March 12, 2020

Dear Spelman Staff,

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell has communicated to the campus community that because of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Spelman College will be transitioning to a remote learning environment beginning Monday, March 23. Over the coming weeks, you will continue to receive updates regarding the College's plans and guidance to maintain operational excellence.

Spelman’s campus will continue to operate during this period. The work of educating our students and caring for those who remain on campus will continue without interruption as we undergo a transition from in-person instruction to remote learning. Staff employees should maintain their regular schedules on campus.

Employees are strongly encouraged to check their email for updates from the College often and make sure they're enrolled in Spelman's emergency alert system.

Below we have provided FAQs for your awareness and information. Please let your manager or Human Resources know if you have specific questions.

For the latest information, please visit Spelman's Coronavirus Update page on

General Employee FAQs:

How is COVID-19 impacting Spelman College?  
Spelman has not had any known cases. We are diligently monitoring and assessing the situation as it evolves.  

If the College is closed will employees be paid? 
Although classes have been suspended through the spring semester, the campus is still open. In the event of a campus closure, employees will be released from campus. Through coordination with payroll, employees will receive one payment for the entire time the College anticipates being closed, not to exceed twelve (12) weeks of pay.  Based on job functions, it may be necessary for managers to have some staff work from home. Should this situation occur, managers will work with their direct reports to confirm who is working from home and notify Human Resources.

Those who are considered "essential employees," may be required to report to campus to work. Essential employees will be notified in advance that their position is considered "essential." Essential employees such as employees in Facilities Management and Services, and the Office of Public Safety who are required to work on campus, will report to work even if the campus is closed. If this occurs, essential employees will be paid two times their base pay for all hours worked on campus.

Please see the Leave and Compensation Guidelines: Pandemic Closure Only section in the College Pandemic Response Policy that will be communicated soon and will also be available on the myspelman portal.

Temporary employees are not eligible to be paid if the campus is closed.

If the College is closed and I am telecommuting but need to enter my building or office to retrieve critical information, what should I do?
In the event of a closure, employees should plan to take all essential items with them prior to leaving.  Any exceptions that require access to buildings or offices post-closure will require the approval of your division leader. Please contact your manager or department head for further instructions.

What should I do if my child’s school closes? 
If the College is operating but schools are closed due to the virus, employees will need to find arrangements to care for their children. Employees may also use sick, or vacation days to receive pay during the time they must provide care for their family. Employees who have exhausted this time or who do not accrue sick or vacation time may take the necessary leave unpaid. 

Can I bring my child to work with me?  
As we attempt to limit the spread of the virus, please refrain from bringing children or family members to work. Contact your manager to address individual questions. 

If I contract the virus and do not have paid time off to cover my recuperation period, what should I do? 
Employees who contract the COVID-19 virus, will be compensated for their time off up to the date medically cleared by an authorized physician to return to work.  
Will my privacy be protected if I report that I am symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19?
The College respects the privacy of its employees. You should contact Benefits Services in Human Resources if you believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. If a person is affected or self identifies a having possible exposure to COVID-19, said individual must stay home for 14 days. Such individuals will be asked to identify employees who work in the same proximity (three to six feet). Employees working in close proximity to a symptomatic colleague will be asked to work from home for a 14 day period to ensure that the infection does not spread. The persons’ identities will be kept confidential as required by law. However, if an employee who self identifies a possibly having been exposed to the virus learns that they do not have COVID-19, the time off will be charged to their sick leave or leave without pay.

What happens if my illness is not COVID-19 related, but I am too ill to come to work?
In the event the illness is not COVID-19 related, staff should adhere to the regular sick leave policy found in the Employee Handbook available on the myspelman portal. Faculty should follow their normal practice for all other illness related absences.

What should I do if I am showing flu-like symptoms? 
Avoid direct interaction with coworkers and seek immediate health advice to determine if further medical evaluation is needed, and stay home until well. In the event the illness is not COVID-19 related, adhere to the regular sick leave policy or normal practice for all other illness related absences.

If I have Cigna medical insurance, is there a number I can call to talk to a doctor if I or a covered dependent experience symptoms?
Yes, there are two options: first you can call the Cigna Customer Care number on the back of your insurance card at 1-800-244-6224 or you may use the Telehealth Connection at 1-855-667-9722 or 1-888-726-3171.

