For Employees

Jump to: COVID-19 | Workplace Expectations | Employee Leave | Telecommuting | Supervisors and Department ChairsADA Accommodations

UW Oshkosh is committed to the safety of its staff and students. As we return to campus this fall, we ask that employees follow the recommendations and expectations set forth in the Employee Guide for Returning to Campus and Employee Checklists below. We will continuously update these documents as circumstances and health recommendations change.

Information for Supervisors

The HR department recently gave a presentation regarding matters of COVID-19 and employment.

Supervisor Training – Link to Video
Supervisor Training – Slide Deck

COVID-19: Close Contact, Testing and Positive Cases

What happens if an employee is identified as a “close contact” of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Employees should not report to work if they have been notified by public health that they are a close contact of someone that has tested positive. They must follow the guidance provided by their public health contact tracer. Their supervisor should be notified if they are not able to report to work. Refer to this close contact guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

While it remains safest to quarantine for 14 days following potential exposure to the virus, the CDC has determined that those who do not have symptoms may be released from quarantine after 10 days without a negative test; or those without symptoms may be released from quarantine after 7 days if they have received a negative test within the 48 hours prior to their release. It is important to continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. View this Fond du Lac County Health Department document for more information.

Who should get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. 

Where can employees go to get tested for COVID-19?

Employees have a number of options when it comes to getting a COVID-19 test:

  1. Contact your doctor to ask if your primary healthcare clinic is providing testing.
  2. Go to a free community testing site. Some locations may require a doctor’s note or appointment to receive a test. This website is continually updated as testing locations change.
  3. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers an online health screening assessment. Once completed, a trained medical professional will call you to review your results and answer questions. This confidential assessment is available 24/7.
  4. Free Prevea testing on Oshkosh campus – download the Prevea app to schedule an appointment.
  5. Free community testing at Sunnyview Expo Center
What should employees do while they are waiting for their test result?

Do not report to work onsite while you await test results. If you are feeling well enough and can telecommute, you can do so with supervisor approval. If you do not feel well or cannot telecommute, you should use paid leave. If you do not have paid leave available, you can request an unpaid leave of absence. The Next Steps: while you wait for your COVID-19 test results document from the Wisconsin DHS also has helpful information.

What should employees do if someone in their household goes in to get a COVID test?

When a household member is getting tested due to symptoms, all other household members are required to quarantine until the test results come back. If they are negative, all household members can return to normal operations. If the test comes back positive, all household members are required to quarantine for the full 14 days.

If the household member did not have symptoms, then the household does not need to quarantine.

What should employees do if their test comes back positive?

Employees must report a positive COVID-19 test result to the University by using the Positive Case Reporting FormEmployees must also remain off campus and follow directions from their county health department for home isolation.

Your positive test result will be treated as private and shared only with those that need to know. If you have been working onsite, the information provided will be used to coordinate disinfection processes.

Download flowchart: If an employee tests positive for COVID-19

When can employees come back to work after a positive test?

Employees should work with their public health case manager to determine when they can safely return to work. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also has posted guidance on when an individual can discontinue home isolation

Do employees need to provide medical documentation that states they can return to work?

It is encouraged but not required that employees provide appropriate documentation that confirms they can safely return to work. Documentation should be turned in to the employee’s supervisor when the employee reports back to work. Supervisors should forward all medical documentation to Human Resources 

Workplace Expectations During Titans Return

As employees and supervisors work on implementing the Titans Return plan in their areas this upcoming academic year, it is important to remember the importance of setting clear expectations and having frequent communication during this unprecedented time.

Over the summer, supervisors and department leaders should develop staffing plans for the upcoming academic year. These plans should include determining which positions can telecommute, which must report to work on campus, and which will require both. These decisions should be made based on the function of the position, not the employee that holds the position.

Once staffing plans are determined, supervisors should communicate their plans to employees and employees should have time to ask questions or express concerns to their supervisor. Here are some FAQs that may help address some common questions or concerns:

What will work arrangements looks like for the fall?

Colleges should work with department and program leaders to help identify courses that will be offered face-to-face, online or hyflex. Department leaders will have the opportunity to consider the needs of faculty and staff, as well as students, in making instructional assignments. It is ultimately up to each Dean to approve the work arrangements for instructional staff.

For non-instructional staff, department leaders should create a fall staffing plan for how to best fulfill the department’s responsibilities and operations through a mix of onsite and remote work that will vary depending on the needs of the department. It is anticipated that employees who can effectively work remotely will be able to do so in the fall.

What should I do if I am concerned about my work arrangements?

