COVID-19 FAQs for Faculty and Staff
Bentley continues to closely monitor updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe. We've created this page as a one-stop shop to answer faculty and staff questions about the virus and Bentley's response to it.
Read the guidelines for if you feel sick while working on campus:
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information, updates and answers to the questions below on COVID-19.
Massachusetts residents can also find information and resources at mass.gov/covid19, mass211.org or can dial 211 any time of the day. A symptom checker can be found at buoy.com/mass.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with Partners In Health, has created the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative. The program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. If you are a contact, you will receive a phone call and/or text. Please answer it. The number will have a prefix of 833 or 857. Your phone or text will say call is from “MA Covid Team.” Calls are made between 8 a.m-8 p.m. Your information will not be shared and your name will not be released to anyone with whom you’ve been in contact. They will not ask for sensitive information like your social security number.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The virus symptoms manifest as a mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to as long as 14 days after exposure. Other less common symptoms include sore throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people might experience a loss of smell or taste. Some individuals may not experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during the first 2 days they are infected.
What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
If you experience symptoms, isolate yourself, do not leave your home and seek medical attention by calling a medical professional. Inform medical professionals of your symptoms and any recent travel or potential exposure before going to the health facility. Avoid public transportation including ride share. If you are experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing, you should call 911 if you are off campus and if on campus call University Police at 781-891-3131.
What if I have received a presumptive diagnosis (the likely condition) or confirmed case of COVID-19?
You must notify your manager immediately, stay home and follow all directives from your medical care provider. If you are going to be out for an extended time due to illness, please review the leave policies to see if any apply. If you are going to be applying for a leave, please see these instructions to initiate the leave.
What if I am ill but not presenting COVID-19 symptoms?
There are many forms of illness so the first step is to contact your manager and stay home. You should stay home until your condition improves and you are symptom-free. Depending on the duration of your illness you may be asked to provide medical documentation prior to your return.
If you are unable to work due to your own illness, you should take accrued sick time in accordance with the sick time policy and record in Workday. If you are going to be out for an extended time due to illness, please review the leave policies to see if any apply. If you are going to be applying for a leave, please see these instructions to initiate the leave.
How can I protect myself against contracting COVID-19?
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene at work and at home, including staying home when sick, frequent handwashing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol content). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others of at least 6 feet. You should follow the state and federal guidelines regarding prevention of COVID-19. Please refer to Massachusetts’ latest guidance regarding this at mass.gov/covid19.
In addition, we recommend:
- Wash water bottles and wipe cell phones daily.
- Avoid vaping to protect your lung health.
- Please update your cell phone and emergency contact information in Workday.
- Create a voice mail function on your cell phone so that health providers can leave you messages. They will not text you.
- Install Rave guardian app on your phone to get emergency updates from campus.
The City of Waltham continues to recommend wearing a cloth face covering and maintaining social distancing when you are outside. Please review the City of Waltham's website for details. When on campus at Bentley please follow this guidance.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
According to the CDC, the virus spreads directly from person to person. An actively sick person with COVID-19 can spread the virus through respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets also land on nearby objects and surfaces. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The CDC recommends staying up to 6 feet away from a person with symptoms or anyone that is not in your current household. It is possible to catch the virus from someone even before they have symptoms, but little is known about this aspect of the virus at this time. The CDC is now recommending that people wear a cloth covering mask over their mouth to prevent transmitting the virus to others. It is extremely important to remember to keep a distance of 6 feet from others at all times in public.
Are there medical supplies to have on hand for treating COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The Health Center recommends you treat symptoms of fever with acetaminophen and over the counter cough medication, and drink fluids to keep hydrated. Please consult with your medical professional for additional guidance.
What do I do if my child’s daycare or school is closed?
Employees needing to work from home should consult with their manager beforehand. If you can work from home you should discuss logistics with your manager. If you cannot work from home due to the natural needs of your children then you may use vacation or personal time.
If your child becomes ill and you are providing care and unable to work then you should use accrued sick time in accordance with the sick time policy. During this time, you can take the amount of sick time you need to care for a sick child and you are not subject to the 40 hour cap for a sick family member. This is a temporary change to the policy to address the COVID-19 situation.
What if I have a sick child, parent or family member that I need to care for and can’t work?
