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HR Update, March 16, 2020

To keep communication as clear as possible, and archive it for later use, the Office of Human Resources will be sending out periodic updates using this format. 

If you have information that you would like to disseminate to all employees, please send that to brittnidegreve@augustana.edu and we will coordinate adding the information to a future HR update.

For now, we would ask that you limit any mass communications to avoid confusion.

Temporary telecommuting arrangements

Beginning March 16, 2020, the college is implementing temporary telecommuting arrangements that may be requested or required due to the COVID 19 outbreak.  This is a temporary policy to address the unique situation of an infectious disease outbreak and will be terminated when Augustana College determines that these arrangements are no longer required due to the COVID 19 outbreak.

What is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting is simply an adjustment to an employee's customary worksite.  

Telecommuting arrangements involve the employee primarily or regularly working from home.   Any telecommuting arrangement, even when temporary, must continue to support the operational needs of the department and include appropriate oversight of the employee's work. Hours of work must still be recorded and all other expectations and responsibilities of employees, including those outlined in the employee handbook, remain in effect. 

Request Process:  Employees may request temporary telecommuting in writing to the Office of Human Resources.  This request should include information about any medical issues that support working from home during an infectious disease outbreak, an explanation of how the employee's work may be performed at home, and any other information that may be relevant to the request.  Supervisors may not receive requests or grant requests. Any prior decisions made will be subject to the decision making policy indicated below. Request Form

Decision Making:  We will prioritize employee safety.   Where possible, we will allow an employee with an underlying health condition that makes them more susceptible to COVID 19 the option to telecommute. A number of factors will be considered in determining whether a request will be approved. These factors include:

•    Whether the current job duties are conducive to off-campus work
•    The nature of the work duties
•    If accrued paid time off could be utilized rather than telecommuting

Decisions will be made on a case by case basis and may or may not be on a full-time basis.   The nature of many positions do require that employees perform their work, or a substantial portion of their work, on site.   Alternative arrangements and options will be discussed with employees whose positions do not allow for work from a different location.   Considerations include a temporary reduction in the employee's work schedule and utilization of an employee's available paid leave.

Our focus on safety may also mean that some employees will be asked to work remotely if reducing the number of employees who are working on campus is an appropriate or required response to the COVID 19 outbreak.  In such a case, employees will work with their managers to understand how and whether work responsibilities may be performed on a temporary basis away from campus.

Duration:  Approved or required telecommuting arrangements are expected to be short-term and the college will continue to monitor guidance from health officials and the need for remote work arrangements.  Employees granted temporary telecommuting should not assume any specified period of time for telework and must understand that the college will require employees to return to regular, in-office work.


Requirements:  Employees who are temporarily telecommuting are expected to follow the same work requirements as in-office work.  All employment policies of Augustana College remain in effect, including safety requirements, work hours, professional behavior, performance of job responsibilities, and regular communication.

Temporary vacation guidance


Due to the closure of many schools and daycare centers, the usual vacation policies have been temporarily altered.  While notice and advance approval is appreciated, employees who accrue vacation time, will be allowed to use this time with little or no notice. While employees are generally not allowed to use vacation that has not been accrued, this practice will be suspended for the next two weeks.  Employees who have a negative vacation balance will not have vacation available in the future until the balance is positive.  

CDC recommendations for employees

It is very important that we all do our part in slowing the spread of the COVID 19 virus. 

If you are not feeling well, please do not come to work. We will be flexible with our leave policies and encourage you to let your department chair or supervisor know if you are sick. 

While at work, we encourage all employees to continue to follow guidance regarding frequent handwashing, not shaking hands or other physical contact, and to keep shared surfaces clean. To the extent possible, work areas should be at least 6 feet apart.  Please see further information about meetings.

Meeting guidance for employees

At this time, gatherings of more than 25 are prohibited on campus.  We encourage all groups to think about meeting by phone as possible or other means of communication.

Closing of offices

The President’s Cabinet is meeting frequently and discussing options for telecommuting on a temporary basis (see below) and monitoring the advice from public health officials on workplace policies.  At this point, offices remain open and can only be closed with approval of the Cabinet.  If you have such a request, please send that to lauraford@augustana.edu for consideration.

On Campus Dining Options

Our main dining room in the Gerber center will remain open to serve the students and staff on campus.  Hours will likely change and containers are available for carryout.  If choose to eat in the dining hall, we recommend you observe social distancing practices.

Office of Human Resources
639 38th St.
Rock Island, Ill., 61201

humanresources@augustana.edu

Phone: 309-794-7352

Fax: 309-794-8962