Coronavirus - COVID-19 - FAQs

​Frequently Asked Questions & Answers for Wisconsin State Employees

Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Please see the FAQs below for information for state employees regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.  This infomation was prepared by the Department of Administration in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Responses below are in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements or state administrative code.  If you ave additional questions, please ask your supervisor or human resources representative. 

Questions are categorized into the following sections:

Section A: General Information

Section B: Reporting to Work

Section C: Use of Sick Leave and Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave

Section D: Administrative Leave Usage

Section E: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Section F: Face Mask Expectations and Usage

Section G: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations (New 2/16/2021)

    

Section A: General Information about COVID-19 for Employees

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​ ​Questions

Answers

  1. What is the novel coronavirus? A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
  2. Why is the disease called COVID-19?

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, 'CO' stands for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' and 'D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus" or “2019-nCoV".

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Updated 11/12/2020

3.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The CDC is still learning how COVID-19 spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.  Currently, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person as follows:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

The CDC has indicated the principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.

Respiratory droplets are produced during exhalation (e.g., breathing, speaking, singing, coughing, sneezing) and span a wide spectrum of sizes that may be divided into two basic categories based on how long they can remain suspended in the air:

  • Larger droplets some of which are visible and that fall out of the air rapidly within seconds to minutes while close to the source.
  • Smaller droplets and particles (formed when small droplets dry very quickly in the airstream( that can remain suspended for many minutes to hours and travel far from the source on air currents.

Updated 11/12/2020

4. For what symptoms should I be monitoring?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough (new onset or worsening chronic couch)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever (100.4°F)
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose

    Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. Some people may also experience fatigue or gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms.

    Click here to learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.
Updated 02/16/2021 5. What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

According to the CDC:

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available from the CDC here.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

While more is learned every day about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, there is still a lot that is unknown. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Updated 11/12/2020

6. Who is most at risk of having complications from COVID-19?

Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. Given the vulnerable populations within the State's care, careful adherence to guidelines issued by Wisconsin Public Health, supervisors, and human resources is essential.  Employees with flu-like symptoms need to stay home. Click here to learn more about people who need extra precautions.

Updated 11/12/2020

7. What can I do to limit my risk of and help prevent influenza and viruses like COVID-19?

The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. There are simple everyday actions everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Avoid close contact
    • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don't live in your household.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.

    Click here to learn more about avoiding illness.

Updated 11/12/2020

9. What should I do if I'm experiencing flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms?

Employees who are sick are required to stay home.  Referto Section B for more information and follow the steps outlined depending on the particular situation. Employees should follow their work unit's sick leave notification procedures, including notifying their supervisor and staying home if they are sick.

Updated 11/12/2020

10. Are the procedures different if I am a health care provider (or if I work in a health care setting)? Employees who regularly work in health care settings may be required to follow different procedures depending on the nature of their positions. Refer to Section B for more information and follow the steps outlined depending on the particular situation.
Updated 02/16/2021 11. What should I do if I recently traveled out of the state or out of the country?

Regarding personal travel, all employees should continue to refer to the travel advice available from DHS and the CDC.

Effective January 26, 2021, employees who travel out of the courty must be prepared to get tested no more han 3 days before you travel by air back into the United States and show negative test result to the airline before boarding the flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provideror a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

There is currently no state-level requirement for travelers (domestic or international) to quarantine when arriving in (or returning to) Wisconsin. Some cities and counties in Wisconsin may require you stay home or self-quaratine after travel. If you are identified as being a close contact to a person with COVID-19 during your travels, you are required to follow the public health guidance for COVID-19 quarantine.

The CDC and DHS recommends (does not require) the post travel practices listed below. The information is being communicated to travelers upon arrival and going through customs at their point of entry into the U.S.

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don't get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

After you return from any travel, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) asks you to self monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. You should check for symptoms even if you followed all travel recommendations provided by DHS.

Stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Updated 11/12/2020 12. What if I have COVID-19 or have a family member with it?

Employees who are sick with COVID-19 or suspect they are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should refer to Section B for more information and follow the steps outlined depending on the particular situation.

The CDC recommends employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Updated 07/13/2020

13. Where can I learn more information?

Additional up-to-date resources and information about COVID-19 can be found here:

14.What are the different types of COVID-19 tests?

There are three different types of COVID-19 tests available. The image below provides the difference between the types.

 

More information about the different types of tests can alse be found here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02848.pdf

Section B: Reporting to Work

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General Policy:  - The Wisconsin State Government continues to apply COVID-19-related workplace policies in terms of the number of employees at the work site, social distancing requirements, personal protective equipment, cleaning standards, travel restrictions, etc. The FAQs below summarize policies and guidance currently in effect. The information is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and other sources as of the date published.​ ​ ​ ​ ​

​ ​ ​Questions ​ ​Answers

Updated 03/26/2020

1. I am worried about being exposed to the coronavirus at work.  Should I still report to work, and will I be protected?

If directed to report to work, you should continue to report to work. As state employees, we have obligations to maintain services to the extent possible during an emergency.  Agencies are making every effort to reduce exposure in our workplaces.

  2.

Will I know if someone at work has COVID-19?

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, agencies will inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but will maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure. ​
  3. Am I subject to disciplinary action if I refuse to come to work?

Employees who fail to come to work in a pandemic will be treated just as if they failed to come to work at any other time and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Updated 11/12/2020

4.

May I use vacation leave, sick leave, or any other type of leave in order to avoid working during a pandemic?

Refer to Section E for more information about using the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Employees may request leave time and it will be reviewed, and approved or denied, in accordance with the leave provisions of their contract or state administrative code.  In general, our objective is to ensure the health and safety of our state employees while continuing the State's critical services.  At this time, our goal is to encourage employees to report to work.  However, based on the virulence of the virus and depending on recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, discretionary leaves (i.e., non-mandatory leaves) may be considered.

While an employee may use any available leave balance when ill, sick leave is generally only available for an employee's illness or that of their immediate family.  Howerver, protions of s. ER 18.03(4), Wis. Adm. Code, which governs sick leave, have been modified through an emergency administrative rule to ensure sick leave can be used to provide care for famiy members for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including specifically, childcare due to school closures.

This means that sick leave can now be userd to care for any member of the employee's immediate family, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, as the term is defined in 29 CFR s. 825.122(d)(3), who requires the employee's care, regardless of whether sick or not.  This change ends on March 7, 2021 hn the emergency rule expires.

  5. Who is included in the definition of “immediate family"?

“Immediate family" means:

  • Parents, step-parents, grandparents, foster parents, children, step-children, grandchildren, foster children, brothers and their spouses, sisters and their spouses, of the employee or spouse;
  • The spouse;
  • Aunts and uncles, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law of the employee or spouse; and
  • Other relatives of the employee or spouse providing they reside in the same household of the employee.
  6. If my job requires me to work with the public, should I continue to come to work?

Yes, unless directed not to come to work.  The State will make efforts to provide the appropriate protective measures to employees assigned to work in a situation that would put them at greater risk of exposure than the typical interactions encountered in conducting usual life activities.  These measures include increased hygiene measures, personal protective equipment, social distancing measures, or physical barriers.

  7. If I am exposed to the COVID-19 virus on the job and become ill, am I eligible for Workers Compensation benefits?

The COVID-19 virus, like Influenza, would most likely not be compensable under Wisconsin Workers Compensation, as it would be very difficult to determine where and when an employee was exposed to the influenza virus.

  8. What if I am assigned to perform work that isn't normally part of my position, either in my own agency or somewhere else?  Can I refuse the assignment?

In times of emergency, we all need to remain flexible to get the work done.  It is likely that employees may be asked to do work outside their normal duties.  As the effects of a pandemic are realized in Wisconsin, state employees should anticipate that they may be required to assist in performing work for absent or ill co-workers or ensure that the State is able to provide essential services.

  9. Can I refuse an assignment that would put me at greater risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus? No, employees must work as assigned unless granted leave.  As the effects of a pandemic are realized in Wisconsin, state employees should anticipate that they may be required to assist in performing work for absent or ill co-workers to ensure that the State is able to provide essential services.  The State will make an effort to provide the appropriate protective measures to employees assigned to work in a situation that would put them at greater risk of exposure than the typical interactions encountered in conducting usual life activities.  These measures include increased hygiene measures, personal protective equipment, social distancing measures, or physical barriers. ​
Updated 7/13/2020 10. What is social distancing? Will the State implement social distancing in the workplace?

Social distancing measures are measures intended to reduce the spread of a pandemic respiratory virus by reducing direct contact between individuals.  Social distancing measures may include minimization of face-to-face meetings, staggered work hours and days, temporary work from home arrangements, spacing of work areas, physical barriers between individuals, or other similar practices.  Agencies are required to observe social distancing requirements in their respective agencies/buildings, to the greatest extent possible.

Updated 02/16/2021 ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ 11. What should I do if I believe I may have the COVID-19 virus, am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have been directly exposed to the COVID-19 virus, etc.? ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

The following scenarios provide guidance to employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting a test result, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, etc.  A PDF of the scenarios is also availabe here.

For the purposes of the scenarios below, close contact includes any of the following situations whle you spent time with a person with COVID-19, even if they did not have sympoms:

  • Had direct physical contact with the person (for example, a hug, kiss, or handshake).
  • Were within 6 feet of the person for a prolonged period (15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) starting from 2 days before illess onset.  The 15 minutes does not need to be continuous (e.g., 3, 5-minute periods would count).
  •  Had Contact with the person's respiratory secretions (for example, coughed or sneezed on, contact with a dirty tissue, shared drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items)
  • Live with the person or stayed overnight for at least one night in a house with the person.

Note: If you and/or the person with COVID-19 were wearing a face mask or covering during any of the above situations, you are still considered a close contact. 

COVID-19 Tests: There are different types of tests available and the guidance below may differ based on the type of test received.  Employees are encouraged to ask what type of test they are receiving in order to determine the appropriate scenario.  More information on the types of COVID-19 tests can be found here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02848.pdf              

The guidance for employees who work in health care settings, or other employment settings where excluding a person from work could result in an imminent threat to patient care, public health, or public safety, may be different for each scenario and is noted where applicable.  Please see the DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #16: Quarantine of Wisconsin Residents Exposed to COVID-19 Is an Essential Prevention Strategy for more information.

Employee Scenario Policy
A. Employee has no symptoms (asymptomatic) and has tested PCR or antigen positive for COVID-19

Employee shall stay home and monitor for symptoms. For employees who tested antigen positive, recommend they have a PCR test within 48 hours to confirm the positive result. If the employee has no symptoms, they can return 10 days after they were tested.

If during the 10 days the employee becomes symptomatic, then they must continue to stay home for at least 10 more days from the date of the symptom onset and meet all the following before returning to work:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

Information on COVID-19 Test Types

B. Employee is sick with symptoms of COVID-19, but has not yet been tested

Recommend employee be tested. Employee shall stay home until all the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

If employee is tested, stay home until test results return. Follow Scenario D, E, or F, depending on test type and results.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types
C. Employee is sick with symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested but not yet received the test results

Stay home until test results return. Follow Scenario D, E, or F, depending on test type and results.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types
D. Employee is sick with symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested and PCR test results came back negative

Employee does not have COVID-19. Follow standard employee illness protocols for returning to work.

