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 document contains answers to frequently asked questions for state employees and was prepared by the Wisconsin 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 have additional questions, please ask your supervisor.

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: Face Mask Expectations and Usage

Section E: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations

Section F: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Requirements

Section G: COVID-19 Vaccination Testing Requirements​​

    ​

Section A: General Information about COVID-19 for Employees

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​ ​Questions​

Answers

Updated 11/12/2020​
​1.
​What can I do to limit my risk of and help prevent influenza and viruses like COVID-19?
​The CDC and DHS 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 COVID-19:
  • Get vaccinated - Learn m ore about the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are indoors (other than at home). It's also a good idea to mask up outdoors if it is difficult to practice physical distancing.
  • 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.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

Updated 05/28/2021

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

Employees are expected to stay home if ill.  Refer to 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. Click here to learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.

Updated 05/28/2021

3. Are the procedures different if I am a health care provider (or if I work in a health care or congregate living setting)? Employees who regularly work in health care or congregate living 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 05/28/2021 4. 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. ​


Updated 05/28/2021 5. What if I have COVID-19 or have a family member with it?

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

Updated 07/13/2020

6.   Where can I learn more information?

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

Section B: Reporting to Work

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​ ​ ​Questions ​ ​Answers

Up​dated 05/28/2021

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.  Agencies continue to follow CDC and DHS recommendations 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.
 ​
 Up​dated 05/28/2021 

3. Am I subject to disciplinary action if I refuse to come to work?

Employees who fail to come to work will be treated just as if they failed to come to work at any other time and may be subject to disciplinary action. Employees who have concerns are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their supervisor or human resources,

 Up​dated 05/28/2021 
4. 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 continues to follow CDC and DHS recommendations 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.

  5. 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 COVID-19 virus.

Updated 03/09/2021 6. 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 available here.

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

  • 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 illness 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 follow-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 develop serious illness from COVID-19, a longer period of isolation may be required before it is safe to be around 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   08/04/2021


 


 

Vaccinated employees should refer to K-2 below.

While a 14-day quarantine continues to be the safest and recommended option for employees*, two additional quarantine options are now allowed for some people.  Follow local guidance for quarantine release times as some options may bit be acceptable in certain settings and situations.

Consideration for these shortened quarantine periods is only for people who do not have symptoms at any time during their quarantine period.

For close contacts who do not develop symptoms, quarantine can end:

  1. 10 days after their last close contact without testing, or
  2. 7 days after their last close contact, with a negative test result (PCR or antigen) collected on day 6 or 7.

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days, and continue to follow public health guidelines such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. If you are unable to monitor for symptoms and follow public heath guidelines, you should quarantine for the full 14 days.

DHS has created a visual to show quarantine options for close contacts. Versions in additional languages are available here.

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 excluding 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

     Updated      08/04/2021

Employees who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (received two doses for Pfizer or Moderna vaccine; one dose for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Exposure to someone with COVID-19 happened at least two weeks after receiving the last dose of your vaccine series.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

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

    Fully vaccinated persons should be tested 3-5 days after their exposure and wear a mask whenever they are in public settings. If the test is negative, they should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If the test is positive, follow guidance in A above.

Additional information may be found  here.

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

     Updated      03/09/2021

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:

While a 14-day quarantine continues to be the safest and recommended option for employees*, two additional quarantine options are now allowed for some people.  Follow local guidance for quarantine release times as some options may bit be acceptable in certain settings and situations.

Consideration for these shortened quarantine periods is only for people who do not have symptoms at any time during their quarantine period.

For close contacts who do not develop symptoms, quarantine can end:

  1. 10 days after their last close contact without testing, or
  2. 7 days after their last close contact, with a negative test result (PCR or antigen) collected on day 6 or 7.

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days, and continue to follow public health guidelines such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. If you are unable to monitor for symptoms and follow public heath guidelines, you should quarantine for the full 14 days.

DHS has created a visual to show quarantine options for close contacts. Versions in additional languages are available here.

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 excluding 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

     Updated      03/09/2021

Vaccinated employees should refer to K-2 below.

While a 14-day quarantine continues to be the safest and recommended option for employees*, two additional quarantine options are now allowed for some people.  Follow local guidance for quarantine release times as some options may bit be acceptable in certain settings and situations.

Consideration for these shortened quarantine periods is only for people who do not have symptoms at any time during their quarantine period.

For close contacts who do not develop symptoms, quarantine can end:

  1. 10 days after their last close contact without testing, or
  2. 7 days after their last close contact, with a negative test result (PCR or antigen) collected on day 6 or 7.

