1. K-State home
  2. »COVID-19
  3. »Guidance for supervisors and employees

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Updates

Guidance for supervisors and employees

The following is information for supervisors regarding safety in the workplace for essential on-site employees and COVID-related leaves of absence for on-site and remote work employees. This information is subject to change as this pandemic is a fluid situation. Government orders, guidance and other circumstances may change at any time. The university may also adapt and respond to those changes and will endeavor to communicate additional or different guidance in a timely manner.

Table of contents: 

  1. Communicating expectations to employees about symptoms and sickness.
  2. Asking an employee for more information related to an employee's COVID symptoms: What can I ask an employee who is working on campus?
  3. An employee was exposed to a person confirmed to have COVID-19. Are they allowed to come to work on campus?
  4. An employee has traveled to a high-risk location. Are they allowed to return to work on campus?
  5. An employee has tested positive for COVID-19. When are they allowed to return to work on campus?
  6. Employees requesting and taking leave from on-site work or remote work.
  7. Responding to employee concerns and providing resources.
  8. Social distancing and hygiene and infection control steps on campus.
  9. Definition of close contact. 
Communicating expectations to employees about symptoms and sickness

Supervisors should regularly remind employees reporting to work on campus that they are not permitted to report to work if they are sick or have illness symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. If an employee does report to work and is exhibiting symptoms, supervisors may require employees to leave the workplace.

Supervisors also should remind employees that they should notify the supervisor promptly — via telephone — if the employee tests positive for COVID-19 or if the employee is exposed to a close contact who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Asking an employee for more information related to an employee’s COVID symptoms: What can I ask an employee who is working on campus?

Supervisors may ask employees who report feeling ill at work, or who call in sick, whether they have any COVID-related symptoms so that the supervisor can determine whether the employee must stay away from work. The supervisor’s discussion about the employee’s health symptoms should be limited to asking about the presence of only those COVID-related symptoms.

Please note that supervisors may not mandate that an employee not report to work because the employee disclosed, or the supervisor is aware of, a medical condition that is unrelated to COVID-19. Supervisors shall not inquire about underlying medical conditions. Inquiries about reasonable accommodations should be directed to ADA coordinator at charlott@k-state.edu.

An employee was exposed to a person confirmed to have COVID-19. Are they allowed to come to work on campus?

If an employee has been advised by a public health or other authority that they are a close contact with a known COVID-exposure case, the University is following KDHE and CDC recommendations:

  • Employees who are unable to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet at all times are not permitted to report to work for 14 days after a close contact. Employees should fill out the FFRCA leave request form and turn that into their department HCS liaison. Likewise, employees whose health care provider advised them to self-quarantine after a close contact may also fill out the same FFRCA leave request form.

  • If an employee can maintain that social distance at all times, then they are permitted to report to work even after a close contact, but only if they do not have any of the COVID-related symptoms and follow the conditions listed below, including but not limited to being able to social distance at all times. 

For asymptomatic employees reporting to work after a close contact, the following conditions apply:

  1. The employee must maintain 6-feet social distance, and supervisors must enforce that requirement the same that they enforce other job duties.

  2. Supervisors should continue to ask employees if they have any of the above symptoms.

  3. Employees should self-monitor for symptoms and temperatures and direct any questions to Lafene Health Center, their personal physician, and/or their HCS liaison, as applicable. If the employee begins experiencing any COVID-related symptoms, they should immediately report that to their supervisor and leave the worksite. Employees who are experiencing symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis may also fill out the FFCRA leave request form and turn it into their department HCS liaison.

  4. The employee also must use a cloth and/or surgical face covering at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after the last exposure. See here for information about face coverings.

An employee has traveled to a high-risk location. Are they allowed to return to work on campus?

If an employee has traveled to one of the identified high-risk areas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment mandates self-quarantine for 14 days. Employees subject to this quarantine should follow the same requirements above after a close contact. Read current information from KDHE about travel. If an employee traveled to another area, they are permitted to return to work, subject to the limitations for those who are a close contact.

An employee has tested positive for COVID-19. When are they allowed to return to work on campus?

If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and has had any of the COVID-related symptoms, the employee should fill out a leave request form and turn it into their department HCS liaison. Based on CDC guidance, the employee may return to work only after all of the following conditions are met:

  1. At least 3 days — 72 hours — have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications;

  2. Improvement in respiratory symptoms — e.g., cough, shortness of breath;

  3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Or, in the alternative, if and as testing becomes more available, the employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has had any of the COVID-related symptoms may return to work if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications;

  2. Improvement in respiratory symptoms — e.g., cough, shortness of breath;

  3. Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected greater than or equal to 24 hours apart — total of two negative specimens.

Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, but who have not had any symptoms, may return to work when:

  1. At least 7 days have passed since the date of that first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test;

  2. The employee has had no subsequent illness;

  3. The employee remains asymptomatic; and

  4. For three days following discontinuing of isolation and the return to work, employees should maintain 6-feet social distancing and wear a covering for their nose and mouth whenever in a setting where other person(s) are present.

Individual units, such as those with health care workers, may have more restrictive requirements for when employees can return to a workplace, depending on professional obligations.

Any questions about whether an employee should be permitted to work should be directed to the department’s HCS liaison and/or Employee Relations, Human Capital Services.

Employees requesting and taking leave from on-site work or remote work
  1. Employees performing essential functions on campus are expected to continue to report to work, if the employee is not on approved leave.

  2. Effective April 1, 2020, there are two types of leave provided under the new federal law Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or FFCRA: Emergency sick leave up to two weeks and expanded FMLA leave — 12 weeks, up to 10 weeks paid in part. Each has certain eligibility requirements. How these leaves are taken and accounted for will depend on how the University implements leave across all units.

  3. If an employee requests to take sick leave, FMLA leave, or other leave for a COVID-related reason, you should direct that employee to the department HCS liaison and the leave request form. These reasons may include but not be limited to: 
        — the employee is sick,
        — the employee is caring for someone who is sick,
        — the employee — or someone they are caring for — is required by a     
            health care provider or governmental order to isolate or quarantine, 
        — the employee is taking care of children whose school or child care
            provider is closed.

  4. Employees should not request accrued sick or vacation leave if they are not reporting to work for a COVID-related reason, unless their Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)-related leave is exhausted. Instead, the employee first should complete the new FFCRA leave request form and submit it to the department HCS liaison. The department HCS liaison will then be able to assist further regarding the appropriate course of action.

  5. The employee’s eligibility under the federal leave laws and University policy will be determined after submission of that form. Supervisors do not make that determination.

  6. Supervisors may not require an employee to report to work when that employee is eligible to and elects to take leave under the federal leave laws, regardless of the extent of the employee’s job duties, lack of coverage, or other business reasons.  Likewise, supervisors shall not interfere, discourage or otherwise try to influence whether an employee elects to take the leave or for how long. Retaliation of any kind for an employee electing to take the leave is strictly prohibited.

  7. Supervisors shall not require the employees on leave to find coverage for a work shift that they will miss.

  8. Supervisors should direct the employee to the department HCS liaison if the employee has questions about whether an employee qualifies for leave.

  9. Employees are to provide notice of the need for leave as soon as practicable to the extent the need for leave is foreseeable.

  10. If the employee is asking for changes or modifications to the workplace related to a medical condition or disability, the supervisor may contact the University’s ADA coordinator at charlott@k-state.edu.

  11. Supervisors may inform employees that Lafene Health Center is a resource they may utilize.

  12. If employees express concern about safety or other conditions of their workplace that the supervisor cannot efficiently or effectively resolve, the supervisor or the employee may contact Employee Relations, Human Capital Services.

  13. If an employee requests resource information on COVID-19 generally, on health impacts, or about social distancing and other personal risk reduction strategies, supervisors may provide the employee with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Kansas Department for Health and Environment and Lafene Health Center.

Responding to Employee Concerns and Providing Resources
  1. Supervisors may inform employees that Lafene Health Center is a resource they may utilize.
  2. If employees express concern about safety or other conditions of their workplace that the supervisor cannot efficiently or effectively resolve, the supervisor or the employee may contact Employee Relations, Human Capital Services.
  3. If an employee requests resource information on COVID-19 generally, on health impacts, or about social distancing and other personal risk reduction strategies, supervisors may provide the employee with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Kansas Department for Health and Environment and Lafene Health Center.
Social Distancing and Hygiene and Infection Control Steps on Campus

Supervisors should implement good social distancing and hygiene and infection control practices, including: 

  1. Communicating and requiring that employees maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from all other persons to the greatest extent practicable and not congregate in groups except to the extent necessary to perform their job duties.
  2. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing. If soap and running water are not immediately available, allow the employee to go to a location where soap and water are available and/or provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  3. Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick. 
  4. Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  5. Discourage employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  6. Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment.
Definition of a close contact

A person is considered a "close contact" if they have been directly within 6 feet of someone with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the 72 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

 

Questions?

Read COVID-19 FAQ

If experiencing symptoms
and in Manhattan:
Call 785-532-6544 

Available 24 hours

Email lafene@k-state.edu

Lafene Health Center hours:

Monday-Friday:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If care is needed when Lafene Health Center is closed, contact the local hospital emergency department:

Ascension Hospital
1823 College Avenue
(west of K-State football stadium)
785-776-3322