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Updated July 14, 2020 — COVID-19 Employee Guidebook Posted

Archive COVID-19 Employee Guidebook 2020

  • Scope

    A quote from St. Francis de Sales we often hear repeated at DeSales University, “Nothing is small in the service of God.” Whether washing our hands and wearing a facial covering, or teaching behind plexiglass, or working from home, we are serving God, serving our students, and thwarting a life-threatening virus. It’s understood these changes in our behavior may inconvenience us, but they can—and will—bring us to a new season of hope, replete with rebirth, renewal, and balance.

    DeSales University has implemented various protocols to ensure your safety upon returning to campus, however, it’s up to you and your coworkers to execute on these protocols daily. By releasing this employee guidebook, DeSales University hopes to clearly communicate our plans moving forward, highlight workplace protocols in place to protect your safety, and establish a level of comfort for all employees returning to campus.

    In the event of an emergency, including those related to COVID-19, please call 911, or if you are on campus, call 610-282-1002, or extension 1250. If you have non-emergency questions related to COVID-19 and DeSales University, please email those questions to You should receive a response within 24-48 hours. Please note that this email is not for emergency use.

    As the situation is constantly evolving, visit for the latest information on DeSales University’s Ready for Anything commitment.

  • Compliance

    To comply with the safety guidelines recommended by federal, state, and local agencies during these unprecedented times, we are requiring that the guidance provided in this COVID-19 Employee Guidebook is followed to the best of your ability and circumstances. By all working together in Salesian Solidarity, we will utilize best practices for a safe campus environment for each other and for our students. In this regard, if an employee is not following protocols included in this guidebook and refuses to comply with the appropriate guidance after it has been brought to their attention, which could result in creating unsafe conditions for themselves, their colleagues and students, the employee may be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the faculty and staff handbooks.

  • Situation and Assumptions

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty and disruption across the globe. As additional information is learned, DeSales University will continue to adapt and pivot to new challenges and opportunities.

    In accordance with the Pennsylvania Governor’s phased approach to reopening the Commonwealth, DeSales University will thoughtfully welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus no later than August 17, 2020, officially marking the start of the 2020 fall semester.

    In the spirit of Salesian Solidarity, we are called to keep our community members safe and well. To that end, this guide outlines the various procedures for employees returning to campus and responding to confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.

  • Return-to-Campus Procedures

    Keeping employees safe is our priority. To accomplish this task, there are a number of factors that require thoughtful consideration before bringing employees back to campus. Supervisors will communicate directly with their employees in each department with instructions on how to return to campus for work. These instructions will take into account various methods to protect employees, prevent infections, and mitigate risks, such as alternating workdays, staggered reporting/departing, and reconfigured workspaces, and may vary by department. 

    DeSales University may phase staff in a coordinated effort to ensure appropriate social distancing and other COVID-19 related guidelines. Additionally, the University will assess expanded staffing based on mission-critical operations; the ability to control and manage specific workplace environments; and the necessity to access on campus resources. The need to reduce the number of people on campus to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time. 

    Expanded staffing will be tightly controlled and coordinated by the University in order to mitigate potential risks and to ensure the safety of employees. No department or office may increase on-campus staffing levels without approval from the respective vice president. Once decisions to expand on-campus staffing in certain areas have been made, staff should follow the policies and protocols detailed in this guide for returning to work on campus. 

    As on-campus staffing and operations expand, the University will closely monitor and assess potential spread, as well as existing policies and protocols. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again. 

    Once employees return to campus, there are several techniques the University will implement in order to maintain social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and workspaces.

    Under no circumstances should an employee feeling ill report to campus. Instead, employees should follow the procedures below and await further instructions.

  • Classrooms

    • Plexiglass dividers will be installed on the podiums in each classroom.
    • Faculty must wear a face mask/covering when entering/exiting the classrooms, and while teaching.
    • Faculty who wish to teach without a face mask/covering must remain behind the plexiglass at all times.
    • Faculty who would like to move about the classroom may do so, but must wear a face mask/covering.
    • Faculty must wipe down all equipment at the podium prior to each use and once the class has concluded.
    • Faculty are asked to assist in the enforcement of this protocol for the wearing of face masks/coverings.
    • Students will be required to wear a face mask/covering at all times while in the classroom.
    • Students who do not have a face mask/covering must leave and cannot return unless they are wearing a face mask/covering.
  • Dining

    The faculty staff dining room will not be available during the fall 2020 semester. This space will be used for prospective students and their families. Faculty and staff are encouraged to eat meals is their offices.
  • Travel

    Employees who travel to states where the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has issued a 14-day quarantine recommendation upon return to Pennsylvania are not eligible for the DeSales University COVID-19 Leave Policy*. 

