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The fall semester began August 24. All in-person classes will end NOVEMBER 24, with the semester ending remotely on DECEMBER 8, 2020.
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Working at Hofstra

Dear Colleagues,

As the University returns employees to the workplace, the Office of Human Resources will update this page with resources and strategies to assist departments and employees adapt to a changing environment.  The University’s plans are aligned with New York State’s Re-Opening guidelines and also follow the guidance of our partner, Northwell Health and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have been designed to minimize the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in support of protecting the health and welfare of our community.

Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) at the University is a shared responsibility.  Every member of our community – including you – must do their part. This means adhering to national, state, and local health guidelines and requirements, and adhering to those measures the University deems safe and appropriate for its campus.  

As a reminder, all employees are required to complete the mandatory health screening questionnaire each day that they will be reporting to campus.  Responses are treated as confidential and remain within the Office of Human Resources.  Employees are also required to wear a face-mask and practice social distancing.

On behalf of all of us in the Office of Human Resources, we are delighted to welcome you back to campus.  If you have any questions, please contact us at humanresources@hofstra.edu.

Denise Cunningham
Chief Human Resources Officer


Return to the Workplace

  • Workplace Expectations

    To ensure a safe workplace for all, employees are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined in Hofstra’s “NY Forward Safety Plan”, and as outlined below, some of which include face masks, physical distancing, etc.

  • Daily Health Screening Requirement

    Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace must complete the daily mandatory health screening questionnaire each day that they will be reporting to campus. It should be competed either before or as soon as reporting to work.

    At this time, these symptoms include but are not limited to:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    If you have any symptoms, do not come to work, or leave campus and return home if you become ill at work, and seek medical attention by calling a medical professional. Inform medical professionals of your symptoms and any potential exposure before going to the health facility.

    You should remain home until cleared by the Office of Human Resources to return to work.  Please contact us at benefits@Hofstra.edu

    If you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19, but you are not symptomatic, you must complete a 14-day self-quarantine. Contact Human Resources Benefits for more information.

    Mandatory Screening – Responsible Point of Contact for Employee Responses

    Pursuant to the New York State Department of Health’s (“NYSDOH”) Interim Guidance for Higher Education during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (“Executive Guidance”), the University is required to implement mandatory health screening on a daily basis for those faculty and employees reporting to work on-campus. 

    In addition, the NYSDOH also issued the Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel, pursuant to NYS Executive Order, requiring all those returning to or arriving in New York from states with significant rates of transmission of COVID-19 (“Travel Advisory States”) to quarantine for a 14-day period.  New York has joined with New Jersey and Connecticut, which are therefore not Travel Advisory States, in issuing this joint advisory.  The list of Travel Advisory States is updated on a weekly basis on the NYSDOH website.  In alignment with this public health mandate, the University has incorporated a question related to the travel advisory into its mandatory screening to ensure those who have traveled to a Travel Advisory State do not come to work on campus.

    The purpose of the digital questionnaire is to determine whether the individual has: (a) knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19; (b) tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; (c) has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days; and/or (d) has arrived/returned from a state other than New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, and, if yes, identifying the state (“Screening”).

    The Executive Guidance requires that the University designate a central point of contact to receive and attest to having reviewed the responses to Screening (“Responses”), as well as to receive any updates to the Screening.  The Office of Human Resources has been designated as the central point of contact and is responsible for receiving, reviewing and maintaining the Responses in a confidential manner.  Human Resources is also responsible for checking any listed states for those who have traveled outside of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut against the NYSDOH website identifying the Travel Advisory States.  Responses are treated as confidential information and will not be disclosed by Human Resources to supervisors or any other department, except as required to comply with state and local health department requirements.  The Responses will be stored separately and confidentially in Human Resources pending further guidance from New York State relating to the retention of this data.

    Any individual who screens positive for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms must be immediately sent home and may not come to campus.

