Information for Staff

Providing a healthy and safe workplace is important at any time for UNT, and is of paramount concern during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are committed to providing updates on the latest developments and how they impact our people and our workplace. Below you’ll find answers to a few common questions. We will share answers to more of your questions in the coming days as additional information and guidance becomes available.

The university has transitioned staff working arrangements to restrict on-campus work to those individuals identified as essential personnel by their supervisor and/or Vice President. Staff not identified as essential personnel are designated as telecommuting or reassigned to other duties at this time. For any staff member who is not considered essential personnel, and whose job duties are not conducive to telecommuting, the staff member will be placed on health pandemic emergency leave. This temporary arrangement is effective March 25 through April 3, 2020.

If you test POSITIVE for COVID-19: Follow your healthcare provider and county health department guidance and self-isolate at home. Do not come to work.

  • Notify your immediate supervisor of your absence through normal department reporting channels.
  • Contact HR to discuss your medical situation, sick leave, and the return-to-work process. HR may be reached at 940-565-2281 and via email at AskHR@untsystem.edu.
  • Once you have been approved to return to work by your healthcare provider, contact HR by phone or email before going back to work. You will need to provide a copy of your return-to-work release to HR prior to returning to work.

Directions for Time Reporting

Staff employees are expected to report hours worked and absences in accordance with normal timekeeping procedures, as well as comply with special instructions related to the current health situation or requests from their manager. Please read and follow the UNT Time Reporting Guidelines during this time. If you have questions related to these timekeeping guidelines, please contact your manager or Human Resources.

No children may come to work with you at UNT. Please read the Workplace FAQs below for information regarding your options associated with the closure of many schools or daycare centers.

Guidelines for Sharing Information While Staying HIPAA Compliant

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a series of national standards that organizations must have in place to safeguard the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI).
  • PHI is any individually identifiable information that could reveal the identity of an individual or their medical history. Some examples include name, address, email address, photographic images, health history, etc.
  • Make a reasonable effort to ensure that the sharing of PHI is limited to the minimum information necessary. 
  • Limit the number of people you share PHI with and only include those that need to know about a possible concern.
  • Take care to consider how you would want your personal health information handled or shared.
  • If you are sending PHI through email, utilize the secure email function in Outlook. To compose a secure email type #secure in the subject line, then press space before typing your subject.

Workplace FAQ

Should employees who show any sign of illness (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) self-isolate?

If you are feeling unwell and/or showing signs of illness, you should not come to work. You may utilize accrued sick, vacation, or compensatory leave in this situation. If feeling well enough, and your work lends itself to telecommuting, you should speak directly with your manager about working from home options until you are symptom-free. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels.

What should I do if I have been notified that I have been exposed to COVID-19?

Employees that have been notified by a health authority that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are told that you need to be in self-imposed monitoring will be asked to telecommute for 14 days, if the employee’s work lends itself to telecommuting. Employees should contact their manager directly to inquire about telecommuting opportunities. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels.

If it is determined that the nature of an employee’s job is not conducive to telecommuting, the employee will be placed on emergency leave for 14 days, at which time the employee must be fever- and symptom-free in order to return to work. Employees who are advised by their manager that they are unable to telecommute must contact Human Resources regarding emergency leave procedures.

What should I do if I believe a coworker may have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19

Notify Emergency Management and Safety Services at 940-369-6153 or emergency.management@unt.edu. In order to protect the privacy of employee and student personal health information, you should not share details regarding an individual’s medical condition with others. Emergency Management and Safety Services will follow protocol to ensure that appropriate individuals are notified of the situation.

What should I do if I believe that I am in a higher risk category, or a family member is at higher risk?

In order to determine whether you are considered to be at higher risk, please consider the CDC’s criteria for the high-risk groups as identified by the CDC and/or consult your healthcare provider. If you are advised by your health authority not to come to work, please provide notification to Human Resources at 940-565-2281 or AskHR@untsystem.edu. In addition, you should contact your manager directly to inquire about telecommuting opportunities. In situations where the nature of the work can temporarily be performed from home or at an alternate location, managers are encouraged to work with employees to identify these instances and consider telecommuting during this time of uncertainty. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels. In the event that your job responsibilities are not conducive to telecommuting, you may utilize appropriate accrued leave and take time off from work.

Will employees who have traveled internationally be allowed to return to work?

All travel must be reported to Emergency Management and Safety Services using the Travel Form or by calling 940-369-6153. Faculty and staff returning from international travel in a country or domestic area affected by the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 will be asked to telecommute for 14 days, if the employee’s work lends itself to telecommuting. Employees should contact their manager directly to inquire about telecommuting opportunities. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels.

If it is determined that the nature of an employee’s job is not conducive to telecommuting, the employee will be placed on emergency leave for 14 days, at which time the employee must be fever- and symptom-free in order to return to work. Employees who are advised by their manager that they are unable to telecommute must contact Human Resources regarding emergency leave procedures.

I’m worried about exposure to COVID-19 at work. Will employees in my department be notified if a colleague is in self-quarantine?

Due to privacy considerations, this information will not be shared other than in a situation where it is believed that other employees may also need to self-quarantine.

If my child’s daycare or school is closed, may I work from home?

Yes, if your job responsibilities are compatible with working from home, you may request to work from home by contacting your manager. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels. Working remotely is not intended to serve as a substitute for child or adult care. However, working remotely could be a valuable tool to individuals with caregiving responsibilities, provided that their productivity or quality of work is not compromised. Depending on the age of your child or specific situation, you may not be able to effectively work from home due to caregiving responsibilities. In this case, you may request to utilize accrued vacation or compensatory leave.