    Please see Travelers - PA Department of Health –

    *Employees who have already traveled to a recommended quarantine state (either before or during the time that PA issued a quarantine recommendation) will still be eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Policy.

  • Requirements for all Employees (What to do if you or Someone Near you has Symptoms)

    All employees are to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and use HealthChampion, a COVID-19 self-screening tool, to record temperature and symptoms daily. 

    Employees may not report to work if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms, have household members with COVID-19 symptoms, or believe they have been exposed to COVID-19. 

    If you develop COVID-19 symptoms:

    • Seek medical attention immediately.
    • Request a test for COVID-19 from your healthcare professional, unless your doctor can determine that you do not actually have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not require a test. 
      • Alternatively, you may receive a COVID-19 diagnostic test in the University's on-campus test center by calling 610-282-1002, or extension 1250, to schedule an appointment. 
    • If symptomatic, or you have tested positive, report your condition to 610-282-1002, or extension 1250, so DeSales University can determine if contract tracing is appropriate. 
    • Do not report to campus unless instructed.

    Note: If you have a physician-referred test, it will be covered at no cost to you by health insurance. If you get a non-medical professional referred test and health insurance will not cover it, please submit the invoice for the test for reimbursement. This policy will be effective through December 31, 2020, but may be extended as conditions warrant.

    If someone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms or if you suspect or discover you were exposed to a COVID-19-positive individual:

    • Call 610-282-1002, or extension 1250, and follow the provided instructions.
    • Do not report to campus unless instructed.

    Due to the unique nature of each exposure situation, the University’s COVID-19 Response Team will assist exposed employees in determining their risk category and a plan of action on a case-by-case basis.  In doing so, the University will follow the CDC’s exposure definitions and recommended precautions.

  • School and Daycare Closures

    As with severe weather emergencies, school/daycare closures and related issues occur. With mass school/daycare closures in our area for quarantine or precautionary purposes, employees should begin to identify back-up resources for childcare. The following options may be available:

    • Utilization of back-up resources for childcare.
    • Temporary work-from-home arrangement based on supervisor approval.
    • Utilization of time-off using vacation time or personal days as approved by supervisor.

    In the event your child has a confirmed case of COVID-19—and is home on quarantine—sick time or unpaid time may be used to care for the child. Usage of eligible FMLA time may be applied when appropriate and per FMLA guidelines and/or the University’s COVID-19 Leave Policy.

  • Remote Work/Work from Home

    In departments where productivity can be measured and monitored, supervisors may allow for more flexibility with temporary requests to work from home during this sensitive time-period. It is at the discretion and judgement of that supervisor and vice president, in consultation with human resources, to allow remote work at the request of the employee. Please review the COVID-19 Temporary Remote Work Policy, available through the Department of Human Resources.

  • DeSales University COVID-19 Leave Policy

    This policy provides the following:

    • Up to 80 hours of COVID-19 leave shall be made available to employees unable to perform their assigned duties for the period of July 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. For part-time employees, the amount of available leave will be pro-rated based on the standard part-time hours worked in a week.
      • Employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to use COVID-19 leave for the following, but not limited to, conditions:
      • Diagnoses of COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and seeking a diagnosis or requiring time to take a COVID-19 test.
      • 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 self-isolation order or who has been advised to self-isolate.
      • Child/elder care due to school/day care closures related to the effects of COVID-19.
      • Employees who are affected by conditions related to COVID-19 and who are unable to perform their assigned duties by working remotely (telecommute or telework).
    • In instances where employees are unable to perform their assigned duties due to the type of work they perform (meaning the work cannot be performed remotely) but are assigned other duties that CAN be performed remotely, they cannot refuse a reassignment of duties in order to take COVID-19 leave.
    • Employees may use COVID-19 leave prior to using any other accrued leave categories, such as sick time, personal days, or vacation time.
    • COVID-19 leave use, including a determination that an employee is unable to perform their assigned duties, is subject to approval by his/her vice president in consultation with the Office of Human Resources.
    • Use of COVID-19 leave is only available to be claimed during the time period covering the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. This policy expires on December 31, 2020.
    • There is no entitlement to the COVID-19 leave after December 31, 2020.
    • COVID-19 leave does not accrue and may not be rolled-over or combined into other types of leave. COVID-19 time that is unused will not be paid-out to the employee for any reason.