Employees should always address their concerns with the supervisor or department chair. Every effort should be made to find a solution that is workable for both the employee and supervisor, but in some cases the operational need will not allow for certain requests to be granted.

In other cases, there may be an easy solution to address an employee’s concern. Some examples include adjusting a work schedule, changing the physical location of the workstation or rotating days working on campus.

What should an employee do if they are concerned about working on campus due to their own medical condition?

Employees are never required to disclose their personal health information to a supervisor or department chair. An employee’s health information is considered private and confidential. They should contact the Equal Opportunity, Equity and Affirmative Action Office (EOEAA) as soon as possible to discuss their concerns. The EOEAA is responsible for working with employees and their health care providers to collect relevant medical information to determine if an accommodation and/or leave is necessary.

What happens if an employee reports to work while ill?

Employees should perform a self-assessment before coming to work each day. If they are showing any symptoms of illness, they should stay home. If an employee reports to work and it is believed they are ill, their supervisor has the authority to send them home. If an employee believes their co-worker has come to work while sick, they should notify their supervisor.

Supervisors that need help assessing if an employee should be sent home should contact Risk Management or HR. Employees may be required to have their temperature taken or answer other questions to aid in the assessment. Employees that are sent home may be able to telecommute the remainder of the day or use paid or unpaid leave as appropriate.

What happens if an employee does not follow the health and safety guidelines while on campus? (i.e. not wearing a face covering, etc.)

The guidelines that are established as part of the Titans Return plan are considered workplace expectations for all employees. If an employee chooses not to follow these expectations, they will be treated the same as if they were not following other workplace expectations or policies.

If an employee observes their co-worker not following expectations, they could gently remind the employee of the expectation or contact their supervisor. If the behavior isn’t corrected, they should notify their supervisor and/or their co-worker’s supervisor. Supervisors should follow-up on all reports of employees not following the guidelines established.

Supervisors should document all verbal warnings and informal attempts to correct the behavior. If the issue persists, they should contact the Office of Human Resources for assistance in addressing the issue.

Employee Leave and FMLA Options

During this COVID-19 pandemic time, paid leave that you earned prior to the pandemic is still available for you to use. This includes personal holiday and earned vacation. Sick leave may also be used if for a purpose that qualifies under the sick leave policy.

An additional bucket of COVID-19 leave was also made available to employees for when employees are unable to perform their assigned duties due specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see below for details on the COVID-19 emergency leave option.

Any leave usage, including COVID-19 leave, still requires approval of your supervisor. Be sure to communicate your needs with them as soon as you are aware for any time off work.

What types of paid leave can I use if I need to be off due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Employees may use any paid, earned/accrued leave they have available such as vacation and personal holiday. Sick leave may also be used if for a purpose that qualifies under the sick leave policy.

COVID-19 leave may be used prior to using any other type of accrued leave.

If employees find they need to go without pay or will need extended time (intermittent or continuous), it is encouraged to consult with HR regarding the Family & Medical Leave (W/FMLA and FMLA extension) options available.

What is COVID-19 Emergency Leave?

Up to eighty (80) hours of COVID-10 leave (prorated by % FTE) was made available to employees unable to perform their assigned duties for the period of 05/02/2020 through 12/31/2020 due specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any hours taken from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020 will count against the 80 hours available after May 2, 2020. Find more information about COVID-19 leave and eligibility here.

What are the reasons an employee can use COVID-19 leave?

Employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to use COVID-19 leave, including but not limited to:

  • Employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties due to the inability to work remotely (telecommute or telework).
  • Diagnoses of COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis.
  • Care of an immediate family member who has a diagnosis of COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis.
  • Care of an immediate family member subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • Child/elder care due to school/day care closures.
  • Any employee experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the US Secretary of the Treasury and the US Secretary of Labor.
How do I enter COVID-19 Leave?

COVID-19 leave is entered via a timesheet for all employee groups. Log into the My UW System portal and view this guide on how to enter COVID-19 leave.

How do I, as a supervisor, approve COVID-19 Leave entered by an employee?

Log into the My UW System portal, click into the Time/Absence Dashboard icon, and view this guide on how to fully review hours entered on the timesheet and approve.

What are the interim leave carryover extensions?

For Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees:

  • Vacation carried over from fiscal year 2019 into fiscal year 2020 may be carried forward and must be used by June 30, 2021.
  • Personal Holiday earned in fiscal year 2020 may be carried over into fiscal year 2021 and must be used by June 30, 2021.
  • The interim policy can be found here.

