Enhanced Sick Leave Policy and Telemedicine Resources

To Hobart and William Smith Faculty and Staff,

At a time when many faculty and staff are concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and keeping their families healthy, I write today to communicate a temporary revision to the sick leave policy and to remind employees of the available telemedicine benefit, MDLive.

Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State anyone who has traveled to COVID-19 high risk areas, who has been exposed to or who is presenting with flu-like symptoms is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Individuals should not return to work until they are fever and symptom free for at least 24 hours without medication.

In consideration of this health recommendation, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will expand the sick leave policy, effective immediately until the end of the spring 2020 semester, for employees who have been exposed to or diagnosed with the Coronavirus. Employees will be provided an additional 14 days of paid sick leave on top of any already accrued sick time. This extended sick leave applies to full-time, part-time, salaried, hourly, benefits eligible and non-benefits eligible employees. The Office of Human Resources will provide separate instructions on how to record this time.

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that employees do not report to work when they are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, tiredness, dry cough, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.

Employees experiencing flu-like symptoms who are well enough to work, who may be quarantined and not presenting symptoms, or who may be caring for a sick family member and able to work, should consult with their supervisor about the possibility of temporarily working from home.

Employees who feel sick should first call their health care provider for care, according to the CDC. If the health care provider is not available, telemedicine is an option to enhance access to care and minimizes the risk of infecting others in the office waiting room or becoming infected with something more.

Human Resources recognizes that this constantly evolving pandemic and its impact on daily life activities may be stressful. In addition to providing medical consultations, MDLive also offers behavioral health services by licensed providers. This benefit is provided to HWS employees enrolled in the Colleges' benefit plan through Excellus BCBS at a $0 co-pay.

Excellus has assured us that MDLIVE is following current guidelines from the CDC regarding appropriate screening for COVID-19. MDLIVE providers can deliver initial screening for COVID-19 and are able to provide guidance on whether an in office test is necessary or if symptoms can be treated at home. If you elect to take advantage of this benefit, I do ask for your patience as the use of telemedicine is growing in response to the current environment, which is creating significant demand for these services and resulting in longer wait times.

For your convenience, this flier provides more information about the MDLive telemedicine benefit and instructions on how to access services. Also, below are short instructional videos.

Should you have any questions or concerns about the temporary sick leave policy or about telemedicine, don't hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Sonya Williams
Vice President of Human Resources


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