AC NEWS


COVID-19 Human Resources Information

 

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, Amarillo College continues to be operational to serve our students, faculty, and staff through technology-supported capabilities. 

Learn more below about Amarillo College's current policies regarding returning to campus, remote work, hiring/training, and health & wellness resources—as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 


NOTIFICATION OF POSITIVE CASES

As part of the Clery Act requirements for all Colleges and Universities, Amarillo College is required to post a notification for students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Please see this page for the most current and up-to-date information.


PHASED PLAN TO FULLY REOPEN AND RETURN TO CAMPUS WORKSITES

Click below to see detailed guidelines and resources for safely returning to campus worksites:

Amarillo College will follow the guidelines of the CDC and The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding COVID-19 and returning to campus.  ALL Amarillo College employees are expected to do the following:

  • Complete required training PRIOR to returning to the worksite.

  • Wear a cloth face covering while on an AC campus or work site. Exceptions include being alone in a private office and when working outdoors alone (i.e., groundskeeping, maintenance, etc.) The face covering should cover both the nose and the mouth.

  • Practice social distancing, in public areas, common work areas, restrooms, and during rest/meal breaks.

  • Wash hands often.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms.   

  • Check temperature prior to reporting for work.

  • Clean and disinfect spaces and surfaces frequently.

  • Avoid bringing non-essential visitors and guests on campus, and require visitors or guests to comply with face covering, social distancing, and hand sanitation protocols. 

  • Do NOT report to work and notify supervisor if experiencing fever above 100.4F or other COVID-19 symptoms

  • If experiencing symptoms, seek treatment if appropriate, self-isolate until free of symptoms as recommended by the CDC.

  • Do NOT report to work and notify supervisor if awaiting COVID-19 test results.

  • If confirmed with positive COVID-19 diagnosis, follow healthcare provider’s direction and treatment plan, reporting to work on campus only after cleared to do so by Human Resources.

  • Notify supervisor of recent or planned travel outside the U.S. and plan to self-quarantine for 10 days following return.

Positive Cases and Determining Exposure

When all Amarillo College employees, students and visitors follow the strict safety protocols in place at Amarillo College they have extremely limited risk of exposure to the virus while on an AC campus or worksite. 

In the event of an AC employee testing positive, Human Resources will work with the employee and the public health department to do contact tracing in the workplace and to notify others who were potentially exposed.  The identity of the individual who tested positive will be shared only with those who have a business need to know, and the potential contacts will only be notified that they may have come in contact with a positively diagnosed person in the workplace. Offices and workspaces in which the positive employee had been working prior to testing positive shall be subject to deep cleaning and sanitizing as recommended by CDC guidelines. In compliance with the Clery Act, Amarillo College will post positive cases on the COVID-19 website

In the event that an employee believes he/she may have been exposed outside of the workplace, the employee must notify his/her supervisor immediately.  The employee might be asked to not return to the workplace until a determination is made regarding whether the exposure constitutes “close contact” as defined by the CDC.  Being in a room with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 may or may not be exposure--employees, supervisors, and Human Resources should use this chart  to help determine whether close contact occurred. 

In the case of a secondary exposure, such as exposure to someone who has also been exposed but not diagnosed with COVID-19, employees should not automatically be sent home.  Instead, they should self-monitor and continue to practice social distancing, face covering, and hand hygiene. Employees and supervisors should contact Human Resources. 

Employees who were indeed in “close contact” with someone who either tested positive or who is awaiting test results should self-quarantine and self-monitor for 10 days after the last date of exposure to the person. If the employee is unable to telework during the quarantine period, he or she may be eligible for COVID sick leave with pay.  The supervisor should contact Human Resources for guidance. 

Under the framework of Amarillo College’s four step plan for fully opening, each work unit’s supervisor will be responsible to work with the appropriate vice president to develop and execute specific plans for the work unit.  Supervisors should frequently refer to this guidance as employees begin to return physically to the workplace. 

Supervisors play a critical role in the thoughtful and effective implementation of a return-to-work process, in which the College will continue to look for creative solutions, remain flexible, and fulfill the College’s mission while ensuring the health and well-being of employees, students and community members.