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days, and continue to follow public health guidelines such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. If you are unable to monitor for symptoms and follow public heath guidelines, you should quarantine for the full 14 days.

DHS has created a visual to show quarantine options for close contacts. Versions in additional languages are available here.

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 excluding 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.
 

7.

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.

Updated 08/04/2021

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

Travel is limited to essential travel for which no virtual option exists and may occur anywhere in the United States. Employees traveling by motor vehicle 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. All occupants must wear masks. Upon arrival at the worksite and prior to departing, employees should wash their hands as recommended. Vaccinated employees who travel for work do not need to self-quarantine or get tested because of their travel. Employees must follow CDC guidelines before and after any travel.

Updated 05/28/2021

9. What is the current direction related to physical di​​stancing or meetings?

Employee workspace should be at least six feet apart where operationally feasible. Agencies are encouraged to continue offering citizen services online or virtually. Additionally, coworkers in the same building should not share food. Physical distancing, of six feet apart, or physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass barrier) continu​e to be recommendations to mitigate exposure.

Updated 08/04/202110. What are the current guidelines regarding building access and services?​​​​​Agencies are required to post in main building entrances and on their websites updated lists of services that will be offered in person and virtually at each location. Additionally, DOA will work with agencies to manage building entrances, exits, elevators, stairwells, and the overall building flow to accommodate an increasing number of individuals in state buildings.

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​ 04/20/2021

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?

Employees may request to use vacation, personal holiday, comp time, or leave without pay.  As of April 8, 2021, employees are no longer eligible to use sick leave for the purposes of childcare due to school or daycare closures. 

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


Updated 04/20/2021 3. What if members of my family are sick?

Use of sick leave, FMLA leave, or other discretionary leave will be administered in accordance with applicable labor agreements and state administrative code. 


 
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. 


Section D: Face Mask Expectations and Usage

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General Policy (Updated 08/05/2021): 

Beginning August 5, 2021, all state employees, contractors, and interns are required to wear face masks at all times while indoors in state facilities. This requirement applies to all state facilities throughout the State of Wisconsin regardless of the physical distance between individuals or the number of people present including:

  • All indoor spaces including common spaces, stairwells, kitchenettes, hallways, corridors, restrooms, break rooms, elevators, cubicles, offices, and conference rooms
  • 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

Additionally, face coverings are strongly recommended for all individuals when outdoors on state-managed ​property in situations when it is not possible to maintain six feet of physical distancing. 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 mask would cause a health or safety risk.

Note: All employees, regardless of vaccination status, are required to follow all federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including business guidance, when working on non-state property. Failure to follow this guidance or any law, rule, or regulation may result in disciplinary action. The Departments of Corrections, Health Services, and Veterans Affairs may issue additional regulations for their employees, residents, and visitors of congregate living facilities.

The term “mask" or “face mask" may be used throughout these questions and should be considered synonymous with “face covering." 


​ ​ ​Questions Answers
​​Updated
05/24/2020
​1.
​What is considered a face covering?​
​A face covering is defined as: a piece of cloth or other material that is worn to cover the nose and mouth completely. Cloth face coverings must be made with two or more layers of breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source). 

A face covering does not include bandanas, single layer neck gaiters, face shields, goggles, scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, shirt or sweater collars pulled up over the mouth and nose, or masks with slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.




​2.
​Do I need to wear a mask indoors even if I can physically 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.  Everyo​ne must wear a face mask.

4.
​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 
08/04/2021
​5.
​When is it ok to remove my face covering
​​Employees are permitted to remove masks outdoors, working or spending time alone in a personal office or workspace with the door closed, operating a vehicle with no passengers, or while eating and drinking.​
Updated
08/04/2021
6. 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. Employees who need to provide medical documentation will be advised during the process.​
Updated
08/04/2021

7. 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 and potentially request an accommodation.
Updated
05/28/2021

8.

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 respir​atory 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.

​​

9.​​My goggles or glasses fog up when I wear a mask. What can I do?


Here are some tips. 
Updated
05/28/2021
10. 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. Follow the procedures for your personal circumstances. Employees who have concerns regarding face covering compliance are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their supervisor or human resources.
Updated
05/28/2021

11. 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.
  • As permitted by your agency, employees, while working alone in your own private office, conference room, or other enclosed space with the door closed, 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 enclosed space, 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.
  • Face coverings may be removed when communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and when communication cannot be achieved through other means.
  • Face coverings may be removed to confirm identity when requested.


​12.
​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. ​


​13.
​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 05/28/2021 14. If a member of the public is not wearing a mask, can I deny them service? No, although signage at state facilities will ask that members of the public who are unvaccinated properly 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 05/28/2021 15. ​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? 

