Dear University Staff Colleagues,
As an update on Brown’s continued response concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) issued to the campus on February 29, this communication provides staff with additional guidance on work arrangements should you fall ill this season. As previously stated, medical doctors who lead the University’s health services are in constant and continuous communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health. If there are any changes in medical and public health guidance, the University will communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps.
If you become ill or have received medical advice to be isolated for a specified period of time, please immediately discuss the matter with your supervisor to identify the best work arrangement for your safety, the safety of other colleagues, and the operational needs of the University. You are encouraged to explore alternative work arrangements — whether to care for yourself or for a family member who must be isolated for a specified period of time — by submitting supporting documentation to your supervisor. The University’s Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) policy governs situations that permit work to be performed at another location for a specified period of time. You can access the AWA policy at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/policies/alternative-work-arrangements-20053.
If your position is deemed essential to the University’s operations as per the University’s Essential Positions policy, or an alternative work arrangement with your supervisor cannot be established, and you have been directed by a medical practitioner to remain isolated for a specified period of time, please discuss the situation with your supervisor. For more information about essential positions at the University, please access the University’s policy at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/policies/essential-positions-20052. In addition, the University provides a variety of leaves of absence, and you and your supervisor can discuss which leave of absence is most applicable to your situation. Information about the University’s leaves of absence can be found at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/absence/leave-absence.
For questions related to Alternative Work Arrangements (AWAs), please contact University Human Resources via email at [email protected] or by phone at 401-863-3896. For questions related to leaves of absence, please contact University Human Resources via email at [email protected] or by phone at (401) 863-3458.
Important Health Information
Employees are encouraged to continue to take the following steps to seek treatment and control the spread of viruses, including the novel coronavirus:
1. Get a flu shot: If you have not already received a flu shot, you are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible. You can receive a flu shot from a healthcare provider, at an urgent care clinic, or a local pharmacy. To find a list of healthcare providers, you can call Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island or United Healthcare at the phone numbers found at the link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/vendor-directory.
2. Seek medical treatment for symptoms: If you experience shortness of breath, a cough, or a fever, please inform your supervisor immediately and seek treatment. Please do not report to work until you receive documentation from a healthcare provider with a date that you are able to return to work. Please take these actions even if you have previously received a flu shot. Employees and dependents covered under one of Brown's health insurance plans also have access to telemedicine benefit services. This service provides you with access to board-certified physicians through phone and/or video consultations, and the ability to speak to a physician as soon as possible. You can access information for telemedicine services by clicking on the link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/health-and-wellbeing/telemedicine.
3. Take caution to prevent spreading the virus: Even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but may have been directly in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, please inform your supervisor immediately and seek medical guidance as soon as possible. If you have been in contact with someone who has traveled to a restricted country, you also are encouraged to inform your supervisor and seek guidance from a medical provider. If you are directed by your medical provider to remain absent from work, you will need to provide documentation that you are physically able to return to work or that you need to be isolated for a specific period of time. You can receive updates of destinations with travel notices directly from the CDC by clicking on the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
4. Follow prevention steps to remain healthy: According to the CDC, the following steps are strongly encouraged to ensure that you remain healthy during this time:
- Frequently wash hands, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For further information, please visit https://covid.brown.edu/.
Vice President of Human Resources