UA COVID-19 update

University of Alaska SARS-COVID-2 COVID-19

April 23, 2020

In this update:

  • New requirement: Emergency sick leave request form
  • CARES Act student aid 
  • Essential employees update
  • When to stay home
  • Don’t forget to #MaskUp

Emergency sick leave request form now required
New federal guidance just issued means that employees who need to use COVID-19 emergency sick leave will need to submit an emergency sick leave request form. This requirement starts with the current pay period, R10, so every employee who plans to claim the leave on their next time sheet should fill out the form as soon as possible. Employees who have already been using the emergency sick leave code (565) on their time sheets still need to fill out the form.

Completion of the form is required to receive the leave, but employees only need to fill out the form once for each reason. For example, an employee who is using emergency sick leave to care for a child whose school is closed would only fill the form out once to cover all pay periods they are taking leave to care for the child. If, however, they then need to take emergency sick leave to care for someone ill with COVID-19, they would need to submit a new form. 

If a request form is not submitted or the justification is not correct, HR will contact the employee and supervisor to help get the form corrected and submitted. It’s important to make sure the form is completed. If an employee doesn’t complete the form, the emergency sick leave will be changed to annual leave or faculty time off, if available, or leave without pay.

CARES Act funding for students
The University of Alaska is slated to receive $3.9 million in federal funding via the CARES Act to support students. The funding is designed to help students with the expenses related to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Student services teams at each university plan to use their emergency student support processes and other mechanisms to make sure that students get the financial help they need. Plans are nearly final and the goal is to begin distributing funds to students before the end of the month. The university is also anticipating another $3.9 million in federal funding to help cover institutional expenses associated with COVID-19.

COVID-19 furlough notices 
Chief Human Resources Officer Steve Patin has reported that 122 employees at UAF and UAA have received COVID-19 related furloughs, which have ranged from a 20% reduction to a 100% reduction. Affected employees have been notified. FAQs on COVID-19 furloughs are posted here. 

Essential employees: Additional exceptions to state mandates
The university recently received an additional exception to state social distancing mandates that will allow some in-person research activities to resume. In order to work on campus, employees must have an “essential work determination” letter, which is generated by the UA Employee COVID-19 Status tool. Supervisors who need essential work determination letters for their team members should first consult the university’s essential employee policy and then visit the tool to fill out information for each of their employees. Here’s a link to a quick-reference guide to help.

Stay home, save lives
With the potential for more people coming on campus, it’s important to remember that the UA community restrictions policy is still in place. That means that you must not come to work on campus or to an in-person class if:

  • You have been anywhere outside Alaska in the past 14 days
  • You have traveled to another Alaska community or borough in the last 14 days.
  • You have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or who is COVID-19 symptomatic and under investigation by public health authorities.
  • You have been on a cruise ship in the past 14 days.
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms and are under investigation by public health authorities.
  • You have COVID-19

The symptoms of COVID-19 can be very mild. Help keep your students and colleagues safe: stay home if you are even just a little bit sick and contact your health care provider or your local public health center to see if you need to get tested.

Mask up: Don’t forget your cloth face coverings
With the State of Alaska allowing some businesses to reopen, the use of cloth face coverings in public spaces is more important than ever. Surgical or N95 masks are not needed; save those for health care providers. Cloth face coverings can be made, purchased or even fashioned from things you have around the house, such as handkerchiefs or scarves. If everyone wears cloth face coverings, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Find more information at the state Department of Health and Social Services’ website

Stay informed
Visit the UA coronavirus information website to learn how the University of Alaska is responding to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and find links to communications, policy guidance, FAQs and resources. Information on this page will be updated, as necessary, as the situation changes. Text UACOVID19 to 226787 to receive text alerts about the university’s response to COVID-19.