Coronavirus Resources

Spring 2021 Staff FAQs

Health and Safety Protocols, Practices and Concerns

Where can I find the most recent information about UTA policies and protocols for spring 2021?

UTA’s Coronavirus Resources page on the Faculty and Staff Resources website has the most up-to-date information for staff. You also can read UTA’s Campus Operation Plan.

How will students be educated on UTA’s health and safety expectations and protocols?

UTA is communicating health and safety protocols and expectations to incoming students through orientation and will continue to communicate with all students regularly throughout the semester. This is a shared responsibility for all of us to remind our community to follow the procedures. UTA’s mandatory COVID19 Return to Campus Training for faculty and staff is online at https://www.uta.edu/enews/email/2020/06-30-repopulation-training.html

Is there a training or checklist staff can use to ensure proper adherence to UTA’s health and safety protocols?

All UTA faculty and staff are required to complete UTA’s COVID-19 Training in Canvas at the direction of the supervisor. Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, all new employees are completing the training as part of their new employee compliance training.

What options are available to high-risk employees who are not comfortable with returning to campus immediately?

UTA is a Community that Cares and taking care of our vulnerable populations is a high priority. As a state agency with a fiduciary duty over public funds, UTA is also severely limited in paying employees who are not working. The CDC has determined that individuals in certain demographic populations and/or those with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness related to COVID-19. Those groups/conditions may include:

  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
  • People with HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being
  • treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immunocompromised

Employees who have been instructed to return to work at UTA facilities and have concerns about doing so because of potential higher risk from illness related to COVID-19 should discuss their concerns with their supervisor (it is not necessary to share specific medical information) and options available to support the work needing to be done while supporting the health and safety of the employee. Supervisors should work with employees who feel unsafe returning to campus, whether due to health-related reasons or for any other reason, to determine if there are ways to alleviate safety concerns by working remotely, office restructuring, schedule rotations, etc.

Special consideration should be given to employees who are part of a high-risk group, have childcare needs, or family members in the home who are part of a high-risk group. The Office of Human Resources can also provide support in facilitating conversations with supervisors and employees to determine needs and options without going through an official request for accommodations.

If a successful outcome is not achieved the concern should be elevated to the unit head.

Do employees that have tested positive for COVID-19 need to test negative before returning to campus?

You may return to campus when all four of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Improvement in symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath).
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • You have obtained a note from a medical professional clearing you for return to work or class.

Are there on-campus testing services for employees that want or need a test?

On-campus testing is provided only to students by UTA Health Services.

Employees seeking testing should contact their health care provider or local health department.

Will there be any new regulations regarding business travel?

The most up-to-date information on UTA’s current travel policies is available on the International and Domestic Travel webpage. This information is subject to change and should be checked regularly.

If I am required to self-quarantine, am I required to use PTO or sick leave?

Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to work remotely or take sick leave or another appropriate leave in accordance with HR policies and regulations.



Face Masks

When are masks required on campus?

Face masks or face coverings for all employees, students, visitors, and vendors are required while in campus buildings and elsewhere on campus where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., student shuttle buses, well-attended outdoor events, etc.)

Face masks are required elsewhere on campus where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., student shuttle buses, well-attended outdoor events, etc.).

A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a private office space or a cubicle where you are 6 feet from another person, in a private lab, or in your residence hall room or apartment.

If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it after you are done eating.

I don’t have a mask. Where can I get one?

Departments/groups can request cloth face masks from Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) using the Face Mask Request Form.

Cloth face masks will also be made available to individual employees and/or students at the University Center Campus Information Desk, the Main Library, and at The Commons Information Desk.

EH&S will provide disposable face masks to research groups as needed. Research groups can request disposable face masks from EH&S using the Face Mask Request Form.

Where can I get UTA-branded masks?

Face masks are available through the UTA Bookstore and UTA Athletics. The UTA Procurement Services site has information on how departments can order UTA-branded masks.

Do face shields meet CDC guidelines? Do I need my supervisor’s permission to wear a face shield instead of a mask?

The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. You may wear a face-shield in addition to a mask but not as a replacement. Faculty and staff who have a condition that precludes wearing a face covering should work with their immediate supervisor and HR for accommodations.

What is being done to enforce the rules of wearing a mask on campus?

Adherence to the protocol is the responsibility of all UTA students, faculty, staff, visitors, and vendors. It is expected that all will comply with this protocol.

Members of our campus community are empowered to respectfully inform others about the protocol in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage a culture of compliance. An individual who feels that there has been a violation of this protocol may invoke the following actions:

  • The concerned individual should attempt to resolve the problem informally by requesting that the other individual comply with the procedure.
  • If direct appeal fails, the individual not wearing the mask/face covering may be asked to leave the building, office, classroom, or event immediately.
  • If the behavior persists, the individual not wearing the mask/face covering should be reported to their immediate supervisor first. If the supervisor is not available or is unable to assist, faculty should be referred to Faculty Affairs and staff to the Office of Human Resources. Students should be referred to the Office of Community Standards.
  • Repeat offenses may result in disciplinary action through already established policies and procedures. Members of the UTA campus community should NOT contact the UTA Police Department as UTA PD is not responsible for enforcement of the face covering protocol.

How should employees deal with a campus visitor, prospective student, or their families who are on campus and don’t comply with the mask policy?

They should be reminded of university policy and be provided a mask.

What should people do if they have conditions that preclude them from wearing masks?

Students who have a condition that precludes the wearing of a mask should follow the procedures for obtaining an accommodation by working with the Student Access and Resource Center. Faculty and staff who have a condition that precludes wearing a face covering should work with their immediate supervisor and HR for accommodations.

