Information for Faculty and Staff

Information for Faculty

Faculty are asked to be flexible with attendance requirements so that students who report flu-like symptoms will not be penalized if they notify their instructors that they are ill.

Faculty members must contact both their department chairs or director as per their departmental protocol as well as the students in their classes using GroupWise email or Blackboard.

Faculty will be receiving additonal information from their deans / directors.

Information for Staff

The primary impact of a pandemic will be on student and employee attendance. Reasons for absenteeism may include: illness, caring for family members, and school closures.

Departments should plan to be as flexible as possible to enable all employees to work and maintain operations to the extent possible, including facilitating work from remote locations, flexible work schedules, and alternate work assignments.

The welfare of The New School community and the sustenance of its academic mission will depend on the willingness of faculty and staff to pitch in to flexibly assume new roles under unique circumstances. Some of these roles will be identified as essential prior to the development of a pandemic. Others will become apparent only as a pandemic evolves. Employees may be assigned to areas outside the scope of their usual responsibilities to the extent they are qualified and can safely perform the work.

The university will employ various strategies to protect its members during a pandemic, ranging from changes in operating status (e.g., decision to suspend classes and send students home) to "social distancing" through altered workplace practices, as well as issuance of personal protective equipment to employees whose assignments puts them at risk of exposure to illness. Additionally, as far as is financially prudent, the university will use its resources to protect and support employees with pay and benefits.

Essential personnel are defined as those employees required to report to work to ensure that identified critical functions continue during an emergency or when the University has closed or suspended operations (e.g. power outage, inclement weather, influenza pandemic). Those employees who are designated by their department and include but are not limited to Housing, Security and Maintenance staff.

Employees who work in areas that have been pre-identified as essential service functions, or who have specialized training that is required to do the work, and/or have assignments directly related to the support of vital operations, will be required to report to work as scheduled, and may be called to work when not scheduled. Employees from throughout the University may be asked to provide support in these areas to the extent they are qualified and available. The following information provides some general guidelines to be considered when designating the essential function positions.

Essential functions or responsibilities:

  • to preserve the health, well-being and safety of the TNS campus community
  • to assist and support students with needs generated by the emergency
  • to ensure timely and effective communication before, during, and after the emergency
  • to provide utilities to maintain and protect campus buildings
  • to preserve the campus cyber and information infrastructure
  • to protect assets required to allow the university to resume its normal functions when the pandemic has subsided.

There will be previously unidentified functions that will emerge as essential in order to handle pandemic-related changes in operations. Unit plans should consider what functions might become critical during a pandemic that would not normally carry this designation. The appropriate leadership at the college or unit should make such designations.

It is important that any employee feeling ill stay home. If an employee, including anyone identified as performing an essential job, is exhibiting symptoms of flu-like-illness and comes to work, he or she must be sent home. Supervisors should use health screening guidelines and their best reasonable judgment, and excuse the employee from their duties and ask them to leave the workplace. Employees should only return to work after their symptoms have disappeared and they are physically ready to return. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that individuals with flu like symptoms not return to work for a period of at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Sick individuals should stay at home until the end of the exclusion period, to the extent possible, except when necessary to seek required medical care. Sick individuals should avoid contact with others.

In the event that an employee is feeling ill due to flu-like and/or suspected H1N1 symptoms and will not be reporting to work, they must complete and submit an Employee Notice of Suspected H1N1 notification found on the Employee Tab, under the Human Resources section in The notification process will send an email to the employee's supervisor, university personnel and a confirmation to the employee. The form will also alert university officials who will monitor all cases as outlined by our H1N1 preparedness plan

Employees preferring not to use the online notification process must inform both their immediate supervisor and the Human Resources department at 212.229.5671 x4942 of their absence.

All employees must contact the Human Resources Department at 212-229-5671 x4942, if they are unable to return to work after five days.

An employee who must care for a spouse or a child experiencing suspected H1N1 symptoms, and is unable to report to work must also complete the Employee Notice of Suspected H1N1 notification found on Employees will be responsible to cover the days taken with available leave balances.

If you are unable to return to work after five days the employee must immediately contact the Human Resources Department at 212-229-5671 x4942. Employees caring for an immediate family member may also apply for medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Standard operating procedure during leaves such as Family/ Medical and Short Term Disability normally requires documentation to substantiate such leaves and return to work. However, the university recognizes the need to relax those requirements during a pandemic event. The university will not require a doctor's note to validate an employee’s illness or return to work, since medical providers will be extremely busy and unable to provide documentation in a timely manner. Departments must make their best effort to keep track of their employees' time and attendance and to reconstruct them where necessary in order to make adjustments to pay and employment status when the university is again fully operational.

The Payroll Office will continue to run weekly, biweekly, and monthly payrolls. Employees who are reassigned will be paid at the salary of their regular jobs.

As a social distancing strategy, the university may decide to suspend classes and ask some employees to work from home, or even to stay home without working. The university's goal is to assist employees with the financial burden of being out of work through no fault of their own.

Departments and principal investigators should work with funding agencies to determine how grant-funded employees will be paid in the event of a pandemic-related emergency

Departments should identify which employees can provide essential services from home or other remote locations. Departments should take into consideration such things as whether laptops or employees' own computers will be used, whether they will have Internet connections, and how information will be protected.

In the event a determination has been made that the pandemic has reached a level where the physical presence of employees on campus will be limited and the university is supporting employees with pay and benefits, employees on short-term disability, family medical leave or workers compensation will not be required to use their leave accruals during that time. Unpaid leaves would continue to be unpaid.

Departmental emergency plans should identify essential functions and job roles and plan for cross-training of employees to assume these critical roles in the event of a pandemic. Departmental emergency plans should identify employees who have been cross-trained to perform intra-unit essential-services jobs, as well as employees willing to be cross-trained for roles outside the unit, along with any particular competencies that might be of particular value during reassignment.

It should be understood that additional essential roles will inevitably be identified only as a pandemic evolves. Some units (e.g., student services, health services, and communications) will face extraordinary demand, and will look to other units for additional support.

Cross-training must be initiated at the department level, and should begin early. Staff members may be reassigned to essential functions in anticipation of a pandemic or as needs arise either within or outside the unit as a pandemic evolves. When employees are reassigned, all appropriate training and safety regulations will apply. The university will educate employees on the proper use of safety equipment necessary for them to perform their designated essential services jobs.

Employees who have specialized training not routinely used in their TNS jobs (e.g., EMTs, CPR, etc.) are encouraged to self-identify and indicate their willingness to be reassigned. These individuals should be identified through unit emergency plans.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), is an additional benefit provided by the university and is available to you and your family members. The EAP is provided by an independent organization, the Employee Development Center (EDC), a division of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The Center provides information, assessment, crisis intervention, short term counseling and referrals for a range of problems that may include family matters, legal and financial concerns, childcare and eldercare needs or issues of personal growth and transition. To schedule an appointment, call 212.935.3030. Outside New York, call 800.327.9092.