What should I do if my coworker is exhibiting symptoms and continues to come to work? 
Limit contact with the individual, practice social distancing, and contact your manager, department head or Human Resources at extension 5092 or 5102.

If I am quarantined due to contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, can I still work remotely?  
Managers should make every effort to allow employees to work remotely if the position allows. Some work cannot be performed from home. However, those situations will be addressed by managers on a case-by-case basis. 

I am concerned about doing my job since I interact with a lot of people in my day-to-day role. What do you recommend?  
Follow the CDC guidelines for practicing good hygiene, which include the following steps: 

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
*If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and rub it in to hands for at least 30 seconds.
2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
4. Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue. 
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, particularly cell phones and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes. 
6. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases,
including COVID-19. 

I’m feeling really overwhelmed about COVID-19 and my personal health. It’s really impacting my work and my ability to do my job. Are there any resources you can recommend?
Spelman College provides a 24/7 employee assistance program (EAP) through Magellan with easy-to-use services to help with the everyday challenges of life, at no additional cost to employees. For more information, please visit or dial 1-800-523-5668. An additional help line has been set up by Cigna Health Insurance for all employees and their families who have Cigna to speak with a qualified clinician about how to cope with anxiety, stress, or other issues related to the impact of COVID-19. You may reach them at

How can I get the most up-to-date information about this situation? 
There are a number of resources related to COVID-19. Continue reading and  watching your local news sources, and visit the CDC website and the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website. Updates  related to Spelman can be accessed on Spelman's coronavirus updates page which can be found on

What plans does the College have in place to combat or limit the impact of COVID-19?  
The College's cross-functional Health Response Team (HRT), including the Atlanta University Center Consortium, continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 and is prepared to respond accordingly. We will continue to look to the CDC, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the World Health Organization and state governmental leadership for guidance. Detailed updates about the College’s efforts can be found on

Will the College be taking additional steps to sanitize the buildings, restrooms and offices? 
Housekeeping has increased its surface-cleaning procedures, and Facilities Management and Services has already installed hand-sanitizing stations throughout the campus. 

Will hand sanitizer be provided for employees? 

Hand-sanitizing stations have already been installed throughout the campus. Individual hand sanitizers are in very limited supply and will not be provided.

Will face masks be provided for employees? 
The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks for those who are asymptomatic for the virus. If employees wish to purchase face masks, they may do so without reimbursement from the College.

Are students, faculty and staff being asked to take any actions related to COVID-19?  
We ask that everyone continue to monitor COVID-19 for general awareness. If you feel ill, stay at home and seek medical attention. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not readily available. 

Is COVID-19 the same as the coronavirus?  
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, "CO" stands for "corona," "VI" for "virus," and "D" for "disease." Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV." 

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19? 
The following symptoms may appear within 14 days after exposure, and given that the symptoms listed below are similar to the flu, please contact your healthcare provider to confirm COVID-19 exposure. Symptoms may include:
1) Fever, 2) Cough or 3) Shortness of breath.

What should I do if a member of my household has traveled to a high-risk area or is showing symptoms of COVID-19?

Employees should inform Benefits Services in Human Resources at 404-270-5092 or 404-270-5102, or their manager by telephone or email if anyone in their household has traveled to areas with travel advisories for the coronavirus, as identified by the CDC or the US Department of State.

What should I do if I feel ill?  
Take your temperature, stay home if you feel ill and contact your healthcare provider. We ask that all employees take measures to protect themselves and others from getting sick. It is important that you wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds each time. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Additional guidance can be found on the CDC website.  

Who should I notify if I am showing signs or have been exposed to the virus? 
Take appropriate steps to care for yourself, and, most importantly, stay home and contact your healthcare provider. Let Benefits Services in Human Resources or your manager know that you believe you have been exposed. The College is following the direction of the CDC and will make recommendations according to the level of exposure and risk that you believe you have experienced.  

Best Regards,

Bernadette Cohen
Director, Office of Human Resources

Office of Human Resources
350 Spelman Lane Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4399
Office 404.270.5091 Fax 404.270.5099 I

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