Example: 24 hours fever-free, or 2 days after last episode of vomiting or diarrhea, or when on antibiotics for at least 24 hours, or as approved to work by a doctor.

E. Employee is sick with symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested with an antigen test and test results came back positive

Employee is a suspect case. A follo-up PCR test is recommended within 48 hours. Continue isolating while awaiting the PCR test. If the PCR test is negative, follow instructions for D and if the PCR test is positive, follow the instructions for F.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types
F. Employee is sick with symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested and test results came back positive

Employee shall stay home until all the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

Note: For some people who develope serious illness from COVID-19, a longer period of isolation may be required before it is safe to be arond others or go back to work. Your health care provider will make this determination in consultation with your local public health department.

G. Employee had a positive PCR test for COVID-19 in the past and now has another positive test, but has no symptoms

Employees who have again tested positive within 3 months (~12 weeks) of their original positive test and remain asymptomatic may continue to work and do not need to isolate. People who have COVID-19 can test positive for many weeks after they recover and are no longer contagious.

Individuals who test positive beyond 3 months of their original positive test will be treated as a new infection and should follow Scenario A or F depending on the presence of symptoms.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types
H. Employee had a positive PCR test for COVID-19 in the past and now is sick and has another positive test

Employees who develop symptoms and have again tested positive within 3 months (~12 weeks) of their original positive should stay home and be evaluated by their health care provider. If no other cause of symptoms can be determined, the employee should follow Scenario F.

Individuals who test positive beyond 3 months of their original positive test will be treated as a new infection and should follow Scenario A or F depending on the presence of symptoms.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types
I. Employee has been in close contact with someone who shows symptoms but has not been tested Employee can continue to work and self-monitors symptoms daily.
J. Employee has been in close contact with someone who shows symptoms and is waiting on test results Employee can continue to work and self-monitors symptoms daily.

K-1. Employee (unvaccinated) has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic)

Updated 02/16/2021


 


 

Vaccinated employees should refer to K-2 below. The safest and recommended option is that the employee* self-quarantine for 14 days after last contact with person. Two options to reduce quarantine are available as follows:

  1. Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. This option results in about a 1% chance of transmission.
  2. Quarantine can end after Day 7 if the result of a doagnostic (antigen or PCR) COVID-19 test is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient to end quarantine early. This option results in about a 5% chance of transmission

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, employee is advised to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested.     

If symptoms appear, stay home until all of the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

Information on COVID-19 Test Types

*To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that quarantine requirements may be modified in circumstances when exluding a person from work could result in an imminent threat to patient care,public health or public safety per DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #16: Quarantine of Wisconsin Residents Exposed to COVID-19 Is an Essential Prevention Strategy.

If an employee receives notice from a public health official or contact tracer that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should be in contact with their management to verify requirements based on their position.

K-2. Vaccinated employee has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic

     New      02/16/2021

​Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., exposure occurs ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine).
  • Are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confiered COVID-19 as provided in K-1 above.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

Additional information may be found in DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #27.

L. Employee is living with someone who tested positive for COVID-19

Vaccinated employees should refer to K-2 above.

If employee* is unable to have complete separation from the person who had a positive COVID test: Self-quarantine for 14 days after the person who tested positive ends their isolation.

If employee* is able to completely separate from the person who tested positive: Self-quarantine for 14 days after last contact with the person who tested positive.

Two options to reduce quarantine (after last contact or end of isolation of infected person based on ability to separate) are available as follows:

  1. Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. This option results in about a 1% chance of transmission.
  2. Quarantine can end after Day 7 if the result of a doagnostic (antigen or PCR) COVID-19 test is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient to end quarantine early. This option results in about a 5% chance of transmission

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, employee is advised to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested.     

If symptoms appear, stay home until all of the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

Information on COVID-19 Test Types

*To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that quarantine requirements may be modified in circumstances when exluding a person from work could result in an imminent threat to patient care,public health or public safety per DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #16: Quarantine of Wisconsin Residents Exposed to COVID-19 Is an Essential Prevention Strategy.

If an employee receives notice from a public health official or contact tracer that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should be in contact with their management to verify requirements based on their position.

M. Employee is a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 at work

Vaccinated employees should refer to K-2 above. The safest and recommended option is that the employee* shall quarantine for the full 14 days after last contact with person and no symptoms arise. Two options to reduce quarantine are available as follows:

  1. Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. This option results in about a 1% chance of transmission.
  2. Quarantine can end after Day 7 if the result of a doagnostic (antigen or PCR) COVID-19 test is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient to end quarantine early. This option results in about a 5% chance of transmission

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, employee is advised to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested.              

If symptoms appear, stay home until all of the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

If employee is tested, stay home until test results return. Follow Scenario D, E, or F, depending on test type and results.

Information on COVID-19 Test Types

*To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that quarantine requirements may be modified in circumstances when exluding a person from work could result in an imminent threat to patient care,public health or public safety per DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #16: Quarantine of Wisconsin Residents Exposed to COVID-19 Is an Essential Prevention Strategy.

If an employee receives notice from a public health official or contact tracer that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should be in contact with their management to verify requirements based on their position.

N. Employee is a close contact to someone who has been exposed to another positive person Employee can continue to work and self-monitors symptoms daily.
O. Employee lives with or cares for someone who is has been exposed to another positive person Employee can continue to work and self-monitors symptoms daily.

Updated 11/12/2020

12.