This guidance applies to all stages of the phased opening.  The plan will remain fluid and flexible, and the most updated information will be available on the Amarillo College COVID-19 webpage.

Above all, supervisors must remain vigilant in emphasizing social distancing, handwashing, staying home when sick, and use of face coverings.  As the College opens campuses more fully, supervisors and employees must be ready to adjust plans based on various data as needed.  

Do an employee audit

Supervisors should be in regular communication with employees and have an idea of any potential barriers to employees returning to the campus worksite at the appropriate date and time. 

If the audit reveals an employee whose job must be performed at the worksite but who is expressing a need to remain away from the worksite, consult with Human Resources as soon as possible. Employees may be asked to provide documentation from a healthcare provider if they or a close family member with whom they live fall into a high-risk category. Supervisors should consult with Human Resources before providing any approval or denial decision to employees.

Think through physical workspace logistics

If your employees share a space with employees who report to another supervisor, collaborate with the other supervisor to work on physical space planning.

  • Does your work unit need to be rearranged to support new social distancing protocols and safety guidelines? Complete a work order with Physical Plant for ordering supplies, equipment, doorstops, or moving furniture.
  • If you have an area where people typically line up for services, place markers to give them a visible guide to social distance requirements.  Complete a work order with Physical Plant for assistance.
  • Open a work order with the Physical Plant to determine whether a barrier is necessary to protect reception personnel. Barriers should be considered only after other options are exhausted.
  • Take notice of common break areas and kitchens.  Water coolers, ice machines, coffee makers, microwaves, and refrigerators may need to stay out of commission or be subject to strict usage and cleaning protocols. Water fountains will not be subject to constant monitoring by the College, so employees may want to bring their own water and water bottles to avoid using fountains.
  • Where will you place hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes?  Entrances/exits, copy machines, and other common touchpoints must have hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes readily available. Amarillo College will procure and distribute necessary sanitation supplies as well as disposable masks as appropriate to departments. Place a work order if your area is running low on these supplies.
  • Place signage on meeting room doors or other group areas denoting how many people can safely be in the room based on room size.  Complete a work order with Communications and Marketing for assistance.
  • Do you need to provide staggered shifts with different times or days when some people are in the office?  Communicate with your employees clearly about expectations. Set up plans within your work unit for employees to share the task of consistent cleaning throughout the workday, between regular nightly custodial services.  

Health and Safety Expectations  

As supervisors, understand the health-related guidance for COVID-19, both for yourself and for your employees.  Amarillo College’s plans and guidelines will reflect the most up-to-date information available from CDC, THECB, and federal, state and local authorities. Do not attempt to manage COVID-related employee issues and concerns without consulting Human Resources. Review this information with your work units. 

Amarillo College will follow the guidelines of the CDC and The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding COVID-19 and returning to campus.  ALL Amarillo College employees are expected to do the following:

  • Complete required training PRIOR to returning to the worksite.
  • Wear a cloth face covering while on an AC campus or work site. Exceptions include being alone in a private office and when working outdoors alone (i.e., groundskeeping, maintenance, etc.). The face covering should cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Practice social distancing, in public areas, common work areas, restrooms, and during rest/meal breaks.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms.   
  • Check temperature prior to reporting for work.
  • Clean and disinfect spaces and surfaces frequently.
  • Avoid bringing non-essential visitors and guests on campus, and require visitors or guests to comply with face covering, social distancing, and hand sanitation protocols. 
  • Do NOT report to work and notify the supervisor if experiencing fever above 100.4F or other COVID-19  symptoms
  • If experiencing symptoms, seek treatment if appropriate, self-isolate until free of symptoms as recommended by the CDC
  • Do NOT report to work and notify the supervisor if awaiting COVID-19 test results.
  • If confirmed with positive COVID-19 diagnosis, notify Human Resources, follow the healthcare provider’s direction and treatment plan, and report to work on campus only after cleared to do so by Human Resources.
  • Notify supervisor of recent or planned travel outside the U.S. and plan to self-quarantine for 10 days following return.

