COVID-19 Resources for Drexel Faculty & Professional Staff
In anticipation of welcoming students back to campus in the fall, Drexel University is implementing a phased return to campus over the summer. 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.
Information for Essential Personnel
For essential personnel who must report to campus, Drexel's Department of Environmental Health and Safety has issued the following protocols related to social distancing, personal protective equipment and proper cleaning/sanitizing: COVID-19 Prevention – Social Distancing and Controls for Essential Personnel [PDF].
Drexel Human Resources, in partnership with the College of Medicine, has developed additional guidelines for essential personnel, including how to use the Drexel Health Tracker app and what to do if you have a possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection: COVID-19 Protocols for Essential Personnel [PDF].
Benefits — Resources and Updates
Click each subheading below for information about new, existing and expanded benefits available during the COVID-19 crisis.
While Drexel has committed to ensuring all benefit eligible faculty and professional staff continue to receive their full pay, we understand many families may feel the financial pressures from the changes occurring outside of our University. The following additional resources for families experiencing financial difficulty are available:
Participants that have been physically or financially impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible to take a Coronavirus-Related Distribution of up to $100,000 from their retirement account from now until December 31, 2020. If a participant is invested with more than one retirement vendor, the total loan amount cannot exceed $100,000 combined.
Coronavirus-Related Distributions are not subject to the 10% penalty that would otherwise apply to distributions taken before age 59½. Income taxes will be owed on the withdrawn amounts, however, they can be paid over a three-year period. Alternatively, no taxes will be owed if the participants repays the money back into their account within three years. A 10-percent income tax withholding will automatically be withheld from distributions taken from Vanguard and Fidelity accounts unless you instruct your retirement vendor not to have taxes withheld.
Participants that are invested with TIAA and have been physically or financially impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible to take a loan from their retirement account up to $100,000 of their account balance from now through September 23, 2020.
Through December 31, 2020, participants with existing loans can request a suspension of loan repayments for up to one year.
Required Minimum Distributions
Participants receiving a Required Minimum Distribution can suspend the distributions for the remainder of 2020. This provides an opportunity to recoup any market losses and rebuild savings. Participants must notify their retirement vendor directly if you wish to suspend your distributions.
For more information, please reach out to your retirement vendor via their participant website or by contacting their call center.
Fidelity: fidelity.com/atwork or 1.800.558.9179
TIAA: TIAA.org or 1.800.842.2252
Vanguard: vanguard.com or 1.800.523.1188
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 as well as in-network, inpatient acute treatment associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis through December 31, 2020.
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 December 31, 2020.
In addition, prior authorization requirements are temporarily suspended for transfers from acute in-network inpatient facilities in-network, post-acute facilities (long-term acute care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities) for any diagnoses through December 31, 2020.
Telemedicine services are available through MDLive that allow you to see a board-certified doctor by secure video, phone or mobile app. From March 13 through December 31, 2020, the co-pay for all telemedicine visits through MDLive will be waived.
If your primary care doctor offers virtual appointments, the cost for these appointments may also be waived. Virtual visits with your specialist are covered; however, the normal cost associated with an in-person specialist visit under your medical plan will apply.
Drexel medical plan participants now have 60 days of premium access to Independence Blue Cross' mindfulness and meditation app, Stop, Breath & Think [PDF].
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.
COVID 19 Testing and Treatment:
Costs are waived for diagnostic testing for COVID-19, as well as for subsequently needed care that is covered by the plan once COVID-19 diagnosis occurs. This waiver will apply to claims incurred through July 31, 2020.
No Prior Authorization Requirements:
The Geo Blue Plan does not require prior authorizations for acute inpatient admissions from the emergency department at in-network facilities or for transfers from acute in-network inpatient facilities in-network, post-acute facilities.
Telemedicine services are available through Global TeleMD™ with a global network of licensed doctors and multiple language options. Remote consultations via Global TeleMD are free and can be used as many times as you need.
The Global TeleMD app can be downloaded for free to your mobile device from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Once you download the app, you'll need to create a profile, which is quick and easy. Please have your member ID card or Certificate Number available when creating your profile.
Virtual visits with a primary care doctor and specialist are covered and the normal cost associated with an in-person visit under the plan will apply. However, costs may be waived if the claim is related to COVID-19.
