Faculty and staff resources
Frequently asked questions
- Since the university has transitioned to online learning the remainder of the semester,
what does that mean for faculty and staff?
All non-classroom activities will continue following our stated travel guidelines. Faculty and staff should report to work as usual. Employees able to temporarily work from home may coordinate with their supervisors to identify possible teleworking opportunities.
- What infrastructure should we have in place for a remote work plan?
Identify the roles that are critical to your business operations and determine whether those individuals can carry out their jobs while working remotely. If you can proceed, the next critical component is assessing your technological capabilities. Do you have the support in place to assist with the inevitable questions and IT problems that will arise? Do you have sufficient security and privacy protocols in place? Considering these questions will help you determine whether you can move forward with a remote work plan.
The university has gathered a collection of resources to aid in the transition to remote work and telecommuting during this time.
- Am I required to work during this time?
If you are well and if your supervisor has work for you to do, the university asks that you continue to perform your duties during this time. This may require you to telecommute to perform your duties.
Well employees are expected at work unless they have been:
- Caring for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in which case they are required to self-isolate
- In a CDC Level 3 area of concern
- Instructed to refrain from attending work by OSU or public health officials or a health care provider
Student and temporary staff employees who wish to work their normally scheduled hours are encouraged to do so. However, please note the conditions of the work may change due to the operations of the University. For example, if the student employee is engaged in working with students in a class setting this may be impacted as the campus uses online courses in the coming few weeks.
Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships will continue with no change in pay. This will allow continuation of the offered amount of pay through the end of semester regardless of work status. If possible, graduate teaching/research assistant may make up the amount of hours required through other similar work during this academic year. Telecommuting options may be used when possible.
- If the university temporarily closes offices, how will I be paid?
In the event of the temporary suspension of services within a unit or office/building closure, impacted staff and faculty will be asked to work from another location, if possible. This could mean telecommuting or working in another University area while ensuring social distancing protocols are met. Use of leave is as follows:
- For those who are unable to telecommute due to limitations of their position, administrative leave should be used.
- For those who are unable to perform essential/mission-critical functions on-campus or to perform telecommuting duties due to their own health or for care-giving duties, allow use of sick leave or leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, once enacted.
- For telecommuters or on-campus essential/mission-critical staff who request use of annual leave, please allow if possible while still fulfilling the functions of the department.
Individuals who are currently on leave due to reasons outside of COVID-19 (i.e., scheduled annual leave, FMLA for birth/adoption of child or other non-COVID-19 related illness such as recovery from surgery) will remain on such leave until they were expected to return to work. Once this date occurs, rules regarding leave use as stated above will be in effect.
- Am I eligible for pay under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act?All employees, regardless of classification, are eligible for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Beginning April 1, the provisions of FFCRA will be provided to all OSU employees for COVID-19 related absences for illness, care of dependents who are ill or care of dependents due to disruptions to childcare. More information related to this topic will be provided prior to April 1.
- What happens if an employee working on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19?
OSU administration has a close working relationship with the Payne County Health Department (PCHD). PCHD is notified by the state of positive COVID-19 tests associated with the university and community. Public health officials will investigate who the positive person has been in close contact with. When an employee or student associated with the university tests positive, the county or a university public health official will contact those people who have been in close contact — which may or may not include other employees or students. When this occurs (even in cases of a presumptive positive test), University Health Services and Human Resources will work together with campus administration to determine what should occur regarding temporary closing and sanitization of a facility. If this involves a research lab, the Office of the Vice President for Research will also be involved to ensure minimal disruption to ongoing research while ensuring safety of laboratory personnel.
- What happens upon self-identification of an on-campus employee with an illness that
is not a known case of COVID-19?
Employees working on-campus who have symptoms of respiratory illness must stay home and not come to work. Please follow the guidance provided by the CDC related to returning. The employee should contact their supervisor who will contact their HR Consultant (405-744-7420). The HR Consultant will work with University Health Services staff to determine what action, if any, to take at that time. In all cases, HR and the supervisor will work to ensure the safety of on-campus personnel as well as the privacy of the individual who is ill.
- I’ve been out sick. How do I report leave?
Faculty and staff members who are out sick are asked to enter absences (leave taken) online at Self-Service Banner, or ask it be done for them by their unit administrator. Public health authorities may ask employers like OSU to monitor and report trends in employee absenteeism.
- What happens if I run out of accrued sick leave?
If you exhaust all accrued sick leave, you are eligible to use up to 120 hours (pro-rated for FTE) of “negative sick leave.” The university may recoup this amount through current or future accruals of annual, sick or compensatory time.
- May I use annual leave now?Yes, please work with your supervisor for approval of annual leave.
- I’ve been out sick. What do I need to return to work?
In general, written medical clearance will not be required for return to work. Please note some departments with specific health and safety requirements, such as dining services, may have different procedures. This is being done to avoid overtaxing health care resources.
- I’m at a high risk for complications from COVID-19. What do I need to know?
Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health. These may include requesting a temporary change in job location, hours, assignment or duties, or implementation of additional protective measures to reduce their exposure to others or chances of being infected.
If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their physician agree increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact their HR Consultant or local HR office to formally request a temporary change. OSU HR will confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining OSU’s operations. A doctor’s note may be required.
Except for employees who formally request a change in job circumstances due to underlying health conditions, employees will generally not be reassigned to new duties, locations or roles or be provided with paid leave time solely to address concerns about the potential for COVID-19 infection.
