Frequently Asked Questions for Employees

▼   COVID - 19 Vaccine Incentive - University main campus faculty and staff

As an incentive for faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine, University main campus employees who accrue vacation and who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by September 30, 2021, will be eligible to receive one day of personal leave, prorated based on FTE. 

Once verified, the personal leave will be available within one month of submitting vaccine documentation, if not sooner, and must be used by December 31, 2021. For employees not able to meet the deadline due to acquiring COVID-19 or receiving monoclonal antibodies, an exception may be made for the vaccination deadline date.   

University main campus employees who do not accrue vacation may receive a $50 Visa gift card as an incentive for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The $50 will be reported as wages on each recipient’s W-2. 

In order to receive the Personal Day or gift card, as applicable, please scan a copy or take a picture of your COVID-19 vaccination documentation and email it to Human Resources at vaccineincentcampus@southalabama.edu by 5:00 p.m., on Monday, October 1, 2021. Please include, with your COVID-19 vaccination documentation, your full name, J number and the date(s) of vaccination. Employees already fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are also eligible for the incentive. 

Thank you for doing your part to keep our University healthy and safe.

▼   What are the reentry requirements for Student Employees?

Student Employees will follow the same reentry requirements of general Students. For additional information please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/reopening/students.html.

▼   What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

All employees are required to immediately report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to USA’s contact tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu. Instructions on how to report are contained on USA’s Human Resources website and the student section of the University’s reopening website.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home, contact Employee Health and Wellness at PandemicHRCampus@SouthAlabama. edu or call (251) 461-1521, and your supervisor by following your department's call-in procedure.  

Regardless of vaccine status, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home until you are cleared to return to campus. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. You should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure and contact Employee Health and Wellness at PandemicHRCampus@southalabama. edu or call (251) 461-1521 for further instructions.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave. If the purpose of the leave is your own serious illness, you will be required to use any accrued sick leave, subject to the University's sick leave policy.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 may be eligible for FML. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

▼   What if I need to take care of a family member who has COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have sudden caring responsibilities for a family member, you should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure. 

Absences due to illness or injury of a member of the employee’s immediate family related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave.  If the purpose of your leave is to care for a serious ill family member, as defined by and in accordance with the University's sick leave policy, you may take up to 3  days paid sick leave per occurrence. If your absence is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, if eligible, you may apply for FML. With FML approval you may use accrued sick leave up to 60 work days or 480 hours.  To apply for FML please complete this form:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf.

The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

▼   What if I need to self-isolate?

The answer is condition specific.  For instance, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have been ordered to self-isolate, these absences will be treated as sick leave. 

You should not report to work if you have symptoms like fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea. You should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure. Please also contact Employee Health and Wellness at PandemicHRCampus@SouthAlabama. edu or call (251) 461-1521, and your supervisor by following your department's call-in procedure.  

If you are self-isolating out of personal choice, these absences will be treated as personal leave of absence. Approval for personal leave of absence is at the discretion of your department based on its operational needs. For additional information on how to apply for a personal leave of absence, duration limit, and your responsibilities while on a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

If you are self-isolating due to underlying medical conditions for yourself or a family member, you should contact Human Resources to explore other possible options. 

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 may be eligible for FML. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval. 

▼   What are my options if I am caring for my child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons?

Temporary remote working arrangements may be approved if you are unable to return to work due to a COVID-19 related event. Remote working possibilities will be dependent on the specific position and department needs. The duration of any remote working arrangement is at your supervisor’s discretion but cannot exceed the duration of the event preventing your return to work. Final approval for remote work is at the discretion of the supervisor, department head and division head. However, if you are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons and you are unable to telework; you may request a leave of absence. 

▼   Will I be required to self-quarantine if I travel?

Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Vaccination is strongly encouraged before travel. Anyone who chooses to travel, regardless of vaccination status, should self-monitor symptoms and follow masking and other safety protocols. Employees should follow the updated university protocols for international and domestic travel.

