COVID-19 FAQ for Staff - Southwestern Illinois College

    What If I Have Symptoms, Have Tested Positive
    or Have Been Exposed to COVID-19?


    We strongly encourage you to continue to self-monitor and be diligent in practicing the proper COVID-19 safety precautions (i.e. social distancing, face covering, washing/sanitizing regularly…).  If you are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, we ask you to not come on campus until COVID-19 can be ruled out by a COVID-19 test.  Continue to report positive COVID-19 tests and exposures to the SWIC COVID-19 Response Team for guidance. 

    Please remain conscientious and respectful of those around you, especially while in close quarters.  If you or someone close to you is immunocompromised, your best course of action is to wear a mask to protect yourself and maintain social distance.

    I am concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at work. Do I need to report to work?

    What type of leave is available to me in the case of this COVID-19 outbreak or pandemic?

    The college’s regular leave policies cover all types of absences and illnesses including COVID-19.  There are no separate policies establishing special types of leave relating to an influenza outbreak or possible pandemic. All current available forms of leave, i.e. sick, vacation, or accumulated compensatory time, may be considered for use in the event of an influenza outbreak pandemic.  Employees should review their available vacation, sick, or compensatory time.

    Can my supervisor send me home if I exhibit flu-like symptoms at work?

    Employees exhibiting symptoms can and will be sent home. The employee’s continued presence must pose no risk to the health of the employee, other employees and students in order to remain at work.  Employees ordinarily will not be sent home unless they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. An employee should consult their healthcare professional if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

    If I am sent home from work due to illness from COVID-19, are those days charged against my accrued sick leave?

    When an employee is sick and not at work, sick time will be recorded for your absence.  

    What if an employee refuses to go home and they are sick?

    Employees are required to leave the college if they are sick and contagious. Infected employees pose a threat to the other employees and students and could spread the flu.  If a supervisor believes an employee has flu-like symptoms, including a fever, the supervisor will ask the employee to go home.  If the employee refuses to leave, the supervisor should contact their respective director.  Employees who refuse to go home will be considered insubordinate and may be subject to disciplinary action.

    Can I be sent home due to the flu even if I have no sick time available?

    Yes. Employees may use vacation and any built-up compensatory time to cover days missed.  Employees will be encouraged to use available compensatory time.  However, employees may decide whether to use available vacation or sick leave to cover the days missed.  Employees without any available leave will be recorded as “absent without pay” for those days with no leave to cover the absence.  Available compensatory time must be exhausted before employees will be recorded as “absent without pay”.

    May employees be asked to perform other job duties than their regular job?

    Employees may be asked to perform additional job duties. Departments are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Resources should they have questions pertaining an employee’s work assignment. Employees will be compensated in accordance with the terms of their respective collective bargaining agreement for time worked, including overtime if necessary.

    Can my supervisor schedule me to work hours or shifts that I do not normally work?

    You may be asked to work more hours or different hours, especially if your position is considered an essential service position or the college is short staffed as a result of a flu outbreak.  

    I have a vacation scheduled. Is there a chance my supervisor will cancel my vacation?

    The college may have the right to cancel any pre-approved vacation request, especially in circumstances where staff shortages occur as a result of illness.  Your vacation may also be canceled if your job is considered an essential service position.  If this situation arises, the department should consult with the Office of Human Resources.  Employees need to communicate with their supervisor before making any vacation plans.

    If an employee believes they caught the flu from another employee or a student at work, will this be a covered Worker’s Compensation claim?

    Temporary illnesses, such as the flu, are not typically considered a work-related injury under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act.  However, the college encourages employees to consult with the Office of Human Resources to verify whether the employee’s particular situation may be covered.

    What documentation do I need to provide to return to work?

    Collective bargaining agreements and policies stipulate requirements related to documentation needed after being off work. Please contact the Human Resources Office to coordinate documents, if any, needed to return to work.

    Is COVID-19 a condition that will qualify me for the use of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave?

    FMLA may be available with regard to the employee’s own serious health condition or for the care of a family member with a serious health condition.  For more information on FMLA contact Human Resources at extension 5254 or 5533.

    What if my children’s school or daycare has been closed?

    You may use available vacation to be away from work.  You will need to contact your supervisor immediately and obtain approval from your supervisor in order to use your vacation time. You will be required to keep your supervisor notified of your anticipated return to work.

    I am an employee who has other medical concerns. Will I be allowed to work from home if I am afraid of contracting the flu?

    This college does not currently have a work at home policy.  The decision to work from home will be made on a case by case basis by the respective Chief Officer or Executive Director.

    Will travel on
    behalf of the college still be permitted?

    All upcoming college-related domestic travel will now require approval by the appropriate Chief Officer/Executive Director and the Human Resources Office. It is also strongly advised that travelers delay any non-refundable travel purchases at this time.  

    Personal Travel: Students, staff and faculty planning personal travel should be mindful of the spread of COVID-19 and continually monitor the list of locations with an elevated risk of exposure.

    For All Travel: Regardless of the reason for travel or the location, we strongly encourage members of our community to exercise caution and be aware that upon return individuals may be subject to screening and quarantine. As COVID-19 continues to evolve, please be advised there may be additional implications upon return. All faculty, staff and students with travel plans are encouraged to consider alternatives, assess risks, and develop detailed contingency plans in case of meeting or travel cancellation. 

    Summer Travel: Information concerning summer college-related business travel will be evaluated as we approach the summer session. In some instances, travel programs have already been canceled by providers.

    Will my SWIC sponsored healthcare plan cover medical expenses associated with treatment for COVID-19?

    Yes, you have the same coverage that is currently available for any emergency or non-emergency illness, subject to the normal deductible, copay, or out-of-pocket amounts associated with your medical plan.

    Are COVID-19 screenings available on campus for faculty and staff?

    Faculty and staff who are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms are advised to isolate themselves and contact a medical professional for an evaluation. Screenings are not available on campus for faculty and staff.

    Reference: SWIC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information.

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