Do employees need to be screened before returning to work?

Whether or not any symptoms have appeared, if you are a Washington University employee who has traveled from the locations listed here in the past 14 days, or if you have had direct contact with a patient with confirmed COVID-19 infection in the past 14 days, you are required to contact university health services prior to returning to campus to discuss what precautions need to be taken for your specific situation.

Under what scenarios is an employee eligible to use the 10 days of special paid time off for circumstances related to COVID-19?

  • You self-quarantine or are quarantined by a public health agency.
  • You were diagnosed as having COVID-19.
  • You are caring for an eligible family member who is self-quarantined or has COVID-19.
  • You have children who are sent home due to school closings.
  • You are returning from travel to an area of risk. Refer to the university’s interim travel policies. However, given its important role in delivering health care services to the region, the School of Medicine will distribute a separate policy regarding travel and vacation.
  • Your manager is concerned about your health and sends you home.

What steps should an employee take for scenarios related to COVID-19?
If you are sick and/or have been instructed to quarantine, do not come to work. If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and you are experiencing symptoms or have concerns about COVID-19, you should contact your personal physician. Before returning to campus, you must contact university health services to discuss what precautions need to be taken for your specific situation.

Additional information about prevention, self-quarantine, and other health-related topics is available on the university’s COVID-19 FAQ page.

All staff, faculty or students who have traveled to a location with elevated risk of COVID-19 must call university health services for screening and clearance before returning to campus.

Employees who must be out due to COVID-19 related circumstances are asked to take the following work-related steps:

  • Notify your manager of your situation and discuss with them options for working remotely if appropriate.
  • Record your absence in HRMS. Should you exhaust the 10 days of special time off due to COVID-19 circumstances, you will then have access to your current time off balances, under applicable university time off policies. Where it applies, pay from workers compensation will be applied first.
  • If you are required to quarantine, before returning to work on campus you must submit medical clearance to do so. You are required to obtain this clearance (via email) from Habif Health and Wellness Center at (employees located on the Danforth Campus) or Occupational Health at (employees located on the Medical Campus).

If I need to be out due to a COVID-19 related circumstance, how should I record my leave?
All full-time faculty and staff are eligible for up to 10 work days of special paid time off to be used in the case of quarantine, self-quarantine, illness or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure or other related scenarios. This is a special one-time bank of paid time off for use during the current pandemic, called “HR Approved Time Off” in HRMS. Part-time employees will also be eligible for this benefit on a prorated basis. When exhausted, employees will be able to use regular time off policies available to them.

What happens if an employee has a dependent who is at home with a pre-existing health condition that makes them more vulnerable to communicable diseases and needs to be a caregiver?
They should discuss their situation with their supervisor and ask if they can work remotely. Managers are encouraged to have employees work remotely wherever possible considering the nature of your work and departmental business needs. Refer to the university’s telecommuting policy, then discuss with your supervisor. Review childcare options. Contact UNUM, as FMLA may apply.

What information does an employee need to provide to the university/their manager provide prior to returning to work if self-quarantined or quarantined?  
Employees should contact Washington University health services* for the information needed to determine if they are medically cleared and able to return to work. Washington University health services* ultimately determines if employees are cleared to return to work.

* Danforth Campus students and employees, email
Medical Campus students and employees, email

Are all employees required to report to work as scheduled?
Employees are required to report to work unless they are otherwise not scheduled, have been given prior permission to work remotely, have been directed not to report to work by their manager, or are on approved time off.

If an employee is sick and does not have sick time available, what should they do? 
Employees will have access to up to 10 days of special pay for COVID-19 related scenarios. After the special bank is exhausted, regular time off policies apply. Under the provisions of the university’s communicable diseases policy, employees can be advanced sick and vacation time from future accruals.

Can an employee work from home if they are quarantined? 
Employees who are self-quarantined or quarantined should contact their manager to discuss the option of telecommuting.

What are the expectations of employees when they telecommute?
If approved, employees will be asked to follow the university’s telecommuting policy and be paid regular pay for any hours worked. If you are a bi-weekly employee, overtime may apply for hours worked over 40 hours in a work week, and you should seek prior approval from your supervisor before doing so.

Telecommuting must be approved in advance by your departmental management and may end at any time. Management may define what is considered to be essential services to be performed on campus.

Please note that:

  • When you telecommute, all normal workplace policies apply.
  • Your work schedule is the same, unless you have agreed to a different schedule with your manager.
  • Computer use and data security policies and practices must be followed.

For new employees:

At this time, we are requiring the following:

  • Before your start date, HR will send you a Washington University health services* form. You will be asked to complete and gather immunization records and return these to Washington University health services*.
  • Washington University health services* will confirm with management that the new employee is cleared to start.
  • HR will schedule you for a Washington University health services* appointment.
  • Your I-9 will continue to be initiated electronically (supporting documents must still be viewed in-person by currently authorized individuals).
  • Background checks will continue to be done online and the current drug screen process will be followed.
  • New employee orientation will be held on the regular schedule in accordance with university event parameters (reducing onsite participants in combination with Zoom).

* Employees located on the Danforth Campus: Habif Health and Wellness Center. Employees located at the School of Medicine: Occupational Health.

Are there resources available for telecommuting employees?
Visit Information Technology’s Telecommuting During COVID-19 page for useful tips and resources.

I have a question about parking. Where can I find that information?
The Parking and Transportation Services team has been working through a variety of options to meet the needs of the university community during this challenging and unprecedented time. Check the Parking and Transportation page for the latest information and updates.

Are university events canceled?
We are following guidance from St. Louis City and County leaders who have placed limits on the number of people who may gather in one space. Many events have been canceled or postponed. Contact event organizers or check the university calendar for updates on specific events.

Are the libraries open?
Most library locations will remain open with limited hours and access through Friday, March 20, and then will be closed through at least Monday, April 6. Note: The Becker Medical Library and Brown School Library are not adhering to this schedule. For more information, visit the Libraries website.

What counseling and support resources are available?
We understand some community members may feel anxious about this evolving public health situation or have concerns about friends and family living in areas currently experiencing the outbreak. Here are some available resources: