Posts Tagged: coronavirus
To support the health and well-being of UC students, faculty and staff and our communities, the University of California, in consultation with UC Health leadership, has issued a systemwide executive order requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization before Nov. 1, 2020.
The executive order is an important proactive measure to help protect members of the UC community — and the public at large — and to ameliorate the severe burdens on health care systems anticipated during the coming fall and winter from influenza and COVID-19 illnesses.
In addition to protecting those on campuses and the surrounding communities, this requirement is designed to avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities across the state during the unprecedented public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent millions of illnesses and thousands of related medical visits every year. In recent years, flu vaccinations have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40%. Flu vaccinations also protect those around us, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
The executive order requires the vaccination for all faculty and staff who are working at a UC location. The university already has a clear policy on immunizations for students, and this action adds influenza to existing vaccination requirements for them, and extends the requirement to faculty and staff beyond those which presently exist for all UC health care workers.
A process will be put in place for faculty and staff to request medical exemptions. Requests for disability or religious accommodations will be handled through the interactive process consistent with existing location policies and procedures.
All UC medical plans which cover faculty, staff and students include coverage for flu vaccinations at no cost to those covered by the plan. In addition, for those without group health care coverage, all ACA-compliant health plans also cover flu vaccinations as part of a preventive care package that includes no copay.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the best source for information on this year's flu vaccinations and when it would be available.
Flu vaccine FAQs
UCOP has published frequently asked questions concerning the 2020-21 UC influenza vaccination order at https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions-for-employees-about-the-2020-21-uc-influenza-vaccination-order.html.
More information about the implementation of UC's requirement, and when the flu vaccination for 2020-21 is available, will be shared in the coming weeks.
UCOP Communications has learned that an outside market research firm, Consumer Evaluation & Insights, recently sent a survey about UC's flu vaccination policy to a number of UC faculty and staff with the subject line “Share your opinion on the UC Flu Vaccine requirement.” Please be aware this survey was not authorized or commissioned by UC, and you are under no obligation to complete it.
Additionally, because data from this survey is being collected by an external organization, UC cannot make any assurances regarding the use, privacy or security of any information you provide.
UC ANR recognizes the importance of helping employees manage a work/life balance. During the COVID 19 pandemic, it is understandable that some employees may wish to temporarily reduce their appointment time to address priority family and self-care needs. UC ANR is providing opportunities for flexible work schedules and reduced time appointments through programs such as the Employee-initiated Reduction In Time program (ERIT).
For academics, approvals for one year or less will be considered and are subject to renewal consideration. All requests to reduce the appointment time must be supported by supervisors. Final approval rests with AVP Wendy Powers. The academic or supervisor may end such approved arrangements with a 30-day advanced notice.
Salary, monthly sick and vacation leave, and UCRP service credit accruals will be calculated on the reduced appointment percentage. You are also encouraged to contact the UC Davis Benefits Office to discuss the implication of healthcare coverage for any such reduced appointment.
Academics who are interested in seeking a voluntary reduction in time, please complete the documents listed below and submit to Tina Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Staff employees may, with the approval of their department, reduce their working hours and corresponding pay between 5% and 50%. For more information about the Employee Initiated Reduction in Time (ERIT) Program, please visit the website or contact John Fox or Bethanie Brown.
UC ANR has been using a web-based daily “clearance to work survey” to ensure that employees who are working onsite or engaged in in-person field work, research, or extension activities are free of COVID-19 symptoms. An offline or paper version of the survey is also available for volunteers or employees who cannot access the online survey. Symptom screening is a statewide recommendation for all employers and is required by UC guidance for campuses and ANR locations that have personnel working onsite. The UC Symptom Screening Task Force guidance also states that arrangements must be made to require the same or equivalent screening not only of students, academics, and staff but also guests, contractors, vendors, and members of the public who are permitted access to UC facilities.
To comply with this UC systemwide guidance and to increase the protection of our employees, beginning August 3, all visitors to UC ANR facilities must also complete a Visitor Clearance Survey prior to entry. Only visitors who receive a “Cleared to Enter” result will be allowed access. Visitors who are denied entry should be provided information about other ways to interact with UC ANR remotely, such as information available on websites, scheduling a phone consultation, video meetings, etc.
When visitors from a UC campus or vendors whose employer has a symptom screening process can demonstrate that they have already passed their institution's screening, those results will be acceptable to enter the UC ANR facility. Additionally, for UCCE offices, a County's symptom screening process will be acceptable to enter the UC ANR spaces.
To maintain privacy, UC ANR personnel will not record or retain the responses of any person's Visitor Clearance Work Survey, but will only keep a record of the final survey result, i.e.: “Cleared to Enter,” or “Stay Home,” using a daily visitor log or sign-in sheet to record survey clearance status.
The UC ANR Visitor Clearance Survey and additional instructions and details about the survey are posted on the UC ANR COVID-19 webpage: http://ucanr.edu/covid19 under “Standards for Resuming In-Person Activities.”/span>
The Nutrition Policy Institute and the Berkeley Food Institute have developed resources in English and Spanish for UC Cooperative Extension advisors and county directors to provide to community members. A modifiable county template on COVID-19 Community Resources, a flyer on How to Stay Food Secure and Eat Well Despite COVID-19, and Guidance on the Safe Usage of Open Spaces During COVID-19 can be accessed at http://npi.ucanr.edu/Resources/COVID-19.
Erin DiCaprio, UCCE food virology specialist, wrote “Here's how to stay safe while buying groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic” for The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/heres-how-to-stay-safe-while-buying-groceries-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic-138683.
UC ANR also has COVID-19 resources at https://ucanr.edu/Coronavirus_and_COVID-19.
Some county health authorities have begun to modify local shelter-at-home orders for COVID-19 and relax restrictions on low-risk activities. To ensure that we continue to protect the health and safety of our people and our communities, UC ANR has developed UC ANR Safety Standards for Resuming In-Person Activity, Stage 2 to outline protocols for our programs and work locations.
The safety standards are informed by state, county and UC best practices, and are intended to help UC Cooperative Extension directors, Research and Extension Center directors and statewide program leaders plan for the eventual resumption of some in-person activities.
For those counties that have authorized return to in-person activity under Stage 2, UC ANR directors are now required to document their plans for in-person work activity with the ANR Emergency Response team based on the safety standards. Local plans may vary from county to county, and may change over time to be more or less restrictive as the impact of reopening unfolds.
It is important to remember that the state is allowing for the resumption of limited onsite operations. UC ANR employees and volunteers who can still work or engage remotely should continue to do so until Governor Newsom completely lifts California's stay-at-home order and UC ANR advises it is appropriate to return to in-person operations.
ANR directors contributed to the development of ANR's safety standards, and we've asked them to help address questions and concerns and to reinforce the steps being taken to provide a safe working environment.
“Throughout this process, the safety and health of ANR's employees, volunteers and clientele are the top priority as we resume in-person activities,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.
In general, ANR will be taking a slow and deliberate approach to expanding in-person activities, and most of us will continue to work remotely for the immediate future.
Several questions about resuming in-person activities were answered during the ANR town hall meeting on May 28. A recording of that town hall will be posted at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/All_Hands.
FAQs have been developed to address questions asked during the May 28 Town Hall meeting concerning safety measures related to COVID-19, budgetary impacts and more. Please visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/327731.pdf to read the questions and answers.
For resources related to COVID-19, visit https://ucanr.edu/covid19.