UConn Employee COVID Testing

November 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

On Monday, November 16th, Human Resources distributed a communication focused on testing for the Spring 2021 semester. Since then, updates have been made to the categories of employees intended for inclusion on the On-Campus Registry.

Below, please find updated category definitions for “Direct Contact with/support for students” and “OVPR-approved research”; in addition, there is a new category for “Research, remote-teaching, or related activities that can be done from your office on a limited-time basis.”

  • Direct contact with / support for students: defined as regular in-person professional contact with as a primary job function. For example, a classroom instructor in front of students, residential life staff, certain academic functional assignments, staff providing continued window service, or a food/retail service professional. Even with these roles, where telecommuting, rotational programs, or limited in-person business can be supported, they should be.
  • OVPR-approved research: any faculty or staff employees currently approved to be working in labs via the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). Those unable to work in the labs or who cannot telecommute should be noted.
  • Research, remote-teaching, or related activities that can be done from your office on a limited-time basis: individuals who plan to use their office for limited periods of time to support research, remote teaching, or other related activities. In doing so, you must abide by all university mask and social-distancing protocols. This access is meant to support limited use of our campuses while also supporting de-densification.

Monday’s communication is available for review with track-changes.

Thank you,

Human Resources

November 16, 2020 Spring 2021 Testing Update

November 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues at UConn’s Storrs and Regional Campuses,

First, I want to thank each of you for making this semester a success. Since this Spring, there have been many impacts of not only changing our whole manner of work and where we work in many cases, but while juggling our family and loved one’s priorities, especially as many family members lost employment in other work communities, became ill, or dealt with disruptions in their education. Also, some of our community suffered the incomprehensible loss of parents, siblings, loved ones, friends, and neighbors during this pandemic and many things held dear which are important to one’s wellbeing. As Huskies, we faced and are facing some of these issues alone and others together as a community. On behalf of the entire HR team and University, it is that courage and persistency that makes you who you are and who we are as a community. You should all be proud of being you, individually -- and together as the UConn Nation of employees. That can’t ever be taken away from us even as 2020 comes to a close.

Today, I am also writing you to provide each of you an update on the Spring 2021 On Campus Registry for employees and upcoming testing protocols for the remainder of this year and for the Spring semester.

On Campus Registry
In July, Human Resources asked organizations to identify and register employees who would be working on campus during the fall semester. With this information, UConn HR assembled an On-Campus Registry in an effort to maintain a low density of employees on campus and to have a roster of employees for baseline and surveillance testing. As we prepare for the spring semester and continue to maintain a low density of employees on our campuses, we are asking organizational heads to update the Registry, as appropriate.

As we did for the Fall semester, we will be asking organizations to identify employees (faculty, staff, and post-docs) who (1) who will be returning to campus for the spring semester, (2) who are already on campus, and (3) those who will remain telecommuting during the spring semester. It’s important to remember that employees should return to or be on campus only for the following reasons:

  • Direct Contact with/Support for Students - defined as close professional contact with students within 6-ft for more than 15 minutes as a primary job function. For example, a classroom instructor in-front of students; residential life staff, certain academic functional assignments, staff providing continued window service; or a food/retail service professional. Even with these roles, where telecommuting or rotational programs can be supported, they should be.
  • Critical Infrastructure Support - defined as a role with or without direct student contact on a full-time basis where all primary job functions cannot be done remotely, such as facility operations, police/fire, or animal care. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be accomplished onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager or any such work that can continue to be done remotely in areas outside these critical infrastructure responsibilities.
  • Part-Time or Rotational Critical Support Functions – defined as roles that include some and limited critical administrative functions that cannot be done remotely, such as financial, payroll, administrative, and HR functions for a small number of hours per day for 1-2 days per week. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager, or any such work that can continue to be done remotely. Employees and those in this category should be less than 15-25% of a manager's staff.
  • Research – any research faculty or staff employees currently approved to be working in labs via the OVPR. Those unable to work in the labs or who cannot telecommute should be noted.

For those of you who are not in any of these groups but may need to be on campus to pick up a book, for example, or bring a computer in for a repair, registration is not required, but we ask you to work with your manager to ensure they know you will be on campus for a few hours on a temporary and not regular basis.

