Spring 2022 Employee COVID Updates

This communication was sent Jan. 6, 2022.

Hello all,

Thank you for everything you’re doing to prepare for the spring semester. While I know by this time, we had all hoped that COVID would look different, the Omicron variant continues to be of concern and we are closely monitoring cases at Weber State. Thus far our mitigation protocols have been successful in preventing outbreaks on our campuses, so as a reminder, here are a few things we as individuals can do:

  • Request that students wear masks, and post signage to encourage mask-wearing at events. While they cannot be required, we can encourage them.
  • If you hear that someone has tested positive, direct them to complete the self-report form immediately, and the contact tracing team will follow up. You can also notify covid19@weber.edu.
  • Keep seating charts for classes, in-person meetings and appointments, and event attendance where possible. This is very helpful in contact tracing. While individuals identified as close contacts who have been recently vaccinated or boosted can continue to attend in person, they will be expected to follow CDC guidelines. Our contact tracing team will ask for available seating charts in an effort to provide this guidance to close contacts. 
  • Get your booster shot when eligible. Vaccinations are essential in protecting our community. As a reminder, there is a vaccination mandate for students for the spring semester excluding concurrent enrollment students and individuals with an exemption.

Student Cases:

When a student tests positive and completes the self-report form, the contact tracing team will notify the relevant faculty if it is recommended to change the modality of your course temporarily. Plans for these changes should be reported to and approved by the department chair, who will document the reason for the change, delivery method and length of change. Deans should be informed of all changes. All students in the class should receive communication through Canvas and/or email of the change as soon as possible.

Any changes expected to last longer than a week have to be approved by the dean and HR, and communicated by the dean to the Registrar. 

Medical information must be kept confidential and individual names should not be shared except as follows.

Faculty Cases:

If a faculty member tests positive, they should complete the self-report form, and reach out to the chair who will work out arrangements and communicate with students while the faculty member quarantines and recovers. Deans should be informed of all changes. 

Exempt/Non-exempt Staff Cases:

If a staff member tests positive, they should reach out to their supervisor who will work out arrangements while the staff member quarantines and recovers.

Contact tracers will also reach out to staff affected by COVID if it is recommended that an office or specific department offer services remotely for a period of time. Changes to the delivery of services should be reported to and approved by your supervisor, who will document the reason for the change and its duration. Deans and/or vice presidents should also be informed of department-level adjustments. Again, students should receive communications about the change as soon as possible by posting signage, sharing information on webpages, and through departmental social media pages where applicable.

There may also be disruptions due to staffing shortages related to exposure and quarantining requirements and caretaking responsibilities. Deans, chairs, and supervisors have been working on [or have in place] contingency plans to maintain essential services if staffing shortages arise. Please work with your supervisor to implement these contingency plans if the need arises, and continue to follow public health requirements. Stay home if you are symptomatic and follow quarantine guidelines in cases of exposure.

Additional Leave Resources:

We have FMLA and ADA processes if individuals have extended illness or are requesting an accommodation. Please contact Human Resources if you or one of your employees needs these arrangements. Paid COVID leave is available for hourly employees and to salaried employees who have exhausted their paid leave and have tested positive for COVID.

Supporting Our Students:

The first few weeks of class are critical for students connecting to resources on campus. Please encourage students to call before going in person to any resources in case that area is experiencing a staffing disruption and may be virtual for a few days. If a student never attends your class during the first couple of weeks, please raise a “never attended” flag in the Starfish system so a retention advisor can follow up.

Faculty can find an updated COVID syllabus statement in Canvas Commons (and we will paste it at the bottom of this email). The “Preparing to Teach” webpage has also been updated.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you would like assistance in navigating a situation. If you are unsure of who to contact, please email covid19@weber.edu. For additional information, including the message sent by Dane LeBlanc Jan. 6, visit our coronavirus website.

We know we have asked for flexibility a lot over the last two years, and that it has been challenging at times. We ask again that you please continue to be flexible with yourself, our students, and our colleagues. 

Thank you for the support you provide for each other and our students.

Ravi Krovi
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Jessica Oyler
Assistant Vice President for Human Resources