▼   What type of verification/documentation is required once I am placed on COVID-19 related leave?

The required documentation is based on the qualifying reason you have selected on the leave of absence request form. An employee may qualify to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:

1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. (For the first two weeks you must provide a copy of any quarantine or isolation order. Your supervisor will verify by signing the request for a leave of absence form that you are eligible for this option because you have been required to quarantine. If the absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed medical certification from your physician.)

2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19. (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human Resources via email. If your absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed medical certification from your physician.)

3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis. (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human Resources via email. If your absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed medical certification from your physician.)

4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2). (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human Resources via email. If your absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed medical certification from your family member’s physician.)

5. Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons. (You must provide Human Resources with a statement from your daycare verifying the facility is closed, to include how long it is expected to be closed. An email from a daycare official is sufficient. The email should include the person’s full name, title, address, phone number, and email address. If acquiring this statement is impossible or the child is of regular school age, please issue a statement (via email) indicating the name(s) of your child(ren), date(s) of birth, and name of the daycare or school they normally attend. For children over the age of 14, please provide a statement of circumstances that exist requiring care and affirming that there is no other suitable person who can care for the child during the requested leave.)

If working remotely is not approved, any absence due to a COVID-related event must be treated as sick leave or a leave of absence.  

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 may be eligible for FML. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval. 

▼   If I am on leave will I get paid?

This answer is leave specific. Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave. If the purpose of the leave is your own serious illness, you will be required to use any accrued sick leave, subject to the University's sick leave policy.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 may be eligible for FML. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

Absences due to illness or injury of a member of the employee’s immediate family related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave.  If the purpose of your leave is to care for a serious ill family member, as defined by and in accordance with the University's sick leave policy, you may take up to 3  days paid sick leave per occurrence. If your absence is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, if eligible, you may apply for FML. With FML approval you may use accrued sick leave up to 60 work days or 480 hours.  

For events covered under the Family Medical Leave Act please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html.

For events approved under a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

▼   What if I need to be off longer than two weeks?

The answer is leave specific. Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19, and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, may be eligible for FML. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave. If the purpose of the leave is your own serious illness, you will be required to use any accrued sick leave, subject to the University's sick leave policy.

Absences due to illness or injury of a member of the employee’s immediate family related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave.  If the purpose of your leave is to care for a serious ill family member, as defined by and in accordance with the University's sick leave policy, you may take up to 3  days paid sick leave per occurrence. If your absence is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, if eligible, you may apply for FML. With FML approval you may use accrued sick leave up to 60 work days or 480 hours.  

For events covered under the Family Medical Leave Act please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html.

For events approved under a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

For additional information regarding eligibility and the application process for a leave of absence of any type, please visit our Leave Policies webpage at:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/leavepolicies.html

▼   Can I work remotely?

Remote work will not be available except in limited, short-term circumstances related to COVID-19 and only with supervisor and department/division head approval. Remote working possibilities will be dependent on the specific position and department needs. Employees that are not able to function fully and effectively at home will be expected to work on-campus or on-site, take sick leave, or request a leave of absence. Final approval for remote work is at the discretion of the supervisor, department head and division head. 

If you have a disability and wish to apply for a workplace accommodation, you may submit a request through the Workplace Accommodations program. Human Resources will assess the request in conjunction with the department, however Human Resources is responsible for the resolution of a reasonable accommodation.

Employees, with a serious health condition, or those who are caring for a family member with a serious health condition, and are unable to return to work June 1 may be eligible for Family Medical Leave. To apply please complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

Any employees who are experiencing personal concerns related to COVID-19, such as anxiety or stress, are encouraged to reach out to the University of South Alabama’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for support. Counseling services are available via telephone, Zoom or in person, and are confidential.  For information, please call (251) 461-1346.

▼   Why are some employees allowed to telework and others are required to come to work?