For University Staff:

  • Unused vacation time carried over from calendar year 2019 into calendar year 2020 may be carried forward one additional calendar year. Vacation carried over in this manner must be utilized by December 31, 2021. 
  • Personal holiday hours earned in calendar year 2020 by university staff may be carried over, without limitation, into calendar year 2021.  Hours carried over by university staff under this section must be used by December 31, 2021 or they will be lost.
  • The interim policy can be found here.

NOTE: July 4th landed on a Saturday. Since it landed on a Saturday it is considered a floating legal holiday. This means you have those hours to use by the end of your leave year (12/31/2020 for University Staff; June 30, 2021 for Academic Staff, Limited Employees). To use these hours, enter an absence of Legal Holiday.

Can I use leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) during the pandemic?

Yes, in certain situations employees may be eligible to use FMLA if they are unable to work during the pandemic. If an employee or a covered family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) has an underlying health condition or develops a serious health condition as a result of COVID-19, they may be able to use FMLA if they are unable to workMore information about FMLA can be found here. If you have questions or need help applying for FMLA, please contact or call 920-424-2070.

What leave is available if my child’s daycare or school closes as a result of COVID-19?

Earlier in 2020, Federal legislation was passed to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act. This expansion added a category of paid “public health emergency leave” to the existing FMLA regulations. A public health emergency occurs when “the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.” If your daycare or school is closed and you can telecommute during the closure, FMLA may not apply. If you cannot telecommute or telecommuting is not possible while providing care during the closure, you should apply for the expanded FMLA.

More information about this leave can be found here and instructions on how to apply for this leave are on this tip sheet. If you have questions or need help applying for this new, expanded FMLA category, please contact or call 920-424-2070.


Working remotely or telecommuting is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular office hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval. As employees return to work in the fall with mixed telecommuting/on campus work schedules, it is highly recommended that the Emergency Telecommuting form is updated to reflect correct schedules. If one has already been completed, it is not necessary to complete another form. Please review expected work schedules with your employee(s) and ensure the proper schedule is reflected on the form. Telecommuting works best when employees and supervisors are clear on expectations.

Information for Employees

Employees who telecommute often learn that working remotely is different than they expected and that it requires specific skills and habits. The following tips will help you get to work while at home.

Define your workspace. It can be easy to sit on the couch with your laptop and expect to get work done. Experienced telecommuters will tell you they tried that and it simply doesn’t work! We are creatures of habit and most of us are used to lounging with our laptops to read the news, watch TV, play games and chat with friends and family. Establishing a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, gives your brain a cue that it is time for work and not play.

Master the basics.

Add your telecommute schedule to your email signature line.

Set up call forwarding and learn how to access your voicemail from home.

Use Teams to stay connected to colleagues.

Plan for a video calls/meetings by making sure you know how to turn on your computer’s camera and microphone and being aware that your colleagues may be able to see the background behind you.

Set daily goals, track them and share your progress. You may be surprised by how differently the work day passes without the comings and goings of an office to break things up or influence what you do next. Start each day of telecommuting by writing down what you need to achieve and then track your progress. Pay attention to how long tasks take you and start adjusting your daily goals to match your current rhythm.

Eliminate distractions. If home is where your heart is then telecommuting can mean pets, children or a favorite hobby are only a few feet away. Doing your best to eliminate these distractions will help your telecommuting success.

Prioritize privacy. Whether you are in your home or a common area, take five minutes to assess the privacy of your workspace. Can someone standing behind you read your computer screen? Are your windows open so your neighbor can hear your phone call? What information do you need to secure before grabbing a cup of coffee or heading to the restroom? Your personal privacy matters too, so see if there anything around you that would not want visible during a video conference with your boss.

Stay connected. Many people say they do not call or instant message colleagues who are working remotely because they don’t want to bother them. Remember, they are working, not vacationing at home! You should feel confident about calling or messaging an employee who is telecommuting anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were working on-site.

Dress for work. Just like sitting on the couch can make us feel a little too relaxed, wearing pajamas all day makes it hard to get into work mode. Dressing casually is definitely a perk of working at home but getting “ready for work” is a daily ritual that many telecommuters swear by.

Information for Managers/Supervisors

Please make sure your employee(s) know what is expected of them as we work with mixed scheduling.

The following checklist will help you establish a foundation for effective teamwork, continued productivity, and service to the UWO community.

Review technology needs and resources. Identify technology tools staff use in their daily work and determine whether the resources will be accessible when working from home.

Ensure employees know how to set up call forwarding and how to access voicemail from home.

Determine which platform(s) you will use to communicate as a team, clarify expectations for online availability and confirm everyone has access to the technology tool(s) and support resources.

