COVID-19 FAQ's

Office of Risk Management and Benefits

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Hello Edgewood ISD family! This newsletter has been created to give employees immediate access to frequently asked questions as they relate to COVID-19 and the workplace. If you have questions, please review the list of FAQ's, as it is updated weekly. If you have a question that is not addressed, please feel free to email the Office of Risk Management and Benefits at RiskManagement@eisd.net. Thank you!

COVID-19 FAQ's

COVID-19 Background

What is the “COVID-19” The 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly

contagious respiratory illness caused by “severe acute respiratory syndrome

Coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”) that spreads from person-to-person.


How is COVID-19 spread? Current research indicates COVID-19 mainly spreads

person-to-person via respiratory droplets that are inhaled after an infected person

coughs, sneezes, or talks. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with

one another (within about 6 feet). COVID-19 may also spread when a person touches

a contaminated surface or object and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth or in

other ways.


How can I help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19?

Wear face masks and/or cloth facial coverings and face shields. Wash your hands

frequently with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not

available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol. Avoid

close contact with people who are sick. Take simple measures to ensure cough and

sneeze etiquette: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your

hands) when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with

your hands. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in your workspace and

doorknobs. If you are sick, stay home and seek medical attention. If you have

symptoms of COVID-19, please ask to be tested for the virus.


What are the symptoms? COVID-19 symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, sore

throat, fatigue, shaking, muscle or body aches, new loss of smell or taste, headache,

shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting,

COVID-19 Testing

I tested positive for COVID-19. Can I report to work? Absolutely not. Any

employee who reports to work knowing that he or she has received a positive diagnosis

for COVID-19 will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Please see Question 8 below for the protocol on when you may return to work.


I tested positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms. May I return to work?

No. Please see Question 8 below for the protocol on when you may return to work.


Should I report my positive COVID-19 diagnosis to my supervisor? Yes, you

are required to immediately report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis to your supervisor.

This report will be maintained confidentially. Failure to report a positive COVID-19

diagnosis to your supervisor will lead to disciplinary action, up to and including

termination.


When can I return to work if I have tested positive for COVID-19? You will not be able to return to work until you satisfy all of the following criteria: (1) At least 24 hours have passed since you have not had any fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines; (2) your symptoms have improved; (3) at least 10 days have passed since you first had symptoms; and (4) you have been cleared to return to work from a local health authority, physician or local health care provider. The Office of Risk Management will provide further guidance.



What if I am feeling sick but not sure if I have coronavirus? If you have any of

the above listed symptoms, you are required to notify your supervisor and stay home.

You are entitled to leave in accordance with District policy and applicable law, as

explained below.


What are the consequences for failing to report a positive COVID-19

diagnosis or “close contact”? Employees who fail to report a positive COVID-19

diagnosis or “close contact” may be subject to disciplinary action, including

termination.


Will the District pay for my COVID-19 test(s)? No. The District will not reimburse you for a COVID-19 test that you take on your own or as a result of following these procedures. However, the District’s health insurance plan covers the costs for COVID-19 tests. Please contact the Office of Risk Management and Benefits for insurance coverage questions.

COVID-19 Close Contact

What does “close contact” with the affected person mean? You are considered

to have “close contact” with the affected person if: (1) if the person coughed or sneezed

on you; or (2) or you were within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more.


I received a notice that another employee at my worksite tested positive.

What do I need to do? If you had “close contact” with the affected person you will

be required to quarantine (stay home) for a period of 14 days and monitor your

symptoms. You must report this contact to your supervisor immediately. Further, you

will be directed to take a COVID-19 test and must test negative for COVID-19 before

being allowed to return to work. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be required

to follow the protocol described in Question 8 above.


A person I was in close contact with outside of my worksite tested positive.

What do I need to do? If you had “close contact” with the affected person you will

be required to quarantine (stay home) for a period of 14 days and monitor your

symptoms. You must report this contact to your supervisor immediately. Further, you

will be directed to take a COVID-19 test and must test negative for COVID-19 before

being allowed to return to work. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be required

to follow the protocol described in Question 8 above.


I was told by the Health Department (or physician, healthy authority, other

health care provider, or Office of Risk Management and Benefits) that I have to quarantine. I feel great. Can I work from home? The Office of Risk Management and Benefits and your supervisor will provide you additional information regarding teleworking options, if any are available for your position.

COVID-19 and Pay

I tested positive for COVID-19 and I don’t have enough sick leave to cover

the 14 days. How will I be paid? Congress recently passed the Emergency Paid

Sick Leave Act (EPSL) allowing workers to receive up to 80 hours of pay for a onetime

use under certain conditions.


I tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been cleared to return to work

after 14 days. How will I be paid? In addition to the 80 hours of pay under the

EPSL, you may use your accrued state and local leave.


I tested positive for COVID-19, have not yet been cleared to return to work

after 14 days, and I am out of accrued state and local leave. How will I be

paid? There is no paid leave available to you. However, there may be unpaid leave

available to you, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Temporary Disability

Leave. Both FMLA and TDL leave require you to submit documentation. Please

contact the Office of Risk Management and Benefits for more information.


The District or a health care provider (e.g., Health Department, local health authority, physician) has ordered me to quarantine due to close contact. Will I be paid? Congress recently passed the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL) allowing workers to receive up to 80 hours of pay for a one-time use under certain conditions.


I was forced to quarantine due to close contact. I now tested positive for

COVID-19. Will I be paid? In addition to the 80 hours of pay under the EPSL, you

may use your accrued state and local leave.


I self-quarantined without a health care provider’s or the District’s approval

because I think I was in close contact with an individual at school who tested

positive for COVID-19. Will I be paid? No. Unilateral self-quarantining without a

directive from the Office of Risk Management and Benefits or a health care provider is a violation of District policy and does not entitle you to pay. It will also lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


I self-quarantined because I care for family members who have underlying

health conditions and I am worried for their health. Will I be paid? No.

