3/13: COVID-19 Information for Employees


To: USC Employees

From: Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Date: March 13, 2020

Subject: COVID-19 Information for Employees

As the circumstances and known information about the coronavirus have advanced, so, too, have our efforts to ensure we have the proper iterative policies and practices in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees. Following up on the communications from President Folt and Provost Zukoski, below is additional information on the social distancing guidelines, including work from home options, which are being implemented, effective immediately.

Employee FAQ

This past Saturday, we posted an updated set of employee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Employee Gateway. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this situation, we have transitioned to providing all employee information in one location: a dedicated USC Coronavirus site. This site provides the most current, comprehensive updates on COVID-19 and is an informative resource for the entire USC community.

On Wednesday night, we released additional FAQ to the site. These can be found on the employee FAQ page (for questions only applicable to employees) and the main FAQ page (for questions applicable to the entire USC community). Many of the topics included came directly from your inquiries to the COVID-19 hotline, and we encourage you to continue to reach out by calling 213-740-6291 or emailing covid19@usc.edu.

Social Distancing Guidelines

As part of business continuity planning, every department and unit has identified positions that can work from home. For any position not previously identified as being able to work from home, we encourage flexibility to determine how to make this possible. More details about working from home are provided below.

Since USC provides a variety of services to our community, it is not possible for all work to be completed from home. For employees who must come into the office and require back-up child care, it is available through Bright Horizons® (username: USoCal | password: Benefits4You).

Additionally, we encourage social distancing efforts be implemented, including:

  • Maintaining distance from others of at least 6 feet.
  • Moving to conference calls or video conferencing.
    • Zoom is an external service that provides a platform for conducting online meetings or classes. Zoom’s capabilities include screen and document sharing, chat, and the ability to record meetings. You can create an account by visiting https://zoom.us. To access the ITS Zoom user guide, please click here.
  • When in-person meetings are necessary, holding meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Establishing flexible work schedules, where possible, to increase social distance.
  • Replacing handshaking with a wave or our victory sign.

In addition to practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently and covering coughs and sneezes, we also encourage you to be mindful of common areas that are shared amongst peers, stay home if you are sick, and limit food sharing.

Working from Home: March 16 – April 13

The work from home period will begin on Monday, March 16 and continue through Monday, April 13. As of now, any work from home employees should plan to return to the office on Tuesday, April 14. If this changes, we will let you know immediately.

Supervisors should work with their HR Partner to develop a consistent and coordinated approach across their department. We ask that supervisors begin making work from home arrangements for their employees, and in partnership with their HR Partner, immediately to facilitate employees’ ability to work from home as of Monday, March 16.

Your HR Partners are equipped to best serve you with a set of guidelines that inform a consistent university response. Please contact them with any questions you have about this or about how COVID-19 may impact you personally (e.g., requesting a work accommodation).

As a reminder, the university is allowing two weeks (10 days) of paid administrative leave for those staff and student workers whose work cannot be performed from home.

Additional Information

We will continue to address pressing employee questions and consistently update the employee FAQsection of the USC Coronavirus site.

We understand the disruptive nature of COVID-19 on emotional and mental wellbeing and want to ensure you are aware of the resources available to you. In addition to the Center for Work and Family Life (213-821-0800 or cwfl@usc.edu), employees enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPO and USC PPO plans can access Lyra Health Therapy to address emotional well-being and daily living concerns.

You have done a tremendous job of continuing to serve the mission of USC, truly living our “fight on!” spirit during this time of uncertainty. We thank you for this and we greatly appreciate your continued commitment to the health and safety of the entire USC community.