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Coronavirus: Information for Faculty & Staff

General

What is the coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China and has been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills and or body aches.

How can I avoid being exposed to the virus?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the COVID-2019 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Practice social distancing and stay at home to help flatten the curve.

What should I do if I think I was exposed to the virus?

Aside from self-isolating, if a student has developed fever with cough or shortness of breath, or has had contact with someone who is suspected to have coronavirus, the student is advised to call the Drexel Student Health Center right away at 215.220.4700.

Faculty and professional staff are advised to seek medical care by calling their primary care doctor and asking to be evaluated for the COVID-19 infection. 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.

What is Drexel doing to minimize the risk of contracting the coronavirus?

Drexel is increasing awareness across campus regarding proper hygiene and social distancing. In addition to cleaning surfaces and disinfecting large common areas with foggers, as recommended by the CDC, the University is also enhancing access to alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Custodial personnel have been trained and are using products that combat coronavirus, as well as the flu and other contagions, and have increased disinfection frequency of “high touch” areas around campus. While campus buildings are closed as of March 20, Drexel Environmental Services will also be going into all classrooms and non-lab areas and wiping down light switches, door hardware, surfaces and the like with an approved disinfectant.

The Office of Real Estate and Facilities has also worked with landlords in the University’s leased locations to ensure similar steps have been taken there as well.

The best way to limit the spread of viruses is through good hygiene, including covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing; covering your nose with a tissue when sneezing; washing your hands frequently; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home if you are sick; and sanitizing and disinfecting frequently touched spaces.

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.

As an employee, can I cancel my parking permit for Spring term?

As is standard practice, an employee who wishes to cancel their parking permit can do so via this link: drexel.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3t9Gd2eJnjlyrdj. Employees can re-register for parking anytime via the ParkDrexel portal available on the Campus+Community tab in DrexelOne. Parking permits are not prorated and terminate at the end of the current month.

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.

Travel: Faculty and Staff

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 have planned personal travel to a CDC Level 1 risk designation. What should I do?

As of March 19, the U.S. State Department is advising against travel abroad and urging Americans abroad to return immediately or plan to remain where you are for an extended period of time. In accordance with CDC guidelines, you may be subject to a 14-day self-isolation upon your return. You are strongly encouraged to report any planned personal travel to your immediate supervisor and your HR Business Partner.

I have planned personal travel to domestic locations where there have been known outbreaks or have declared a state of emergency. What should I do?

You should continue to monitor the CDC risk designation for your planned travel location. You may be subject to a 14-day self-isolation upon your return. You are strongly encouraged to report any planned personal travel to CDC Level 3 risk designation to your immediate supervisor and your HR Business Partner.

I have travel planned to a country with a CDC Level 3 risk designation. What do I do?

As of March 19 the U.S. State Department is advising against travel abroad and urging Americans abroad to return immediately or plan to remain where you are for an extended period of time. Accordingly, personal travel to a CDC Level 3 risk designation is discouraged in order to mitigate risk of exposure. Should the CDC expand the list or change the risk level designation of the country to which you are traveling, you may be subject to self-isolation upon your return to work.

You are strongly encouraged to report any planned personal travel to CDC Level 3 Countries to your immediate supervisor and your HR Business Partner.

What if, due to coronavirus concerns, I need or want to change any personal or professional travel arrangements already booked through Drexel’s Business Travel portal?

You can contact World Travel Inc. directly at 855.809.8166 or drexeltravel@worldtravelinc.com, should you have any questions or concerns. Please also visit the Procurement Services website for more information about the logistics associated with travel bookings on behalf of Drexel.

Drexel Facilities and Operations

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.

Are the campus shuttles still running?

Campus shuttle service for the Dragon (Center City), Powelton/Spring Garden, and Queen Lane routes will be suspended after the last run on Friday, March 20.

I work in a leased location, should I follow guidance from the landlord or Drexel?

For tenants, follow the direction of the most stringent requirements to assist in protecting the community. If access is restricted, please work with the landlord. If you have challenges with the landlord gaining access to a leased location, please notify Drexel's Real Estate and Facilities team through the Facilities Call Center (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.) at 215.895.1700.

What should I know about the Drexel Recreation Center?

The Drexel Recreation Center, consistent with directives by the PA governor’s office, will close as of 4 p.m. on Monday, March 16 and until further notice.

If you have a paid membership, it has been placed on hold as of March 16 unless otherwise stated. The remaining time on your membership will be added back to your account once The Rec Center reopens.

All programming is suspended – this includes group exercise classes, intramural sports, club sports practices/games/travel, personal training sessions, small group training sessions, & swim lessons. However, the Rec Center is moving some athletics and recreational programming to a Virtual Rec Center.  More information will soon be available.

All guest passes and membership sales have been suspended.

Visit https://drexel.edu/recathletics/about/mission/Covid-19/ for updated Rec Center information as it becomes available.

What should I know about Drexel Libraries?

Effective March 21, the Libraries physical sites will close until further notice. However, we will continue and extend online access to both electronic resources and assistance from our expert staff. More information is available on the Libraries website.

Is there any interruption of service in shipping and receiving?

For packages being shipped to campus, please contact the supplier to cancel or hold the order. Shipping and receiving will continue to hold packages, but storage is limited and strained. If a received package is needed, contact Shipping and Receiving at 215.895.2817 to schedule a pickup at the receiving window on the first floor of the General Services Building Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Delivery service will not be an option at this time

I need a DragonCard - what should I do?

