HR COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Human Resources is closely monitoring developments with COVID-19.

The university continues to take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. As a reminder, it is critical to take the appropriate precautions to help protect yourself and help slow the spread of the virus.

Employees who are sick should stay home and should follow normal protocols for contacting their direct supervisor. Employees who are sick should not come to work. For any time away from work, the employee should report sick or other time off in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

If you have been exposed to an individual who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, stay home even if you do not have symptoms and contact your supervisor. If you have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or you have symptoms of COVID-19, email or call your health care provider for advice and contact your supervisor. Do not go into a health facility without first contacting the facility for advice. For a description of symptoms and additional direction refer to the CDC website.

Under the San Francisco Shelter in Place order, USF remains open on a limited basis as an identified essential service. Many campus services and/or service hours have been abbreviated. Staff should coordinate work arrangements (remote and on-site) with their direct supervisor. Faculty should coordinate work arrangements with their dean or associate dean. As conditions related to COVID-19 affect staffing levels, campus leadership encourages supervisors to think creatively about how to support their departments and the university’s commitment to educating minds and hearts to change the world. Supervisors are encouraged to contact Human Resources for further guidance.

If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the University will inform the employee’s co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, while maintaining confidentiality related to both reporting the employee’s identity and condition, as required by applicable law.


At all times as a university, we must remember our commitment to diversity and inclusion. It is not acceptable to make a determination or risk based on color, race, country of origin, medical condition or any other protected class. Refer to the USF Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination policy for more information . Now more than ever, USF must be an example of diversity, inclusion and compassion.

Increasing the space between people and decreasing the frequency of contact among them is known as social distancing. Social distancing includes:

  • Canceling or rescheduling nonessential meetings
  • Using technology such as Zoom teleconferencing and other mediums of virtual communication to hold meetings
  • Sitting at a distance from others in a cubicle-style, open work environment or meeting space

Yes. The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or, become sick during the day, be sent home immediately (if they are experiencing shortness of breath, they should immediately go the hospital). Remember that it is not acceptable to make determination of risks based on color, race, country of origin, medical condition, or any other protected class. Refer to the USF Unlawful harassment policy for more information. HR is available to assist with proper communication and resources.

Please refer to the HR Sick Leave web page for more information.

For any time away from work, the employee must report their sick or other time off in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) issued expanded guidance regarding the use of San Francisco paid sick leave. All USF employees may use their accrued sick time for these situations.

For any time away from work, the employee must report their sick or other time off in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

Social distancing is a critical tool to slow the spread of COVID-19 and can take many forms including an immediate physical spacing of six feet between individuals who are meeting in person to implementing telecommuting and remote work schedules.

  • Staggering shifts and allowing flexible schedules (work on-site coupled with remote work assignments for the time not spent on-site);
  • Allowing temporary telecommuting for those staff who need to work from home.
  • Examples of situations when staff may need to telecommute include:
    • taking care of self and family members who are ill;
    • school and childcare closures;
    • member of vulnerable populations.

In situations where work needs to temporarily be performed remotely, supervisors and staff should work together to develop a remote work plan to complete their work (day to day or special projects). In developing a remote work plan, supervisors should review with faculty and staff what is needed to perform work remotely. Review the USF Telecommuting and Remote Work Policy for detailed guidance. For those departments who are short-staffed given the circumstances, Human Resources will work across departments to identify opportunities for temporary assignments.

If you are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, or because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, the following benefits and policies may apply if certified by a medical professional: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Short and Long Term Disability, and Paid Family Leave.

  • The seven (7) day waiting period for Short Term Disability leave has been waived for COVID-19.
  • Please visit the USF Disability Insurance web page for more information about short term disability benefits.
  • Please visit the USF Paid Family Leave web page for more information about paid family leave.

If you have questions about these benefits and policies, please contact

At this time, employees who are sick do not need to provide a doctor’s note to USF. However, if an employee is applying for short term disability or paid family leave benefits, they will be required to provide medical certification to TRISTAR, our leave administrator.

Yes, you may use vacation time.  Notify your supervisor and report any time off in USFWorks.

USF travelers must defer all non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel. Review the USF COVID-19 Travel Guidelines as well as the CDC Travel Assessment page for up to date travel advice.

The news, and especially the uncertainty associated with the constantly changing situation, can feel very scary. We want to make sure you know that you can contact your healthcare provider or our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), CONCERN. (company code: usf) Concern offers confidential, cost free assessment, intervention, consultation, and referral services to all faculty and staff and their immediate family.

HR is available to consult and support all faculty and staff. Please know that we will work to address all of your questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 virus.

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