Information for Staff

In addition to the summary information provided on this site, Employees should refer to the Human Resources Reentry Expectations and Guidelines website.

Employees with specific concerns or questions about COVID-19 should contact the Office of Human Resources at PandemicHRCampus@SouthAlabama. edu or call (251) 461-1521.

Employees should be prepared to return to work when notified by their supervisors and/or Human Resources. A four-phased approach to returning employees is being utilized. This plan focuses on protecting the physical and emotional well-being of our employees and creates an approach to return that enables the business continuity of the University. The four phases are defined as:

  • Phase 1: A non-essential employees off campus.
  • Phase 2: Gradual return of employees to campus as determined by need and health/safety concerns. It is anticipated that Phase 2 will likely require staggered work schedules as necessary for proper social distancing and based on specific unit safety considerations. During this phase, remote work may continue to be the primary mode for many campus units. All units should be prepared to return to remote work (Phase 1) if conditions warrant.
  • Phase 3: Full return of employees to campus with exceptions for those in high-risk categories or those caring for persons in high-risk categories as identified in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. During this phase, all units should be prepared to return to remote work if conditions warrant .
  • Phase 4: All restrictions lifted and campus returns to normal operations. During this phase, all units should be prepared to return to remote work if conditions warrant.

Employees are required to complete training regarding various issues related to COVID-19 and workplace safety. Such training is electronic, where possible, but alternative methods will be established for employees who do not have access to computers. This training includes hygiene, social distancing, and other infection-control issues. Training must be completed within a reasonable time of returning to campus in order for the employee to remain on campus.

▼   GuideSafe Sentinel Testing at USA

Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and stay on campus by participating in Sentinel testing. Each week, GuideSafe randomly selects employees and students to be tested. This gives us information about how COVID-19 is circulating on campus. By participating in sentinel testing, we unite to stay on campus. USA plans to test between 2.5% to 5% of the population randomly on a weekly basis. Sentinel tests are intended for individuals who are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and use dedicated resources that do not reduce testing capacity for others who may feel sick or experience symptoms. By participating, you will not take away from someone else.

▼   What can I expect regarding the Sentinel testing?
A minimally invasive nose swab test will be used. You will complete the swab test on yourself, with someone there to provide guidance. You will be able to get back to your daily activities right after getting tested.
▼   What can I expect as a student regarding the Sentinel testing?
  • Student Sentinel testing invites are sent daily. Be sure to check your JagMail account regularly for an invite.
  • Randomly selected individuals will receive an email from our trusted partner, Verily (healthy@verily.com), directing them to sign up for a testing appointment.
  • Sentinel testing is conducted in the Mitchell Center weekly. Students must schedule an appointment through the Verily platform.
  • The test consists of an observed nasal self-swab that will be processed in a lab. A healthcare professional will observe each self-administered test to ensure accuracy and provide coaching if needed. This test is NOT the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab. 
  • Those being tested will be contacted within 24-48 hours with results.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Student Health to give you the next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.
▼   What can I expect as an employee regarding the Sentinel testing?
  • Employee Sentinel testing invites are sent on Sundays at noon. Be sure to check your South Alabama email regularly for an invite.
  • Employee Sentinel testing is conducted weekly at the Mitchell Center. 
  • The test consists of an observed nasal self-administered swab that will be processed in a lab. A healthcare professional will observe each self-test to ensure accuracy and provide coaching if needed. This test is NOT the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab.
  • Those being tested will be contacted within 24-48 hours with results.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Employee Health and Wellness to give you the next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.
▼   What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS--CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
▼   Why is Sentinel testing so important?
Sentinel testing is very important because the testing is conducted randomly selecting a percentage of a campus’ population giving a weekly snapshot to show how much the COVID-19 virus is circulating across campus. This random approach to testing, also called Sentinel testing, is a system that collects information useful for monitoring trends in diseases and pathogens. It assesses the stability or change in COVID-19 spread across campuses. For the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on campus population weekly to identify how much of the COVID-19 virus is circulating.  Sentinel testing is being adopted by higher education campuses across Alabama.  Sentinel testing will help in the fight against COVID-19 as we work to keep our communities safe.
▼   What do I need to do if I have been selected for randomized Sentinel testing?