​Signage at state facilities will make clear to members of the public that they are being asked to wear a mask if they are unvaccinated, so 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 are vaccinated, meet the exception criteria or require them to explain why they are not wearing a mask. State employees are not responsible for ensuring the public's compliance with 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. 


​16.
​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 public or a co-worker who 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.
Updated 08/04/2021 17.Is it true that I could be subject to discipline for refusing to wear a mask if I am unvaccinated and/or if I do not have an approved reasonable accommodation?

​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.
Updated 
08/04/2021
​18.
​Are employees required to continue to wear masks even though the statewide order has ended?

Mask requirements are now in effect for state employees and 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 E: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations

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While all employees are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 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
Updated  
08/04/2021
​1.
​Can I get the vaccine now?
As of April 5, 2021, everyone in Wisconsin ages 12 and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on where to get a vaccine, visit vaccines.gov.  You may also sign up for DHS Weekly COVID-19 Response and Vaccination Newsletters here.  


Updated  08/04/2021 ​2. ​How do I get the vaccine?

You can receive the vaccine from your health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency. The easiest place to find a vaccine is visiting vaccines.gov. This website lists what providers have vaccine in your community and is searchable by vaccine manufacturer. Many vaccinators provide vaccine on a walk-in basis, while others may require appointments. There is an ample supply of vaccine throughout the state. 

Updated
08/23/2021​
​3. ​If I get the COVID-19 vaccine during my normal work hours, do I need to use personal leave? A reasonable amount of time in pay status will be provided to employees who elect to receive the vaccine during normal work hours. Employees should work with their supervisor to receive approval in advance, according to agency policy. Vaccination clinics are being hosted by the State in August and September. Additionally, you can find a vaccination site near you or your work site.

Updated  08/04/2021 4.​ Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten the vaccine?

Yes. Everyone needs to continue practicing good protective behavior, even once fully vaccinated All employees should continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping six feet apart from others.

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Updated  
08/04/2021
​5.
​Do I need to quarantine after close contact with someone who tests​ positive for COVID-19 if I have gotten the vaccine?
Vaccinated employees who have had close contact with someone positive for COVID-19 are not required to quarantine with the exception of some employees who provide direct patient care. Vaccinated employees who have had close contact with someone positive for COVID-19 should wear a mask and be tested 3-5 days after exposure with the infected person, even if the employee is not experiencing symptoms. If they test negative, they should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days and wear a mask anytime they are in indoor public settings. If they test positive, vaccinated employees should isolate per the above instructions for employees who test positive.

Updated
08/23/2021
​6. ​Can my employer require me to provide proof of vaccine? ​Yes. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission recently issued some guidance on this topic, saying that employers are permitted to ask employees whether they’ve been vaccinated. This does not implicate any protected rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act or HIPAA. Although vaccination information may be PHI, it is not a violation of HIPAA for an employer to ask its employees to reveal their vaccination status or to ask employees to provide documentation showing their vaccination status.  For more information, please refer to the following article​

Section F: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Requirements
Updated 08/23/2021

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Effective, August 23, 2021, all executive branch employees and contract staff are required to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status and documentation by September 9, 2021. All executive branch employees, contract staff, interns, and volunteers continue to be required to wear masks while indoors in state facilities and while conducting state business. ​

​1.
​Why is the State of Wisconsin requiring state employees to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status?
​The State of Wisconsin is committed to making our buildings and worksites safe for our employees and citizens. This requirement will allow the state as an employer to understand our progress toward our overall goal of community immunity against COVID-19 through vaccination. Our employees are the most important part of state government, and without a healthy workforce, we cannot provide essential services for our residents and visitors to our state. 



​2.
​Who is required to submit their vaccination status?
​This policy applies to all Wisconsin state employees, contractors, and interns within Wisconsin’s executive branch agencies, who are required, under any circumstances, to be physically present in a state facility.  

​3.
​What is considered being “fully vaccinated” for COVID-19?
​You’re considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after you’ve received either a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson, or the second dose of a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna. The State of Wisconsin follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health Services (DHS) guidelines with respect to when an individual is fully vaccinated. 


​4.
​Does this requirement to report my vaccination status affect the state requirement for employees to wear masks in state facilities or while indoors on state business?

​No. With rising case numbers due to the highly transmissible Delta variant in Wisconsin, all state employees and contractors are required to wear face masks when working in state buildings or when performing state work indoors. The Delta variant is more contagious and may cause more severe illness and people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated can spread it. Masks and physical distancing are our best line of defense in flattening the current surge due to the Delta variant.