Graduate assistants will be tested using the student strategies that will be communicated by Student Health and Wellness.

It will be important and required that all managers and employees adhere to these registry categories of employees approved to be on campus – adherence will be essential to limit transmission, ensure the capability of social distancing, establish contract tracing efforts and notification. We continue to expect no more than 40% of our Storrs and regional employees will report to our campuses for work as outlined above for the entirety of the Spring semester. Any cases of registry lapses or onsite visits to campuses outside of these requirements will be swiftly addressed by Divisional leaders and the University.

Human Resources will ask organizational heads to finalize their On-Campus Registry entries by December 15th and no later in order to ensure we invite all employees to baseline testing from January 2nd -January 19th (see below for more details). Employees need to continue to register for this testing and we need to ensure capacity of that testing, though voluntary, can be accommodated from a staffing and density perspective in early January.

Update on Faculty and Staff Testing - Regionals
For the remainder of this calendar year, HR will continue potential exposure testing and invitations for a surveillance to faculty and staff not experiencing COVID 19 symptoms through CVS or Vault, at your election. Colleagues close to Storrs or Farmington are also being provided the opportunity to test at these two locations. More information about baseline testing for each of the regional campuses will be forthcoming later in December.

Update on Faculty and Staff Testing Effective Immediately - Storrs
Beginning today, November 16th, the University has moved on-campus testing from the Depot Campus Brown Building tent to the main Storrs campus at Hawley Armory. I want to thank CAHNR and all the employees working in Hawley Armory and all event organizers for moving so quickly to allow us to stage this important testing where they work. Again, another example of Huskies coming together for our community. Testing only occurs today from 9:30-11:30 am for surveillance and potential exposure testing. Throughout semester break, HR will continue to invite 400 employees not experiencing COVID 19 symptoms to test each week at Storrs. During this break, we will also be asking specific communities on campus to ramp up potential exposure testing for their employees not experiencing symptoms – employees are encouraged to ask their managers for this testing even if it means you are tested every week. Managers are asked to send these requests to HR at the links mentioned below.

Starting Thanksgiving week, testing at Storrs will take place every other weekday (MWF) and current plans are that this testing will occur weekly at Hawley throughout the Spring semester (even during the year-end Holiday weeks). HR reserves the right to add more time to this schedule, but for the time being, testing at Hawley will occur as follows:

Mondays: 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Wednesdays: 8:30 am – 11:30 am
Fridays: 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Our invitations for testing will also provide instructions and details for those employees who need special accommodations to be tested due to the location and accessibility of the Hawley testing site. In most accommodation cases, our UConn Health colleagues will meet you in specific parking areas outside Hawley to perform the test in or near your vehicle. Please let HR know in advance of any special needs.

NOTE: Any employee who receives an invitation for a test during semester break who does not intend to be back on campus until the start of Spring semester is not required to come to Hawley Armory for a test during break. Testing is encouraged but not mandatory. In fact, the University recommends you do not come back to campus for a COVID test if you otherwise do not have to for work related purposes until you are invited to Baseline testing from January 2nd until January 19th as we ready the campus for the Spring semester.

What kind of COVID test will be administered at Hawley Armory?
At the Brown testing tent at the Depot campus, UCH colleagues performed a nasal pharyngeal PCR test throughout the Fall semester. Beginning November 16th and until further notice, all COVID 19 tests at Hawley Armory will transition to the anterior nasal test, which is less invasive than the current testing method.

Frequently Asked Questions
Please refer to a new set of FAQs about faculty and staff testing at the Hawley Armory that have been provided for you during this transition. The Office of Human Resources is happy to address any other questions via email at hr@uconn.edu.

To close, I ask all Huskies to continue the efforts we have made throughout the Fall semester to stay safe and keep our community healthy. Wear masks, socially distance, wash your hands and please refrain from eating together with your colleagues during this pandemic as New England winter weather approaches. Stay Healthy, Be Vigilant, Think Hopefully.