Positive Cases and Determining “Exposure”

When all Amarillo College employees, students and visitors follow the strict safety protocols in place at Amarillo College they have extremely limited risk of exposure to the virus while on an AC campus or worksite. 

In the event of an AC employee testing positive, Human Resources will work with the employee and the public health department as appropriate to do contact tracing in the workplace and to notify others who were potentially exposed.  The identity of the individual who tested positive will be shared only with those who have a business need to know, and the potential contacts will only be notified that they may have come in contact with a positively diagnosed person in the workplace. Offices and workspaces in which the positive employee had been working prior to testing positive shall be subject to deep cleaning and sanitizing as recommended by CDC guidelines. In compliance with the Clery Act, Amarillo College will post positive cases on the COVID-19 website

In the event that an employee believes he/she may have been exposed outside of the workplace, the employee must notify his/her supervisor immediately.  The employee might be asked to not return to the workplace until a determination is made regarding whether the exposure constitutes “close contact” as defined by the CDC.  Being in a room with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 may or may not be exposure--employees, supervisors, and Human Resources should use this chart  to help determine whether close contact occurred.  

In the case of a secondary exposure, such as exposure to someone who has also been exposed but not diagnosed with COVID-19, employees should not automatically be sent home.  Instead, they should self-monitor and continue to practice social distancing, face covering, and hand hygiene. Employees and supervisors should contact Human Resources. 

Employees who were indeed in “close contact” with someone who either tested positive or who is awaiting test results should self-quarantine and self-monitor for 10 days after the last date of exposure to the person. If the employee is unable to telework during the quarantine period, he or she may be eligible for COVID sick leave with pay.  The supervisor should contact Human Resources for guidance.

Supervisor Expectations

During the reopening of college worksites all supervisors are expected to do the following: 

  1. Maintain frequent and transparent communication with employees, and attempt to return employees to prior work arrangements on campus where possible.

  2. Model and enforce safety protocols on campus: face coverings, social distancing, handwashing.    

  3. Notify Human Resources immediately of an employee who is:

  • Requesting to continue remote work
  • Requesting exemption from wearing a face covering on campus
  • Reporting they were recently in “close contact” (greater than 15 minutes, less than 6 feet, with or without masks) with someone diagnosed as COVID-19 positive
  • Reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Awaiting test results for COVID-19 infection
  • Currently diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 infection 
  1. Hold meetings and training sessions virtually when possible, and when in-person meetings are required, enforce face coverings and social distancing.
     
  2. Identify common areas where people are likely to congregate and interact, and enforce social distancing protocols, increase frequency of cleaning, or close the areas (for example kitchens, break rooms, lobbies).

  3. Post any recommended signage. AC Communications and Marketing will provide all general signage as well as building- or department-specific signage. Contact Communications and Marketing to request assistance. Supervisors may not alter, take down, or add any signage on the exterior doors to a building without approval from Communications and Marketing. 

  4. Model and enforce safe behavior from employees, including:

  • Operate as if they assume they are infectious and others are infectious.
  • Follow accepted policies and procedures with respect to health and safety. 
  • Do not engage in work practices that could be considered a danger to health and safety.
  • Be aware of situations that could be considered a danger to the health and safety of others. 
  • Report instances of others not adhering to the health and safety guidance. 
  1. Apply appropriate leave procedures through consultation with Human Resources. HR will guide employees through their potential leave options such as FFCRA paid sick leave and expanded FML, regular FMLA, or accrued vacation and sick leave.  Employees might request not to report for work on campus for various reasons related to COVID-19, including:

  • Feeling sick or showing symptoms
  • Awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • Recent close contact with someone who tested positive or who is awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • The school or daycare provider of the employee’s child is unavailable due to COVID-19
  • The employee is the primary caregiver of a family member whose condition places them at high risk due to COVID-19
  • The employee has an underlying health condition which places them at high risk due to COVID-19
  1. Remind employees about available resources and supports linked on the HR COVID-19 webpage.

