UIW Guidance for Supervisors Regarding COVID-19

Important Considerations

Employee Accommodations

When an employee informs their supervisor that they need a change in the work environment because of an underlying medical condition, they are making a request for accommodation. Please contact the Human Resources department to start an interactive conversation with the employee. We encourage you to be flexible in your overall planning as this may likely address any individual employee concerns which may arise, and we should acknowledge CDC recognized risk factors of vulnerable individuals when exploring social distancing and flexible work arrangement.

Vulnerable individuals, as defined by the CDC include:

  1. Individuals age 60+
    • According to the CDC, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. For example, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.
  2. Per the CDC, people of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from a solid organ transplant.
    • Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above
    • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Hemoglobin disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia
    • Type 2 Diabetes
  3. Per the CDC, people with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Hypertension or high blood pressure
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
    • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
    • Liver disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
    • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
    • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Flexible Work Policy

In support of and consistent with the Governor’s guidance to increase social distancing in workplaces, we encourage managers and supervisors to consider the use of flexible work approaches as one method to create more space between employees during the workday. We also encourage supervisors to explore flexible work options to assist employees impacted by school closures.

Employee Illness

Supervisors should not make assumptions about illness or ask about an employee's medical condition. Supervisors are encouraged to talk with all employees about resources and expectations related to sick leave and illness prevention. If employees feel sick, they are to stay home. Supervisors are encouraged to assure employees their assignments will be covered until they recover and resume work. Please see the Pandemic Policy for Sick and Vacation Leave for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if an employee asks to stay home with their child(ren) while schools are closed? Open
What if an employee asks to bring their child(ren) to work with them since schools/childcare are closed? Open
How should I determine which employees are required to report to work on campus while the University is in a modified operational status? Open
How should I respond if an employee—who appears healthy and has not disclosed prior health issues—tells me that they would like to work from home because they are worried about contracting COVID-19? Open
How should I respond if my employee is diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19? Open
What if an employee asks to work from home because they have an underlying medical condition and they are worried about contracting COVID-19? Open
What if an employee asks to work from home because they live with or are in contact with family members who are considered to be at a high risk due to COVID-19? Open
Can I require employees to engage in good infection-control practices? Open