Employee Related Information

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Updated: June 22, 2020 4:00 p.m.

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Previous updates are in blue.

LSU AgCenter Guidelines on COVID-19

The following guidelines and recommendations are in effect until further notice by the Vice President for Agriculture.

We are following the directives from the LSU President, all in person meetings and events are limited to those that are essential to our mission.Meetings are not to exceed 25 people in attendance, social distancing should be practiced, proper hand washing or use of hand-sanitizer should be utilized, and face coverings are recommended in accordance with guidelines.. This does not include events being held through video conferencing. Please continue to use available video and audio technology to allow for continuity of necessary group meetings.

Additional notifications regarding timelines for closures, cancellations and additional actions will be provided as soon as we receive updates.

All university-sponsored travel requires approval prior to travel from the Office of the Vice President for Agriculture.

All faculty and staff should be aware of travel advisories and guidelines at the time of and during travel.

International travel by state employees has been terminated through Executive Order by Governor John Bel Edwards.

Any person with domestic or international travel plans could be subject to additional guidelines or restrictions in the future. Additionally, there is the possibility of self-isolation or quarantine, at a final destination or upon return, depending on guidelines in effect at the time of travel.

These guidelines apply to travel regardless of method of transportation (commercial travel, state vehicle or personal vehicle).

  1. Domestic Travel
    All domestic travel for official business is suspended.
    • All domestic travel will require approval by the Commissioner of Administration.
    • All faculty and staff should be aware of travel advisories and guidelines at the time of and during travel.
  2. International Travel by Faculty and Staff
    • All international travel for business by faculty and staff is prohibited.
    • For the latest travel advisories, visit the U.S. Department of State Web Site at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
    • Faculty or staff members with existing international travel should wait until 15 days prior to the scheduled departure to cancel. There is not a timeframe established for the length of the prohibition on international travel.
    • Faculty and staff scheduled to attend an international conference should review cancellation clauses to determine timeline for cancellation notification for the reimbursement of any fees that have already been paid. If the conference requires notice of cancellation more than 15 days in advance in order to receive a refund, please cancel accordingly. This includes any associated airfare.
    • Any person with domestic or international travel plans could be subject to additional guidelines or restrictions in the future. Additionally, there is the possibility of self-isolation or quarantine, at a final destination or upon return, depending on guidelines in effect at the time of travel.
    • Students, faculty, and staff who are returning from international travels from any country are prohibited from returning to any and all university campuses, facilities, and activities during a 14-day period from the date of departure from that country, and may not return to campus unless they are asymptomatic for that period. As required by the Presidential Directive addendum to PM-13, employees and students must present a release to return to work from their personal physician or the Student Health Center.
    • All faculty and staff should be aware of travel advisories and guidelines at the time of and during travel.
  3. Personal Travel and Household Member Travel
    • Travel to cities and countries where the COVID-19 virus is spreading is not recommended. If you do travel to an international destination, LSU has implemented a requirement that you can only return to a university campus, facility or activity after 14 days from the date of departure from that country and if you have no symptoms. You should also make every attempt to return with enough lead time to self-isolate prior to when your university responsibilities begin.
    • Faculty and staff are required to notify their supervisor 48 hours prior to travel and immediately upon return to the United States. Self-isolation regulations will be enforced (Governor Proclamation 25 JBE 2020).
    • Faculty and staff with household members who intend to or have traveled to areas designated as Level 2 or above will be required to notify their supervisor and human resources 48 hours prior to travel and the anticipated return date of the family member, as well as, notification immediately upon their actual return to the United States (Governor Proclamation 25 JBE 2020).
    • All faculty and staff are required to notify their supervisor and human resources if the employee or household member develops symptoms associated with COVID-19 (Governor Proclamation 25 JBE 2020).
    • Any person with domestic or international travel plans could be subject to additional guidelines or restrictions in the future. Additionally, there is the possibility of self-isolation or quarantine, at a final destination or upon return, depending on guidelines in effect at the time of travel.
    • All faculty and staff should be aware of travel status and regulations at the time of travel.
    • Self-isolation regulations will be enforced if symptoms are present.
  4. Study Abroad
    All international study abroad experiences going forward are canceled through August 17, 2020. Academic Programs Abroad (APA) is working with the Bursar’s office to reimburse students for fees they have already paid. If faculty members or students have purchased airline tickets, they should contact APA for instructions about reimbursement.
  5. Employee Responsibilities Related to COVID-19
    • Any faculty or staff member who comes in contact with a person that is suspected of or has tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 14 days and is not permitted to return to work during that period.
    • Any faculty or staff member with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must seek medical attention.
    • Any faculty or staff member with a household member that shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days.
    • A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 may only return to work with a doctor’s release.
    • Faculty and staff who are eligible for telecommuting must have a Telecommuting Agreement from their supervisor and maintain records of duties/work performed.
    • LSU System is recommending telecommuting the LSU A&M campus to “non-essential” employees. Faculty and Staff should work with their supervisor to determine who is essential and eligible for telecommuting.
  6. Research Projects Requiring International Travel
    • Anyone participating in research projects or collaborative initiatives internationally contact the Office of the Vice President for Agriculture to discuss opportunities for continuity of programs. International travel will not be approved, but other solutions may be available.
  7. Parish Offices, Research Stations and all other AgCenter Facilities