Health and Safety Guidance – Workplace Safety Practices

  • Face masks

    The University will be providing washable cloths masks to the community. Face masks must be worn at all times by all employees working on campus (e.g. work stations, common areas, classrooms, etc.), with the exception of when they are alone in a private office. Appropriate use of face masks is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask covering is not a substitute for social distancing.

    Use of face mask:

    Putting on the face mask:

    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face mask.
    • Ensure the face mask fits over the nose and under the chin.
    • Situate the face mask properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
    • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
    • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face mask.

    Taking off the face mask:

    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face  mask.
    • When taking off the face mask, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
    • Wash hands immediately after removing.
  • Social Distancing

    Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Employees at work on-site should follow these social distancing practices:

    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people at all times
    • Limit close personal contact
    • Do not gather in groups
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Meetings

    Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

    During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Jabber, etc.).

  • Guidance for Specific Workplace Scenarios

    Where necessary the workplace has been configured to allow for social distancing. If you work in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, face masks should be worn at all times.

    If you work in an individual office, consider working with office doors shut.

    Face masks should be worn by any employee in a reception/receiving area. Masks should be used when inside any Hofstra facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other common/public areas.

    Alter or limit congregating factors or spaces where the virus could be easily spread. Examples include:

    • Discontinue the use of office coffee pots. Post signage to require disinfecting handles on refrigerators, microwaves and water coolers, as well as control panels of microwaves and vending machines. Post signage discouraging drinking from water fountains.
    • Alter break room setups to increase social distancing. Limit the number of people who can be present where gatherings often occur such as lunch or break rooms. Encourage outdoor break periods.
    • Consider eating in a location that allows for appropriate physical distancing (e.g., outdoors, in an enclosed or private space, in an office with the door closed, etc.).
    • Insure adequate space between personal items in areas of shared storage such as coat closets.
  • Dining on Campus

    Faculty and staff can “grab and go” at campus dining facilities and are invited to download the Boost Ordering App which allows users to order and pay for food in advance at many retail dining locations across campus (with more locations to join as the semester progresses). Some areas, such as the Grill, Deli and Cucina (pasta station) in the Student Center Café, are not yet on the Boost app but available for remote order through the Nextstep kiosks outside the Café.

    With the need for reduced density, especially as the semester begins, we have reserved the seated dining in the Student Center (Main Dining and two of the Plaza Rooms) for student use exclusively. Other facilities on campus, including Bits ‘n Bytes, tents and outdoor seating, are open for your use.

    In addition, eating is not permitted in any open office areas where there is traffic. Each department might want to consider designating a room for meal breaks if at all possible.

  • Visitors

    In the best interests of our community, visitors to campus will continue to be limited and must be previously approved by your respective Vice President and/or Dean. As outlined in the Reopening New York standards, the University is implementing mandatory health screening practices of campus visitors. For more information, please visit the Campus Visitor’s Section of Hofstra’s Safe Start website.

  • Reasonable Accommodation Request or Leave of Absence Inquiry

    Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition, or those who otherwise wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to Returning to the Workplace should contact he Office of Human Resources at  benefits@Hofstra.edu.

    In addition, if you are sick where applicable, you may take sick leave, short term disability and FMLA leave, if eligible.  If a family member is sick, you may be eligible for FMLA and/or NY PFL. Generally, however, employees are not entitled to take FMLA to stay at home to avoid getting sick.

    If you are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, New York Department of Health, local Board of Health or other authorized government entity you may be eligible for up to 14 calendar days of job-protected, NY State paid sick leave.

    Please contact the Office of Human Resources at benefits@hofstra.edu to determine FMLA/PFL/Paid Sick Leave/Short Term Disability eligibility. Additional information about the new NY State paid sick leave is available at https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/new-york-paid-family-leave-covid-19-faqs.

Health and Safety – Personal Safety Practices

  • Handwashing
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcoholThe University is providing employees with individual hand sanitizers as well as adding 500 sanitizing stations around campus. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.
  • Workspace Hygiene

    While custodial crews will continue to clean office and work spaces based on applicable guidelines, additional care should be taken to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Before starting work and before you leave any room in which you have been working, you must wipe down all work areas with EPA-registered 60% alcohol solution. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.).

