Supervisor Guidance

Much of this information was provided by Risk Management and Safety. If you have additional questions, please email univhr@auburn.edu

Throughout Auburn University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has remained focused on the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. This commitment has never wavered, and it remains a guiding tenet as the University prepares to enact a carefully planned and measured campus reopening. As employees return to campus, supervisors will be faced with new situations that come with COVID-19 and managing their units and departments.

This guidance has been developed to give supervisors proper protocols to follow in a variety of COVID-19 workplace situations. This document is not intended to capture every possible situation that may occur, but is a reflection of the most common scenarios that may be presented.

For additional information on leave, flexible spending account, etc., please consult the Auburn University Human Resources Coronavirus website.

IMPORTANT: In the event of a positive diagnosis, or disclosure of any medical information, the identity of the employee should only be disclosed internally to those who absolutely need to know and the employee’s medical information should be kept confidential and separate from their personnel file.

All members of the Auburn University community must consider the health and safety of each other and themselves. Therefore, there are a few basic principles of prevention and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms that are expected for all employees coming to campus.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all employees must follow strict personal and area hygiene practices as stated in CDC guidelines.

Refer to the RMS COVID-19 Safety Awareness Course for more information.

Common Questions

Yes. All employees should self-screen daily and make responsible decisions based off of the results of the self-screening process. Employees should monitor for new or worsening symptoms, including these listed below:

  • Fever (>100.4oF)
  • 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
  • Diarrhea

 

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported. For updated information on COVID-19 symptoms, check the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

It is important to note: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, although usually within 5 days.

If the employee does not successfully pass the self-screening process (including the temperature check), the employee should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.

Supervisors are encouraged to engage with each of their employees about their wellbeing, especially if an employee reports to work feeling ill or calls in sick with COVID-19 symptoms. It is critical that you as the supervisor maintain all information about an employee’s illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) separate from the employee’s personnel file.

Supervisors should be aware that while they may encourage an employee to test for COVID-19, they may not direct an employee to seek or not to seek testing for COVID-19. The ultimate decision to test should be made between the employee and his or her health care provider. Testing is available at the AU Medical Clinic; an employee should call 844-9824 to schedule an appointment. 

At this time, the university is not conducting daily temperature checks of employees when they report to work on campus or other work locations. As explained above, all employees are expected to self-monitor by taking their own temperature each day before reporting to work. Some higher risk environments (e.g., AU Medical Clinic, College of Veterinary Medicine) may choose to perform temperature screening upon entry for all individuals.

Per CDC guidance, close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected COVID-19 individual for a period of at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

To aid in close contact identification, it is recommended that supervisors instruct all employees to record and maintain the following information on a daily basis:

  • Dates and times on campus
  • Locations worked including common areas used, such as restrooms, breakrooms or conference rooms
  • Names of others with whom the employee had “close contact” while on campus or in assigned work locations

 

This information may be collected by the supervisor in preparation for the potential occurrence a COVID-19 issue.

Auburn must maintain essential services and operations, laboratory research, student services, and campus safety, regardless of circumstances. There are certain positions that are required to be on-site to support those services and operations.

The safety and wellbeing of employees are important and the university will strive to ensure CDC, state, and local guidelines are being followed and employees and the public are being protected. Additionally, it is the responsibility of employees to adhere to federal, state, and university guidance and regulations that may be in place at the time.

As such, the university expects employees to attend work as scheduled and be fully prepared to work for the entirety of their work period. Any time away from work should be discussed and approved in advance by the supervisor. 

If an AU employee is concerned about reporting to the worksite due to an underlying health condition that increases their personal health risk if infected with COVID-19, or concern about exposing a family member who has health risks to COVID-19, the supervisor should work closely with their HRL to navigate these issues and provide guidance to the employee. Information concerning employee leave and COVID-19 can be found here.

This should be determined after consultation between the supervisor and the COVID-19 liaison, based on CDC guidelines and medical advice.

For someone whose healthcare provider determines the symptoms are not consistent with COVID-19, or they test negative for COVID-19, the employee can return to work after 24 hours with no fever, without the use of fever reducing medications and improvement of symptoms. 

This should be determined after consultation between the supervisor and the COVID-19 liaison, based on CDC guidelines and medical advice.

Supervisor and COVID-19 Liaison Responsibilities

Supervisors

When an employee has a COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, or known close contact exposure, the employee should notify the supervisor to enable the supervisor to take appropriate actions in the workplace. Upon notification, the supervisor has the following responsibilities:

If a person has tested positive or is being evaluated for COVID-19 or had close contact exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Send them home to self-quarantine (note that if the employee is able to work from home, they can be given time to gather work related materials from their workspace to take home).
  • Notify their department head but do not disclose the employee’s name, unless the employee has authorized disclosure.
  • Provide the following information from the employee to the division’s designated COVID-19 liaison on the COVID-19 Intake Form:
    • Employee’s name and Banner ID
    • Employee’s contact phone number (home or cell)
    • Employee’s email address
    • Date that the symptoms started (if applicable)
    • Dates and times in their on-site work location(s) in the last 72 hours
    • Work locations, common spaces, university vehicles, or shared equipment visited or utilized in the last 72 hours
    • Names of others with whom the employee had close contact in their on-site work location(s)
    • Date of test and date results were received (if applicable)

If a person has a temperature greater than 100.4 or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or if the employee has had a close contact exposure with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19: 

  • Send them home to self-quarantine (note that if the employee is able to work from home, they can be given time to gather work related materials from their workspace to take home).
  • Recommend to the employee that they should self-monitor and contact their healthcare provider or the AUMC.
  • Consult with your COVID-19 liaison for additional action.

 

In the event that the supervisor is not able to immediately contact the COVID-19 Liaison, the supervisor may need to notify that department or specific individuals of a positive diagnosis. However, the employee’s identity cannot be disclosed. The supervisor may inform employees that they will be notified individually if they need to take any action, such as getting tested, and employees are always free to secure testing on their own if they have concern of a potential close contact exposure. Because an employee’s well-being, privacy, and workplace safety remain priorities at all times, no additional information should be provided. The language below is offered as an example:

"I received a report that a colleague in our unit was diagnosed with COVID-19. If you don’t receive an individual notification, there is no further action that needs to be taken on your part. Please continue to monitor yourself closely for symptoms and practice disease prevention behaviors such as wearing a face covering, hand washing or using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing. Should you not feel well, please stay home, inform your supervisor and contact your primary care provider.”

For any other COVID-19 situation that occurs that is not addressed above, the supervisor should coordinate with the COVID-19 Liaison for additional guidance.

COVID-19 Liaisons

The COVID-19 Liaison is responsible for collecting and maintaining the confidential information collected by the supervisor and serving as the liaison between the division and the various campus entities and/or employees that may need to be contacted and informed. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing the COVID-19 Intake Form submitted by the supervisor and ensuring that all necessary information is completed;
  • If necessary, conducting interviews with the supervisor and/or employee to gather additional information;
  • Notifying Campus Safety and Security;
  • Notifying the AU Medical Clinic;
  • Notifying Facilities Management for initiation of enhanced cleaning services; and
  • Notifying worksite close contacts.

 

Additional detailed guidance for COVID-19 Liaisons will be provided separately.  The COVID-19 liaison will work very closely with the supervisor to accomplish these items.

Important: AUHR is maintaining up-to-date guidance for managers, supervisors, and employees.This guidance should be consulted regularly, especially if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace. COVID-19 Liaisons will be identified shortly, and information and training will be provided to them.

Last updated: 07/28/2020