COVID-19 and Accommodations/FMLA

What if I am at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, are there any

accommodations? The District may be able to offer reasonable accommodations that

could offer protection to an individual whose disability puts them at greater risk from

COVID-19. If you wish to request accommodations, please contact the Office of Risk Management to complete the required accommodation request forms.


What types of accommodations are available under the Americans with

Disabilities Act? Accommodations may include changes to the work environment

such as designating one-way aisles; using plexiglass, tables, or other barriers to

ensure minimum distances between visitors and coworkers as feasible; or other

accommodations that may reduce chances of exposure to COVID-19.


May the District request information about why I am asking for an

accommodation? Yes, the District may ask you questions or request medical

documentation to make its determination.


What type of questions may the District ask regarding an employee’s request

for accommodation? Questions may include: (1) how the disability creates a

limitation, (2) how the requested accommodation will effectively address the

limitation, (3) whether another form of accommodation could effectively address the

issue, and (4) how a proposed accommodation will enable the employee to continue

performing the "essential functions" of his position (that is, the fundamental job

duties).


Am I entitled to an accommodation under the ADA in order to avoid exposing

a household member who is at high-risk of severe illness from COVID-10 due

to an underlying health condition? No. Under the ADA, only the disability-related

needs of the employee are considered.


I have a serious health condition that requires treatment and I am scared of

getting COVID-19 at work. Can I stay home? No. Failure to report to work will

subject you to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. However, if you

suffer from a serious health condition, you may qualify for FMLA if you meet the

FMLA eligibility requirements. Please contact the Office Risk Management and Benefits for more information on requesting FMLA.

COVID-19 and Telework

I tested positive for COVID-19, or had close contact with a positive

individual, and was ordered to quarantine as a result. May I telework while

quarantined? If your position allows it, you may be allowed to telework, but it will

not be required. Not all positions will allow for telework. Please contact your

supervisor and the Office of Risk Management and Benefits for more information on whether you may be allowed to telework. An employee who teleworks is not eligible for EPSL.


If I am teleworking while quarantined, will I still be using accrued leave or

EPSL while in quarantine? No. Employees whose position enables teleworking as

an option will not be charged leave while teleworking during a mandated quarantine.

Paid leave may be available to you in accordance with the EPSL and District policy

depending on your circumstances.


I feel I can telework, and I am scared of going to school because of my

underlying health condition. Can I telework instead of reporting to work?

No. If you need to request an accommodation due to your disability, please see the

Section above entitled “COVID-19 and Accommodations” for more information.


I feel I can telework, and I am scared of going to school because of my

household member’s underlying health condition. Can I telework instead of

reporting to work? No. Further, any accommodations under the ADA are only

available for your disability, not the disability of a family member. Failure to report

to work will subject you to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

COVID-19 and FFCRA for Childcare

I am a classroom teacher and I have a 7th grade child that needs to be cared for due to school closure. Do I qualify for FFCRA benefits since EISD is offering the Employee Support Service (to care for children K-5)? Yes, you do qualify for benefits since the district is only providing services through the 5th grade.


If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, do I get paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both—how do they interact? You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of twelve weeks of paid leave. You may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave. This period thus covers the first ten workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use existing vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave under your employer’s policy. After the first ten workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.


Please note that you can only receive the additional ten weeks of expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act for leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.



Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA.


However, if your employer was covered by the FMLA prior to April 1, 2020, your eligibility for expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period that your employer uses for FMLA leave. You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period determined by your employer, you may take the remaining portion of leave available. If you have already taken 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during this 12-month period, you may not take additional expanded family and medical leave.

For example, assume you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and took two weeks of such leave in January 2020 to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure. You therefore have 10 weeks of FMLA leave remaining. Because expanded family and medical leave is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take up to 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, rather than 12 weeks. And any expanded family and medical leave you take would count against your entitlement to preexisting FMLA leave.

If your employer only becomes covered under the FMLA on April 1, 2020, this analysis does not apply.



May I take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?


It depends. You may take a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. If you take some, but not all 12, workweeks of your expanded family and medical leave by December 31, 2020, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, as long as the total time taken does not exceed 12 workweeks in the 12-month period. Please note that expanded family and medical leave is available only until December 31, 2020; after that, you may only take FMLA leave.

For example, assume you take four weeks of Expanded Family and Medical Leave in April 2020 to care for your child whose school is closed due to a COVID-19 related reason. These four weeks count against your entitlement to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. If you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and need to take such leave in August 2020 because you need surgery, you would be entitled to take up to eight weeks of FMLA leave. However, you are entitled to paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA. Paid sick leave is not a form of FMLA leave and therefore does not count toward the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period cap. But please note that if you take paid sick leave concurrently with the first two weeks of expanded family and medical leave, which may otherwise be unpaid, then those two weeks do count towards the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period.


If I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, does that count against other types of paid sick leave to which I am entitled under State or local law, or my employer’s policy?


No. Paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to other leave provided under Federal, State, or local law; an applicable collective bargaining agreement; or your employer’s existing company policy.


May I use paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave together for any COVID-19 related reasons?


No. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act applies only when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. However, you can take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for numerous other reasons.

COVID-19 and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) Coverage for Members

With a BCBSTX health plan, you have easy access to care for COVID-19 related health issues:


  • Testing: Lab tests to diagnose COVID-19 are covered at no cost share.

  • Testing-Related Visits: Visits to get COVID-19 testing are covered at no cost to you at in-network clinics and facilities.

  • Treatment: Most BCBSTX members won’t pay for COVID-19 treatment at a network facility or any emergency facility (ER).