In gratitude,
Chris

Christopher Delello
Chief Human Resources Officer, UConn and UConn Health

November 13, 2020 Updated Testing FAQs

November 13, 2020

To provide employees with additional information about the on-going employee surveillance and potential exposure testing in Storrs and at UConn Health in Farmington, Human Resources developed new FAQs.

Additional questions may be sent to hr@uconn.edu.

September 4, 2020 Update on Testing

September 4, 2020

On September 1st, HR provided the University community with an update on employee testing. HR shares the following information as an additional update for Storrs, Hartford, Law, and Waterbury employees. Avery Point and Stamford employees will receive a separate communication about testing prior to September 15th.

Potential Exposure Testing

Managers must request all exposure testing through hr@uconn.edu. As this testing is for potential on-campus exposures, HR is only accepting requests from managers of potentially exposed employees. HR will work with the manager and employee to ensure the following:

  1. The employee’s organization (e.g., School or College) had identified the employee previously to be on campus. HR collected this information via a “Return to Work Registry” in August.
  2. The employee’s demographic details are shared with UConn Health,
  3. The employee has a completed consent form on file via MyChart or Qualtrics, as appropriate.
  4. The employee has an active MyChart account with UConn Health.

Potential exposure testing will occur on Thursdays and Fridays each week on the Storrs campus; HR must receive manager requests by the prior Friday to ensure all information is received for testing. While testing will also be available at UConn Health for Hartford, Law, and Waterbury employees, additional time is needed to arrange Farmington testing.

Once a manager and employee have agreed that there has been a potential exposure, the employee is expected to undergo testing for their personal health and safety and that of the entire campus community and beyond.

Surveillance Testing:

Surveillance testing will occur on Thursdays and Fridays each week on the Storrs campus. By the prior Friday, HR will select a cross-section of employees to undergo surveillance testing, and HR will notify employees on Monday mornings of their selection for surveillance testing. While testing will also be available at UConn Health for Hartford, Law, and Waterbury employees, additional time is needed to arrange Farmington testing.

HR will select employees with the following methodology:

  1. Employees whose primary job duties require them to be in direct contact with students (e.g., instructors, residential life professionals) and employees responsible for University’s critical infrastructure (e.g., facilities and public safety professionals). Of this population, approximately 120 employees will be selected for surveillance testing each week. Approximately 50 – 100 additional tests for these populations will be made available, as necessary.
  2. Employees participating in on-campus research and employees coming to campus on a rotational basis. Of this population, approximately 30 employees will be selected for surveillance testing each week.
  3. Employees working under NCAA guidelines and employees in Marine Sciences. Surveillance testing for these employees is mandatory. For employees working under NCAA guidelines, testing will occur every other week moving forward, as required by the NCAA.

HR will work with each selected employee to ensure the following:

  1. The employee’s demographic details are shared with UConn Health,
  2. The employee has a completed consent form on file via MyChart or Qualtrics, as appropriate.
  3. The employee has an active MyChart account with UConn Health.

While surveillance testing is not currently mandatory, identified employees are strongly expected to undergo testing. If an identified employee does not wish to be tested, they must alert HR as soon as possible after receipt of notification. The University reserves the right to require employee surveillance testing.

Additional Employee Responsibilities

  1. Follow all written instructions from HR and UConn Health to ensure a smooth registration and testing process.
  2. Do not forward your test invitation to another employee. Testing invitations are non-transferable.
  3. Alert Human Resources as soon as possible if you are feeling unwell on the day of your test. Employees who do not feel well should not undergo testing and should remain home.
  4. If feeling well, make every effort to attend your selected or assigned testing appointment. Due to volume and narrow testing windows, most testing times cannot be rescheduled. Employees with teaching schedules that interfere with the testing windows should contact HR as soon as possible. Managers are encouraged to accommodate all employees for University-sponsored testing appointments.
  5. Be prepared to answer the following questions from UConn Health at the testing site (Answers: YES, NO, or UNKNOWN):
    1. Symptomatic for COVID-19 as defined by CDC? (Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste, etc)
    2. Hospitalized for COVID-19? (should be NO if walking in)
    3. Admitted to ICU for COVID-19? (should be NO if walking in)
    4. Employed in Healthcare setting? (First responders, front line clinicians, nursing home staff, environmental staff, or therapists in direct contact)
    5. Resident in a congregated (group) care setting? (nursing home, residential care location for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, psych treatment)
    6. Pregnant?
    7. Previously tested for COVID-19?