*All offices are closed to visitors.

  • On-Campus Buildings/Facilities- Only faculty and staff requested and approved for return should report to campus. Academic departments on campus are re-opening with a building occupation less than 50%. All personnel that can work remotely should continue to do so until further instructed to return. For shared buildings, the total occupation cannot exceed 50%. Department heads in shared buildings should coordinate with other departments to ensure they do not exceed the maximum occupancy.
  • Parish Extension Offices- Parish governments have and will continue to open over the next few weeks.Employees domiciled at parish offices should remain in remote work status and only make brief visits for necessary materials and items where permitted. Any employee that is unable to work remotely may be approved by their Parish Chair to return to the office. Occupancy of the office is not to exceed 50% of personnel authorized to work from a specific location. Parish offices are closed to visitors until further notice. Please continue to work with our clientele virtually; all travel should be limited to that which is deemed essential.
  • o Research Stations and Other AgCenter Facilities- In coordination with the Regional Directors and Program Leaders research stations were opened statewide effective Monday, May 4, 2020. Only faculty and staff deemed essential by their Regional Director or Station Coordinator should physically report to their station. All other personnel should continue to work remotely with the necessary paperwork completed for remote work status. For locations that require the return of faculty and staff, occupancy shall not exceed 50% of that location. The operations and functions being performed on these stations are critical to the continuity of our research programs and the sustainability of the Agricultural industries.

*Special leave for office closure for classified employees expired once your office opened. All AgCenter offices were open by May 18, 2020. After this date, any Civil Service employee that cannot return or complete their duties remotely will be required to take their personal leave unless they qualify for new leave provisions established by the FFCRA.

*Please contact Human Resources Management if there are any extenuating circumstances or hardships for employees such as personal or family illness or daycare closures. Federal guidelines may make provisions for special leave in these cases.

8. SCHEDULING/STAFFING LEVELS

As different offices re-open their physical locations, some employees may begin to return while others continue to work remotely.Each Unit Head will work with their faculty and staff to determine how and when individual employees should return.Until directed otherwise, Unit Heads should:

  • Create schedules to ensure that maximum allowed occupancy is not exceeded. At no point should staffing level exceed 50%.
  • Continue to limit the number of staff present at the location as much as possible.
  • Keeping offices closed to the public or only meeting with limited external visitors by appointment.
  • Ensure that employees can maintain the necessary amount of social distance from others while in the office.

Options for Unit Heads to consider during this time would be returning a fraction of the regular staff and/or allowing staff to work in shifts such as every other day.Priority of returning to the office should be given to personnel that cannot work remotely. Employees that can work remotely should continue to do so.Unit Heads should be flexible in implementing return programs depending on the location’s needs and population, as well as, the needs/issues of individual employees.

All personnel that are working remotely should have necessary paperwork submitted. This includes the telecommuting agreement and property assignment form.

ATTENDANCE AND LEAVE USAGE

Although most faculty and staff are anxious to return to their regular routine, many may have impediments that affect their ability to return.From a facility’s re-opening date, department heads and regional directors should make every effort to accommodate the issues that returning to work may present for their employees. If an employee does not return in the manner requested and cannot work remotely, be sure to contact Denise Fontenot or Rebecca Smelley in HRM for guidance on appropriate leave usage.

Different leave usage rules will apply depending on the reason for the employee’s inability to return. Some of the issues expected to affect an employee’s ability to return may be:

  • Unable to return due to personal illness or exposure,
  • Unable to return due to sick member of household,
  • Unable to return due to childcare issues, or
  • Uncomfortable with return due to personal safety concerns.

