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COVID-19 Resources for Drexel Faculty & Professional Staff

This page outlines Human Resources' adjusted operations as a result of University precautions regarding COVID-19 and features resources for faculty and professional staff while all but designated essential personnel are working remotely.

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 the Drexel 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.

Retirement Loans and Distributions

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:

Coronavirus-Related Distributions

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 Income taxes will be owed on the withdrawn amounts, however, they can be paid over a three-year period.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.

Loans

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

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 as well as in-network, inpatient acute treatment associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis through June 30, 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 June 30, 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 June 30, 2020.

Telemedicine:
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 June 30, 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.

Mindfulness App:
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.

GeoBlue

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 June 30, 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:
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.

Dental

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 May 31, 2020.

More information is available here:

Employee Assistance Program, Health Advocacy and Wellness

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!

Learn more 

FSA and HSA

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.

Commuter and Dependent Care 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 Benefits Administration, 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 parking@drexel.edu.

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 Benefits Administration, 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.

Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange

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.

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

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.


HR News & Announcements

Resources for Remote Work

Frequently Asked Questions

Human Resources Information

What if I have had contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) or have come into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider for guidance and testing. Immediately after calling your provider, please contact covid19health@drexel.edu and provide your name and a phone number to be contacted by a Drexel representative. It is imperative that the University is aware of any exposure risk to the members of the Drexel community.

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

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, they will be paid via 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.

If the individual is experiencing symptoms and is unable to work as a result, they are required to use their sick leave. If needed, 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?

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.

Am I able to access my building on campus?

Drexel has closed all campus facilities to the public until further notice, and effective March 23, only life-sustaining essential personnel are permitted on campus. To access campus buildings, those employees will need to present the letter they received designating them as life-sustaining essential personnel, as well as their DragonCard.

What alternatives to mass transit are available to employees who are required to work onsite?

Employees whose presence is required to support on-site operations, and who normally commute by mass transit, have the option to park at the Drexel garage at 34th and Ludlow streets or in Lot F at 31st and Ludlow streets. Please contact parking@drexel.edu to make arrangements.

Will I still be charged for parking while campus is closed?

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. The parking payroll deduction 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 parking@drexel.edu.

Can I change my April pre-tax commuter election? If not, will I lose these funds if they are not used in April?

Because April commuter benefits were loaded onto your debit card in the first week of March, they cannot be changed. However, as long as you remain eligible to participate in the commuter program, these funds will not expire and can be used to purchase commuter products at a later date.

You may wish to cancel your May election and use the unused funds for your May commuting needs. Changes to your May election must be made by April 1. Remember that elections for the remainder of the year can still be changed so long as you make the desired changes by the first of the month, before the month in which the changes apply. Instructions for changing your commuter elections can be found on the Voluntary Benefits page of the HR website.

In addition, SEPTA is offering credits for certain unused and partially used March transportation passes. More information is available at septa.org/pass-refund-info.html.

What if my child’s daycare provider or school has closed as a result of 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, but there is work available, they will be paid via their vacation leave. Members of a collective bargaining unit should refer to their union contract.

My child’s day-care center is closed. Can I make changes to my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

If your child’s day-care or after-school center is closed due to COVID-19, you are able to change your annual election since the change in day-care provider rates is considered a qualifying life event. Changes will be effective the first of the month following the date in which you make the change. 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 via DrexelOne.

I am working remotely while the campus is closed to the public, 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.

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.

Will the University pay for any expenses related to working remotely?

No. The University will not pay for electricity, internet or phone services, office supplies, etc. 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. Given the numerous options for sharing documents online, there should be little to no need for printing capabilities by remote staff. Please note that Comcast is offering special internet services during this crisis: internetessentials.com.

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.

What telecommuting resources are available to me?

Drexel IT has provided technology resource webpages on Web Conference Options and How to Connect To Drexel Resources and Services Remotely.

How will I be compensated during the closure of the campus to the public?

Faculty and professional staff required to work on campus: The Essential Personnel Policy was invoked on March 23. Faculty and professional staff Members who have been designated as life sustaining essential personnel will be paid in accordance with the policy, when they are required to work from campus.

Faculty and professional staff working remotely: Regular rate of pay.

Professional staff in positions that cannot accommodate telecommuting: Utilize sick time to record unworked hours. All hours worked must be submitted and approved in accordance with the applicable Payroll Schedules.

Non-benefit eligible faculty and professional staff in positions that cannot accommodate telecommuting (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.

What if I’m in the middle of the hiring process?

If you have open positions with candidates who are in the final stages of the recruitment process, and the position is critical to your operation, you may proceed with the hiring process. However, please ensure that your new hire will have the necessary technology to start their position remotely. In addition, you will need to develop an effective onboarding plan that can be implemented remotely. If you have questions regarding an open position or the virtual onboarding process, please connect with your Drexel Human Resources Talent Acquisition Specialist/Consultant.

What is the process for faculty and professional staff scheduled to return from leave at this time?

For faculty/professional staff members who are currently on an approved leave of absence and scheduled to return to work in the near future:

  • If the faculty/professional staff member’s job accommodates working remotely, the expectation is that they return to work as scheduled/approved.
  • If the faculty/professional staff member’s role is critical to operations or necessitates their presence on campus to assist in delivering online education, they will be expected to return to campus to work.
  • If they do not have the necessary equipment to work remotely, faculty/professional staff members should work with their managers on obtaining their equipment. While DragonCards will be needed to access all University-owned buildings, the campus will remain accessible should a faculty/professional staff member need to return for any necessary equipment. The department is required to contact their HR Business Partner prior to the faculty/professional staff member returns to campus.
  • Faculty/professional staff members who work in leased buildings should contact their manager regarding access to their workspace.

What resources are available to me if my job does not accommodate remote work?

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.

I am an exempt professional staff member, designated as essential life-sustaining personnel. How will my earned floating holiday time be tracked?

Your hours worked on campus will be sent to Human Resources by your department to ensure the floating holiday time is added to your bank. Please ensure to communicate all hours worked on campus to your supervisor.

I have been identified as essential life-sustaining personnel. When am I eligible to receive payment as outlined in the Essential Life Sustaining Personnel Compensation Guidelines?

Life-sustaining essential personnel are to be paid in accordance with the applicable compensation guidelines only when they are working from campus. When life-sustaining essential personnel work remotely, they will be paid regular time for all hours worked.

Do Drexel medical plans cover virtual doctor appointments?

Drexel medical plans offer telemedicine services through MDLive, which allows you to see a board-certified doctor by secure video, phone or mobile app. From March 13 through June 11, 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, but the normal cost associated with a specialist visit under your medical plan will apply. See the MDLive brochure [PDF] for more information.

What do I do if I have planned business travel?

Effective immediately and until further notice, domestic and international University-related travel is prohibited.

I am a temporary employee, identified as life-sustaining essential personnel. How will I be paid during the closure of campus to the public?

All temporary employees will be paid their regular rate of pay while working remotely and on campus.