September 1, 2020 Update on Employee Potential Exposure and Surveillance Testing

September 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

In July, when announcing baseline COVID-19 testing for employees returning to campus this fall, Human Resources informed you all that we would evaluate the results of the testing and other early indicators as the University began the fall semester.

The University is committed to the health and safety of our campus community and it is our joint responsibility to ensure the continued health for the entirety of community which includes our faculty and staff. The University in furtherance of that effort is announcing a weekly employee “potential exposure” and “surveillance” testing program to begin next week.  Further details are also available now on the HR website, and this page will be updated periodically as more complete details of the program emerge

Potential Exposure Testing

For purposes of this testing approach, “exposure” is not formally defined. Instead, when an employee and manager have a documented concern over potential exposures in the workplace and with or without affirmation of “close contact,” as defined by the CDC, UConn Health, UConn, or DPH, the University will provide testing at no expense to the employee(s). At this time, all exposure testing requests must be made by contacting hr@uconn.edu. HR will work with the employee’s managing organization to obtain any contact and personal information of the employee to set up testing, along with any necessary employee consents.

Surveillance Testing

Each week, HR will select a random sample of employees who have previously been approved to be on campus. Such include: a) employees with primary job duties requiring direct student contact, b) Critical Infrastructure Employees, c) Research employees; and d) Rotational Employees.

HR expects the largest portion of the sampling will include employees from categories a) and b).

Once selected, HR will notify the applicable employee that testing is available.  As with baseline testing the University expects and strongly encourages employees to participate. While not currently mandatory, the University reserves the right to require employee Surveillance Testing based upon participation.

Employees associated with NCAA Athletics and Marine Science will be included in the surveillance testing approaches.

NOTE: Graduate Assistants across all campuses will not be part of this proposal and will be tested using the “graduate student” methodologies in place through Student Health and Wellness.

Testing Locations and Times

Storrs

  • Brown Building, Depot Campus, Thursday, September 10th, from 12 pm - 4 pm;
  • Brown Building, Depot Campus, Friday, September 11th from 2 pm - 4 pm.

UConn Health will perform the Storrs tests. Identified employees will receive notification by close of business on Tuesday, September 8th.

Avery Point and Stamford

  • The University intends to have testing available through an outside vendor in the near future, with a testing date on or around September 15th.

Waterbury, Hartford and Law

  • Testing will occur at UConn Health in Farmington, as required.

On behalf of the University, myself and the entire HR team, we want to extend our appreciation to all of UConn’s faculty and staff for your continued dedication and support of the University’s missions during this unprecedented time. Your flexibility, patience, and creativity in finding solutions to situations not presented before has made this semester possible and continues every day. It is our continued perseverance, kindness, and commitment to each other which will allow us to move forward as One UConn Nation.

Thank you,

Chris Delello

Chief Human Resources Officer

July 20, 2020 Update on Employee Testing

July 20, 2020

Sent on Behalf of Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer

TO: All UConn Faculty and Staff at Storrs and Regional Campuses:

In a follow-up to President Katsouleas’ recent communication on the fall reopening and testing, I write to provide further guidance on faculty and staff testing, training, and on-campus requirements. This guidance is lengthy but reflects, with specificity, where we are along in our reentry and testing plans:

Faculty and Staff Reentry Testing Summary
Faculty and staff who are required and approved to work on campus to accomplish their primary job functions will have COVID 19 PCR testing made available at reentry at no cost to them through our partnership with UConn Health. Availability as early as August 4th through August 21st will be made on site at Storrs, Stamford (Tentative – August 7th) and Avery Point (Tentative – August 13th) for eligible employees at these locations. Eligible employees at UConn’s Waterbury and Hartford campuses will be provided access to UConn Health’s Farmington drive-through location. We encourage and expect those who have these tests made available to them, to take the test.

Who Will Be Allowed and Approved to be on Campus?
The University continues its plans to de-densify the Storrs and regional campuses. If you are working from home now, you should continue to do so unless approved by the University to return to campus. If asked to return, you will receive at least two weeks’ notice prior to return to campus where possible.

Therefore, most employees are expected to telecommute through December 31, 2020 unless the primary duties of the job require them to be on campus full-time or on a significantly limited basis with manager approval and University authorization. The only faculty and staff (including post-doctoral scholars) that will be allowed on the campus will be the following categories of employees before, during and after reentry:

  • Direct Contact with/Support for Students - defined as close professional contact with students within 6-ft for more than 15 minutes as a primary job function. For example, a classroom instructor in-front of students; residential life staff, certain academic functional assignments, staff providing continued window service; or a food/retail service professional. Even with these roles, where telecommuting or rotational programs can be supported, they should be.
  • Critical Infrastructure Support - defined as a role with or without direct student contact on a full time basis where all primary job functions cannot be done remotely, such as facility operations, police/fire, animal care and support. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be accomplished onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager or any such work that can continue to be done remotely in areas outside these critical infrastructure responsibilities.
  • Part-Time or Rotational Critical Support Functions often with No Direct Contact with/Support for Students – defined as roles that include some and limited critical administrative functions that cannot be done remotely, such as some financial, payroll, administrative and HR functions for a small number of hours per day for 1-2 days per week. It does not include work that is “preferred” to be onsite or non-critical infrastructure work by an employee or manager or any such work that can continue to be done remotely. Employees and those in this category should be less than 15% of a manager's staff.
  • Research Colleagues – research faculty and staff working in a lab approved for research reentry under the research ramp up process. Work that may be done remotely should continue to be done so. All sponsored program supported personnel must be working on the aims of the grant as pay for no work expired at the end of June. Any situations where an employee is unable to work in the lab and who cannot telecommute should be noted. In this event, additional information will be forthcoming.

Note: We recognize that some individuals who fall within these categories are already on our campuses; if so, if they have not already been provided a University provided COVID test, one will be made available to them by the University. Undergraduate students and Graduate assistants will be tested using the student strategies that will be communicated by Student Health and Wellness.

It will be important and required that all managers and employees adhere to these registry categories of employees approved to be on campus – adherence will be essential to limit transmission, ensure the capability of social distancing, for contract tracing efforts and for contact notification and other important impacts. Any cases of failure to approve by a manager or onsite visits by an employee to campuses for work outside of these requirements will be swiftly addressed by Divisional leaders and the University.

Employee Exchange Program
The University requires that all manager and employees working remotely are able to continue to conduct meaningful and productive work from home as a full FTE. An employee must be able to work at home and deliver on position requirements or either voluntarily or at the requirement of their manager - be willing to take a temporary assignment to continue to be paid. For these situations, earlier this summer the Office of Human Resources developed and communicated our Employee Exchange Program and there are many roles that are needed as the University reopens. We ask managers and staff to refer here for more details https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-exchange-program/.

Campus Registry and Testing Detail
Tomorrow morning, the Work Force Team in Human Resources will provide organizational leaders across the University with rosters of employees who are members of their teams and within their accountability. The University will ask organizational leaders to identify those employees who will be telecommuting and those who meet the registry definitions above and are approved to be returning to our campuses along with their reentry date (unless they are already on campus). We anticipate that a majority of our professional staff and faculty will continue to telecommute during the fall semester. Additional guidance will be anticipated in mid-December, 2020 regarding registration for January and the Spring 2021 semester. More information about the testing, testing sites and dates are found on the attachment to this communication.

Mandatory Training
Environmental Health & Safety (EH &S) has developed a return-to-work training for all employees who will be on campus. This training is mandatory for all on-campus employees including regional campuses before returning to campus. More information will be forthcoming from EH &S.

On-Campus Requirements
While on campus, it is required that employees adhere to the following: wear a face mask; maintain a distance of 6ft with others; and wash hands thoroughly and frequently. EH & S will be providing more guidance about these requirements.

