COVID Workforce Update
What is the status of the federal contractor's vaccination mandate?
Oklahoma State University has, consistent with applicable law, paused the vaccination mandate. As the case progresses through court, we will continue to monitor legal developments should the status of the mandate change.
COVID-19 Employee Guidance
- Employee Self-Screenings
Employees should continue to perform daily self-screenings before reporting to on-campus work to check for new or worsening symptoms of possible COVID-19. Below is a list of currently reported symptoms, but it is important to note this list does not include all possible symptoms. Refer to the CDC website or your healthcare provider for the most current information.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Employees should go through a personal health checklist each day. Monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if needed.
- Higher Risk Considerations
If you consider yourself to be high-risk for COVID-19 based on CDC guidelines and have concerns regarding your employment, please have discussions with your supervisor and/or contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at 405.744.9153 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Equal Opportunity may ask for medical documentation to assess the need for a reasonable accommodation.
- Positive COVID-19 Case on Campus
OSU will continue to follow the guidance of national and local health officials in our response to a positive diagnosis on campus. If we receive confirmation that an OSU student or employee has had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, there are important measures that will be promptly taken including quarantine or isolation, contact tracing, communication, and facility disinfection as appropriate. When a member of the OSU community self-reports they are symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, please contact University Health Services at 405.744.7665 immediately. Additionally, supervisors are asked to continue to report employees who test positive for COVID-19 and require additional assistance to complete the COVID reporting form.
- Swab Pod
Employees are encouraged to use the COVID-19 testing resources available through University Health Services.
- Contact Tracing
Timely identification of potentially impacted individuals is critical during a public health crisis. OSU uses a range of methods for contact tracing to aid in notification of individuals at risk for COVID-19.
- Cleaning of University Facilities
OSU maintains alcohol-based hand sanitizer to refill the currently installed hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout campus.
Facilities Management (FM) has also purchased electrostatic and hydrogen peroxide vapor disinfection equipment for applying disinfectant coverage to areas after a positive case is reported. If an emergency response is required for large areas, FM has several third-party professionals ready and available to treat or remediate campus locations.
Guidance for Workplaces
- Returning to Work After COVID-19
It’s important to understand the work environment post-COVID-19 is not the same as pre-COVID-19.
Additionally, staff and colleagues may display varied emotions. Paying attention to these emotions that could disrupt a successful team environment can be helpful. Some of the most common feelings may be:
- Irritation or anger
- Lacking drive or motivation
- Chronic fatigue, being overwhelmed, or even burned out
- Unusual sadness or depression
- Insomnia or unusual disruption to sleep patterns
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
Supervisors are encouraged to provide support to their employees. When supervisors show an understanding of employee needs, and circumstances they are more likely to respond in a more positive manner. This also creates an atmosphere of trust and understanding that motivates employees to apply themselves more fully to work.
- Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
OSU is committed to supporting our employee’s well-being. This pandemic can be stressful both personally and in the workplace. Some resources available to employees are:
- OSU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers employees and their dependents confidential support, resources, and information for personal work-life issues. These services are part of your benefits package and are available at no additional cost to you. Learn more by clicking here.
- University Health Services provides free and confidential initial assessments, short-term counseling, and referral services for employees and their household members via the Employee Assistant Program (EAP).
- TAO Self-Help is an online library of engaging, interactive programs to learn life skills and to help you bounce back from disappointments or stumbling blocks. TAO is free and available to anyone at OSU with a working @okstate email address.
- The CDC has published information about Coping with Stress during this time.
- Center for Family Services is an on-campus, outpatient mental health clinic open to individuals, couples, and families. Their mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost marriage and family therapy services to OSU faculty, staff, students, and the Stillwater community within a training environment for graduate students in marriage and family therapy.
- Psychological Services Center (PSC) provides services to children, adolescents, and adults. Services are available to residents of Stillwater and the surrounding community, as well as OSU students, faculty, and staff.
Employees are encouraged to visit the Department of Wellness for a full list of mental health resources by clicking here.
- Travel Policy
Due to the risks associated with the COVID-19, OSU is installing these temporary guidelines to assist you in planning for domestic and international travel activities.
Given the continuing guidance of state, federal and world health organizations, the university’s domestic and international travel guidelines are as follows:
- All restrictions on in-state travel have been lifted and normal processing of requests and approvals should be followed.