Additional Counseling Resources:
In addition to the Drexel EAP resources, GeoBlue members can access additional counseling services in several languages through the Global Wellness Assist program.
Early Prescription Refills and Pharmacy Locations:
Early prescription refills may be available and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The plan does not distinguish between in-network and out-of-network pharmacies, so prescriptions can be filled at any location.
Virtual Dental Care
Participants in Drexel's base and preferred dental plans can obtain free urgent virtual dental care through May 31, 2020. During this time, costs for virtual urgent consultations with your in-network dentist will be waived.
If your regular dentist is unable to assist you, virtual dental care is now available through Cigna in partnership with TeleDentist. TeleDentist will connect you with a licensed dentist who, through a video call, can help address urgent situations like toothaches, infection, swelling, bleeding, and more. The licensed dentist can also prescribe certain medication to be filled at your local pharmacy, if necessary. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are provided at no cost through July 31, 2020.
More information is available here:
Counseling/Employee Assistance Program
Employees and their spouses, domestic partners, and dependents can access free, confidential counseling sessions though Drexel's Employee Assistance Program by calling 888.628.4824. Each individual is entitled to up to five 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!
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Menstrual Products
Employees can now use funds in their flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to purchase over-the-counter drugs without a prescription as well as menstrual products. This applies to purchases made on or after January 1, 2020.
Purchases can be made with an HSA debit card effective immediately. As always, remember to retain a copy of your receipts for tax purposes.
For FSA debit cards, merchants will need time to set up their systems to recognize these newly eligible items. Most merchants can now recognize over-the-counter drugs, and it is anticipated that menstrual products will be added starting in mid-May.
Employees can obtain reimbursement for out-of-pocket purchases by submitting receipts to their FSA or HSA administrator.
Contact Drexel's FSA or HSA providers directly with any questions:
- Flexible Spending Accounts: Contact the Drexel University Benefits Center at 844.690.3992.
- Health Savings Accounts: Contact Optum Bank at 866.234.8913.
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.
Drexel Parking Facilities
While the Essential Personnel Policy is in place, all active parking payroll deductions will be suspended as of April 1, 2020. There is no need to return the parking placard to Parking Services at this time. Parking payroll deductions will resume again when the University resumes normal operations. Employees will not lose their assigned parking lot. More details will be provided at that time. If you have any questions, please contact Drexel Parking Services at email@example.com.
Adjusting Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Deductions
Employees who participate in Drexel's Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) benefit and whose day-care or after-school center is closed due to COVID-19 may change their annual election since the change in day-care provider rates is considered a qualifying life event. At this time, no proof of day-care closure is required.
Changes will be effective the first of the month following the date in which the change is made. For example, changes made on March 28 will be effective starting on April 1. If changes are made on the first of the month, the change will be effective that same date. You can change your Dependent Care annual election by calling 844.690.3992 or updating it 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, choose the Life Events link on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Scroll down to find the Change in Day Care Provider Rates Event and select Enroll.
- Select the date of the change on the calendar icon. Please Note: You must enter the date you are logging into the system to revise your contributions.
- Make your desired changes.
- If you no longer wish to participate in DCFSA, you will be directed on what amount to enter in the Your Annual Amount field on the election page. The suggested amount will reflect the contributions you have made to date or the minimum annual contribution of $100, whichever is greater. Your payroll deduction will automatically recalculate to $0 for he remainder of the plan year.
- Click the Save and Continue button.
When day-care centers re-open, you can increase your contributions by calling 844.690.3992.
Pass/No Pass Grading and Tuition Remission
Eligible employees using tuition remission for Spring 2020 who choose to declare Pass/No Pass grading procedures will be governed by the same rules of the Undergraduate and Graduate Grading Policy. But please note that any "No Pass" grades received in the Spring 2020 term will be subject to the same provisions as a grade "F" under Drexel's Tuition Remission Policy for Professional Staff and Faculty Members.
Grades of C or better will be counted as a Pass for graduate classes, and grades of D or better for undergraduate classes will be counted as a Pass. Please visit the Pass/No Pass Grading policy, FAQs, and Tuition Remission policy for further details.
Effective immediately, 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.
These leave-time policy changes are temporary while we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please review HR-31.
The University is temporarily suspending its match and basic contributions to the 403(b) retirement plan from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, for every faculty and professional staff member, including those at the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University Online. You are not required to take any action as part of this change. For more information, please download the FAQ [PDF].
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
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.