    Limit the sharing of objects, such as tools, laptops, notebooks, telephones, touchscreens, and writing utensils, as well as the touching of shared surfaces. If not possible perform proper hand hygiene before and after contact, and sanitize shared equipment before and after use.

  • Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

    If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Then throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

FAQ

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is the daily health screening required?
    The daily health screening questionnaire is required by New York State as a condition for office-based workers or for universities in New York to restart in a limited way. The purpose is to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 as facilities reopen or continue to operate.  

    Who is required to complete the daily health screening?
    All employees (faculty, administrators and staff) will be required to complete the mandated daily health questionnaire on any days they will be working on campus.  If you are working from home or not coming onto campus, you do not need to complete the questionnaire.   The questionnaire is accessible on the portal.

    What questions will I need to answer?

    1. Indicate if you have experienced ANY of the symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
    2. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
    3. Have you knowingly had close or proximate contact with someone in the past 14 days who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has had symptoms of COVID-19?
    4. Have you traveled outside New York, New Jersey or Connecticut in the last 14 days?

    What states are covered under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205 which requires that people returning from those states self-quarantine for 14 days?
    Those states are listed on the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory.

    What happens if I respond yes to having symptoms, to having contact with a known case or to having been diagnosed recently with COVID-19?
    Human Resources will immediately reach out to you.  You should not come to work, notify your supervisor that you are not coming to work and contact your health care provider for health advice, including advice regarding COVID-19 testing.

    If I develop a new symptom that is on the list while I am at work, am I required to notify the university?
     Yes, you are required by New York State regulations to immediately report any new symptoms to Human Resources, the designated central point of contact to receive updates to the screening from employees. We have also temperature kiosks at select campus locations. You should notify your supervisor that you are unwell and are going home. You should notify the Office of Human Resources and seek advice from a health care provider.

    Who will have access to my data?
    The Office of Human Resources has been designated as the central point of contact and is responsible for receiving, reviewing and maintaining the Responses in a confidential manner.  Human Resources is also responsible for checking any listed states for those who have traveled outside of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut against the NYSDOH website identifying the states subject to the travel advisory.  Responses are treated as confidential information and will not be disclosed by Human Resources to supervisors or any other department, except as required to comply with state and local health department requirements.  The Responses will be stored separately and confidentially in Human Resources pending further guidance from New York State relating to the retention of this data.

    Do I have to tell my supervisor if I answer yes to any of the self-check questions?
    No.  This information is private and confidential, thus, you do not have to disclose it to your supervisor—only to the Office of Human Resources. 

    If I am a supervisor, what should I do if one of my employees chooses to disclose that she or he has answered yes to a question on the self-check questions?
    The supervisor should inform the individual to contact the Office of Human Resources at benefits@hofstra.edu

    What is the return-to-work procedure for individuals who test positive for COVID-19?
    New York State guidelines currently provide that if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms or 10 days of isolation after the first positive test if they remain asymptomatic.   Prior to return to work on campus, employees will be required to submit a note to the Office of Human Resources from a health care provider confirming when you may return to work.

    What is the return-to-work procedure for individuals who have had symptoms consistent with, and a clinical diagnosis of, COVID-19 or “I think or know I had COVID, and I had symptoms”?
    Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID should consult a health care provider and are strongly urged to obtain testing. If the test is positive, a note from a health care provider confirming when you may return to work will be required to be submitted to the Office of Human Resources.

    CDC guidance as of July 26, 2020 is that such an individual can be with others and return to work after at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and symptoms have improved. All individuals must use face masks and observe other public health guidance while in campus facilities.

    What is the return-to-work procedure for individuals who have had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 and is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
    CDC guidance as of May 6, 2020 and NY State Department of Health guidance as of May 31, 2020 provide that if an individual has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (15 minutes or more and no physical distancing) AND is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, the individual may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms. Testing for COVID-19 is strongly encouraged.