    Just as we anticipate students may have good reason to engage in their learning remotely, we recognize that some faculty and staff may self-designate themselves as being in one of the categories recognized by the CDC which places a person at higher risk for severe illness due to the COVID-19 virus. 

    If a faculty or staff member considers themselves in one of these categories, and requests to seek a reasonable accommodation to on-campus instruction or for continued remote work, the individual should inform their area vice president of their intention. Requests for accommodation or flexibility for continued remote work will be considered on an individualized basis through the Office of Human Resources, in consultation with the respective area vice president.  

    Please note that while your division head or supervisor may be involved in the process, information about any medical condition, including medical documentation, will not be shared with them without your authorization. 

  • Unemployment

    • Unemployment compensation is a government means to assist employees financially when there is no work or lack of work available. If an employee expresses his/her desire to remain home because he/she is receiving more through unemployment compensation, be advised that returning to work is not optional and any refusal to return-to-work, when work is available and offered, will have employment consequences.
    • DeSales University has the legal right as an employer to require a recalled employee to return-to-work, and to also sever the employment relationship if such a recall is refused. For example, a refusal of recall for work, without medical or other good cause, would likely result in the University accepting an employee’s voluntary resignation.
    • Absent good cause, an employee is not eligible for unemployment if he/she refuses suitable work.
  • COVID-19 Temporary Remote Work Policy

    DeSales University prides itself on the human connections created within our campus community. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us to shutter on-campus operations beginning March 21, 2020, was always deemed temporary and we remain grateful for the ability of our faculty and staff to transition to remote operations. As we are approaching the fall semester Ready for Anything we hold the expectation that all faculty and staff will return to their duties and roles on campus beginning in July 2020 in accordance with the Governor’s phased re-opening. 

    As part of DeSales University’s ongoing efforts to return to campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, this policy provides temporary guidance and flexibilities to facilitate the continuance of remote work arrangements due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  After the University has re-opened campus operations, University employees may work from home or another remote location in accordance with performance expectations and other terms determined by their manager and appropriate Vice President, and subject to approval by Human Resources.

    Remote work arrangements may not be feasible in all cases. In addition, remote work arrangements approved under this policy last only for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, as defined and communicated by the University over time.

    Requesting a Continuing Remote work Arrangement

    Faculty and staff requesting the ability to have a continued remote work agreement must complete a request form for approval. All requests will be reviewed by Human Resources and approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the appropriate department head and/or Vice President, based on factors including the position and the business needs of the department.

    Temporary Remote work Requirements

    In addition to any specific terms of an approved temporary remote work arrangement, all temporary remote work arrangements approved under this policy are subject to the following conditions and requirements:

    • The University may modify or suspend a temporary remote work arrangement at any time and for any reason, including problems with employee performance or work conduct, or the business needs of the University.
    • The employee must fulfill all terms and expectations agreed upon with their manager. Unless specified otherwise, the employee is expected to work the same amount of time and work hours as usual.
    • Unless specified otherwise, the employee agrees to work and be available to communicate regarding University matters during normal business hours or as stipulated in a course syllabus, for example.
    • The employee must comply with all University rules, policies and procedures during remote work, including those regarding timekeeping, approval of overtime and use of leave. Violations may result in termination of the temporary remote work arrangement and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
    • The employee must use any equipment or supplies provided by the University for business purposes only, and notify their supervisor immediately of any malfunction, damage or theft involving University property. If it is necessary for the employee to use personal equipment while working remotely, the employee may submit a request for reimbursement of reasonable expenses for equipment that is needed to perform work duties during the temporary remote work period. Such equipment may include toner, paper or the incremental charge for a necessary increase in internet bandwidth to perform work duties.  Such requests will be reviewed and approved at the discretion of the University. 
    • The employee must adhere to all University IT policies and procedures, including those governing information security, secure remote access, and data protection.  The employee must notify their supervisor immediately of any unauthorized access or disclosure of confidential information.
    • The employee agrees to maintain a safe and secure work environment and to report work-related injuries to their manager at the earliest reasonable opportunity.  The University assumes no liability for injuries that occur in the employee’s remote work location outside the agreed-upon work hours, or for damages to employee’s real or personal property resulting from their participation in the temporary remote work arrangement.  
    • The staff member has responsibility for maintaining the security and confidentiality of university files, data and other information that are in the off-site work place.  All applicable policies and procedures outlined in the Faculty and/or Staff Handbook must be adhered to. 
    • Remote work is not to be regarded as a substitute for ongoing child care or adult care. If applicable, the employee will attach a general description of caregiving arrangements due to COVID-19 that will be in effect during the remote work hours. If the employee needs to modify these arrangements, they will inform the supervisor and obtain the necessary approvals to continue the remote work arrangement.
    • Temporary remote work arrangements under this policy do not change an employee’s “at-will” status or basic terms and conditions of employment with the University.  A remote work arrangement is not a contract and does not guarantee employment for any specific term.   