We are seeking to address individual needs consistently during the pandemic. Some job duties simply cannot be performed from home, and as long as the University remains open, must continue to be performed on site. You are encouraged to speak to your supervisor or you may contact Human Resources for further guidance. The University will make every effort possible to provide a safe work environment. If you need a workplace accommodation that will allow you to safely perform your work on site, please reach out to the Human Resources Office at:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/contactus.html

▼   What can I do to reduce my risk exposure? Approved updated operating guidelines and procedures

The Reopening Committee has approved updated operating guidelines and procedures that are effective immediately: 

Social Distancing: In most settings, social distancing is no longer required for individuals who are fully vaccinated. For the May and Summer terms, however, social distancing of 3 feet will be maintained in instructional settings. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to maintain social distancing according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) Guidelines.

Masking: Employees, students and guests are required to wear approved face coverings in all instructional settings (e.g., classrooms, labs) and in all indoor settings where 6-feet social distancing cannot be consistently maintained while on University of South Alabama academic campuses or while participating in USA-sponsored activities. Face coverings are also required while riding Jag Tran or other University transportation. Additional requirements may apply and must be followed as announced. 

Health and Safety Measures: For in-person events and meetings, all employees are encouraged to be mindful of room capacity for social distancing and opportunities for attending meetings remotely when practical. Keep plastic shields in place and do not dispose of shields that were purchased or installed. Continue all sanitation protocols.

Reporting symptoms, exposures, and positive cases: Daily health screenings using Guidesafe Jag Healthcheck are no longer required; however, all employees and students are required to monitor and report symptoms and exposures and to report positive cases. 

  • All employees and students are required to immediately report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to USA’s contact tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu.
  • Regardless of vaccine status, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home until you are cleared to return to campus. Students, contact Student Health at StudentHealth@SouthAlabama.edu (251) 460-7151. Employees, contact your supervisor and Employee Health and Wellness at PandemicHRCampus@SouthAlabama. edu or call (251) 461-1521.

Events: In-person events such as ceremonies, meetings and social gatherings are allowed if all USA COVID-19 precautions as listed above and on the University’s coronavirus website are followed. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should follow applicable CDC guidelines to reduce risk of COVID-19.


Visitors: Visitors (any non-employee or non-student) are welcome on the University main campus and must adhere to the University's health and safety protocols. Visitor screenings are no longer required; however, anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to individuals who are positive should avoid visiting campus until they receive medical clearance from a health care provider.


Travel: Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Vaccination is strongly encouraged before travel. Anyone who chooses to travel, regardless of vaccination status, should self-monitor symptoms and follow masking and other safety protocols. Employees should follow the updated university protocols for international and domestic travel.


Vaccine Status: Faculty and staff should not inquire about vaccine status of other employees or students. Supervisors may only ask about vaccine status if there is a specific reason a supervisor is required to have this information (e.g., to follow international travel procedures). Supervisors should not ask unvaccinated individuals why they are not vaccinated.

▼   How do I apply for a workplace accommodation?

The University will make every effort possible to provide a safe work environment. University leadership also understands that there are employees who may have unique health circumstances. Any employee with a disability that may require a reasonable accommodation and wish to apply for a workplace accommodation, may submit a request through the Workplace Accommodations program. Human Resources will assess the request in conjunction with the department, however Human Resources is responsible for the resolution of a reasonable accommodation.

Any employees who are experiencing personal concerns related to COVID-19, such as anxiety or stress, are encouraged to reach out to the University of South Alabama’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for support. Counseling services are available via telephone, Zoom or in person, and are confidential.  For information, please call (251) 461-1346.

▼   Am I required to wear a mask at work?

Employees, students and guests are required to wear approved face coverings in all instructional settings (e.g., classrooms, labs) and in all indoor settings where 6-feet social distancing cannot be consistently maintained while on University of South Alabama academic campuses or while participating in USA-sponsored activities. Face coverings are also required while riding Jag Tran or other University transportation. Additional requirements may apply and must be followed as announced.