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Work-related Topics

Updated 6/9/2020

Northwestern employees can find answers to common work-related coronavirus/COVID-19 questions. Additional information can be found on the Human Resources Coronavirus FAQs page, which includes well-being resources; the Procurement and Payment Services coronavirus updates page, which includes FAQs; and the IT Resources page for working remotely

Exposure to COVID-19

1. How should I proceed if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the disease?

You can find up-to-date information on how to proceed on the Health Monitoring webpage and in the “COVID-19 Specific Health Reporting Requirements” section of the Return to Campus Policy webpage. For information regarding using benefits and other HR-related topics, refer to the HR website Coronavirus FAQs.

Working Remotely

1. Per CDC guidance, I am considered at “higher risk of getting very sick” from COVID-19.  Am I required to come to work on campus?

Please see the “Protecting the Vulnerable and Community” guidelines for how our community should model flexibility and foster a community of wellness and awareness to the maximum extent possible. If you have a serious chronic medical condition, and as a result, wish to work remotely, you should submit your request to the Office of Equity at 847-467-6165 or equity@northwestern.edu. Separately and as always, if you are in need of an accommodation related to any disability, you should contact the Office of Equity to discuss your options. 

(Updated 6/9/2020)

2. What do I do if I cannot come onto campus, but my role is not suitable for remote work?

Aside from the health and safety of our students, and faculty, one of the University's priorities during this crisis is to minimize the possibility of income disruption to our workforce, especially those most vulnerable.

To that end, if you are not in the group currently returning to campus based on the University’s Phased Return to Campus or are stuck abroad and your job is not suitable for remote work, you should explore the remote learning solution recently introduced by the Office of Human Resources: Learn From Where You Are. For non-essential hourly employees, subject to manager approval, time spent on this learning can replace or supplement remote work activity and will be treated as regular work time.  If, for whatever reason, you are unable to perform your duties or access the Learn From Where You Are curriculum remotely, you may use your accrued, unused vacation and personal floating holidays to continue receiving pay while you are unable to work. Finally, due to the unique nature of the COVID-19 threat, Northwestern is allowing you to use your available Sick Time to prevent income interruption.

For more information on returning to your workspace, please visit the University’s Return to Campus Policy webpage.

(Updated 6/9/2020)

3. While the University is in a Phased Return to Campus, what are the implications for building access? Do I need to do something to ensure I still have access when needed?

For more information and guidelines on returning to your workspace, please visit the University’s Return to Campus Policy webpage. When you are approved to return to campus, you will be contacted by your school, unit or program leadership with more information, including building access.

Wildcards and mechanical keys will continue to function during this time, and there are no changes to interior locking schedules. No changes are being made to Wildcard access and Wildcards programmed for access to identified buildings will remain active until further notice. Please do not provide access to anyone following you into a building.  All must use their own Wildcard for access.

 (Updated 6/9/2020)

4. What if I am working remotely and my equipment malfunctions, how do I get IT support?

You should contact local IT support within your department. In the absence of dedicated IT support in your department, contact the IT Helpdesk.

5. What services are available for conducting online meetings? What should I do if I experience issues with them?

Please leverage technology solutions like phone calls, Zoom, WebEx, Teams, and BlueJeans.

Users who are experiencing issues are encouraged to try the options below or connect through each service provider's app.

Please visit the Status of University IT Services for updates on any issues.

6. What resources does the University provide for working remotely?

The Northwestern University Information Technology website provides information on how to stay connected to the Northwestern network and University resources when working remotely. Focal areas include: 

  • Getting connected (VPN, available software, etc.)
  • Collaboration tools and resources
  • How to get support

For more information on resources available to staff, please refer Digital Learning’s “For Staff” section on their Resource Hub webpage.

(Updated 6/9/2020)

7. How is the University protecting hourly workers?

Food service workers and other hourly employees are essential to Northwestern and are the backbone of our campuses. We understand that the impacts of COVID-19 could be felt disproportionately by these critical team members, and many are experiencing stress and anxiety as we all navigate uncertain times.

We have partnered with Compass Group to leverage the federal relief package so that all hourly food service workers will continue to receive benefits and compensation equal to their current full-time status for the entire Spring Quarter.

All hourly workers have access to their entire year's allocation of sick pay and vacation pay. They also have the ability to use sick days, vacation days or unpaid days as they choose.

Although we do not have all the answers yet on how these workers will be impacted by operational challenges presented by COVID-19, we are working to develop solutions that prioritize their health, their well-being and their financial stability.

We will provide further updates as soon as they are available.

Student Workers

1. What happens to departments relying on student support for normal operations? Can funding be deployed in other ways, such as hiring temps?

If student workers are no longer available to work, you may consider hiring temporary workers, subject to budget capability and approval from the Position Approval Committee (PAC).

Contact Talent Acquisition if you have need and approval to hire a temporary worker.

2. I am a student who planned to earn wages during Spring Quarter as a Federal Work-Study employee. Can I work remotely? If not, will I still earn wages?

To learn more about how Federal Work Study might be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, visit the Undergraduate Financial Aid's Coronavirus FAQs(Added 3/19/2020)

Campus Shuttles

1. What is the current campus shuttle schedule?

Visit Transportation & Parking's service updates page for shuttle schedule changes.