As the College continues to monitor the local, national and worldwide incidence of the COVID-19 virus faculty and staff members are asked to review the following workplace policies and guidance. This information may change as the situation evolves and more becomes known. Questions may be directed to the Office of Human Resources.
Sarah Lawrence’s priorities in setting these workplace policies are to:
- Maintain a safe and healthy workplace;
- Sustain academic programs and operational continuity;
- Encourage open communication and express concern for the wellbeing of our faculty and staff.
Most Important Actions to Take Now
- All faculty and staff are urged to take basic preventative measures to avoid exposure to or infection by the COVID-19 virus
- Those who are able to work remotely should do so.
- College employees who have recently been in an area of high concern for COVID-19, which is being defined as a CDC Level 3 area, should contact the office of Human Resources, and self-isolate as explained on the Sarah Lawrence COVID-19 website.
- Contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-828-6025 for help with feelings of stress or anxiety about these events.
Important Update (April 14, 2020)
Consistent with recommendations from public health officials for increased social distancing, effective Monday March 23, Sarah Lawrence will require non-essential employees to work remotely. Please speak with your supervisor and contact the Information Technology office (email@example.com) to discuss potential anticipated telework arrangements.
Only essential staff whose positions require that they be on campus will be expected to physically report to campus. Hourly essential employees who report to campus will be paid in accordance with the College’s emergency pay policy. Only those essential staff who have been approved by the Office of Human Resources will be permitted on campus. Effective, April 14, all essential staff reporting to campus must wear a protective face covering. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on homemade face coverings can be found here. Any essential employee without access to a suitable face covering should contact the Colleges's Associate Vice President for Human Resources.
The College recognizes that, because of the nature of their work, not every staff member will have the option of telework. Increasing the overall availability of telework for as many staff as possible will also benefit those employees who are required to report to campus because it will result in increased social distancing for all staff
In cases where a non-essential employee is unable to telework, the College will continue their pay based upon their regularly scheduled hours. We will continue to evaluate this temporary policy as conditions at the College and throughout the country change.
Biweekly Staff: Staff on a biweekly pay schedule will be paid for their regularly scheduled hours. Only essential staff who report to campus should submit timesheets reflecting hours worked on campus. Those hours will be paid at time-and-a-half.
Weekly Staff: As essential employees, Maintenance and Campus Safety staff should continue to report to campus and use their normal clock-in/clock-out procedures for their shifts. All work performed on campus by Maintenance and Campus Safety will be compensated under the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreements. Any non-essential staff paid on a weekly basis (such as those in Athletics) will be paid for their regularly scheduled hours.
Monthly Staff & Faculty: All regularly scheduled faculty and staff paid on a monthly basis will continue to be paid their regular salaries.
Workplace Policies (as of March 20, 2020 subject to change)
- Well Employees: Faculty and staff who are well are expected at work as usual, even if they have been in contact with or caring for someone who is ill with an ordinary respiratory illness (in which case, typical preventive measures are recommended for them as care givers). Well employees are expected at work unless they have been:
- caring for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in which case they are required to self-isolate;
- in a CDC Level 3 area of concern;
- instructed to refrain from attending work by public health officials.
Note: If any of these situations apply to you, please contact the Office of Human Resources or the Provost’s office (for faculty).
- Sick Employees: Any faculty or staff who have symptoms of respiratory illness must stay home and not come to campus until they are free of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius taken by an oral thermometer.
- Paid Sick Time: Sarah Lawrence provides paid sick time and paid family and dependent care sick time for all benefits-eligible faculty and staff, and to all other employees, including student workers, under the terms of the Westchester Earned Sick Leave Law. Faculty should consult the Provost’s office for questions concerning short-term sick absences. Under the terms of the New York State Emergency COVID-19 Sick Law, the College shall provide up to fourteen days of paid sick leave, regardless of whether employees have sufficient sick accruals to cover this period.
- Staff should maintain a log of any absences related to COVID-19. These include times when they are unable to work (in person or remotely) because of:
- Their own illness
- The need to care for a sick immediate family member
- The need to self-quarantine when they are unable to work remotely
- The need to care for a child who is impacted by a school closure
- Staff members who are sick and unable to report to campus or work remotely are asked to enter absences (sick time taken, or time taken for family/dependent care) on timesheets promptly, or ask that it be done for them by their supervisor. Public health authorities may ask employers like Sarah Lawrence to monitor and report trends in employee absenteeism.
- Extended Sick Absences / Disabilities: Employees in active service are normally covered by New York State Disability benefits. Staff who work less than 21 hours per week, who have met the required waiting period, will be eligible to apply for short-term disability benefits through the state. Staff who work more than 21 hours per week, and faculty who teach at least half-time, who have met the required waiting period, may be eligible for continued pay under the College’s extended medical leave policy.
- Emergency Childcare Leaves of Absence: Benefits-eligible faculty and staff may take a short-term family care emergency leave, when regularly scheduled care plans are interrupted due to a school, camp, facility closure and/or the unexpected absence of a care provider, as a result of a closure by order of a public official for health-related reasons. Family care emergencies apply to both child and elder care situations. Such employees are eligible to telework, as appropriate and/or to use all categories of paid leave including sick time, personal time, floating holidays and vacation time to be paid during a family care emergency leave.
- Children at Work: Essential employees who are required to report to campus with childcare arrangements that are impacted by COVID-19 shall be permitted to bring their children to work on a short-term basis, provided that the employee can:
- Perform the essential functions of their job, to their supervisor’s satisfaction
- Maintain a work environment that is free from excessive distractions to themselves and others.
Children of employees who are sick, or who are required to quarantine shall not be permitted on campus.
- Exposure to COVID-19: If an employee of the College learns that they have been exposed to an individual infected with COVID-19, they should contact the office of Human Resources (the Provost for faculty), and the College’s Director of Health Services.
- If a position’s duties can be accomplished from home, the employee will be allowed to telework during a physician-directed period of self-quarantine.
- If a position’s duties can’t be accomplished from home the employee will receive paid administrative leave during a physician-directed period of self-quarantine. The leave is not charged against the employee’s paid time off balance. The exposed employee is required to follow work restrictions and follow-up procedures as instructed. If the employee fails to follow the procedures as directed, the employee may become ineligible for the paid administrative leave
- Return to Work: The College reserves the right to require written medical clearance in order for an employee to return to work.
- Returning from College or Personal Travel to Affected Areas: Please refer to the Sarah Lawrence COVID-19 information page for up-to-date recommendations about return from travel to affected areas and other topics. There, you will find information on whether any self-isolation may be required.
- Workers at Higher Risk: Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health. These may include requesting a temporary change in job location, hours, assignment or duties, or implementation of additional protective measures to reduce their exposure to others or chances of being infected.
If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their physician agree that increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact the Human Resources office to formally request a temporary change. Human Resources will confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives, and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining the College’s operations. A doctor’s note may be required.
Except for employees who formally request a change in job circumstances due to underlying health conditions, employees will generally not be reassigned to new duties, locations, or roles or be provided with paid sick/release time solely to address concerns about the potential for COVID-19 infection.