Human Resources

COVID-19 Coronavirus Info for Employees


Updated: February 15, 2021 4:37pm

Keeping our employees and entire Western Illinois University community safe is a top priority.

Updates will be posted to WIU’s Coronavirus webpage at: wiu.edu/coronavirus.


Individuals with questions can email covid-19@wiu.edu.

With information changing at a rapid pace, it is recommended that you visit www.cdc.gov or www.dph.illinois.gov for more information and FAQs related to the coronavirus COVID-19.


Resources and Links

Frequently Asked Questions

When will staff who have been working remotely return to campus?

The university has developed a plan for the reintegration of staff to the campus using a multi- stage approach that follows direction from the federal government, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Rock Island County and McDonough County health departments.

Employees are encouraged to reference the WIU Return to Work Plan: A Multi-Stage Approach above for full details and procedures. As recommendations and regulations are ever-changing, the guidelines provided in the plan will be updated as necessary.

What will be expected of employees who return to work on campus?

  • Adhere to safety protocols: wear face coverings in common/public spaces, wash hands frequently for no less than 20 seconds, maintain social distance, etc.
  • Clean areas and equipment as noted under safety precautions.
  • Avoid using other employee’s phones or equipment and sharing items that are not easily cleansed, sanitized or disinfected.
  • Close public and/or common areas such as breakrooms and conference rooms to minimize contact by multiple people.
  • Hold meetings virtually.
  • Pay attention to your health. If you are sick or believe you may have been exposed, stay home and follow your doctor’s instructions. Employees who suspect they have or been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not report to work and follow instructions from health officials.

Can my supervisor require me to work on campus?

  • Yes, if your director or dean determines that you are needed to support on-campus operations you must report to work on-campus.
  • Staff members who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group and/or those who wish to seek temporary ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to work, should fill out this form which will be submitted to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
  • Employees who have questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides leave of absence options for certain reasons related to COVID-19, should email HR-COVID@wiu.edu.

What if I need additional reasonable accommodations due to underlying conditions outlined by the CDC?

Western Illinois University EOA and Human Resources Offices will work with employees who need additional accommodations to the best of their abilities. Employees should fill the following form to begin this process: https://bit.ly/WIUCovidAccommodations.

What if I want to come part-time, or just one or two days a week? 

Employees will need to work with their supervisors as they have the discretion to approve individual requests.

I want to return to campus to work. Can I do so?

Directors and deans will have discretion to physically staff offices based on need and in accordance with the WIU Return to Work Plan. During each phase of the Return to Work Plan, a different percentage of workforce is permissible in each department/office on campus. Employees should work with their supervisor to be considered as decisions are made.

I would prefer to continue working from home and my presence on campus isn’t necessary to the operations of my office. May I still work at home? 

The supervisors of each area/department/office have discretion to approve individual requests. In reviewing these requests, consider the employee’s effectiveness while working at home and the staffing and other needs of the office. To the extent reasonable, supervisors are encouraged to allow employees who meet these criteria to continue working remotely.

Will visitors be allowed?

Offices are encouraged to assist visitors remotely to the best of their abilities. Understanding that there may be situations where an in-person appointment may need to occur, offices should follow social distancing practices and everyone involved must have a face covering on.

What should an employee do if they do not feel well?

As with any illness, WIU recommends that employees who do not feel well stay home and, as needed, seek medical attention. Employees should notify their supervisor of their absence due to illness and follow their department’s normal time off protocols in accordance with University policy.

If you believe you have been exposed to coronavirus, you should follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Can supervisors send home employees who appear ill?

Supervisors can suggest that an employee go home or seek medical treatment. If the employee chooses to go home, they should report time away from work in accordance with University policy. Employees who exhibit symptoms of acute respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sneezing, sore throat, or fever of 100.4 degrees or greater) at work during a pandemic should leave the workplace.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) restricts inquiries a supervisor/employer can make regarding an employee’s medical status. Supervisors should not ask for personal medical information from employees.

What should supervisors do if an employee does not show up to work or report their absence?

Supervisors should follow their normal departmental protocol for an employee that fails to appear for work without properly reporting it.

What should an employee do if they are diagnosed with or come into contact with someone who has a confirmed or presumptive positive case of COVID-19?

Please contact Human Resources at 298-1971 or Academic Personnel at 298-2216 for directions on how to proceed. The University will maintain confidentiality and work with WIU Risk Management to determine exposure to other members of the WIU community.

Are there resources available to employees that feel anxious and show signs of stress due to the infectious disease outbreak?

