As we continue our return to campus, Drexel will be ending Pass/No Pass and returning to normal grading beginning in the summer term, June, 12, 2021.

Undergraduate students will still have the option to take a course for Credit or No Credit, per the existing policy, and should contact their academic advisors with any questions.

Sick, Personal and Vacation Leave Time Accrual and Payout — Temporary Policy Changes

For fiscal year 2021, the maximum accrual allowed for vacation leave time has been increased from 280 to 320 hours through June 30, 2021. Drexel will also temporarily allow any unused personal leave time to roll over to the next fiscal year on July 1, 2020, and the personal time that rolls over will need to be used by June 30, 2021.

Drexel will offer the same temporary change for fiscal year 2022, increasing the maximum accrual from 280 to 320 hours through June 30, 2022. As before, Drexel will also temporarily allow any unused personal leave time to roll over to the next fiscal year on July 1, 2021. The personal time that rolls over will need to be used by June 30, 2022.

These leave-time policy changes are temporary while we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please review HR-31.

University Contribution Into 403(b) Retirement Plan

Due to the financial impact primarily caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Drexel temporarily suspended employer contributions to the 403(b) retirement plan from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Effective July 1, 2021, the University will fully restore the employer match and basic contributions to the 403(b) retirement plan at the previous levels of up to nine-percent maximum for employees under 50 and up to 11-percent maximum for those 50 and older. For more information and FAQs regarding the reinstatement, please consult this PDF.

City Wage Tax

The wages of faculty and professional staff who are working remotely outside of the City of Philadelphia are not applicable to City Wage Tax during this period of remote work. Effective April 1, 2020, the Philadelphia Non-Resident Wage Tax will be turned off for the applicable employee population. For New Jersey residents who currently elect to waive the New Jersey State Tax, the NJ tax will be deducted during this time period. Once Drexel returns to normal operations, the Philadelphia Non-Resident Wage Tax and the New Jersey State Tax will be restored to their current status.

Once you are scheduled to return to work within the City of Philadelphia, regardless of the frequency, City Wage Tax will be reinstated. The Payroll Office is working to create a process that will allow individuals to record the time worked outside of the city on a per pay basis, instead of waiting until year end to file a petition for the credit.

HR News & Announcements

Resources for Remote Work

Quick Links

Remote Work Equipment and Other Expenses

The University will not pay for electricity, internet or phone services, office supplies, or most other items associated with remote work. Should you need a laptop, please work with your supervisor and/or financial administrator to borrow one from IT that can be returned once we are back to normal operations. You may also work with your supervisor if you would like to temporarily take certain equipment from your office to your home to utilize during this time. Please understand that you are responsible for returning the equipment upon your return to work. Please note that Comcast is offering special internet services during this crisis: internetessentials.com.

If your job does not accommodate remote work:

Benefit-eligible professional staff: Use sick time to record unworked hours. Professional staff members are permitted to borrow against future sick leave accruals. All hours worked must be submitted and approved in accordance with the applicable Payroll Schedules.

Non-benefit eligible faculty and professional staff (casual faculty, co-ops, temporary, per diem, causal and student employees): Will not be paid unless they are able to work remotely and are submitting hours. All hours worked must be submitted and approved in accordance with the applicable Payroll Schedules. Temporary, Per Diem and Casual employees may be eligible to receive up to 40 hours of sick leave in accordance with the Philadelphia Sick Leave Ordinance. Any additional time off will be unpaid.

Pennsylvania workers affected by COVID-19 closures or reduced hours may be eligible for Unemployment Benefits. Please review the Pennsylvania Pressroom site for more information. If you have questions related to specific circumstances in your work environment and/or the resources available to you, contact your HR Business Partner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Human Resources Information

How will I be paid if I am showing symptoms or am diagnosed with COVID-19?

If the professional staff member is able and approved to work remotely, they will not be required to use their leave time. Members of a collective bargaining unit should refer to their union contract.

If the professional staff member is unable to work remotely, is expected to work on campus, or is experiencing symptoms and are unable to work as a result, they are required to use their sick leave. If they do not have enough sick leave accrued, the professional staff member will be permitted to utilize future sick leave accruals to ensure that there is no disruption in pay. Members of a collective bargaining unit should refer to their union contract.

Absences that span more than three days may be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence. Faculty and professional staff members are encouraged to contact our Leave of Absence Administrator, Lincoln Financial Group. You may file for a leave of absence by phone at 1.888.992.0549 or online by logging in to DrexelOne and selecting “Leave of Absence” in the Benefits Administration section under the “Employee” tab.

What if my family member is showing symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Vaccinated people are not required to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 unless they show symptoms. Faculty and professional staff members who are off work to care for a family member should use available sick time during their absence. Qualifying family members are outlined in the Sick Leave Policy.

Absences that span more than three days may be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence. Faculty and professional staff members are encouraged to contact our Leave of Absence Administrator, Lincoln Financial Group. You may file for a leave of absence by phone at 1.888.992.0549 or online by logging in to DrexelOne and selecting “Leave of Absence” in the Benefits Administration section under the “Employee” tab.

Can I ask my faculty/professional staff member if they have COVID-19?

You are permitted to ask faculty/professional staff members how they are feeling in general, but you are not permitted to ask about a specific illness.

Can I communicate with faculty/professional staff members if a co-worker has tested positive for COVID-19?

No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) restricts employers from sharing personal health information of an employee. Any faculty/professional staff members who have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are required to email covid19health@drexel.edu and provide their name and a phone number to be contacted by a Drexel representative. A physician will review and evaluate the responses to covid19health@drexel.edu and communicate with the impacted department accordingly.

How do I resume commonly used services, such as water delivery and document management and shredding, which were previously suspended?

Please contact the appropriate supplier representative to restore any services that were suspended following departure from campus. Please see Procurement Services' COVID-19 Resources page for contact information for the most commonly used suppliers and other pertinent information. Contact information for many Drexel suppliers can also be found on the Supplier Information Dashboard in Smart Source.

I am currently working remotely, and I do not live in Philadelphia. How does this impact the City Wage Tax that is deducted from my paycheck?

The wages of faculty and professional staff who are working remotely outside of the City of Philadelphia are not applicable to City Wage Tax during this period of remote work. Effective April 1, 2020, the Philadelphia Non-Resident Wage Tax will be turned off for the applicable employee population. For New Jersey residents who currently elect to waive the New Jersey State Tax, the NJ tax will be deducted during this time period. Once Drexel returns to normal operations, the Philadelphia Non-Resident Wage Tax and the New Jersey State Tax will be restored to their current status.

Once you are scheduled to return to work within the City of Philadelphia, regardless of the frequency (for example, if you are working a flexible schedule with some telework), City Wage Tax will be reinstated. The Payroll Office is working to create a process that will allow individuals to record the time worked outside of the city on a per-pay basis, instead of waiting until yearend to file a petition for the credit.

Full-time remote work outside of the City of Philadelphia will continue to be exempt from City Wage Tax.

How are non-benefit eligible employees paid if they cannot work because they have traveled to a country with a CDC Level 3 risk designation, have otherwise been exposed to COVID-19, have related symptoms, or their job duties do not permit them to work from home?

Pursuant to the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces, Philadelphia Sick Leave Ordinance, these individuals may be eligible to receive up to 40 hours of sick leave. Any additional time off will be unpaid. Members of a collective bargaining unit should refer to their union contract.

May I take Drexel equipment home to assist with telecommuting during this period?

You will need to seek approval from your manager in order to take Drexel equipment off campus. Please understand that you are responsible for returning the equipment upon your return to work.