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Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions for Staff

*Please note that we will update this page as more information become available. Please visit USC’s COVID-19 Resource Center for the university’s latest updates.

Q1. Are all staff required to work onsite once the school reopens?

No. We need to minimize the number of staff working onsite during the fall semester to only the number and functional areas that are required to support our HighFlex/HyFlex class modality being offered. Senior leadership of each of the staff functional areas will determine what onsite roles are required in order to support this activity and will communicate to their respective teams what positions will be required onsite. Nevertheless, our school will maintain a level of caution and care to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, and the university will continue to follow public health guidance.  Given the fluid circumstances we are all operating in, the school is working to determine the levels at which certain functions will be required to work onsite as part of the school’s business continuity planning.

Q2.Will face masks and hand sanitizers be available for staff working on campus and at City Center?

Hand sanitizer stations will be located at SWC, MRF, and City Center. Students, staff, and faculty will be required to bring their own personal face coverings and will be required to complete the ‘Health, Hygiene and Safety Training’ module on TrojanLearn. For more information about the university’s guidelines on health and safety, please visit the university's EH&S Resource Center. We also recommend visiting the university's Return Checklist

Q4 I am in a high-risk population and believe my work should be accommodated. What do I do?

For employees who fall within the high-risk population definition and wish to request an accommodation, USC will follow public health recommendations and work to provide temporary accommodations to the maximum extent feasible.

For those who have a disability but have no higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19, USC will continue to follow the well-established disability accommodation processes.

Concerned employees should reach out to their supervisors and HR partners for support.


Q5. . If California issues another stay-at-home order, will office phone numbers be transferred to mobile phone lines?

ITS can assist employees with setting up calls to either appear as email texts, or calls can be forwarded to their mobile devices. Employees can also set up voice messaging to indicate that they are available via email. This should include office hours and work days. When out on vacation or sick, the messaging should indicate their absence, similar to setting up an email auto-response.

Q6. If I am working from home and have technical issues with my computer or have trouble accessing my voicemail, who do I contact?

For computer issues, please contact SOWK IT support by submitting a support request

For voicemail issues, contact ITS at 213 740 5555.

Q7. If students ask to meet with us, are we required to meet with them in person, or are we allowed to meet with them via Zoom?

The school recommends conducting meetings virtually when possible. The decision to meet in-person vs online through Zoom should be determined by public health guidelines.

Q8. Will staff need to take their own temperatures before reporting to work each day?

No. It’s important to note that before coming to campus, faculty, students, and staff must take the mandatory ‘Health, Hygiene and Safety Training’ module in TrojanLearn (requires flash-compatible browser). This will help our community better understand the health and hygiene requirements for returning to campus, and why it’s important for us to be aware of how the virus spreads.

Students, faculty, and staff will not be able to complete Trojan Check, which is the daily wellness assessment, without completing the training module first. Within one hour of completing the training module, they will have access to Trojan Check.

Prior to coming to campus each day, they will be required to take their wellness assessment via Trojan Check where they will affirm that they have not recently been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, and that they are not currently experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Once they have completed Trojan Check, they will be allowed to make a reservation to come to campus. At the end of the process, students, faculty, and staff will receive an access pass with a QR code to enter the campus or their specific building. You can learn more about coming back to campus by visiting the university’s return checklist.

Q9. Will the school be able to provide ergonomic support to make working from home more comfortable?

Yes. To begin the process, employees will need to complete an Ergonomic Assessment, located on the USC Environment Health & Safety website. Through the assessment process, the University will determine what, if any, ergonomic support is needed.

Q10. While I’m working from home, are there specific work hours that I am required to work?

Core Hours: The school’s core hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Employees that provide service to students, faculty, and staff may be expected to work outside of the school’s core hours depending on unique circumstances and tasks that are essential to the school’s operations, and these tasks will be assigned by the employee’s supervisor.

Should an employee need to have their work hours changed, the employee is required to have a conversation with their supervisor. Once approval from the employee’s supervisor is received, the employee and their supervisor will need to inform the school’s HR department so that official documentation of the change in work hours can be initiated.

Q11. What is the best way to track overtime while working remotely?

Non-exempt employees must comply with rest and meal break requirements. Overtime by non-exempt employees must be pre-approved by the employee’s supervisor. Overtime, once approved by the supervisor, should be entered into Workday. The employee’s supervisor is held accountable for review and approval of employee’s time sheets in Workday.

Q14. I have children in school and need to juggle their education with work. Can the school accommodate my schedule and provide some flexibility with my hours and working onsite vs. offsite?

Employees in this situation can stay home to care for their child(ren) and use accrued time off.  Additionally, employees are permitted to use up to 40 hours of protected time off per the university’s Unpaid School Activities leave policy, which allows use of paid vacation time. The Unpaid Personal leave policy may also be applicable. Should there be additional questions that are personal to this policy, please make an appointment with the school’s HR department.

For employees considering child care, USC offers access to high-quality child care options.

Q15. I am sick and staying home. Do I need to provide a doctor’s note?

Onsite employees who are required to self-isolate due to exposure to a person who is COVID positive, having symptoms of COVID-19, or diagnosed with COVID-19, are required to provide a return to work note prior to returning to campus.

For all other illnesses, no, employees are not required to provide a doctor’s note. However, employees must notify their supervisor and enter sick time. If the employee does not have sick hours available, they can use other accrued paid time off hours or unpaid time off.

Q16. How can I protect myself against illness, including COVID-19?

There are many preventive actions you and your loved ones can take to protect yourselves against illness. Below are some everyday actions we can take to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands frequently and for more than 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or you elbow.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with those who are sick.

For additional information on how to prevent respiratory diseases, visit the CDC’s website. The CDC has also provided information on how to protect yourself and your family that you might find useful.

Note on Caregiving:  if an employee is unable to work because the employee is caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), the employee can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.