  2. With respect to injuries sustained in the course and scope of employment, the protocol is the same for working remotely as working on campus. If such injury is life-threatening or results in serious bodily injury, immediately call 911. For non-urgent injuries, the first step is to report the injury to the supervisor and to Human Resources. 

 

These guidelines will remain fluid and flexible as data emerges and the College adapts.  Supervisors should refer back frequently to be sure they are up to date on expectations. 

Until the College fully re-opens to in-person instruction, some of the guidance above applies to staff more than faculty.  The following guidance should be considered to ensure the safe and effective return of faculty to campuses. 

  • Unless otherwise communicated by the College (such as in the case of CTE or health sciences programs), faculty members should avoid returning to campus unless absolutely necessary to complete work, gather items from the office, etc.  

  • Faculty members, whether teaching or not, must follow the Health and Safety Expectations listed above when on an AC campus or instructional site.

  • Faculty members should continue to hold office hours virtually.

  • Faculty committees should continue to work and meet virtually rather than in-person when possible.

  • Academic departments should consider backup teaching options to account for illness and continuity of instructional programs should a faculty member become ill.  In these situations, the department leadership should work with the Dean and Human Resources to preserve continuity of instructional programs. 

New Facemask Policy Approved by Board of Regents

Effective June 23, 2020, all employees, students and visitors are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while on Amarillo College campuses, properties and instructional sites. 

For additional information, please reference the full policy, DH.COVID.TEMP.2020 in the Amarillo College Board Policy Manual.

FFCRA Eligibility

Do the requirements and benefits provided for in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) apply to you?

Use this tool to find out if you are eligible for paid sick leave or paid expanded family and medical leave according to the FFCRA.

 FFRCA Eligibility tool

Health & Wellness Resources

Amarillo College wants employees to stay healthy, physically and mentally. Here are some resources that are always available:

Virtual Visits

For employees and their dependents covered on the BCBS HealthSelect medical plans: 

Utilize virtual visits from the comfort of your home for treatment of both physical and mental health concerns. COVID-19 related virtual medical visits are available at no cost to participants in both BCBS HealthSelect of Texas and Consumer-Directed HealthSelect.

Therapy Assistance Online

For all employees and students: 

Utilize Therapy Assistance Online for a wealth of mental health resources. Find out more at www.actx.edu/counseling/tao.

If you’re already working with a therapist, TAO Connect can help supplement your sessions outside of business hours. The app utilizes a method called low intensity-high engagement therapy, combining online and mobile educational modules and practice tools with short phone conversations or video conferences with a therapist. More than 100 studies in 20 countries have shown this method to be as effective as hour-long, in-person individual therapy for common disorders.

TAO Connect can also be used as a purely self-guided tool, consisting of educational and interactive modules, practice tools, journals and progress measures. Their self-help option allows you to move through the courses at your own pace, when you’re feeling down and need encouragement, or visiting our mindfulness library when you need a moment to meditate. 

Employee Assistance Program

Professional Counseling and Biofeedback Center offers three free counseling visits to Amarillo College employees.

Mental Health Support Line

A 24 hour 7 day a week Mental Health Support Line is available to all Texans who may be experiencing stress, anxiety, or emotional challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.

Additional Mental Health Resources

Here are a few more resources to help employees deal with added stress and uncertainty during this season:

Resources and tips for supporting your mental health during COVID-19

Free meditations from Headspace

Tips to deal with stress and coping from the CDC


Retirement Funds

This crisis has had a negative impact on Wall Street and many retirement plan balances.  If you are in the ACBP or ORP programs, remember that staying the course is important and it is important not to make short-term decisions in a moment of fear, which could affect your long-term goals.  If you have questions about the CARES Act and your retirement plan funds, contact July Services (for ACBP) or your ORP vendor.

 


Hiring & Training

The AC Human Resources department will continue to receive and process employment applications to meet our hiring needs. Hiring managers and search committees will continue to review applicant materials, schedule technology-supported interviews, and follow search processes and protocols.

For additional training resources to support you and your team during this season, please visit www.actx.edu/hr/learning

 


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