If I have traveled to a location where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19, may I return to work immediately? 

Employees who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may return to work. However, you are asked to self-monitor after you return. Refer to questions in Section A for more information. ​
 

13.

What if I believe a co-worker has the COVID-19 virus or has been exposed to it?

Employee concerns should be discussed with their supervisor or someone in Human Resources.  Despite these concerns, employees will be expected to report to work as directed.

  14. What if I am in a group considered to be a "high risk" (i.e., I have a chronic health condition which makes me more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus) and for which authorities are recommending staying at home?

Employees who provide a detailed letter from their medical provider may use personal paid or unpaid leave.  Sick leave is available only as currently provided in state administrative code or collective bargaining agreements, which typically limit use to periods of actual sickness.  See question B.4., above, regarding leave requests.

 

Updated 11/19/2020

15. What is the current status of employee travel for state business?

Until further notice, all state-sponsored out of state travel will be restricted unless deemed to be essential for COVID-19 response. Travel on all in-state business will be limited to essential operational needs where no reasonable alternative is available. 

Employees traveling for business should ride alone in vehicles where operationally feasible. Employees who normally have multiple employees in the vehicle due to safety or work standards should follow their agency-specific protocols when traveling. If more than one person is in the vehicle, all occupants must wear masks. Upon arrival at the worksite and prior to departing, employees should wash their hands as recommended.

Updated 02/16/2021

16. What is the current direction related to social distancing or meetings?

Social distancing, of six feet apart, is required. In person meetings, trainings, and conferences (except those activities related to public health/public safety/national security) are limited to a maximum of 50 people.  Coworkers in the same building should not share food.

Government bodies should continue to follow the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of Open Government guidance regarding holding government meetings, and should consult directly with that office regarding specific open meetings questions

Updated 7/13/2020

17. Can I wear a cloth face covering (mask) to work? Employees of DOC, DHS, and DVA should follow the specific direction given by the agency and may be required to wear other masks, or personal protective equipment, if available.  Effective July 13, 2020 all employees are required to wear a face mask while in state facilities.  Refer to the Face Mask FAQs in Section F for additional information. ​
Section C: Use of Sick Leave and Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave

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General Policy:  Discretionary leave may be limited.  Use of sick leave or FMLA-qualifying leave will be administered in accordance with existing labor agreements and state administrative code, unless application of leave provisions are modified by Executive Order of the Governor or the federal government. ​ ​ ​ ​

​ ​ ​​ ​Questions Answers
  1. Is pandemic influenza or COVID-19 an FMLA qualifying condition and will I be able to use FMLA leave?

While influenza is generally not covered by FMLA, complications arising from influenza or COVID-19 may qualify for FMLA leave in relation to the employee's own illness or the illness of a qualifying family member.  The usual medical documentation may be required. 

Updated 11/12/2020

2. What if my children's school or day care provider is closed and I have no one else to take care of the kids?

Refer to Section E for more information about using the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Employees may request to use vacation, personal holiday, comp time, or leave without pay.  In addition, portions of s. ER 18.03(4), Wis. Adm. Code, which governs sick leave have been modified through an emergency administrative rule to ensure sick leave can be used to provide care for family members for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including specifally childcare due to school closures.

This means that sick leave can now be used to care for any member of an employee's immediate family, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, as the term is defined in 29 CFR s. 825.122(d)(3), who requires the employee's care, regardless of whether sick or not.  This change ends on April 7, 2021 when the emergency rule expires. 

Documentation may be required.  Employees should contact their agency payroll office regarding the possible consequences of using leave without pay. 

3. What if members of my family are sick?

Refer to Section E for more information about using the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Use of sick leave, FMLA leave, or other discretionary leave will be administered in accordance with applicable labor agreements and state administrative code.  See C.2. above regarding use of sick leave under the declared emergency. Use of discretionary leave may be limited.  See question B.4., above, regarding leave requests.

  4. What if members of my family who do not live in the same household as me are sick?  May I stay home to care for them?

Use of sick leave, FMLA leave, or other discretionary leave will be administered in accordance with applicable labor agreements and state administrative code.  Use of discretionary leave may be limited.  See question B.4., above, regarding leave requests.

Section D: Paid Administrative Leave Usage

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General Policy:  The state recognizes that employees who do not earn paid leave (LTEs) or those with limited or no available accrued paid leave may have no choice but to work, even if ill, due to the economic impact of staying home. It also recognizes that many state employees may face childcare challenges in light of the school closings resulting from the emergency. This leave was initially intended to help minimize the impact of the current public health emergency for eligible permanent, project, appointed and limited term employees prevented or prohibited from reporting to work and unable to telework for the purpose of self or family care in relation to the pandemic, including but not limited to: self or directed quarantine, self or directed-isolation, care of an immediate family member, or child care issues due to school/day care closures.  Due to the Governor's Safer at Home Order effective March 25, 2020, this policy was extended to non-essential employees who are unable to work remotely.  This program ended May 12, 2020 with the expiration of the Governor's Safer at Home Order and has been removed from the FAQ list to avoid confusion.

Section E: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)​

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General Policy:  Effective April 1, 2020 the State of Wisconsin has implemented the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020 and therefore this leave is no longer available.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave: All state employees, except elected officials and certain health care providers and emergency responders excluded by agencies, are eligible to use emergency sick leave for the following reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. Note: If an employee is exempted from the safer at home order as an essential employee (including healthcare providers and emergency responders), or other applicable order, this reason would not apply.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph 1. or has been advised as described in subparagraph 2.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. (No such conditions have been specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time of this publication).