If you need to care for a sick child, parent or family member and are unable to work, you should use accrued sick time in accordance with the sick time policy. During this time, you can take the amount of accrued sick time you need to care for the sick family member and are not subject to the 40 hour cap. This is a temporary change to the policy to address the COVID-19 situation.
What happens if I run out of sick time when I am unable to work due to my own illness or caring for a sick family member?
Given the current situation, we are temporarily changing our sick time policy and allowing employees to go in arrears by 35 or 40 hours, depending on your weekly schedule. If you are going to be out for an extended time due to your own illness, please review the leave policies to see if any apply. If you are going to be applying for a leave, please see these instructions to initiate the leave.
What happens if I run out of accrued vacation time?
Given the current situation, we are temporarily changing our vacation time policy and allowing employees to go in arrears by 35 or 40 hours, depending on your weekly schedule.
When would I need to self-quarantine?
Note: “Self-Quarantine” is a preventative measure for those who are presumed healthy. “Self-isolation” is for those who are confirmed ill / contagious or presumed ill / contagious.
The university is currently requiring that all faculty, staff and students who returned from a CDC Level 2 or 3 travel advisory country, who reside with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (presumptive or confirmed), or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, must self-quarantine off campus for 14 days, even if symptom-free. Employees can return to campus on day 15. You are not to return to campus until this period is over. In addition:
- Students must notify faculty members of their inability to return to class and contact the Health Center before returning to campus.
- Faculty must notify their department chairs or dean.
- Staff must notify their direct supervisor.
The university has technology and online capabilities to ensure that classes and work can progress remotely.
I have the type of job that requires me to be working on campus. What happens if I have to self-quarantine?
The intent is to keep you whole from a pay-perspective during a self-quarantine period. You should work with your manager to think creatively about possible work that can be performed at home. If you choose not to work from home, and are able to, you may use vacation time.
If your job does not lend itself to working from home, and you are self-quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19 while working at Bentley, you will continue to be paid at your normal rate for the duration of your quarantine period, up to two weeks.
When can I return to work after self-quarantining?
If you have been required to self-quarantine (or self-isolate) because of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or possible symptoms, you should follow CDC guidelines for discontinuing self-quarantine. Additionally, you will be asked to provide documentation of medical clearance. For any questions on the process to return to work, please contact your HR business partner.
If you are self-quarantining for possible exposure to COVID-19, you may return to work on the 15th day after starting quarantine.
What resources are available for me to work remotely?
The university has developed a series of resources for faculty and staff to continue working off campus. While campus remains safe, we are taking these measures to encourage social distancing. Resources include Tips and Resources for Working Remotely and Keep Teaching @ Bentley.
Do I still need to enter time for hourly employees and what are the deadlines?
All hourly staff should continue to enter their time before Tuesday to allow managers enough time to review timesheets for Payroll processing. Timesheet entry is locked on Tuesday nights for the prior period. The 2020 Payroll calendar is found here. Managers should review timesheets and time off requests as soon as they are able to ensure accurate and timely Payroll processing.
What happens to my benefits during this period of time when I am working from home?
All your benefits remain intact and you will continue to have normal benefit deductions taken out of your paycheck. If you need to contact any of the benefit vendors, please click here for their information.
If I'm on campus, will Mail Services still be operating?
Bentley Mail Services will continue to receive and process all incoming mail and will operate from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Should you wish to have your departmental mail delivered, please call x2212 each day by 9:30 a.m. and delivery will occur within a two hour window. Mail is also available for pick up with appropriate Bentley ID during operational hours.
To minimize interactions, verbal permission will be requested to have mail services sign the hand held devices on your behalf acknowledging receipt of packages or certified mail.
What if I am working a reduced schedule, due to either not having enough work to do from home or for personal reasons?
The goal is to make sure that employees remain productive while working remotely. If you find that you don’t have enough work to do, you should discuss with your manager. During this time, we are asking everyone to think creatively about work that can be done even if it may fall outside of normal responsibilities. f you decide that you would like to work in a reduced capacity during this time, you should discuss that with your manager. You would then be able to supplement the time worked with vacation and/or personal time. After approval from your manager, all vacation time and/or personal time taken should be recorded in Workday.
I interact with internal and external constituencies frequently as part of my job responsibilities. What should I do if I encounter someone who presents as sick?