- Should I prepare to telecommute or work remotely?
Employees who can work effectively from home by telecommuting should prepare for the possibility of telecommuting more days per week than they do presently, or entirely, and possibly for an extended period. This may entail getting encryption and Virtual Private Network (VPN) access to OSU services for University-owned laptops, or simpler measures such as confirming remote access to OSU voicemail and email. Assistance from IT is available at https://it.okstate.edu/services/remote-access/.
If public health conditions worsen, and/or OSU institutes stronger social distancing measures (for example, reducing the number of faculty and staff in a work space), some employees may be asked, given the option, or required to telecommute.
- What about essential employees?
As a 24/7 residential university, OSU rarely closes. Many employees must work. Many employees must work on campus to provide services essential to residential life, campus health and safety, critical research, the protection of physical and intellectual assets, or the continuity of academic programs and operations. Additional measures to support these employees are being considered.
- My position has been identified as essential/mission-critical and I will be required
to work when others may be on leave. Will I receive administrative leave plus the
hours that I work similar to when we have an inclement weather day?
This type of closure is unprecedented and not covered under OSU policy. Attendance and Leave for Staff, Policy 3-0713, section 8.01, specifically refers to the use of administrative leave for payment in the case of closure due to inclement weather. The COVID-19 Pandemic requires the university to focus on operational continuity and guidance provided by the CDC and local public health officials. As such, this policy provision may not be in use based upon the duration of temporary suspension of on-campus services by the university. You will always be paid for hours worked; however, you may not receive additional administrative leave in addition to this pay.
- Additional Workplace Guidance for Managers
Managers and supervisors, including faculty who supervise staff, must not pressure others to come to work if they are ill or need to stay at home to care for dependents. However, if employees are well, they should not be pressured to stay away from work for reasons such as their ethnic or racial background, home address, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. There is a need to stay away from work because of caring for someone confirmed to have COVID-19.
Due to OSU’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all, managers and supervisors (with support and involvement of their HR Consultant or local HR) should ask employees who are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness to go home and stay homefollowing CDC guidelines for return to work. In this instance, use of FFCRA leave will be provided, if appropriate. Please cooperate with managers who are taking on this uncomfortable responsibility for the wellbeing of all.
A “doctor’s note” or documentation of dependent care responsibilities will not be required from employees when using sick leave, except in rare cases where abuse of sick leave is suspected or the employee has received counseling about their use of leave. It is assumed OSU employees are honest and trustworthy in their dealings with each other and the University.
This is a period of potential anxiety and stress as we learn more about COVID-19 and the changes that may be required of us. Please remember services available through Guidance Resources. In addition to confidential support, there are other resources and information for personal and work-life issues that may be of benefit to your colleagues at this time.
- Potential Additional Workplace Policy and Procedure Changes
If public health conditions worsen, OSU’s workplace policies may be further amended or temporarily suspended. This would be done to address the effects of more widespread illness or absences, more frequent needs for self-isolation or quarantine, disruption of care arrangements or OSU’s priorities for pay continuity. Faculty and staff will be notified as necessary of such changes and should check this page for updates.
- I have a vacancy and would like to post the position for recruitment. What should
In light of the continued encouragement for employees to telecommute and the difficulty with on-boarding new staff members during this challenging time, it is highly recommended that vacant positions not be posted until further notice. This will enable you to focus on other operational issues. If, however, this is an essential/mission-critical position, please work with your HR consultant for solutions.
- What will be done with current postings?
Other vacancies can be put on HOLD immediately and a communication sent from the potential hiring manager indicating the university’s current intention and possible future recruitment efforts for the position. Joey Keel, talent acquisition manager, will work with hiring managers regarding crafting and delivery of this message.
- If I have already offered the position, can the individual still begin work?
Yes, however, please work with your HR consultant for remote onboarding advice.
- What do instructors need to know about the new pass/no-pass grading option?
Students will have a choice for courses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to have a letter grade assigned or to take a pass/no pass option. Please visit our extensive pass/no-pass-grading FAQ if your question is not answered below.
Key dates to remember
After the May 13, 2020 final grade submission deadline students will have one week to view their assigned grades and elect pass/no-pass grading on a course-by-course basis via a secure online system. Students’ deadline to elect pass/no-pass grading is Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time.
How P/NP works
At the undergraduate level, letter grades of D or better convert to a P (pass) and F grades convert to a NP (no pass) if pass/no-pass grading is selected. At the graduate and professional levels, grades of C or better \convert to a P, while grades of D and F convert to an NP. All spring 2020 courses receiving passing (P) grades will count toward degree requirements, including requirements where a minimum grade of C is required. This policy exception is in accordance with guidance received from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and will be documented in the University Catalog.
Eligible classes for P/NP
The pass/no-pass (P/NP) grading option will be available for classes in the main 16-week semester and short courses that end during the second eight weeks of the term (i.e., end date on or after March 9, 2020) that are graded on either a standard letter grade or pass/fail basis. Short courses that ended within the first eight weeks of the semester, before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted OSU classes, are not eligible for optional pass/no-pass grading.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students in their fourth year are not eligible to elect P/NP grades, regardless of the class dates, delivery modality, or grade mode.
The university has instructed students to consult with their academic advisor for guidance on how electing pass/no-pass grades for select courses may impact their transcript, eligibility for scholarships and financial aid, continuing enrollment, athletic eligibility, academic and career goals.
Online teaching resources
OSU’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence has helpful tutorials for faculty teaching online courses.