Do I need to wear a mask at work or other personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Please note that the CDC specifically recommends healthy individuals do NOT wear breathing masks. Medical professionals have made it clear that the masks are not effective against respiratory illnesses like the flu or COVID-19. According to the CDC, these masks do not stop the wearer from inhaling small airborne particles. The best way to protect yourself from illness like COVID-19 and flu is to practice basic preventative measures like hand-washing and sanitizing surfaces, and social distancing. Below are standard everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Should managers allow their staff employees to work from home/telecommute?

In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home or at an alternate location, we encourage managers to work with employees to identify those instances, and consider telecommuting during this time of uncertainty. Employees should contact their manager directly regarding telecommuting opportunities. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels. A key consideration for managers is whether or not telecommuting is compatible with the employee’s job responsibilities.

Managers should provide a list of staff employee names to HR who are engaging in a temporary telecommuting arrangement in response to the current health situation. The list should be submitted to HRAdministration@untsystem.edu. HR will then email telecommuting information to each employee. Please note:

  • Employees who currently telecommute and wish to increase their number of telecommute days in light of the current health situation should contact their manager regarding a temporary telecommuting arrangement which supersedes the current telecommuting agreement.
  • Employees who do not currently telecommute and wish to engage in a temporary telecommuting agreement should discuss telecommuting opportunities with their manager.
  • Managers retain the ability to terminate a temporary telecommuting arrangement.
  • Managers must ensure that employees work their scheduled hours, report hours worked, and that departmental operating and service needs are met.

Before applying to engage in a temporary telecommuting arrangement, staff and managers should be familiar with remote working expectations and resources. Specific information regarding temporary telecommuting arrangements is located on WorkAnywhere.unt.edu.

How are you keeping employees who cannot telecommute safe?

Given the wide variety of services that staff provide to the UNT community, we recognize many functions do not lend themselves to being performed from home. In those situations, we encourage staff to adhere to previously issued preventative hygiene and social distancing guidance. When these measures are practiced with diligence, they are an effective means for minimizing the spread of the disease. In addition, employees should consult with their manager for specific protocols that may be in place for certain jobs.

Can temporary hourly staff (e.g., non-student hourly, etc.) work from home?

Normally, it is by exception that temporary hourly staff can telecommute. However, under the current circumstances, temporary hourly staff can be approved to telecommute on a short-term basis if telecommuting is compatible with the employee’s job responsibilities. Employees should contact their manager directly regarding telecommuting opportunities. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels. Managers should notify HR of any temporary hourly employees who will be telecommuting at HRAdministration@untsystem.edu. Managers must ensure that employees work their scheduled hours, report hours worked, and that departmental operating and service needs are met.

I use public transportation to get to work, but with COVID-19, I don’t feel comfortable. Can I work from home to avoid commuting on public transit?

In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home or an alternate location, we encourage managers to work with employees to identify those instances, and consider telecommuting during this time of uncertainty. A key consideration for managers is whether or not telecommuting is compatible with the employee’s job responsibilities. Employees should contact their manager directly regarding telecommuting opportunities. All telecommuting requests require approval by the division Vice President through normal reporting channels.

Managers should provide a list of staff employee names to HR who are engaging in a temporary telecommuting arrangementin response to the current health situation. The list should be submitted to HRAdministration@untsystem.edu. HR will email telecommuting information to each employee. Please note:

  • Employees who currently telecommute and wish to increase their number of telecommute days in light of the current health situation should contact their manager regarding a temporary telecommuting arrangement which supersedes the current telecommuting agreement.
  • Employees who do not currently telecommute and wish to engage in a temporary telecommuting agreement should discuss telecommuting opportunities with their manager.
  • Managers retain the ability to terminate a temporary telecommuting arrangement.
  • Managers must ensure that employees work their scheduled hours, report hours worked, and that departmental operating and service needs are met.

Specific information regarding temporary telecommuting arrangements is located on WorkAnywhere.unt.edu.

Can sick leave be used if an employee is asked to be quarantined?

Yes, an employee can utilize accrued sick leave, as well as accrued vacation leave or compensatory leave, where applicable.

How do I report my time if I'm asked to work on tasks related to the COVID-19 response?

All faculty, staff and hourly employees are asked to follow special time reporting procedures related to the COVID-19 response. Please read and follow the UNT Time Reporting Guidelines during this time. If you have questions related to the timekeeping guidelines, please contact your manager or Human Resources.

For more work-related FAQs related to COVID-19, see the UNT Work From Anywhere website.

Summary of Resources:

UNT Policy 05.022 on Staff Working Hours and Flexible Work Arrangements

Working Remotely – a LinkedIn Learning online video course that will help you learn how to work remotely and remain connected to your team and organization

UNT Work From Anywhere Technology Toolkit

UNT Work From Anywhere FAQ

Manager’s Toolkit:

  • Managing Virtual Teams – a LinkedIn Learning online video course with tips and strategies to help you successfully manage your remote staff
  • Guide to Managing Remote Staff – a detailed guide on best practices for keeping a remote team focused, productive and engaged

COVID-19 Updates

Emergency Notification Information:

  • Learn more about Eagle Alert emergency notifications.
  • Maintain your phone number to receive Eagle Alert notifications through the employee portal in my.unt.edu.

Employee Assistance Program:
We recognize that the COVID-19 situation can be stressful. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential service available to help employees with family, legal or financial issues, substance abuse, or other stressful events. EAP programs are available to retirement-eligible employees, retirees, household members, and dependents. In addition, the EAP has developed resources specific to COVID-19.

Faculty/Staff CARE Team