As permitted by the Act, employees identified as health care providers and emergency responders by their agencies will not be eligible for emergency paid sick leave for the family and childcare reasons identified in 4. and 5., above, and future reasons that may be determined under 6., above. However, health care providers and emergency responders will be eligible for emergency paid sick leave for the reasons related to the employee's own health identified under B. and C., above. 

Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The Act creates temporary amendments to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993which expands the scope of eligible employees, cover child care related to the coronavirus public health emergency, and guarantees paid leave at two-thirds an employee's regular rate for a certain period. These emergency FMLA provisions apply only through December 31, 2020. The remainder of federal and WI FMLA provisions continue to apply as usual. Except for emergency responders and health care providers, “eligible employee" means an employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the state. 

Also, employees who are laid off, on furlough, or otherwise not permitted to work because of the unavailability of work are excluded from both provisions. ​ ​ ​ ​

​ ​ ​​ ​Questions ​​ ​Answers

      

1. When are these leave programs available? These programs become effective April 1, 2020 and are available through December 31, 2020.
2. What leave is available under the FFCRA?

The FFCRA provides:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave when you are unable to work because you:
    • Are quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider)
    • Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
    • Need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider)
    • Need to care for a “son or daughter" whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Up to 12 weeks of expanded family medical leave to care for a son or daughter whose school or daycare provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
3. How much leave time can I receive under the FFCRA? 

Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of federal emergency sick leave and 12 weeks for care of a son or daughter due to school closure under the expanded FMLA.  Please note that these 12 weeks are the standard amount of time permitted for FMLA, no additional time was added under the new law.

Part-time employees will receive an amount equal to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period.

Health care providers and emergency responders throughout state government are generally excluded from using this provision except for use of the federal emergency sick leave (up to 80 hours) to care for themselves in the event they become ill from COVID-19 or develop symptoms and may need a medical diagnosis.

4 Are all employees eligible for leave under the FFCRA?  

As permitted under the FFCRA, employees identified as health care providers and emergency responders by their agencies are eligible for emergency paid sick leave for their own COVID-related illness if unable to work, but are not eligible for emergency paid sick leave for the family and childcare reasons. In addition, employees identified as health care providers and emergency responders by their agencies will not be eligible for expanded FMLA leave.  Employees should contact their agency human resources contact to determine whether they are considered a health care provider or emergency responder.

Employees must work for the state for 30 days to be eligible for leave under the expanded FMLA.  A new employee is not initially eligible for expanded FMLA benefits, but once employed for 30 days, the employee becomes eligible.

Elected officials are not eligible for the emergency paid sick leave.

Updated 9/16/2020

5. Who is a “health care provider"?

For the purposes of determining which employees may be exempted from emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, per the Department of Labor, health care provider includes two groups.

The first group is anyone who is a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue certification for purposes of the FMLA.

The second group is Any other person who is employed to provide diagnostic services, preventive services, treatment services, or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care and, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care. (See list below this paragraph for more detailed definitions of these terms.) This group includes employees who provide direct diagnostic, preventive, treatment, or other patient care services, such as nurses, nurse assistants, and medical technicians. It also includes employees who directly assist or are supervised by a direct provider of diagnostic, preventive, treatment, or other patient care services. Finally, employees who do not provide direct heath care services to a patient but are otherwise integrated into and necessary to the provision of those services—for example, a laboratory technician who processes medical test results to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of a health condition—are health care providers.

Diagnostic: Includes taking or processing samples, performing or assisting in the performance of x-rays or other diagnostic tests or procedures, and interpreting test or procedure results.

Preventative: Includes screenings, check-ups, and counseling to prevent illnesses, disease, or other health problems.

Treatment: Includes performing surgery or other invasive or physical interventions, prescribing medication, providing or administering prescribed medication, physical therapy, and providing or assisting in breathing treatments.

Integrated: Those services that are “integrated with and necessary to diagnostic, preventive, or treatment services and, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care, including bathing, dressing, hand feeding, taking vital signs, setting up medical equipment for procedures, and transporting patients and samples."

An employee is not a health care provider merely because their agency provides health care services or because the person provides a service that affects the provision of health care services. For example, IT professionals, building maintenance staff, human resources personnel, cooks, food services workers, records managers, consultants, and billers are not health care providers, even if they work at a hospital or a similar health care facility.

6. Who is an “emergency responder"?

For the purposes of determining which employees may be exempted from emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, per the Department of Labor, an emergency responder is “an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility." 

 

Finally, the Secretary, or Agency Head, is also able to make an individual determination to identify an employee as a health care provider essential to our response to COVID-19.  Agencies are in the process of making these determinations now and will communicate directly with agency staff regarding who is included as a health care provider at each agency.

7. How much do I get paid if I use leave under these programs?

Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave program:

Employees will receive their regular rate of pay, subject to a daily maximum of $511, if the employee is unable to work or telework because they:

  • Are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  • Have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis

Employees will receive 2/3 of their regular rate of pay, subject to a daily maximum of $200, if the employee is unable to work or telework because they are:

  • Caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • Caring for your son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons

    **Employees who are receiving 2/3 pay when using the emergency paid sick leave may choose to supplement the additional one-third of their pay by using their own available state leave, but not state-provided paid administrative leave.

Under the Expanded FMLA program:
The first 10 days of expanded family and medical leave for childcare, due to school or day care closure are unpaid.  Employees may substitute any available state leave (e.g., vacation, personal leave, sick leave) or emergency paid sick leave. For the following ten weeks, employees will be paid 2/3 of their regular pay rate, subject to a daily maximum of $200. 

Paid FMLA for weeks 3-12 cannot be supplemented. However, employees can use their own leave as substitute while using expanded FMLA.