At what point do I report non-compliance for masking wearing to a supervisor or student conduct?

We all have a shared responsibility to remind others of UTA’s health and safety protocols. If someone is not in compliance, you can politely remind them of UTA policy to wear face coverings when inside campus buildings and maintain social distancing. Faculty or staff who refuse to comply will be reported to Human Resources. Students who refuse to comply will be reported to the Office of Community Standards.

Will masks and cleaning supplies be available to students, staff and faculty?

Cloth Masks will be available in the University center info desk and Central Library.

The Office of Facilities Management will ensure there are adequate supplies of disinfectant wipes in all classrooms scheduled for use this fall semester, and students will be encouraged to use the disinfectant wipes to wipe down shared desks, surfaces and equipment before use. Each department should have cleaning supplies available.



Campus Operations, Contact Tracing and Campus Access

What indicators would trigger a rollback of campus operations?

COVID-19 indicators are gauges that have a significant impact on the campus and unit environment. UTA executive leadership may use these indicators, along with others, to support its planning and decision-making processes. No one indicator will cause a change in operations. The University’s leaders understand there are a range of possible outcomes for each indicator; while they hope each indicator will progress toward a best-case outcome in the long-term, they are preparing for sudden deterioration. Leadership will instead review and consider all of the indicators collectively, along with other sources as needed to make decisions. COVID-19 indicators include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Significant, applicable actions by public officials
  • Number and trends of COVID-19-related cases
  • Testing, contact tracing, and quarantine capacity
  • Availability of isolation facilities and hospital beds
  • Availability of personal protective equipment
  • Protocols and trends among similar institutions
  • Percent of positive test and cases linked to other cases
  • Capacity and degree of adoption of various prevention methods

Units should follow appropriate decision-making protocols and business continuity plans to determine if retrenching is necessary and, if so, at what level. University leadership will also follow established decision- making protocols, which include consultation with UT System administrative officials.

Is there an alert/notification protocol for confirmed cases of COVID-19 in individuals associated with UTA?

UTA publishes a record of UTA faculty, staff, students or contractors/vendors who have known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 and may have been present on campus during the time of their infection.

What happens if someone in my department tests positive for COVID?

When UTA is notified of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within the campus community through the submission of a Personal Diagnosis form, a University team begins contact tracing efforts.

The contact tracing team determines if the COVID-positive individual has been in contact with others while infected and if those individuals need to be contacted to self-isolate or get tested.

The team also assesses if additional disinfecting is required in the areas the individual visited while infectious and notifies the Office of Facilities Management of said areas. The Office of Facilities Management completes the disinfecting process the same day or night they receive notification.

These infographics help explain the protocols for when an individual tests positive or comes into close contact with someone who tests positive.

How will contact tracing be done on campus?

UTA coordinates contact tracing with local health authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Contact tracing for those who test positive for COVID-19 will be led as instructed by local public health officials. In the event state and local public health officials are unable to provide timely contact tracing, the University will work to identify and facilitate quarantine of campus contacts of infected campus community members.

These infographics help explain the protocols for when an individual tests positive or comes into close contact with someone who tests positive.

I work at one of UTA’s off-site buildings or campuses. How does the Campus Operations Plan affect me?

Off-campus facilities are subject to the same rules and protocols as the main campus; employees in these facilities are required to follow all protocols and guidelines.

Will parking fees for the 2020-21 academic year be prorated for telecommuting staff?

Information about parking permits is available on the Parking and Transportation Services website.

Will temperatures be checked at campus building entrances?

UTA is not administering temperature checks around campus. Each member of the Maverick community is expected to complete the daily self-monitoring checklist anytime you come to our campus. The UTA mobile app provides a convenient, confidential tool to assist with conducting the daily self-assessment.



Social Distancing

How is social distancing being enforced around campus?

Social distancing is a shared responsibility. We are all responsible for reminding the campus community of protocols if we see them not being followed.

What is a respectful way to ask people to keep 6 feet distance apart?

The University reminds you that social distancing is everyone’s responsibility. It’s OK to tell someone “Please move a few steps back” or “In order for us to assist you, you will need to stand 6 feet away.”



Sanitation

What does increased campus cleaning entail?

UTA will clean common touch points in public spaces in campus buildings throughout each day and perform additional cleaning in the evening. The University will continue to implement new measures and modify its cleaning protocols to minimize the spread of the virus. Cleaning frequencies will increase, and schedules will be modified to meet the needs of the campus community.

Why are water fountains turned off?

All drinking fountains will be turned off to further reduce the spread of the virus. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to bring their own water until further notice.

How do I get cleaning supplies for our office?

Employees can request disinfectant spray and paper towel supplies for their department by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000.



Human Resources

If I am required to self-quarantine is there a qualification process for paid leave? Am I required to use PTO or Sick time?

Read our FAQs on federal leave.

If my department/supervisor suggests coming back to campus, is there a process in place to remain working remotely?

Talk to your supervisor to see if this type of arrangement will be feasible. Please review the Campus Operation Plan for more information about potential eligibility for working remotely.

What options do employees have who are uncertain about returning to campus?

Supervisors are encouraged to provide accommodations through continued telework when available, create opportunities to support rotating schedules, or extended hours of work where possible. If employees remain concerned, they should speak with HR regarding leave options, including sick leave, vacation, comp time, and furlough.

If a staff member is feeling sick, and refuses to go home, what are next steps?

You should notify your supervisor to handle the situation.

For those of us who are staff but also students here, are there any updates to employee tuition reimbursement program?

AP courses are not covered. However, other online or hybrid courses are reimbursable.