- All out-of-state and international travel for university-related business or academic purposes will remain suspended until further notice, unless such travel is essential to the university and approved by the appropriate dean, appropriate vice president, or administrative designee. Reimbursement will not be processed from any funding source for out-of-state travel that does not include approval by the appropriate dean, appropriate vice president, or administrative designee.
- All travel requests should be processed through the AIRS system: https://airs.okstate.edu/.
Please Note: All requested travel to a Department of State country with a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory will need to complete a request for a travel waiver as part of the AIRS submission process.
- All university-sponsored domestic and international travelers must review CDC guidance for travelers and understand their associated travel risks before, during, and after travel.
- All travel approvals are subject to change and possible revocation based on evolving public health and university guidance.
Administrative processes for travel can be found by visiting: https://adminfinance.okstate.edu/travel/index.htm.
These changes will be in effect until further notice.
Are we still hiring?
We will continue to adjust our ability to hire in response to the pandemic. Please continue to explore the career opportunities with OSU on our career site.
How is OSU handling interviews during this time?
Many hiring managers have adapted to recruitment in a virtual environment. In many cases, an interview may occur over the phone or through video chat (Zoom or Skype for example). Visit a website such as this one, 7 Tips for Conducting a Seamless Video Job Interview, for tips to navigate the technology.
- Background Check Screening Update
Our background check screening vendor, Truescreen, has continued to monitor and report on the status of sources for information as the situation changes daily due to the spread of COVID-19. Reports of county court offices closing in some parts of the nation may cause an interruption to the background check screen. Due to this, we may receive reports with a partial verification of the entire background check as a result of those court closures. Our vendor, Truescreen, is sending daily updates to monitor the closures and tracking our cases.
In the meantime, we have the following plan of action in place: University Human Resources will determine employment eligibility based on the available information on the background check. You will receive an email from email@example.com to notify you if there is a full clearance or if further screening will occur once the county court office resumes business. As we await Truescreen’s completed verification, you may decide to do one of the following:
- Allow the employee to begin work knowing the employee has not successfully completed the background check.
- Continue to wait for the final employment determination from us before the employee may begin working.
At this time, we are unable to estimate the turnaround time for a completed verification. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plan of action accordingly.
Remember all offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of the entire background check. OSU reserves the right to rescind offers of employment based on the review of the background check information.
Refer to Policy 3-0771, Background Check Policy for Faculty and Graduate Assistants/Associates (Teaching and Research), for information.
Face Mask FAQ's
- Are masks required on campus?
To reduce the risk of being infected with and possibly spreading it to others, and in keeping with CDC guidance, OSU encourages the use of masks indoors in public, especially in situations in which social distancing is not possible and for activities with close contact with others. Masking is recommended even if you are fully vaccinated. Masks will be required in certain areas of University Health Services, and patient facing areas on campus.
- Will we require students to be vaccinated?
No. At this time, the university will not require students to be vaccinated.
- Can my department set our own mask policies?
No. The university has set forth guidance related to mask use on campus. It is inappropriate for departments to deviate from these statements.
Can my department set social distancing rules?
No. The university has set forth guidance related to social distancing on campus. It is inappropriate for departments to deviate from these statements. However, the department does have the ability to set up workspaces as it deems appropriate to meet the aesthetic and functional demands of the work. If you have questions, please contact your HR Consultant or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I’m immunocompromised...can I require my students to wear masks in my class?
No. However, OSU does encourage the use of masks indoors in public, especially in situations in which social distancing is not possible and for activities with close contact with others. If you have concerns related to your ability to conduct the essential functions of your position, please contact your HR Consultant or the Office of Equal Opportunity.
- Can I ask others to wear a mask around me?
Yes. You may request that others wear a mask; however, you may not require them to do so. You also may not refuse to conduct business transactions or work with others based upon their choice to wear or not wear a mask.
I’m still uncomfortable not wearing a mask despite being vaccinated. What should I
All individuals are encouraged to wear masks indoors in public, especially in situation in which social distancing is not possible and for activities with close contact with other. Masking is recommended even if you are fully vaccinated. You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
I’m traveling to areas where mask mandates are still in place. Do I need to comply?
Yes. Local and state mandates will take precedence over university policy when traveling or working off-campus. Also, please comply with the requests of business owners if conducting business in establishments that post mask requirements.
University Human Resources developed this information for the convenience of OSU employees. It is a brief interpretation of more detailed and complex materials. If further clarification is needed, the actual law and policy should be consulted as the authoritative source. OSU continually monitors benefits, policy, and procedures and reserves the right to change, modify, amend, or terminate programs at any time, with or without notice.