If you did not  participate in GuideSafe Entry testing: you must first create a Verily account.  Please go to healthy.verily.com. Create an account using your university’s issued email address. Please note if you are an employee and student, please use your school email address.  Confirm your account via email. 

If you have participated in the GuideSafe Entry program, please check your school email account frequently for testing information. Schedule a test appointment after you have been randomly selected. Go to your scheduled appointment.

▼   Is there a fee associated with the Sentinel testing?

No, the Sentinel testing is 100% free and partnered with GuideSafe which is funded by the CARES Act through the support of Governor Kay Ivey. “As students and educators have made the transition back to  their respective college campus, it is critical that they have the tools to do so safely, and Governor Ivey is proud to provide the resources to help make that possible.  Not only is this partnership enabling our colleges and universities to welcome back their students, it is also setting the tone and bar for the rest of the nation. Alabama is innovative, and, during a health crisis, we are showing the country the great benefit of partnership, ingenuity and determination.”

▼   Do you have any statistical data regarding GuideSafe and Sentinel testing?

There are 189,000+ GuideSafe platform users. 75,000+ entry testing participants and 45 participating organizations including the University of South Alabama.

▼   Health Screenings Prior to Returning to Campus

All faculty and staff are required to complete a health screening form before returning to campus, and may be referred for testing if the screening indicates issues or concerns.

Employees who submit forms with concerning answers or who become symptomatic will be evaluated and tested by USA Health staff at the Mobile Civic Center drive-thru testing center. After return to work, employees will be required to report any symptoms or new risk factors associated with COVID-19.

If an employee becomes symptomatic at any time, he or she must not report to work. In addition, the employee should contact Human Resources to be referred for COVID-19 testing to the USA Health drive-through testing center.

If an employee lives in a household in which anyone in the house has tested positive for COViD-19, he or she will be required to remain home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

▼   GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck and Exposure Notification App

As part of USA’s ongoing efforts to provide the safest possible environment, the University is making available two new tools that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

GuideSafe AppThe first of these tools is the GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck, a simple health screening tool that must be completed daily by all USA general division employees (not USA Health employees) and all USA students, except those who are fully remote (i.e. not coming to campus for any classes or activities). This daily health screening will take only a few minutes to complete, and will help identify possible cases of COVID-19 in our community. Jag Healthcheck is required to maintain your ability to come to campus.

Our second new tool is the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App, an anonymous system which, if you test positive for COVID-19, will allow the Alabama Department of Public Health to notify those you do not know — or cannot remember coming into contact with — that they may have been exposed. Users of the app exchange anonymous codes among their phones using Bluetooth — no location data is ever stored or exchanged, and your personal information is never shared. This tool is strongly encouraged for all members of the University community.

Both of these tools can be accessed through the GuideSafe App, which is available for Apple and Android devices. Please search for GuideSafe in the app store or Google Play for Android devices for more information and to download the app, please visit the GuideSafe website.

In addition, Jag Healthcheck can be accessed directly from any device by going to the website jaghealthcheck.southalabama.edu. Please note you do not have to type http://www. In the URL address bar.

Through Jag Healthcheck, employees and students report whether or not they have had symptoms or exposure to anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. If symptoms or exposures are reported, this information will be shared with Student Health or Employee Health (Human Resources). Based on responses, Jag Healthcheck assigns users one of three categories: Green/Least Risk, Yellow/May be at Risk, or Red/Greater Risk — each with its own instructions on how to proceed to campus or work. Regardless of the results, a secure compliance report will be sent to Student Health or Human Resources.

Students and employees may be asked to display their dated “Clear”/Green result prior to entering areas of USA’s campus or participating in activities.

Jag Healthcheck is not a substitution for self-monitoring of symptoms. If an employee experiences any COVID-19 related symptoms, the employee should not report to work and should report the absence in accordance with the department’s call-in procedure, even if working remotely.

FAQ

▼   Why is the University of South Alabama using Jag Healthcheck?