As with other forms of influenza or contagious illnesses such as colds, maintaining a reasonable distance (at least 6 feet) from the person is a starting point. Do not shake hands or make other physical contact. Use a disinfectant wipe after the person has left to wipe those areas of your work station that the person has touched. There may be situations in which a meeting can be rescheduled to a time when the person is feeling better or the business can be conducted by phone, e-mail, Zoom or MS Teams. Do not hesitate to offer this suggestion if it is appropriate.
Employees are encouraged to take advantage of one of the IT boot camp trainings that are being held the week of March 16 to get familiar with the collaborative online tools that are available. If interested, you may register here.
Do the Bentley medical plans provide coverage for telehealth (virtual visits with licensed doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists)?
Yes, the Bentley medical plans with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care do provide coverage for telehealth. Telehealth connects you to a board-certified physician face-to-face using your phone, tablet or computer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting www.doctorondemand.com.
If you have concerns related to COVID-19, you can check in with a health care provider from home (via smartphone, tablet or computer) to determine whether you need to take further action and to avoid long emergency room waits. Telehealth visits may help limit the spread of the virus. It may also be an option for individuals in self-imposed quarantine or isolation to check in with a health care provider.
There is more information on Harvard Pilgrim’s website and instructions for how to download the required app.
Do the Bentley medical plans allow members to change their retail prescriptions to Home Delivery?
Yes. If you were in a self-quarantine or isolation and need to switch a prescription to Home Delivery, you can check through the OptumRx website to see if it is available. Some medications are not available for Home Delivery.
What assistance is available to me to help me cope with the emotional impact of a COVID-19 outbreak?
Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is always available, 24/7. You can contact the EAP at (800) 648-9557. EAP provides confidential counseling and can also help with things such as back-up child or elder care.
Will I still continue to be paid on my regular schedule?
We will continue processing payroll according to the published biweekly and monthly schedules. Employees that are already signed up for direct deposit will still receive their payroll payments on the scheduled pay dates. The 2020 Payroll calendar is found here. In the event of circumstances that would prevent us from being able to print paper checks, all employees should sign up for direct deposit in order to ensure timely payments. Direct deposit instructions can be updated by clicking the “Pay” worklet in Workday and then clicking “Payment Elections” under the actions header.
If I have payroll related questions who should I contact?
Ga_payroll_dept@bentley.edu is the best contact for all Payroll-related questions as it has multiple users reviewing inquiries and requests every day. We aim to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.
What if I have an underlying medical condition, or live with someone who may be compromised medically, or I’m in a high-risk population and I'm concerned with coming to work?
If an employee has a compromised immune system, lives with someone with a compromised immune system, is in a high-risk population for contraction, or is advised by a medical professional to avoid public spaces instead of risking potential exposure to the virus, the employee should contact their manager and their Human Resources Business Partner who will explore options with them. This will be treated the same as any other accommodation request. Electronic or digital documentation will be accepted.
When can I return to work if I have had influenza or another contagious illness?
Health care providers and the CDC advise that you stay home and not return to work until you have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and you are symptom-free. Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should closely follow the instructions of medical professionals.
What should I do if I’ve paid for airline tickets or hotels with my personal credit card?
While most airlines and major hotels are waiving cancellation and change fees and are offering extended credit for cancelled trips, Bentley will reimburse the employees for the out-of-pocket business travel expenses that are not waived or refunded. All employees should notify Travel Services at firstname.lastname@example.org of any credit applied to their personal account. Please note that any credits received for cancelled travel must be applied toward a University business-related trip. If an employee holds or uses the credit for a future personal trip then they must reimburse Bentley or the amount of their travel credit will be included in their taxable income.
What should I do if I’ve paid for airline tickets or hotels with my Bentley card and the trip was cancelled?
All employees should notify Travel Services at email@example.com of any credit applied to their personal account for cancelled trips. If a refund is applied to the Bentley credit card, both the original charge and the refund will need to be substantiated and processed through Workday. Please note that any credits received for cancelled travel must be applied toward a University business-related trip. If an employee holds or uses the credit for a future personal trip, then their travel credit will be included in their taxable income.
What if visitors invited to campus have incurred travel costs but the event was cancelled?
If the University had agreed in advance to reimburse the travel costs, the University will reimburse for travel expenses if the visitor can provide documentation showing that a refund or credit from their hotel, airfare or other similar vendor was denied.