Domestic Travel Now or Before Reentry
On June 24th, Governor Lamont announced quarantine guidance for all travelers arriving in or returning to Connecticut from several states. As the situation remains dynamic, it’s important for employees traveling out of state domestically to review the state’s most up to date guidance before departing and returning from travel, especially if you are approved for reentry to any of UConn’s campuses by July 27th. UConn Employees should consider the impact of this guidance when considering whether to travel now and before reentry. As communicated by Human Resources on July 2nd, all domestic travel to the states noted by the State of Connecticut require a registry by faculty and staff – please refer to the following communication on the HR website (https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-domestic-travel-storrs-regionals/).

As we move towards the fall semester, I want to extend my appreciation to all of UConn’s employees for your continued dedication and support of the University’s missions during this unprecedented time.

In closing I want to thank our colleagues and the senior leadership team at UConn Health who have been partners with us during the development and roll out of this testing strategy. Please join me in thanking them for their important guidance and contributions to these efforts.

Please contact hr-communications@uconn.edu with questions.

Thank you,
Christopher Delello, Chief Human Resources Officer

July 20, 2020 FAQs on Employee Testing

Human Resources released FAQs on Employee Testing on July 20th. The July 20th FAQs are no longer relevant to current testing practices. Please review updated FAQs from November 13th.

July 18, 2020 Announcement Regarding Fall Reopening and Testing

July 18, 2020

To the UConn Community:

This message outlines UConn’s overall approach to COVID-19 testing in advance of the beginning of the fall semester and reentry. Additional messages to specific populations will follow, offering more detailed information and/or instructions.

Our approach to testing for our community is straightforward: if a student or employee is coming to our campuses because they have to be there, they should be tested. This includes faculty, staff and commuter students on every campus, both graduate and undergraduate. There is not a “once-size-fits all” approach to accomplishing this, so the university will utilize different avenues and strategies.

We will not be testing faculty, staff and students who are not coming to campus this fall. This includes students who are online only and not living in a residence hall, faculty who are teaching only online courses, and staff who are telecommuting, which is a substantial segment of our population.

Residential Students
As you already know, all residential UConn students will be returning to our campuses approximately two weeks before the first day of classes to be tested and quarantined on campus. This is the segment of our population that is largely self-contained on campus, while others arrive and depart on a regular basis. We are arranging for testing of our residential students during check-in.

Commuter Students Coming to Campus
Testing will be addressed for commuter students registered for in-person instruction, both graduate and undergraduate, in several ways. First, these students are encouraged to submit proof of a negative test result obtained within 14 days of the start of the fall semester (Aug 31). For those students who do not obtain a test on their own, the University will provide testing. The University is currently exploring several options for testing and specific information on these testing options will be available on the SHaW website by August 1.

Commuter students arriving to Connecticut from states under the regional travel advisory are advised to obtain a negative test result within the time frame indicated by the governor and the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, followed by a 14-day self-quarantine period which must be completed before coming to campus and attending in person classes. More information can be found here.

Faculty and Staff Coming to Campus
Faculty and staff who will be on one of our campuses this fall will have PCR testing made available at reentry at no cost to them through our partnership with UConn Health. Availability will be as early as August 4 through August 21 on-site at Storrs, Stamford (one day only) and Avery Point (one day only) for eligible employees at these locations. Eligible employees at UConn’s Waterbury and Hartford campuses will be provided access to UConn Health’s Farmington drive-through location.

Faculty and staff eligible for testing and approved to return to campus and who are returning from out of the state for the start of the fall semester should incorporate the potential for a 14-day quarantine period into their travel plans. Please refer to further guidance already on the HR website for more details and a required domestic travel registry.

More information is forthcoming from HR shortly in messages to UConn Storrs and regional campus communities in the next few days. Additional communications will be made by July 28 to those for whom testing will be made available.

Testing is only one aspect of a successful effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The other, which is just as critical, requires every one of us to follow the guidelines mandated by the University for every individual who will be working and/or living on our campuses. This includes wearing a mask at all times, maintaining a distance from all others of at least six feet (other than those students living as a unit), frequent hand-washing or sanitizing, following signage posted in buildings and elsewhere, and not taking any unnecessary and easily avoidable risks. Following these precautions will help keep everyone on our campuses healthy.