​5.
​How do I submit documentation of my vaccination status?
​You can submit documentation of your vaccination status in STAR HR System. Log into the STAR HR Employee Self, under the My Information Tile - COVID-19 Vaccination section. Use the COVID ESS Job Aid​ Instructions to identify your vaccination status and upload your supporting documentation. Acceptable documentation includes an electronic copy of a CDC COVID-19 vaccination card or an electronic copy of the Wisconsin Immunization Registry showing that you received the COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson/Janssen) and the date it was administered. If your vaccination status changes, please go back to STAR HR System to update your information. HR staff will verify the information submitted. 


​6.
​What is the deadline for submitting proof of my COVID-19 vaccination status?

​Current State of Wisconsin employees need to submit proof of vaccination status no later than September 9, 2021. 

​7.
​Do new employees need to submit documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination status? 

​New employees are required to provide documentation of their vaccination status in STAR HR System as soon as the new hire has access to the system. 

​8.
​What if I have personal, medical, or religious reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated? 

​This policy does not require employees get a COVID-19 vaccination. It requires employees and contractors to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

​9.
​Who will maintain documentation of my COVID-19 vaccination status information 

​This information will be captured and maintained by human resources staff in STAR HR System. STAR is a secure system that adheres to the state of Wisconsin government record retention, IT privacy practices and compliance policies.

​10.
​Does an employee on a leave of absence have to comply with the requirements of this policy?

​Employees currently on approved leave will be required to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status and supporting documentation in STAR HR System prior to return to work from their approved leave.

​11.
​Are employees given paid work time to get the COVID-19 vaccine? 
​A reasonable amount of time in pay status will be provided to employees who elect to receive the vaccine during normal work hours. Employees should work with their supervisor to receive approval in advance, according to agency policy. Vaccination clinics are being hosted by the State in August and September. Additionally, you can find a vaccination site near you or your work site.



​12.
​Who will my COVID-19 vaccination status information be shared with?
​The vaccination information you provide will be treated as confidential medical records. It will be maintained separately for each employee as required under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).   Information regarding whether a staff member has submitted their vaccination status may be accessed by agency HR staff or other agency staff with a business need to know, and others authorized by law. This information will allow the state as an employer to understand our progress toward our overall goal of community immunity against COVID-19 through vaccination.


​13.
​What if I cannot locate my COVID-19 vaccination card or documentation?
​Contact the provider who administered the COVID-19 vaccination to request proof of vaccination. This may be a health department, pharmacy, or primary care provider. Documentation should include your name, the name of the healthcare facility/provider, type of vaccine, and the date(s) of vaccination. You can also access and print your COVID-19 vaccination record through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry Public Information Access webpage, if you received your vaccination in Wisconsin, using the instructions below: 

Note: If you received your vaccination in another state, go to that state department of health website to determine how to get a copy of your record.  



​14.
​What if I will not have received my second dose of COVID-19 by the September 9, 2021, deadline?

​Submit documentation of your first dose by the deadline. Once you receive your second dose, submit documentation of full COVID-19 vaccination. 

​15.
​Do visitors, customers, and vendors to state agency facilities need to show proof of a vaccine?

​No. Visitors, customers, and vendors are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated, but not required. Employees should not request the COVID-19 vaccination status of visitors, customers, or vendors. Like state employees, these individuals are required to follow the COVID-19 guidance while in a state facility, including any posted requirements in specific buildings or spaces. 

​16.
​Can I ask other co-workers about their COVID-19 vaccination status?

​No. It is not appropriate to ask your colleagues about their COVID-19 vaccination status. A colleague may choose to voluntarily share that information with you if they wish; however, you should not ask anyone about their vaccination status.

​17.
​Isn’t asking about my vaccination status and other health information a violation under HIPAA?
​No. HIPAA, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and its subsequently added Privacy Rule include provisions to protect a person’s identifying health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent. The law, though, only applies to specific health-related entities, such as insurance providers, health-care clearinghouses, health-care providers, and their business associates. Although vaccination information may be PHI, it is not a violation of HIPAA for an employer to ask its employees to reveal their vaccination status or to ask employees to provide documentation showing their vaccination status.  For more information, please refer to the following article

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​18.
​What if I refuse to provide my COVID vaccination status and documentation? 

​Your participation is important to helping state government make informed decisions about how to best protect state employees, contractors, and the public. Failure to complete the form in STAR HR System may result in disciplinary action. 