    The CDC considers a close contact to be someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the person was isolated without use of face covering.

    What is the procedure for return to work for individuals who have had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged time and is NOT experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
    If an individual has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, the individual may return to work upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine. COVID-19 testing is strongly recommended.

    What is the procedure for return to work for individuals that have traveled to New York from a state on the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory list?
    If an individual has traveled into New York from within one of the designated states on the list, they must self-quarantine for 14 days from the date they entered New York.  They are encouraged to self-monitor during this time, and testing for COVID-19 is strongly encouraged if they start to develop any symptoms.

    What if I have concerns about returning to work?
    Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition, or those who otherwise wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to Returning to the Workplace should contact he Office of Human Resources at  benefits@Hofstra.edu.

    In addition, if you are sick where applicable, you may take sick leave, short term disability and FMLA leave, if eligible.  If a family member is sick, you may be eligible for FMLA and/or NY PFL. Generally, however, employees are not entitled to take FMLA to stay at home to avoid getting sick.

    If you are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, New York Department of Health, local Board of Health or other authorized government entity you may be eligible for up to 14 calendar days of job-protected, NY State paid sick leave.

    Please contact the Office of Human Resources at benefits@hofstra.edu to determine FMLA/PFL/Paid Sick Leave/Short Term Disability eligibility. Additional information about the new NY State paid sick leave is available at https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/new-york-paid-family-leave-covid-19-faqs.

    Questions?
    Questions regarding any of the above can be directed to the Office of Human Resources at benefits@hofstra.edu

HOFSTRA’S EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) – ON DEMAND WEBINARS:

In order to help support you during this time, the Office of Human Resources in partnership with our Empire Employee Assistance Program, is offering the following On Demand webinars, some of which include:

  • Keep Calm and Carry On: Maintaining Your Composure Amidst the Pandemic Panic
  • Mindful Meditation
  • How to Keep Your Family Healthy
  • How to Stay Healthy
  • Talking with your Child about the Coronavirus

To access these On Demand webinars, refer to this link to the COVID-19 section of their website.  It can also be accessed via a link which can be found after you log in, on the top left side of the page, directly under Hofstra’s name and the toll-free number for the EAP.

Please note there is a small glitch with these On Demand webinars.  When a webinar is selected an error message will appear, although once you click the arrow, the webinar will begin. This was an error with the recording process, but please be assured that the webinars are working.

MANAGING REMOTE TEAMS: A GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICES

As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, many employees are working remotely. This guide helps managers recognize the challenges to both managing and working in virtual teams, so that they may provide guidance, support and encouragement to their teams. It includes tips and strategies to help managers and employees continue to collaborate effectively to meet deadlines, stay connected, and establish the best conditions for success.

Success Factors

Communication:

Set up communication protocols and tools. Without a specific communication plan in place, it is very difficult to coordinate work and maintain productivity in a remote environment. Virtual teams need clarity and standards about when and how information will be shared. Ultimately, the tools you select will depend on the technology that your team members have available in their homes.

Trust:

Build and maintain trust. When managers cannot directly observe work, they tend to monitor and follow-up on remote workers more than in-office workers. It is important that managers set expectations up front and adhere to them consistently.

Accountability:

Assign work and hold people accountable. Because remote team members have less supervision, it is important to set them up for success by clearly defining actions, specifying who is to complete them and establishing an agreed upon due date. Periodic progress checkpoints should be mutually decided.

