Managing Illness or Potential Exposure to COVID-19

In the FAQ below, Middlebury employees, managers, and supervisors can find information about how to manage COVID-related paid leave options as well as guidance for illness, exposure, quarantine, and isolation. 

Returning to Work after COVID-19 Illness or Exposure

All employees will need to provide a release from their healthcare provider prior to returning to the workplace. Such a release should reflect the guidance of public health officials at the time.

Childcare or School Closures

Individuals who are experiencing challenges balancing work with caring for children in the event of school closures are encouraged to speak with their supervisors about possible adjustments, such as flexible schedules, changes in shifts, telework arrangements, or time away from work. Human Resources is available to assist with considering the options.

Middlebury Policies and Practices

This Human Resources web page: contains information to help support employees dealing with the effects of COVID-19, including free online training classes on relevant topics at the bottom of this page.

External Resources 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/ 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): https://www.osha.gov/ 

Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA): https://labor.vermont.gov/vermont-occupational-safety-and-health-administration-vosh 

Vermont Department of Health (VTDOH): https://www.healthvermont.gov/ 

Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development (ACCD): https://accd.vermont.gov/ 

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)
https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/ 

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/ 

California Statewide COVID-19 Information
https://covid19.ca.gov/

COVID-19 Paid Leave Guidance FAQs

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No, as we shifted into fall operations, we had more certainty about work. All departments and individuals were expected to be fully engaged in the fall. The COVID-19 pay bank has been replaced with a COVID-19 leave plan, and we have moved our focus to supporting the health and safety of our campuses, with more limited emphasis on wage continuity.

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All staff (regardless of benefit eligibility) are eligible for paid leave in the following circumstances if unable to perform their work remotely:

  • The individual tests positive for COVID-19 and is instructed to isolate;
  • The individual is asked to quarantine by the state Department of Health or Middlebury as a result of contact tracing;
  • The individual or a member of the individual’s household or an intimate partner is sick with COVID-related symptoms (up to seven calendar days).
  • An employee requires time away from work to receive a COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • An employee requires time away from work to recover from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

All other leaves or absences will follow our normal processes for Combined Time Off (CTO), Sick Leave Reserve (SLR), Vermont Earned Sick Time (VEST), Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA), Short-Term Disability (STD), personal leaves of absence, and worker’s compensation. For example: If you travel for leisure and must quarantine when you are scheduled to work before or after the winter break, you would have to use CTO.

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Yes. As access to the COVID-19 vaccine increases in the United States, the use of the COVID-19 leave plan has been expanded to allow for paid time away for individuals to receive a vaccination or recover from any potential side effects of the vaccine. All staff (regardless of benefit eligibility) are eligible to use this leave plan if unable to perform work remotely. Supervisors are encouraged to demonstrate flexibility if staff are unable to schedule vaccinations outside of normal work hours. Staff and their supervisors should work together to coordinate any time away from work and ensure coverage of operational needs. As a reminder, all employees should continue to conduct daily health checks before reporting to in-person work.

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All employees are required to complete a daily health check before coming to campus. If you are sick, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider for guidance. If your provider recommends that you be tested for COVID-19, notify your supervisor and remain home until the test results are received and you are given further instructions. If the results are negative, or if your healthcare provider does not recommend a test, follow your healthcare provider’s guidance as to when you can safely return to work.

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Individuals are encouraged to contact their healthcare providers for guidance if experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Specific diagnoses or guidance from the healthcare provider will determine the applicability of other leave options beyond seven days. After three days, any individual who is ill must contact Patty Saunders, our benefits specialist for disability and leave, at patricia@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5338 to discuss Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave options.

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If you test positive for COVID-19, you will get a call from the Health Department (and also from the College should the result be obtained through our Targeted Dynamic Testing efforts). A trained public health worker, called a contact tracer, will give you guidance to stay home and away from other people until you recover. This stops the virus from spreading to other people. They will answer any questions you may have and see if you need help getting resources to isolate at home. They will ask you questions about your symptoms, activities, and who you may have come into contact with during a specific period of time. This information is only used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Based on your answers, the contact tracer will help you identify any close contacts. Generally, these are people you were within six feet of, for at least 15 minutes, during the time you were infectious (contagious). Those people may have been exposed to the virus, which means they have a greater chance of getting it themselves, and then of spreading it to others. Close contacts identified through contact tracing will be asked to quarantine by the Health Department. For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health website.

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Employees should consult with their healthcare providers for guidance. A written release to return to work, submitted to Human Resources, will be required.

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If a member of your household or an intimate partner is ill and their healthcare provider has recommended that they be tested for COVID-19, please remain home until the test results are received. If the test results are positive, the Department of Health will initiate contact tracing and provide specific guidance to individuals whom are deemed to be “close contacts.” If the test results are negative, and you are not demonstrating symptoms, you may report to work. Similarly, if the individual’s healthcare provider does not recommend a test for the individual, and you are not demonstrating symptoms, you may report to work. Generally, if the family member is not a member of your household or an intimate partner, no further precautions are necessary unless you receive specific instructions from the Department of Health as a result of contact tracing. If at any time you begin to demonstrate COVID-like symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for specific guidance.

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If you are identified as a close contact, a contact tracer from the Department of Health will call you and tell you the date when you may have been exposed. They will give you guidance to quarantine at home and stay away from others for a certain amount of time. They will ask you to watch for symptoms and ask if you need any help while staying home. For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health website.

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Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

These Vermont Department of Health information sheets provide helpful information on isolation and quarantine:

https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/COVID-19-chart-observation-isolation-quarantine_final.pdf.

https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/COVID-19_What-to-do-if-you-are-a-close-contact-of-someone-with-COVID-19_final.pdf

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All other leaves or absences will follow our normal processes for Combined Time Off (CTO), Sick Leave Reserve (SLR), Vermont Earned Sick Time (VEST), Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA), Short-Term Disability (STD), personal leaves of absence, and worker’s compensation.

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We are working with departments and supervisors to provide as much flexibility as possible to help with childcare and school issues. In instances where this is not possible, the use of CTO or other personal leave may be explored.

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No. The use of paid COVID-19 leave can begin immediately for any of the applicable scenarios outlined above.

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Yes. The COVID-19 leave can be used for any of the applicable scenarios outlined above, as needed.

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COVID-19 leave is managed through the Oracle Absence module. Benefits-eligible employees will request the time as one would request CTO or SLR. Employees who are not eligible for benefits will notify their supervisors, who will manage the absences on behalf of the individual. The Oracle HCM reference guide for managing absences can be found here.

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No. Paid leave is available to any staff member who has been instructed by state Department of Health officials to quarantine due to any type of exposure as a result of contact tracing.

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Employees will be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits if one becomes ill with COVID-19 and it is determined that the virus was contracted as a result of our workplace at Middlebury.