Jag Healthcheck, a COVID-19 assessment tool, informs public health and University officials about emerging symptom hot spots. It also helps University health officials prioritize participants who might need COVID-19 testing.

▼   What am I required to do as a student/employee?

Students and employees are encouraged to complete Jag Healthcheck daily, but completion is required at least every three days. Reminders can be set up though Jag Healthcheck. New COVID-19 symptoms or exposures are to be reported immediately in Jag Healthcheck.

▼   Is Jag Healthcheck secure? Is my privacy protected?

Jag Healthcheck is compliant with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is a tool for you to report COVID-19 symptoms and any exposure. University of South Alabama Student Health, Employee Health and Human Resources receive the information to ensure those coming on campus are not showing symptoms.

▼   Will I remain anonymous?

Your responses are linked to your identity, and the University of South Alabama Student Health, Employee Health and Human Resources will receive your information submitted with Jag Healthcheck. The information is to ensure compliance and to identify employees or students who may need to be tested to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

▼   How do I access Jag Healthcheck?

You can access Jag Healthcheck, a password-protected system, through the GuideSafe App on your phone, or by using your computer or table to go to JagHealthcheck.SouthAlabama.edu. Please note you do not have to type http://www. In the URL address bar. The site can be pinned to your smartphone home screen so that it appears as an app.

▼   Will I receive notifications or reminders to fill out GuideSafe™ Healthcheck?

There will be an option for you to receive reminders to report how you are feeling.

▼   What happens if I do not screen Green in Jag Healthcheck?

You will be instructed to call Student Health (251-460-7151) or Employee Health and Wellness (251-461-1521) to assess the need for testing or medical evaluation.

▼   What happens if I do not complete Jag Healthcheck as required?

Students should complete the Jag Healthcheck assessment daily. After three days of non-compliance, students will be notified with an email and a text message regarding non-compliance.  On the fourth day of non-compliance, the student will receive a contact from the University reminding them that non-compliance with Jag Healthcheck may result in a negative impact on their good standing with the University.

Employees should complete the Jag Healthcheck assessment daily. After three days of non-compliance, employees will be notified with an email and a text message regarding non-compliance. The Employee Health & Wellness Coordinator (EHWC), using the Jag Healthcheck report, will monitor employees completion of the survey to identify employees who have failed to complete Jag Healthcheck at least every three business days. The EHWC will refer non-compliant employees to their immediate supervisor for appropriate action. Non-compliant employees will be addressed in accordance with the University’s disciplinary guidelines.

 

▼   Contact Tracing Requirement

Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu and notify Human Resources at (251) 460-1521.

Any supervisor notified by a faculty/staff member testing positive for COVID-19 must send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu and notify Human Resources at  (251) 460-1521.

Any USA faculty/staff notified by a student that he/she has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must send an email to reportcovid@southalabama.edu.

For additional instructions and information on these requirements, please visit the Human Resources website.

▼   What if I have COVID-19 Symptoms?

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. Indicate your symptoms on Jag Healthcheck and follow the instructions provided. For information on how to report your absence, please see the Human Resources website.

▼   Office Procedures
  • Protocols have been developed for the deep cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces and common areas in buildings. These protocols are implemented in coordination with the University’s Facilities Management department.
  • Employees are required to wear their identification badges at all times.
  • Offices with reception desks are required to implement social distancing measures such as floor distancing markings and limits on capacity.
  • Common areas (vending, break rooms, kitchens) remain closed during the duration of Phase 2 unless social distancing can be ensured. In such cases, break rooms will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
  • Limited in-person gatherings and Zoom meetings are encouraged.
  • Staggered work times/work from home may be necessary.
▼   Community Engagement

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) supports community engaged learning, service learning and volunteerism for students, faculty and staff.

Details about the Community Engagement COVID-19 Guidelines — including expectations and requirements for staff in participating in and/or leading community engagement, service learning and volunteerism — can be found at COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQ for STAFF.