Best Practices for Managing Employees

  • Make communication a top priority. You want to make sure pertinent information is easily — and frequently — communicated. Don’t rely solely on email to stay in touch with remote members on your team. Set up frequent meetings with each employee to touch base and keep the connection strong.
  • Determine how often you will meet virtually (e.g., daily, weekly) to ensure all tasks and deliverables are on schedule and any issues are addressed. Find the right balance to ensure both social connection and work coordination.
  • Be responsive and available: Communication lag can be counter-productive for remote employee’s efficiency.  Receiving a response to an inquiry in a timely fashion encourages employees to remain focused and on task. In addition, let your staff know how and when they can reach you throughout the day. Remember, team members who are off-site won’t be able to swing by your office to ask questions or get feedback.
  • Obtain contact information for all team members and distribute to the full team (i.e., cell phone numbers, email addresses, etc.). It is important that all team members are able to keep in communication with each other.
  • Determine the avenues of communication that are available and decide which ones are applicable. The ability to see each other while talking fosters a sense of teamwork and more closely imitates an office setting.  Utilize chat and collaboration tools, such as Google Hangouts and Zoom. Visit https://hofstra.zoom.us to access Hofstra Zoom services.
  • Determine how documents will be shared. For example, you could set up VPN to access shared drives remotely, use Google Drive or Microsoft Teams to collaborate.
  • Be clear about your expectations: To avoid any misconceptions, make sure every remote worker knows what you expect of him or her. If employees need to be punctual and always available during work hours, make that crystal clear. If you are more flexible and focused on results rather than minutes spent on the clock, let your staff know.
  • Determine the appropriate response time for communications from each other and our clients/coworkers. If necessary, establish different response times for different audiences (within team, manager, clients, etc.).
  • Employees who are permitted and able to work from home must abide by the following procedures:
    • Individuals who work remotely are required to be fully active and engaged in their work. Individuals must be available by phone, email, or other appropriate communication methods at all times.
    • If employee becomes ill during the course of working remotely, they should follow the same time away from work procedure in place by the University for sick days while working on-site.
    • Employees are expected to maintain existing standards of performance and productivity should remain consistent with on-site expectations.
    • Employees who complete time sheets/eTIME are required to continue to keep record of their time.
  • Spell out goals and monitor team deliverables – All members of your team should know what deliverables they and the team are working toward, and how these deliverables will be met.
  • Provide feedback as needed – Remember to write a "good job" email to staff whose work you would otherwise acknowledge casually in the office. You can also call out their achievement in your group chat platform.
  • Discuss accountability issues (e.g., pattern of missed deliverables, low engagement, etc.) with team members as appropriate.
  • Periodically solicit feedback to see if changes in management and communication are needed.
  • Teams that suddenly change work patterns — particularly moving from co-located to virtual — need to rethink how to accomplish their tasks and ensure that essential duties and goals are met.
  • Include all your remote workers in meetings, whether strategic or planning, ensuring that they are aware of updates as well as the big picture. It will also help them prioritize work and manage their time.

Especially for telecommuters who are not used to working from home, it can be a good gesture to offer advice on how to work from home effectively. Ideas include information on how to:

  • Set up home office spaces
  • Establish working hours
  • Set boundaries with any family members who may be present in the home

In preparation, you should make sure you have tested your access to the following equipment at home:

  • Laptop or desktop computer.
  • Microphone – this may be built into your laptop or computer, or you may use an external device such as a USB microphone or headset.
  • Webcam – a camera may already be built into your laptop, but you can also use an external USB camera for video conferencing.
  • Internet – either commercially provided (ex., Time Warner, Optimum, FiOS), or a wireless hotspot through your mobile phone.
  • If you need access to Microsoft Office at home, more information on how to download and access Office 365 can be found below.

If you do not have equipment at home that meets these standards, please consult with your supervisor.

Where to Get Help

ITS Technical Support Services has numerous resources available for remote workers. Please visit Resources for Working Remotely for more information.

If you are having difficulties with accessing these resources or if you have any additional questions regarding technologies available for your personal workstation, please contact Hofstra ITS at 516-463-7777, option 2 or by email: help[at]hofstra.edu.

You may also open tickets via the Hofstra portal (https://my.hofstra.edu/):

  • Select IT Help Desk from the left portal menu
  • Select “Ask a Question” to reach out to an analyst regarding technology concern.