FAQ for Returning to Work for Employees


The mission of Roanoke College is to develop students as whole persons and prepare them for responsible lives of learning, service and leadership by promoting their intellectual, ethical, spiritual and personal growth. We feel this is best accomplished by employees being present on campus and performing their work from campus. The relationships we build everyday through in-person interactions are a crucial part of your department’s success and our overall campus culture. You will see new policies, new procedures, additional safety equipment/PPE and safety modifications to facilities as you return to campus. Countless hours of work have gone into these efforts, to ensure that we can continue to provide a high quality educational experience to our students, while keeping our college community safe. We ask for your patience as we work through this “new normal”, and that you keep our mission foremost in your mind as we return to work.

How will employees know when they need to return to campus?

Employees will receive communication from vice presidents, deans and/or supervisors regarding the anticipated date of return to on-campus work.

If I’m called back to work do I have to return? 

Yes, unless you meet a qualified exception. If you meet any of the qualifications below, please contact your supervisor to discuss your unique situation:

  • You have an active diagnosis and currently in recovery from COVID-19. Let your supervisor know and do not return to work for at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and, at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • You have been asked to quarantine by a medical provider or governmental agency and are in the quarantine period. Documentation will be required.
  • You have been identified by the CDC and WHO as more susceptible to catching COVID-19. This includes older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Contact your supervisor if this applies to you, and apply for an accommodation through Human Resources.

I’m in a high-risk group and would prefer not to return to campus at this time. What are my options for working?

If you are high risk, as defined by the CDC, with increased vulnerability and susceptibility relative to COVID-19, please notify your supervisor and Human Resources that you are in a high-risk category. You may contact Human Resources to seek accommodation for your condition. Supervisors will work collaboratively with you and Human Resources to discuss reasonable accommodations that may allow you to continue working.

What if I live with someone who is more susceptible to the disease? 

The college has numerous safeguards to minimize exposure to COVID-19. When these safeguards are followed, it becomes less likely to be exposed, and even less likely to transmit the disease to someone you live with, especially if you practice good personal hygiene habits. That being said, we recognize that you may still have concerns and wish to have work accommodations made. Discuss this with your supervisor.  If full duties can be performed, and if appropriate to the position, remote work and flexible scheduling may be an option. If not, an unpaid leave of absence may be available.

What if I have to care for a loved one who does not live with me who is more susceptible?

If you need to provide care for a local parent, spouse or child not living in your household who has medical conditions making them susceptible to COVID-19, then it is possible that this required care would fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Please let your supervisor know, and contact Human Resources to discuss whether or not FMLA is an option for you.

You may be providing care for someone who is not covered under the FMLA (i.e. parent-in-law, grandchild), or you may be ineligible for other reasons. If that is the case, then the options available to you are the same as any other care needs for family members not covered under the FMLA. Staff may use their accrued leave and both faculty and staff may request an unpaid leave of absence.

I do not have a qualified exception and feel that working remotely for my job was working out really well. Why can’t I work remotely if I still want to?

As mentioned in the introduction, the mission of Roanoke College is to develop students as whole persons and prepare them for responsible lives of learning, service and leadership by promoting their intellectual, ethical, spiritual and personal growth. We feel this is best accomplished by employees being present on campus and performing their work from campus.

Is my employer required to provide me with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Cloth facial coverings are not considered PPE under OSHA. While not required to be supplied, the college will provide one cloth facial covering to all students, faculty  and staff. Other regulated PPE (gloves, masks, respirators, etc.) will be supplied for the areas of normal use (Campus Safety, Student Health and Counseling, etc.). The college will follow guidance issued by the CDC, Virginia Department of Health and any applicable federal or regulatory requirements.

Am I required to return to work if I have childcare issues due to COVID-19?  Can I bring my children to work?

Yes, you are required to return to work but faculty and staff may not bring children to work. We understand that limited child care has created pressure on our working parents but other arrangements for child care must be made.

If I am on orders to quarantine by a medical professional or governmental agency do I need to return? Do I need to provide documentation?

You will not need to return until released by your physician or the governmental entity. However, you must supply the college with documentation to support your quarantine.

Back in March the College offered five extra days of personal leave to employees who earn leave. Are these still available?

Yes. We have extended their available use through December 2020. If you did not use all of these five days earlier in the year, they remain available to you. You may use them to attend to hardships created by COVID-19, such as child care issues, family or your own personal illness.

How do I request to be paid for any of the five extra personal days?

Non-exempt and hourly staff members using Self Service or the Attendance Enterprise time clock will see a new earnings type of “PE-Pandemic” which should be used. Salaried staff members will submit the Leave Submission Form (found under Form Finder) and will see a new leave type of “PE-Pandemic” to use. If you use Self Service or the Leave Submission Form, you are encouraged to leave a comment that the leave request is related to COVID-19.

I have safety concerns, how do I report them?

If you have concerns or safety ideas, share them with your supervisor. They are often in the best position to immediately attend to your concerns. Otherwise, report via our online reporting tool and a staff member will investigate further: https://forms.roanoke.edu/silent_witness.

Will Roanoke College do any regular testing?

Virginia Department of Health recommends only testing symptomatic individuals.  We have asked student athletes to obtain a test 72 hours prior to arrival on campus, but otherwise are not planning any surveillance testing at this time.  Excerpt from ACHA statement on screening tests:

“Testing for virus will assess a person’s infection status at a single point in time. It may change within hours. A person who tests negative this morning may become infected this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week. Unless the population tested is further quarantined or restricted from interacting with the general population, mass screening is likely to be unproductive in reducing the incidence of disease on the campus. To assure a population remains clear of disease, regular repeat testing would be needed. This would impose significant cost and require resources that could perhaps be better deployed to other activities.”

Can anyone ask for a test at any time?

Symptomatic students and identified close contacts will be tested.

If a student in one of our classes comes up positive, can the other students and faculty member be tested?

The other students and faculty member will be tested if they are determined to be a close contact (within 6 ft for longer than 15 minutes without a mask).

Which kinds of tests do we have access to (in terms of speed of results) and how much access do we have?

We have a partnership with the commercial lab, Quest, that will perform a PCR test with a 1-3 day turnaround.  We are on the waiting list to receive the point of care antigen test that will process in 15 minutes.  Med Express, Velocity Care, and CVS Minute Clinics all provide testing for symptomatic individuals.