Yes. Information on coping with stress during infectious disease outbreaks is available at: http://www.wiu.edu/human_resources/coping_stress.php. WIU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Magellan Healthcare, will provide support to employees experiencing anxiety and stress. Employees can speak with a clinical professional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All services are free and confidential. More information is available at MagellanAscend.com or 1-866-659-3848.

What can employees do to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus for themselves and the campus community?

All employees should be implementing routine preventative actions: wiu.edu/coronavirus (What can I do for prevention against COVID-19?). Supervisors should consider what steps or practices they could take or implement to keep the workplace as healthy as possible.

Can Faculty and Staff work from home?

Western Illinois University is dedicated to protecting the health and well being of our community. Effective March 16, 2020, we are encouraging all those who can work remotely or establish other alternative work arrangements, such as staggering schedules and flexible work hours, to do so until further notice. These efforts align with our goals of decreasing interactions on campus and slowing the rate of Coronavirus transmission. We encourage you, if you have not already done so, to consult with your supervisor to determine if your position allows for such arrangements. For those in which an alternative work arrangement is an option, please complete one of the following forms, depending on your employment type:

Policies, timelines, and approaches may vary across Western Illinois University colleges and departments. We know that many of our employees hold positions which require an on-campus presence to support services to our students and our residential population, and to keep our University healthy, safe, and secure. The situation is rapidly changing as we actively address these unique employment considerations and questions for our workforce. Our human resource units will continue to review and adjust workplace policies and communicate changes as necessary as the situation develops.

For those who have not yet done so, we encourage employees to work with their supervisors to determine if an alternative work arrangement is feasible. We encourage all departments across campus to begin planning and thinking creatively about how we can continue essential operations while protecting the health and safety of our community during these unprecedented times. University Technology sent out an email providing further online resources that are available for faculty and staff. Further questions can be directed to HR-COVID-G@wiu.edu.

What should an employee do if the Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement Agreement they submitted needs to be altered?

If significant changes need to be made to the existing agreement, a new Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement Agreement form should be submitted.

What types of work can be assigned by supervisors for employees that are working at a remote location?

Supervisors are encouraged to be creative in the work that they assign to their employees, as long as the work is within their normal described duties. A few examples are: 1) work on documenting procedures within their departments that would help with the upcoming ERP implementation; 2) update or develop a procedures manual; 3) organize shared drive folders; 4) view webinars or attend virtual meetings for employee development or certifications; 5) review departmental policies, websites and job descriptions for updates or outdated information

Can the University require an employee to self-quarantine?

Yes. To protect the health and safety of our employees and students, the University can require an employee to self-quarantine as needed.

Will employees be allowed to use their accrued sick and/or vacation leave during the pandemic?

Yes. Employees should request time off from their supervisor and report any absences from work on their timecard as sick or vacation leave per University guidelines. It remains the supervisor’s responsibility to confirm accurate time reporting.

How do employees find out their available leave balances?

Employees can view their sick and vacation leave balances by logging on to the WIUP system and clicking the TIME: Time Reporting button, followed by the Sick/Vacation button.

Can employees that are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 not come to work?

Employees are encouraged to utilize available methods of University leave. If employees wish to request time off from work, they must follow existing departmental policy by requesting time off from their supervisor. Requests for time off are subject to supervisory approval based on operational needs.

Can graduate assistants or teaching assistants work remotely?

Grad Assistants should be given the option to work from home for the remainder of their contracts if they are not willing/able to work on-site. Please find work for them to do to meet their specific hours requirements or as close to the hours as possible. If a supervisor has trouble finding work for their assistants to meet their required hours, please contact Amy Mossman (ap-mossman@wiu.edu) or Justin Schuch (jl-schuch@wiu.edu) as they could use help with online tutoring services. All tuition waivers will remain in place.

Should a GA choose not to work from home or on-site, the contract will be cancelled.

The School of Graduate Studies does not need to be notified if a GA is working remotely. GAs also do not need to fill out the Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement Form. Supervisors should have something in writing though, with student acknowledgement (email is fine), detailing the expectations if working remotely.

Will additional leave options be available to employees as a result of the pandemic?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expired December 31, 2020. However, to remain supportive of employees through the pandemic, WIU will continue to offer the emergency paid sick leave for the following specified reasons related to COVID-19.

  • Employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  • Employee is advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis

Eligible employees can apply for up to two weeks of fully paid sick leave for the above COVID-19 related reasons. An employee is also entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework.

Once the University deems that the Emergency Sick Leave is no longer necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic abating or the establishment of similar federal or state legislation, the University will modify or end this program.

For additional information and to apply for the leave, employees should email HR-COVID@wiu.edu. An application form requesting Emergency Sick Leave must be processed prior to leave approval.