Review work schedules. Telecommuting sometimes gets confused with flex work. Be clear about your expectations with employees for maintaining their current work schedule or if you are open to flexible scheduling based on employee needs.

Draft a work plan. Review the questions below with staff and work through answers together.

What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will it impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?

What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each partner to confirm how you will communicate while everyone is working remotely.

Oftentimes employees experience fewer interruptions while telecommuting. Are there any special projects or tasks that you can advance while working remotely?

What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the temporary work arrangement is in place? Will they be postponed or canceled, or will they take place using technology? What follow-up needs to occur due to postponements or cancellations?

Make a communication and accountability plan. Supervisors should tell employees how often they should send updates on work plan progress and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while telecommuting and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely.

If you normally make daily rounds to visit employees at their desks, you can give them a call during this period. Maintain team meetings and one-to-one check-ins, altering the schedule if needed to accommodate any alternative schedules that have been approved.

Conduct regular check-ins. Start each workday with a phone, video or instant message chat. Your employees will be eager for connection and information during the disruption and the structure will help everyone create a positive routine. Every other day or weekly may be fine, so long as you are in contact frequently enough that your employees are in sync with you and/or with one another.

Be positive. A positive attitude toward telecommuting and a willingness to trust employees to telecommute effectively is key to making such arrangements successful and productive. Telecommuting presents an opportunity for managers to become better supervisors. The employee’s completed work product is the indicator of success, rather than direct observation. By focusing on the employee’s work product, telemanagers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.

Additional Resources

Supervisors and Department Chairs

If one of my direct reports or department colleagues tell me that they have tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

The employee should be instructed to report their positive case using the form in the UWO Mobile app or on the Titans Return websiteYou should remind them that they need to remain off campus until they are cleared to discontinue isolation per the guidance from the public health contact.  

If they are feeling well enough to work from home during their recovery, they can do so with your approval. If they do not feel well enough or do not have work that can be performed remotely, they should use their paid leave. 

Can I share a positive test result with concerned co-workers?

All test results, negative or positive, are considered private and confidential.  You can share that there has been a confirmed positive case in the area if you feel it is appropriate, but the actual name of the individual should never be disclosed, even if they tell you they are ok if you share their name.   

How do I respond to co-workers that are concerned about being a close contact or exposed to someone that has tested positive?

Employees may become concerned, anxious or even panicked when they learn of a positive case in their work unit. You play an important role in helping them work through these difficult situations. Here are some points to keep in mind when navigating these situations: 

  • Individuals should not assume they are a close contact just because they had interaction with someone that tested positive. Remind them of the definition of close contact. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.  
  • If they are identified as a close contact, they will be contacted by a contact tracer of the county the infected individual lives in. If the positive case was a student that lives on campus, they will be contacted by a UWO employee that has been trained in contact tracing. While there is no guaranteed timeframe in which someone will be notified if they are a close contact, generally the more time that passes without being notified is a good sign that the colleague was not a close contact.  

Employees that are notified they have been a close contact or believe they have been exposed can get tested at the Albee Testing Center on the Oshkosh campus. An appointment can be scheduled through the MyPrevea app.  

  • If the individual has been following the new safety protocols on campusincluding wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing and hand washing on a frequent basis—they have already greatly reduced their risk of contracting the virus.  
  • There are resources on campus available to answer general questions about COVID 19. Concerned employees can be referred to these resources to aid in collecting accurate, up-to-date information about the virus. This includes emailing or calling the COVID hotline at 920-424-2019.  
  • Employees experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety or any other concerns should also be encouraged to utilize the university’s free, confidential EAP program. More information can be found here 
If I have an employee or department colleague that reports to work while sick, can I require them to go home?

Yes, supervisors do have the ability to send a sick employee home. All supervisors should regularly remind their staff that no one should report to work if they are not feeling well. Prior to the pandemic, employees may have been used to coming to work if they had mild symptoms of illness. During the pandemic, more caution needs to be exercised and anyone with COVID-like symptoms should not report to work. Employees should also be encouraged to complete the self-assessment form every day they plan to be on a campus.  

As a supervisor or department chair, how should I respond if an employee—who appears healthy and has not disclosed prior health issues—tells me that they would like to work from home because they are worried about contracting COVID-19?

All employees that can successfully telecommute should do so. Any employee that is asked to report to work on a campus should only do so because there is a true need. Reducing density on our campuses is one effective way to reduce the spread of the virus.  