Section G: COVID-19 Vaccination Testing Requirements
EMPLOYEE TESTING REQUIREMENTS
Updated 09/14/2021

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Effective, October 18, 2021, any executive branch state employee, intern, or contract staff with access to the STAR HR System who has not provided documentation that they have completed their vaccine series must be tested at least weekly for COVID-19.​

​1.
​Is the State permitted to subject employees to COVID-19 testing?
​Yes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance on June 28, 2021, related to employer required COVID-19 testing. The EEOC explained that due to the COVID-19 pandemic “employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because the individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others.” The EEOC has provided that testing administered by employers consistent with current CDC guidance will meet the ADA’s “business necessity” standard. Consequently, employers applying current CDC guidance may administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace.

​2.
​Who does the COVID-19 testing requirement apply to?


​This testing requirement will apply to all executive branch state employees, interns, and contract staff. Executive branch state employees, interns, and contract staff who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and have provided their vaccination status in the HR STAR system are exempted from this testing requirement. This requirement also does not apply to individuals who have an approved agreement in place to work 100% of the time at home and have no expectation, under any circumstances, to be physically present in a state facility or have contact with other state employees or members of the public while performing their duties. 

​3.
​How do I submit documentation of my tests results? 
​Employees, interns, and contract staff who are not exempted must submit testing information and documentation in STAR HR System under the My Information Tile - COVID-19 Vaccine/Testing Status section.  Testing information and/or documentation of test results must be uploaded within 24 hours of completing the test and/or receiving the test results. Agency HR representatives can help employees who may have issues, or those without computer access upload their vaccination status documentation.

​4.
​Who will my testing results be shared with? 
​The test results provided by employees will be considered confidential medical records and will be maintained separately for each employee who is tested as required under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC has indicated that disclosure of the name of an employee who tests positive for COVID to public health departments to assist in contact tracing is permitted. Should HR be asked for that information by a public health department, HR will comply with the request.

​5.
​The policy notes “weekly” testing. What is the definition of “weekly?”
​Weekly, within this policy, means every 7 days regardless of the days or shifts the employee works. This means if an employee tested first on a Tuesday, they would need to get the weekly test each Tuesday thereafter (at the latest). If they are unable to maintain a weekly testing pattern, they will need to ensure a test is on record within 7 days after the latest test. Unvaccinated employees on a paid or unpaid leave of absence resulting in a period of more than 7 days between tests must be tested within 72 hours of returning to work.

​6.
​What if a person misses a week of testing or their test date falls a day late (had to test on the 8th day after the last test)? 
​The policy reflects that weekly testing must occur. The testing could occur at a more frequent interval if the employee cannot participate in the weekly test on the specific day noted. For example, the employee typically tests weekly on Tuesdays, but cannot be available for a particular Tuesday - that employee would need to ensure they get tested prior to that day (ex: Monday).  Then the employee’s next test would be required within 7 days thereafter. If the employee exceeds the 7-day testing interval (unless because of an approved absence), they may be deemed unfit for duty, sent home in unpaid status, and may be subject to discipline.

​7.
​Will employees be provided paid work time to get the COVID-19 vaccine? 
​Agencies and supervisors shall, to the maximum extent operationally feasible, accommodate requests by individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during working hours. Accommodations may include allowing the individual to remain in pay status, providing flexible work schedules, allowing short notice requests for leave, and/or other flexibilities at the discretion of the agency. 

8.​​Can I still submit proof of my COVID-19 vaccination status?
​Yes. Beginning October 18, 2021, any executive branch state employee, intern, or contract staff who has not provided documentation that they have completed their vaccine series must be tested at least weekly for COVID-19.  Individuals may provide proof of vaccination status up to and following this date but will be subject to weekly testing until they are fully vaccinated. 

9.
​Will employees be required to use their own leave time if sent home due to a positive COVID-19 test?



​Employees will be required to use personal paid leave time just as they would if they are sent home or call-in sick due to other illnesses. Employees should work with their respective Human Resources Offices if they have questions. 

​10.
​Who is responsible for the COVID-19 testing costs (employer or employee), specifically for those State employees working in areas with no State-provided testing options? 
​DOA, in consultation with DHS, will provide agencies and individuals with information regarding free testing locations and procedures that individuals can use during their working hours. In addition to the state-provided free testing options, employees, interns, and contract staff will also have the option of obtaining a weekly test on their own time via their health care provider, pharmacy, local public health office, or community-based testing location. Employees, interns, and contract staff who opt to use a non-state-provided testing provider will be responsible for any costs associated with the test.

​11.
​What if an employee refuses to submit to COVID-19 testing when required?
​Employees subject to testing requirements who refuse to submit to mandatory testing will be deemed unfit for duty, sent home in unpaid status, and may be subject to discipline. Supervisors should work closely with their HR representatives if this should occur. ​

 

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 ​​Note: Guidance contained in this document is based on CDC and DHS guidance as of 05/28/2021