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Guilford College COVID-19 Hotline — 336.316.2319

Learn more about how to use the hotline on the College's COVID-19 Information page.

March 16, 2020

COVID 19: Faculty and Staff Updates


March 16, 2020, Taskforce Update

Dear staff and faculty:

Two quick updates:

  1. You will need your Guilford College ID to enter buildings on campus.  Out of an abundance of caution, we are limiting building access to faculty and staff as well as to students who are currently in residence on campus.
  2. Here is the link to the FAQs for employees.  


Thank you.

March 15, 2020, Message from the President

To all Guilford College faculty and staff,

I am writing to provide specific guidance regarding your options and choices, should you become ill, have family members who are ill, or encounter other health or scheduling complications related to the disruption this virus is causing across our community. As a reminder, spring break has been extended for a week and Guilford College will remain open unless conditions change. Faculty and staff are expected to be working, either on campus or remotely (with approval), unless they have a health or safety reason not to be.

There continues to be no confirmed case of COVID-19 on our campus.  Guilford College has taken a number of precautions in preparation for students to return to campus at the end of the month. Housekeeping staff will do a deep cleaning of the residence halls and shared and public spaces within them, as will other buildings and spots on campus, with a focus on surfaces in shared spaces and high traffic areas, during the extended spring break.

Guilford College is following the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance and Guilford’s COVID-19 Task Force is coordinating plans to consider scenarios that could impact the health and safety of faculty, staff and students (including but not limited to campus operations).

We remain attentive to the steep rising curve of people infected, and we are daily determining what it calls us to do in response. The actions we undertake today are to protect our students, faculty, staff, and families, in our greater community, state, nation and world.  While we wait for treatment to be developed, we should do everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus; in this way, we may be able to protect people who are vulnerable to sickness as well as keep our health care systems operational and not overwhelm them.

First and foremost, if you are sick, please stay home. You should also stay at home if you have a family member who is showing symptoms or who may have been exposed to the illness or have traveled to a country with a level 3 or 4 travel advisory.

    For Guilford College Health Plan Participants: 

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has announced that they will cover the cost of the COVID-19 test, whether or not you have met your deductible. You will not need prior approval, but will need to contact your physician first. They are also covering doctor visits to screen for COVID-19 and any required care the same as any other doctor visit or care, based on your health plan.  If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 illness, Blue Cross NC will not require prior approval for medically necessary services. Access updates through their website here.

    Telemedicine

    MYidealDOCTOR provides free 24/7 access to board certified physicians to plan participants and their families.  Physicians can consult, diagnose and prescribe medicines if deemed appropriate. To register go to www.myidealdoctor.com and click on “member login” at the top of the page. 

    For Non-participants:

    If you do not currently participate in Guilford College’s health plan, please consult with your insurance carrier(s) regarding COVID-19 coverage updates accordingly. 

        Travel Guidance

        In response to governments, businesses and organizations having taken action to limit or even prohibit official travel, I am issuing new guidelines for any official travel for Guilford College. Beginning Monday, March 16th, only travel for the College’s highest priorities will be authorized.  The President will approve all travel upon submission of a signed travel request from a supervisor, director, and/or Vice President.  No other College-related travel will be allowed. 

        Anyone currently on College-supported travel should plan to conclude that travel as soon as possible. Those who have plans for College-related travel that is scheduled to begin and end before July 1 should work with their supervisor, budget manager, and the College travel agency to cancel such travel effective immediately. Additional guidance and details will be available in the days and weeks ahead. 

        Some of you may have plans for personal travel. We strongly advise you to carefully consider any upcoming travel in light of the most recent guidance from public health professionals and regional travel restrictions. 

        If you plan to visit a part of the country where there has been widespread community transmission of COVID-19, you run the risk not only of coming into contact with the virus, but of being unable to return to campus should national or state officials decide that your return is prohibited or inadvisable. We urge you to consider the advisability of these plans, think about your own well-being as well as the well-being of the Guilford College community. You should also plan for the possibility of an extended absence from work, if guidance changes.

        If you decide to travel abroad (or are returning from abroad):

        • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.
        • Check with your airlines or cruise lines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
        • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
        • Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.
        • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S. 
        • If you travel to locations that the CDC categorizes as Level 3 [reconsider travel] or Level 4 [do not travel], Guilford would expect you to self-isolate and follow CDC recommendations related to monitoring for the virus. You will also be required to provide written medical clearance before returning to campus.