8. Do I have to use other leave before using either federal leave type? No. Employees are not required to use their own accrued leave prior to accessing the available federal leave balances.
9. Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave? No. Only weeks 3-12 of leave for childcare due to school or day care closure is paid for eligible employees.
10. Are the federal emergency paid sick leave and expanded FMLA retroactive? No. The provisions are effective beginning April 1, 2020.
11.

What documents are needed to request federal emergency paid sick leave or expanded FMLA?

 

Employees will be asked to fill out a short form to access either leave program.  This is primarily to ensure usage is accurately tracked and submitted to the HR/payroll teams.  Additional information* may be required as follows:

If the employee has been advised by a health care provider** to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19:

  • The employee's name
  • The name of health care provider who advised
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work, including telework, for that reason
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested

If employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis:

  • The employee's name
  • The name of health care provider who has been contacted
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work, including telework, for that reason
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested

If the employee is caring for a sick family member:

  • Employee's name
  • The name of the individual the employee is caring for
  • The applicable order (e.g. safer at home order) or name of health care provider** who ordered the individual being cared for to self -quarantine (depending on the reason)
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work, including telework, for that reason
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested is all that is required.

If the employee is caring for a son or daughter because the school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions:

  • The employee's name
  • The name of son or daughter and name of the school or day care that is closed.

*Note:  Medical Coordinators, or supervisors when appropriate, are authorized to request further documentation of the information provided in each scenario listed above when needed.

** “Health care provider" for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for emergency paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

12. Will I continue to earn benefits (health insurance, vacation, etc.) while using the federal programs?

Permanent and project employees will continue to earn continuous service, WRS contributions (by both the employee and employer) and creditable service, annual leave, and sick leave when using the paid emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave.

For limited term employees, there will be no benefit accrual except as qualifying hours for initial WRS eligibility or creditable service for LTEs who are already WRS-eligible.

13. Can I use my sick leave or other state paid leave and FFCRA emergency paid sick leave or expanded FMLA concurrently for the same hours?

Employees who are receiving 2/3 pay when using the emergency paid sick leave may choose to supplement the additional one-third of their pay by using their own available state leave, but not state-provided paid administrative leave.  For example, a full-time employee could receive eight hours of emergency paid sick leave at the two-thirds rate of pay and also use two and two-thirds hours of vacation or sick leave to receive a full paycheck for eight hours at the employee's regular rate of pay.

Employee's cannot use other leave to supplement the 2/3 pay received for weeks three through 12 of expanded FMLA for childcare due to school or day care closure.  However, employees can use their own leave as substitute while using expanded FMLA.

14. Who is considered a son or daughter?

Under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter" is your own child, which includes your biological, adopted, or foster child, your stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you are standing in loco parentis—someone with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. Son or daughter also includes an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability.  For additional information about in loco parentis or requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see DOL   Fact Sheet #28B or Fact Sheet #28K respectively.

15.

What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?

 

You are unable to work if your employer has work for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons set forth in the FFCRA prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.

If you and your employer agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

16. If I am or become unable to telework, am I entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If you have been approved to telework and you are unable to perform those tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons for emergency paid sick leave, then you are entitled to take emergency paid sick leave.

Similarly, if you are unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because you need to care for your son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, then you are entitled to take expanded family and medical leave. Of course, to the extent you are able to telework while caring for your son or daughter, emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave is not available.

Updated 11/12/2020

17.

How do I record these leave times in STAR?

Employees should review the Employee Guide to Paid Leave Available due to COVID-19to confirm what leave types are available for their specific situation.  There are two job aids available to help employees enter Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave or EFMLA in STAR (Guide for Non-Healthcare Providers or Essential Workers / Guide for Healthcare Providers & Essential Workers).

Supervisors should review the Manager Self-Service COVID-19 Leave Review, Entry & Approval Job Aidfor details.

18.

May I take my emergency paid sick leave intermittently while working at my usual worksite (as opposed to teleworking)?

It depends on why you are taking emergency paid sick leave and whether your employer agrees. In general, unless you are teleworking, emergency paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:

  • You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 other than the safer at home order
  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19

Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking emergency paid sick leave for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take emergency paid sick leave each day until you either (1) use the full amount of emergency paid sick leave or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking emergency paid sick leave. This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of FFCRA is to provide such emergency paid sick leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others. 

For employees who are subject to the safer at home order, have been deemed nonessential by their agency and do not have the ability to telework, subject to agreement between the employee and supervisor, emergency paid sick leave may be taken intermittently.

If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking emergency paid sick leave before you exhaust your emergency paid sick leave, you may take any remaining emergency paid sick leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

In contrast, if you and your supervisor agree, you may take emergency paid sick leave intermittently if you are taking emergency paid sick leave to care for your son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For example, if your son or daughter is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take emergency paid sick leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your son or daughter, but work at your normal worksite on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

19.

May I take my emergency paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking?

If you are teleworking and become unable to do so for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 (i.e. you feel unwell enough to work or are required to care for another), emergency paid sick leave must be taken in full-day increments.  However, the leave may be taken intermittently over the course of your normally scheduled days.
20.

May I take my expanded family and medical leave intermittently while my child's school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

Yes, but only with your supervisor's permission. Intermittent expanded family and medical leave should be permitted only when you and your employer agree upon such a schedule. For example, if your employer and you agree, you may take expanded family and medical leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays, while your son or daughter is at home because their school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, for the duration of your leave.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Expanded FMLA (EFMLA) Considerations for Fall 2020

Note: As permitted by the Act, employees identified as health care providers and emergency responders by their agencies will not be eligible for EPSL or EFMLA for childcare reasons.