    Please contact the Office of Human Resources at or 610.282.1100 x1660 if you have any questions regarding this policy, or any questions about remote work arrangements not addressed in this policy.




  • Forms: Remote Work Request & Workplace Accommodation Request

Cyber Security and Digital Forensics
Human Resources Updates
Important information about benefits, policy changes, and more in MyDSU.

Faculty & Staff Updates

Updated COVID-19 Protocols Begin Monday, August 16, 2021

by Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D. Executive Vice President Aug 11, 2021

Dear University Community,

In a few short weeks, we will kick off the fall 2021 semester. We are excited to welcome everyone to campus, especially our largest class of first-year undergraduate students, for what we hope will be a normal university experience with a traditional academic calendar.

The best guarantee to ensure a normal—and safe! —experience on campus for the fall semester is for every community member to be vaccinated.  As we are strongly encouraging the COVID-19 vaccination, please remember: The vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect our community from serious illness and accelerate our ability to operate with no interruption to our standard learning and living environments.  As a Catholic, Salesian university, we gently remind everyone that becoming vaccinated has been called a “moral obligation” by Pope Francis.  You can view a list of vaccine providers here.  

Additionally, we are working diligently to learn the rates of vaccination among our community; these are essential data to help us address the health of all of our members.  To this end, we ask you to honor our request with our reporting effort:

  • Students: If you haven’t already shared your vaccination status, we ask that you do so now, using this secure form
  • Faculty and staff: If you haven’t already shared your vaccination status, we ask that you do so now, using this secure form.

Community members who have not shared their vaccination status will be counted among those unvaccinated and will need to quarantine if exposed to the virus.

In light of recent recommendations from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and in consultation with the St. Luke’s University Health Network, here is what you can expect upon returning to campus:

Updated Mandates:

  • Beginning Monday, August 16, 2021, masking is required inside all campus facilities regardless ofCOVID-19 vaccination status. 
    • You may remove your mask in residence halls and while eating/drinking in the dining areas.
    • We will evaluate our University’s masking policy the week of September 20, 2021.
  • Remote learning via Zoom will be available only for students in isolation or quarantine approved by the Wellness Center, unless experiential learning makes that modality unfeasible.
  • Students with an approved letter of accommodation from the Office of Student Accessibility will have access to recorded lectures and/or other materials in consultation with their instructors.

Expired Mandates:

  • Testing for COVID-19 is not required before returning to campus.
  • All campus facilities will return to 100% capacity.
  • Social distancing is not required indoors or outdoors.

Protocol for Symptoms and Testing:

  • Weekly surveillance testing will resume beginning the first week of the semester, regardless of vaccination status and/or prior COVID-19 infection. 
  • The Wellness Center will provide symptomatic testing for students.
    • If students experience symptoms of COVID-19:
      • Monday-Friday, 9:00AM–4:00PM: call 610-282-1100 ext. 1776 to speak with a health professional.
      • After 4:00PM and before 9:00AM on weekdays and weekends: call University Police dispatch at 610-282-1002 for further instructions.

Protocol for Residential Students needing Isolation or Quarantine:

  • If students live more than 300 miles from campus, the University will reimburse room and board on a prorated basis and will also assist them with finding suitable accommodations.
  • If students live within 300 miles of campus, the University will reimburse room and board on a prorated basis with the expectation that students return home for that period of time.  

St. Francis de Sales urges us to “take care of our health that it may serve us to serve God.” The war on COVID-19 is ever-changing; therefore, we will regularly monitor the latest COVID-19 data and guidance from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and update our operational procedures as needed to protect our community’s wellbeing.

We thank you for your understanding, respect, and patience – key elements of our commitment to Salesian Solidarity. 

Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President