High risk individuals may request and should be afforded alternative work arrangements such as continuing to work remotely, if possible.Based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

People of all ages with the underlying medical conditions listed below, particularly if not well controlled, are also at a high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 including:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

SCREENING & MINIMIZING RISK

One of the most important methods for controlling the spread of the virus is to stay home when you are sick or not feeling well.Employees and visitors may be asked if they have experienced any of the symptoms specified by the CDC associated with the virus and/or if they have a fever.Where necessary, the AgCenter may begin checking the temperature of employees or visitors accessing our facilities.If someone is experiencing symptoms and/or has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be instructed to immediately leave the facility.Everyone should be diligent regarding their own health and not attempt to access AgCenter facilities if they or a household member have symptoms consistent with the CDC checklist.

The CDC’s symptom checklist for employers currently includes:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell

Each facility should post the following information where easily visible to employees and visitors:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/download...

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/download...

AgCenter Social Distancing Flyer

Stop – Do Not Enter if Experiencing Symptoms

AgCenter COVID-19 Safety Rules Addendum

SAFETY

In addition to normal safety rules and to promote the cleanest environment possible for our faculty, staff and guests, all facilities of the AgCenter must follow the safety guidelines below.

  • Hand sanitizer must be made available at all exterior entrances in use along with no-touch trash containers.
  • All commonly touched surfaces must be cleaned with disinfectant wipes no less than three times per day.This includes but is not limited to door handles, knobs, desktops, keyboards, elevator buttons, etc.
  • All common areas such as kitchens and break rooms should be closed to prevent people from gathering in close proximity to each other.Employees should use refrigerators or microwaves as needed then leave the area.
  • Employees should not gather in conference rooms unless there is appropriate space and numbers to practice social distancing.
  • Employees should refrain from using each other’s equipment such as telephones and keyboards.Tools or equipment that are shared must be sanitized between each use to ensure it is clean for the next user.
  • Employees and visitors are encouraged to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Employees should practice appropriate cough etiquette and refrain from shaking hands.
  • Employees should wear paper or cloth face masks when in common areas of the workplace.All employees should bring their own personal face masks (disposable or washable) for use.Disposable masks should be discarded appropriately and washable masks should be sanitized daily.

SUPPLIES

The AgCenter is committed to providing each facility the necessary supplies to implement the steps outlined in this plan.Below is a list of items that will be provided.

  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes

SECOND WAVE CONCERNS

As stated above, if the infection rates begin to increase following the re-opening, faculty and staff should be prepared and expect closures and remote working.

QUESTIONS

Questions on this procedure should be directed to your supervisor or Department Head/Regional Director.Questions may also be emailed to Ashley Gautreaux in Human Resource Management.

9. In-State Meetings and Events

  • Statewide travel by faculty and staff is prohibited without prior authorization from the appropriate Program Leader or Regional Director. This includes but is not limited to the following: agent meetings with clients, subject matter specialists and researchers traveling in the state on official business, and other direct contact meetings unless prior approval is obtained.
  • Faculty and their assigned staff members conducting research are authorized to travel to maintain necessary research functions at research stations and off-station research sites, existing and planned.
  • Only travel that is absolutely essential and time critical will be considered for approval.
  • Please use available technology for communicating with and serving our clients remotely.
  • Microsoft Teams can be utilized for larger meetings and events statewide (Training available online).
  • Meetings with out-of-state attendees and participants should be conducted by video conference.
  • Special consideration may be given upon request for events exceeding the currently established attendee threshold. Request for exceptions should be approved in writing by the Vice President for Agriculture.

10. 4-H / FFA / Youth Development Initiatives

  • All parish extension offices are closed to visitors.
  • Louisiana FFA events are now postponed until further notice.
  • All face-to-face 4-H multi-parish, regional and state 4-H youth development programs are suspended.
  • 4-H University scheduled for June 23-26, 2020 will not be face to face but looking at virtual opportunities.
  • All Grant Walker 4-H Educational Camps (Parish and LOST) – Canceled
  • 4-H Day at the Capitol – Canceled
  • Lunch at the Governor’s Mansion (Leadership Boards) - Canceled
  • District/Regional Horse Shows – Canceled (state show, if allowed, will not have qualifying requirements.)
  • Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame – rescheduled for October 10, 2020
  • 4-H University – Transitioning to virtual format and will provide as many contests as possible.
  • National 4-H Shooting Sports Contest – Canceled on April 2nd by national committee
  • All Marsh Maneuvers Camps – Canceled
  • 4-H Fashion Board New York Trip – rescheduled to July 2021

11. Contacts:

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture

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