▼   Policy on Visitors

To control the risks of COVID-19 exposure to University employees, the University Committee for Reopening Campus has determined that, until further notice, no visitors or invited guests are allowed in buildings on the main campus. This does not include contractors and vendors who are required to be on campus to fulfill their obligations. Any other exceptions to this policy must be approved by a divisional Vice President. This requirement will remain in place until further notice from the Committee.

Approved visitors to the University main campus will complete the USA Guest COVID-19 Screening and display their clearance upon arrival to campus. If the visitor indicates symptoms of COVID-19 or exposure to individuals who are positive, access to campus is denied and further instructions are provided.

▼   Information on Vendors

Procedures for University Employees to address COVID-19 for 
Non-University Employees on Campus

 

Non-University employees (hereinafter, “Vendors”) are expected to abide by the same procedures and requirements as members of the University community. Offices and departments working with Vendors on campus are required to communicate the University requirements to the non-University employee. Vendors on campus who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to participate in any surveillance or contact tracing process designed to decrease the risk of infection in the University.


Departments working with non-University employees on campus should ask for copies of the vendor’s corporate COVID policies prior to their arrival/return to campus.

If corporate policies do not exist and/or do not include similar University screening guidelines below, those departments working with non-University employees on campus will review University guidelines with the Vendors. Guests and non-University employees on main campus may be asked to complete the USA Main Campus Guest COVID-19 Screening. The screening indicates approval with a green screen and access denied with a red screen. If a non-University employee receives an “access denied” designation on the screening or answers “Yes” to any question below, the University department will ask the non-University employee to leave campus immediately.  

  • Have you had any new symptoms in the last 14 days that are out of the ordinary for you (shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, fever, severe headache, chills, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell)?

  • In the past 14 days have you been in close contact with any person who has tested positive for COVID-19?  The CDC defines “close contact” as being within approximately 6 feet of an individual who is positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer. 

  • In the past 14 days have you been in close contact with any person who is being evaluated for COVID-19 due to possible COVID-19 symptoms?  The CDC defines “close contact” as being within approximately 6 feet of an individual who is positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer. 

If a non-University employee tests positive for COVID-19, they should immediately notify their University contact. University departments working with Vendors who answers yes to questions above will submit the non-University employee contact name and information to the University Contact Tracing Team for additional follow up.

In order to return to campus, non-University employees who test positive for COVID-19 will follow the same guidelines as University employees.

▼   Frequently Asked Questions
▼   Are there special accommodations for employees who are considered high-risk? What if my child’s school is closed?

Remote working possibilities will be dependent on the specific position and department needs. The duration of any remote working arrangements is at your supervisor’s discretion. You will need to submit a written request to your immediate supervisor for review. Final approval is at the discretion of the supervisor and the division head.

However, employees who have special medical circumstances or needs, or 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 are unable to telework, or need a workplace accommodation will have to be referred to Human Resources for review. To request a workplace accommodation, please contact the HR Benefits Department at employeebenefitshr@southalabama.edu.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19, when the employee is unable to telework, should be treated as sick leave. Use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may also be a possibility. If your leave is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than three business days you must complete this form. The form must be signed by your supervisor and then forwarded, along with any supporting documentation, to the email address indicated on the form for review and approval.

▼   If I have to quarantine, will I still be paid?

Each individual’s situation will be different, so employees should first consult the Human Resources FAQs for Employees for details about accommodations for various situations. If the FAQs do not address your situation, please contact Human Resources for additional assistance at employeebenefitshr@southalabama.edu or by calling (251) 460-6133.

▼   Are student workers permitted to return to work in University offices?

All student workers will be permitted to return to work without prior approval after the school year opens on August 17.

Student workers are permitted. Before returning to work, all student workers must complete the health screening form required of all employees and need to complete employee training as directed by the Office of Human Resources.

▼   What are the travel guidelines?
Domestic travel by employees is currently non-restricted but is subject to change as the situation evolves. International travel for business purposes is currently restricted.  Personal international travel may require self-isolation upon return home.  Employees are encouraged to self-report international travel to a Level 2 or Level 3 country, as designated by the CDC or WHO.
▼   Are face-to-face meetings allowed?

In most cases, meetings should be conducted virtually by Zoom or other remote means.