          Preventive Measures

          • We continue to stress the importance of common-sense measures that each of us can take personally to help protect ourselves and those in the community who are at higher risk:
          • Stay home if you are sick (for any reason).
          • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
          • Follow high-level personal hygiene whether traveling or at home.
          • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
          • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
          • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
          • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe at least daily.
          • Practice social distancing when practical. Many meetings/gatherings will have remote/virtual communication options in the near future. 

          Information Pertinent to Faculty:

          Continuation of Academics 

          Faculty are working with the Provost’s Office on ways to conduct classes remotely.  Faculty should work with their department chair, program coordinator or academic dean regarding covering their classes in the event of illness, exposure, local school closures or high-risk needs. Please reference the resources and guidance available at library.guilford.edu for more information. 

          Faculty Leave 

          Faculty who are sick and unable to work from home should refer to guidance according to our current policies and procedures related to leave, including time away relevant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Existing policies and procedures related to the Family Medical Leave Act apply to all  employees who are ill themselves or who must remain at home to care for family members with illnesses, but are unable to work from home. Additional information is available in the College Policy Library under additional information for faculty (here).  

          Full-time faculty may be eligible for short term disability benefits, should their illness become protracted. Additional information is available in the Benefits Section of the Employee Handbook.

          Information Pertinent to Staff

          Continuation of Operations

          Supervisors will work with each of their employees to identify how work will be completed, in the event their staff have a reason to be away from campus. Together, staff and supervisors will consider the following prior, to working remotely: 

          • What are the crucial services your office/department delivers?
          • What are the crucial functions of your specific job?
          • What parts of your work can be done from home? 
          • How will other faculty, staff, students and members of the Guilford College community communicate with you? 
          • How will you communicate with others about the changes occurring in your office? On a related note, how will your office receive feedback, questions and suggestions about services and changes and respond to them accordingly?
          • What access to technology is needed in order for you to complete your work? What resources are currently available?
          • Will you need to revise your out-of-office email or your voicemail message due to your own illness and inability to work? If so, what is the appropriate message?
          • What work can you perform on behalf of others if they are unable to work? 
          • Is your emergency contact information up to date with your supervisor and Human Resources? 

          Please do everything you can within the constraints of your job to preserve a distance from others and to reduce face-to-face meetings.  You should work with your supervisor to determine your work plan. 

          In the event there is no on-campus or remote work available for a regular employee, their supervisor/ manager will work with you to find alternate work, with the goal of maintaining pay and benefits at their current level for as long as possible. Please be aware that a number of legislative proposals are moving through our government at present that seek to provide base-level support and assurance to workers, employers and families anxious in light of all the uncertainty in recent weeks. We will be monitoring these developments and will communicate updates to employees at Guilford.

          Staff Paid Leave 

          Staff who are sick and unable to work from home should utilize your current emergency and/or vacation leave (see policy for Paid Time Off).  If they do not have any accumulated paid time off, staff will continue to be paid for at least up to 10 missed work days, even if it causes a negative balance of vacation and/or emergency leave. As new leave time is accrued going forward, it will be applied to the negative balance until a positive balance is restored.

          Full-time staff may be eligible for short-term disability benefits, should their illness become protracted. Additional information is available in the Benefits Section of the Employee Handbook

          Existing policies and procedures related to the Family Medical Leave Act apply to all  employees who are ill themselves or who must remain at home to care for family members with illnesses, but are unable to work from home.

          Additional Updates for all

          We understand that this evolving situation will require flexibility for employees, whose ability to come to work may be impacted by their own personal and family circumstances in addition to Guilford’s policies and procedures. Human Resources is developing a series  of FAQs designed to provide additional specific guidance to employees.  

          The overall health and well-being of our campus community is always a priority at Guilford College. Therefore, all Guilford College employees have access to confidential supportive services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) through www.unum.com/lifebalance and 1-800-854-1446

          We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.  As this virus is a dynamic and developing global health crisis, we will constantly work to make decisions informed by the most current information.  We will continue to share as much information as possible as soon as we can, and we will do our best to answer any questions that may come up.  Please send any questions to TaskForce@Guilford.edu, or to Human Resources.