21. My school has made the decision to do a virtual only reopening to the school year and no in person classes.  Does this count as a closure and meet the threshold under EFMLA? Yes. The Department of Labor has determined that when “the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is 'closed' for purposes of [emergency] paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave."  “This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as 'distance learning,' your child is still expected or required to complete assignments."
22. My school is doing 2 days a week of in-person instruction and the other 3 days are done virtually.  While I am able to work the days my children are in school, am I able to use the EFMLA for the other 3 days of the week? As long as the physical location is closed to your child, eligible employees may use emergency paid sick leave and EFMLA on days of closure due to COVID-19.  This is true even if other children are attending the school on those days as a result of rotating in-person instruction (Group A attends Monday and Wednesday while Group B attends Tuesday and Thursday).
23. My school is offering a blended reopening where parents can choose in-person or virtual attendance for their children.  If I choose the virtual only option that is offered, does this qualify for the child care expansion of EFMLA that is valid through 12/31/2020? When the school's physical location is open for attendance, it cannot be considered closed for the purposes of emergency paid sick leave and EFMLA.  Therefore, you will not be able to use emergency paid sick leave or EFMLA if you choose the virtual option.
24. I am only choosing to send my children to school 2 days per week and having them attend virtual school the other 3 days a week.  Does my choice affect the ability to qualify for the leave and the pay? Because the school is open, neither emergency paid sick leave nor EFMLA can be used for 3 virtual days each week..
25.

My child is attending in-person instruction and I was notified that there was a positive case in the classroom.  Am I able to use EFMLA while I keep my child home to monitor for symptoms?

If the school “closes" your child's classroom and directs children to remain at home, emergency paid sick leave and EFMLA are available for those days.  If you choose to keep your child home, you are not eligible to use emergency paid sick leave or EFMLA.  Additionally, if the local health department directs quarantine of your child due to exposure, emergency paid sick leave could be used as is normally permitted.
26.

I have hired someone to watch/teach/tutor my child on the days they are participating in virtual learning. Am I still able to use EFMLA during this time?

In order to be eligible for emergency paid sick leave or EFMLA, there must be no other suitable person available to care for the child.  If a tutor or teacher has been hired, you will not be eligible to take leave.  However, if there are multiple children requiring care, you may be eligible to take leave to care for children that are not receiving care from the tutor or teacher.

Section F: Face Mask Expectations and Usage

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General Policy:  Beginning July 13, 2020 all state employees are required to wear face masks at all times while indoors in state facilities. This requirement applies to:

  • All indoors spaces including common spaces, restrooms, break rooms, elevators, cubicles, offices, and conference rooms regardless of the number of additional people present or physical space between individuals
  • Times in which employees may be waiting in line to enter the building
  • Occasions in which employees are visiting enclosed buildings, while on business for the State

Employees will also continue to adhere to agency direction if additional or different personal protective equipment has been provided by the agency. Employees who are unable to wear a mask should be directed to human resources for further assistance. These reasons may include a medical or mental health condition, disability, or job duties in which wearing a face covering would cause a health or safety risk.

​ ​ ​Questions Answers

                 

1.

Why are face masks required in state facilities?

 

Cloth face coverings (or face masks) are recommended by the CDC and DHS Public Health as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.

Returning more staff to the workforce, increased interaction with the public, the limited ability to ensure necessary space between employees at all times, and the increasing community transmission rates throughout Wisconsin all factored into the decision to require masks. Masks are a critical measure in slowing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus.

                 

2. Do I need to wear a mask indoors even if I can physical distance at all times? Yes, masks are required at all times to help control the spread of COVID-19 within the worksite and the communities in which we live.

                 

3. If I already had COVID-19 or tested negative do I have to wear a mask? Yes.  Everyone must wear a face mask.

                 

4. Where do I get a face mask? Each agency has a supply of face masks available for employees.  You may wear your own work appropriate mask if you prefer.
5. Is a space that has some open walls considered an outdoor space? No, a space must be completely open on all sides to be outdoors. Opening windows does not create an outdoor space. 

Updated 11/12/2020

6. If I am alone in an enclosed office with a door do I need to wear a mask?  

While working alone in your own private office with the door closed you do not need to wear a mask, provided you can put on a face covering quickly if someone enters. If the door is open or you leave your office you are required to wear a mask. Employees are reminded to wipe down surfaces in their office with available disinfectant spray before leaving for the day.

If you remove your mask in a conference room, you must sanitize hard surfaces and anything you touch in a conference room both upon entering and before vacating the space. 

7. How do I wear a mask while I'm eating or drinking?

Employees are permitted to remove masks while eating and drinking but should wear them when retrieving food from the refrigerator, vending machine, reheating or otherwise preparing food.

                 

8. I am not able to wear a mask due to a medical condition, mental health reason, or disability.  What should I do? Employees who are unable to wear a mask due to a medical or mental health condition, or disability, should contact their human resources representative (e.g., medical, or reasonable accommodation coordinator) to complete a reasonable accommodation request.
9. I am not able to wear a mask for medical condition, mental health reason, or disability. Do I need medical documentation about why I cannot wear a mask? Not necessarily. Employees should talk to human resources and follow the reasonable accommodation process. Employees who need to provide medical documentation will be advised during that process.

                 

10. I am not able to wear a mask based on a religious belief.  What should I do?  Employees who are unable to wear a mask based on a religious belief should contact their human resources representative to discuss accommodation.

                 

11.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face mask?

 

No.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is not known if face shields provide protection to others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. 