The DragonCard Office is closed. If critical personnel need a DragonCard, they should visit the Drexel University Police Station at 3219 Arch Street.

What's happening with departmental mail service?

If you have any questions about receiving or sending departmental or inter-departmental mail during the campus closure, please speak to your supervisor or department head.

What should I do if a bathroom is out of soap or paper towels or an on-campus sanitizer station is empty?

Please call the Facilities Call Center (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at 215.895.1700 to report the concern. Student residents can also contact their residence hall Front Desk for assistance.

How do I clean and sanitize my printing devices?

Please consult this PDF provided by Canon that outlines steps to disinfect your printing devices. Please do not submit service requests to Canon for the purposes of device cleaning.

Will I be able to contact Drexel Central while campus is closed?

Yes. Drexel Central will still be providing assistance to students during the campus closure. Given limited call center staffing, students and families should utilize AskDrexel as the primary method of communication. Students will also continue to be able to make one-on-one Zoom appointments with Drexel Central representatives via their My Success Team channel in DrexelOne. Visit the Drexel Central Contact page for more information.

Public Safety

What should I know about Public Safety during Spring Break and Spring Term?

For the duration of the campus closure, Public Safety will be fully operational, and Drexel police will be mounting extra patrols as needed. Additional information and updates are available on the COVID-19 Operations: Public Safety page.

Procurement

How is purchasing affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

All non-essential spending should be halted immediately. Procurement Services has notified Nestle/Ready Refresh, DocuVault, and Canon to discontinue all campus services and/or deliveries effective close of business on Friday, March 20. Read the complete announcement here.

Out of an abundance of caution due to concerns about the potential for cyber-enabled financial crimes, Drexel is suspending its P-Card program until further notice, effective Friday, March 27. Select cards directly related to critical areas of business operations and research activity will remain active. Now that Drexel’s operations are predominantly off-campus, with all travel prohibited, most critical purchasing needs can be accommodated through our Smart Source system. Please remember that all expenses, regardless of purchase method, must be approved by a supervisor or financial administrator before purchase. Read the complete announcement here.

Should I be ordering business-critical supplies?

Yes. There has been a significant disruption in the global supply chain, so please be aware of your inventories and order appropriately to plan for several months.

How should I handle purchasing in-demand supplies (e.g. cleaning, sanitation and personal protective equipment products) affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

Pay close attention to pricing and do NOT order items at inflated pricing. Please visit the Procurement Services website for information about purchasing such products.

Please refer to this guidance document [PDF] from the federal government regarding precautions to take when purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). If you have any questions, concerns, or needs with respect to PPE or other purchases related to the COVID-19 situation, please contact sourcing@drexel.edu.

Where do I charge my COVID-19 related purchases?

Unbudgeted expenses directly related to the COVID-19 emergency response should be charged as follows:

  • Chart D: 110001-5999-160
  • Chart S: 111001-5999-160
  • Chart O: 112001-5999-160

Are there any Smart Source workflow changes I should know about due to the pandemic?

Yes. Procurement Services implemented changes to requisition review workflows to ensure appropriate stewardship of essential Drexel funds during this critical and unprecedented time. Strategic Sourcing is reviewing all requisitions of $100 or more, and Procurement leadership reviews all requisitions of $50,000 or more. In addition to reviewing to ensure that goods or services meet a critical need during modified operations, Strategic Sourcing is also reviewing to ensure that purchases directly related to COVID-19 response are allocated to the appropriate cost center.

Am I able to submit requisitions for events right now?

No. Due to the current coronavirus situation, and consistent with Drexel University's support of social distancing to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we are currently returning requisitions for events scheduled for the near future. Please contact sourcing@drexel.edu should you have any questions.

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.

What if, due to coronavirus concerns, I need or want to change any personal or professional travel arrangements already booked through Drexel’s Business Travel portal?

You can contact World Travel Inc. directly at 855.809.8166 or drexeltravel@worldtravelinc.com, should you have any questions or concerns. Please also visit the Procurement Services website for more information about the logistics associated with travel bookings on behalf of Drexel.

How do I clean and sanitize my printing devices?

Please consult this PDF provided by Canon that outlines steps to disinfect your printing devices. Please do not submit service requests to Canon for the purposes of device cleaning.

Research

How will this affect my research project(s)?

Classes and Exams : Info for Faculty

How should I conduct online or remote exams?

The Instructional Technology Group has created a COVID-19 Prep web page to explain how to use Drexel’s online instruction and testing resources.

ITG COVID-19 Prep page for online instruction and testing

How can I transition my in-person classes to online?

As Drexel has announced, spring term resumes on Monday, April 6, all courses will be taught remotely using web, video and teleconferencing tools already widely adopted by faculty. The Instructional Technology Group has created a COVID-19 Prep web page to assist faculty with preparing to teach courses remotely. Additionally, the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence has created a guide to help faculty teach in-person courses remotely.

IT COVID-19 prep page for online instruction and testing

CASTLE guide to teaching remotely

What is the grading policy for Spring term?

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought much uncertainty and disruption to the lives of our students. After serious consideration and conversation with deans, faculty and our students, it became clear that following our standard grading policy during this unprecedented time was not the best path forward. For that reason, we will offer the option for students to take spring term courses on a Pass/No Pass basis. Details are available at this link.

More Information