If an employee that is needed to work on a campus asks to work from home, you should engage in conversation with the employee to understand what their reasons are. It may be possible to make work environment adjustments that would alleviate their concerns, such as changing start/end times or temporarily moving the physical workplace location 

Supervisors are also encouraged to be proactive, thoughtful, and creative in considering flexible work arrangements, especially in light of challenges created by school closures, quarantines and increased absences for personal illness or to care for dependents. 

Is there anything different about the process or expectations when dealing with positive cases for student employees?

No, student employees will follow the same process for reporting positive cases as all employees. Student employee do not have the same leave options though. Supervisors of student employee should remind the student to fill out the positive case form and follow the guidance provided for returning to work, etc. Additional information for students is available online 

If an employee that is needed to work on a campus asks to work from home, you should engage in conversation with the employee to understand what their reasons are. It may be possible to make work environment adjustments that would alleviate their concerns, such as changing start/end times or temporarily moving the physical workplace location 

Supervisors are also encouraged to be proactive, thoughtful, and creative in considering flexible work arrangements, especially in light of challenges created by school closures, quarantines and increased absences for personal illness or to care for dependents. 

ADA — Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations may be necessary to keep employees safe during the pandemic. This includes an employee who may be reluctant to return to work due to a disability and/or medical condition (COPD, asthma, congestive heart disease, cancer, etc.) It is important we do not assume all disabilities increase the risk of COVID-19 complications. It is also important we do not make assumptions about what any employee may want or need regarding an accommodation.

Information for Employees

As in any non-COVID-19 related scenario, it is the employee’s obligation to inform their employer of the need for an accommodation due to medical condition.

UWO’s Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Employees can request accommodations through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Equity & Affirmative Action (EOEAA) by using the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. If an employee prefers, they may also call to schedule an appointment with EOEAA to discuss their request.

EOEAA may ask questions or seek medical documentation to assess whether the employee has a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), as well as if the disability can be reasonably accommodated.

There may be circumstances in which providing a reasonable accommodation or alternate work arrangements are not feasible. Employees without approved accommodations are expected to report to work as required by their manger/supervisor.

Information for Managers/Supervisors

If an employee in your unit is having difficulty performing his or her job due to a disability or chronic medical condition, the University will need to consider whether a reasonable accommodation can be made. Reasonable accommodation is any change or modification to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, and enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those without disabilities, without causing significant difficulty or disruption in the workplace or posing a health or safety threat.

As a supervisor it is important for you to know how to recognize and respond to a potential accommodation request and to know what to do with confidential medical information. You should consult the Office of Equal Opportunity, Equity & Affirmative Action(EOEAA), who is responsible for managing reasonable accommodations and related medical leave for the University.

Recognizing a Request

It is important for managers/supervisors to know there are no “magic words” required for an employee to request an accommodation. Managers/supervisors should watch for an employee making a link between having difficulties in the workplace and a disability or medical issue.

When an individual decides to request an accommodation, the individual must let the employer know they need an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a disability and/or medical condition. An individual may use “plain English” and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation”.

  • Example A: An employee tells their supervisor, “I’m having trouble getting to work at my scheduled starting time because of medical treatments I’m undergoing.” This is a request for a reasonable accommodation.
  • Example B: An employee tells their supervisor, “I need six weeks off to get treatment for a back problem.” This is a request for a reasonable accommodation.
  • Example C: A new employee, who uses a wheelchair, informs the employer that their wheelchair cannot fit under the desk in their office. This is a request for reasonable accommodation.
  • Example D: An employee tells their supervisor that they would like a new chair because their present one is uncomfortable. Although this is a request for a change at work, the employee’s statement is insufficient to put the employer on notice that they are requesting reasonable accommodation. The employee does not link their need for the new chair with a medical condition.
  • Example E: An employee’s spouse phones the employee’s supervisor on Monday morning to inform them that the employee had a medical emergency due to multiple sclerosis, needed to be hospitalized, and thus requires time off. This discussion constitutes a request for reasonable accommodation.

All Medical Information is Confidential

  • You cannot ask if an employee has a disability or medical condition.
  • You cannot disclose that an employee has a disability or medical condition or disclose that an employee is receiving an accommodation.
  • Any medical information (written or verbal) you receive must go to EOEAA and should not be shared with others.

Responding to a Request

As a supervisor/manager you must contact EOEAA:

  • As soon as you become aware of an employee with a disability or medical condition.
  • As soon as an employee requests an accommodation from you.
  • Before imposing disciplinary action, up to and including termination, when there is a disability or a perceived disability.
  • Whenever you recognize a significant change in an employee’s attendance, performance or behavior, or if you believe a disability or medical condition is contributing in any way to performance, conduct, or attendance issues.