However, a face shield may be permitted for staff who have difficulty breathing through a mask.  In this instance, the employee should discuss their concerns with human resources.

12. Communication is an essential part of my job and I'm concerned that if I can't communicate clearly because of the face covering then I will not have effectively done my job.  What should I do?

While all employees communicate on a regular basis, there are some instances when the effectiveness of the communication could be affected by wearing a mask,  Employees may remove their mask in this instance when at least six feet from the other person and where other alternatives will not work, e.g. written communication, etc. Masks may also be removed to improve communication with others who rely on lip-reading, etc. for communication.  Employees may also wish to consider a clear mask to assist with communication issues.

There may be other instances when a face mask may impede in one's ability to effectively do one's job.  If you have such concerns, we encourage you to consult with your supervisor or human resources.

13. My goggles or glasses fog up when I wear a mask. What can I do? Here are some tips.
14. What do I do if I see someone not wearing a mask, even though they should be?

Nothing. Some people have conditions or circumstances that would make wearing a cloth face covering difficult or dangerous. Just wear your mask and stay six feet away.  If you remain concerned, you can talk to your supervisor or human resources.

                 

15. Are there any other exceptions to the mask requirement? Employees who work in a setting where cloth face coverings may increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in equipment) may consult with an occupational safety and health professional to determine the appropriate face covering for their setting.
16. My job is indoors and outdoors, what should I do? Employees are required to wear masks when indoors but may remove the mask when outdoors and when social distancing is possible. 

                 

17. If I participate in the state's van pool (ride share), do I need to wear a mask while in the vehicle? Yes, you must wear a mask.
Updated 11/12/2020 18. If a member of the public is not wearing a mask, can I deny them service? No, although members of the public are encouraged to wear a mask, the State will not deny service for this reason.  Members of the public should follow their local health department's guidance regarding the use of masks. Part of the reason to require employees to wear masks is to ensure the employee's personal protection.  Masks will be available to members of the public doing business with the State.
Updated 11/12/2020 19. ​If I cannot deny service to a member of the public without a mask, can I ask them to wear a mask or to explain why they are not wearing a mask?  ​Employees may not ask or require members of the public to wear a mask. Additionally, employees may not ask members of the public if they meet the exception criteria or require them to explain why they are not wearing a mask. State employees are not responsible for compliance or enforcement of health or emergency orders and will respect individuals’ privacy, which may include medical information or personal history. As a reminder, employees should similarly not be making these inquiries of their co-workers. 
20.I work in a position where I interact directly with the public and although i am wearing a mask, I am concerned about interacting with a member of the upblic or a co-worker wo is not wearing a mask. What should I do? ​Masks help to protect both the person wearing the mask as well as anyone they interact with. If you encounter someone who is not wearing a mask, maintain social distancing and stay behind protective barriers (plastic shields/windows/etc.) where possible. You can also talk to your supervisor or human resources about additional options or additional personal protective equipment.
21.Is it true that I could be subject to discipline for refusing to wear a mask if I do not have an approved reasonable accomodation? ​Yes, as is true for any required protective equipment, employees who refuse to wear a mask without authorization to do so may be subject to discipline up to and including termination. While we will make every effort to work with the personal circumstances of each employee, this has been a requirement in some workspaces for several months and became a requirement for all employees effective July 13, 2020.
Updated 11/12/2020 22.Are employees required to continue to wear masks even though the statewide order has ended? ​The mask requirement implemented on July 13th was a protective measure to help ensure the health and safety of our workforce and the members of the public to whom we provide service. Even though the statewide Emergency Order has ended, mask requirements will remain until it is determined to be a measure no longer needed to help protect the health and safety of our workforce. Employees will be notified of this change.
Section G: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations

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While all employees are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible, the state is not requiring employees to be vaccinated.
 

The Department of Health Services (DHS) provides additional FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine.​

​ ​ ​Questions​ ​ ​Answers
New  02/16/2021 ​1. ​Can I get the vaccine now?

​You may be able to get the vaccine now if you are eligible under the criteria from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

As Wisconsin rceives more doses of the vaccine, more individuals will be able to receive it.

For more information on currently eligible and upcoming groups, see the DHS COVID-19: Vaccine Phases and Eligiblity Page.

New  02/16/2021 ​2. ​How do I get the vaccine? ​If you are eligible, you can receive the vaccine from your health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency.

Residents and staff at long-term care facilities are receiving the vaccine at their facilities through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.
New  02/16/2021 ​3. ​If I get the COVID-19 vaccine during my normal work hours, do I need to use personal leave? ​In general, employees are not in pay status when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine offsite during normal work hours. With supervisor approval, employees may adjust their work schedule or make up work time in accordance with agency policies.

In cases where an agency is coordinating vaccination for eligible employees, the agency may provide a reasonable amount of time in pay status to employees receiving the vaccine. Each scenario is unique, and the determination will be made at the discretion of the appointing authority.
New  02/16/2021 ​4. ​Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten 2 doses of the vaccine? ​Yes. Everyone needs to continue practicing good pandemic behavior, even once fully vaccinated. At this moment, it is unclear what level of community immunity or amount of the population vaccinated is needed for the CDC to stop recommending the use of masks and physical distancing. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide. Until then, all Wisconsinites should continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping six feet apart from others.
New  02/16/2021 5.​ ​Do I need to quarantine after close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 if I have gotten 2 does of the vaccine?

Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., exposure occurs ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine).
  • Are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 as provided in Section B: Reporting to Work.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

Additional information may be found in DHS COVID-19 Health Alert #27

 

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 ​​Note: Guidance contained in this document is based on CDC and DHS guidance as of 02/16/2021