Coronavirus information

Wayne State University is committed to the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students in an effort to meet the public health challenge presented by the COVID-19 virus.  Employees who have the ability to work remotely (teleworking), should do so through April 28, 2020, to minimize the potential spread of the virus, reduce personal contact, care for dependents, and promote ongoing operations.  Below are examples of how employees should code their time:

Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) - Teleworking during COVID-19

Condition Recommended Action(s)
Mandatory Quarantine (sick/exposed)
  • Stay home, seek medical care, recuperate and
  • Charge Illness Leave or
  • Charge PMLA (for certain employee classes) or
  • Charge Approved Absence with Pay *(once all leave banks have been exhausted)
  • Illness occurrences will be waived
  • Attendance standards will be relaxed during this time
Voluntary Quarantine (no symptoms, willing/able to work)
  • Request a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) and
  • Charge Regular Time
Leave Time (to care for dependents)
  • Request a Flexible Work Arrangement or
  • Charge any available leave banks (including illness, special needs, etc.)
  • Charge Approved Absence with Pay* (once all leave banks have been exhausted)
  • Attendance standards will be relaxed during this time
Teleworking Time (to minimize the spread of virus)
  • Request a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA)
  • Charge Regular Time
If Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) is not available, you are able to work and your office is closed
  • Speak to your supervisor about seeking work elsewhere (Supervisors may contact their HR consultant for assistance)

* Represents regular time and hours are not charged against leave banks, therefore, attendance occurrences will not be impacted.

Represented employees should refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) for guidance on leave time.  For specific questions, they may also contact Employee and Labor Relations, at 577-2081, or Faculty Affairs at 577-2257.  

While teleworking (or telecommuting) arrangements may be familiar to some, this resource will provide guidance to help you to set up effective temporary teleworking arrangements.  Your HR Client Services Team is available for consultation and assistance in the use of FWAs.

General information

What is teleworking and how does it differ from other forms of remote work?

Telecommuting is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular office hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval.

Which positions are suited for teleworking?

It is management's discretion to determine if a job is suitable for teleworking based on its role, responsibilities, and essential nature.  A job may be suited for teleworking if the job, or some components of it, can be done off-site without disrupting the flow of work, ongoing operations, overall service quality, and communication. Teleworking is easiest to implement for jobs or tasks that do not involve essential personnel or critical tasks that must performed on campus and may require direct personal contact with customers and/or other faculty or staff.  Essential personnel includes, but is not limited to positions such as Public Safety officers, certain facilities and skilled trades which are critical to the operations of the institution.  Alternatively, positions which involve a significant level of independent tasks may be suitable for teleworking.

Management has the discretion to modify a job, subject to compliance with the CBAs, so that employees can telework, but should make every effort to be flexible during this critical time.  If a job cannot be performed remotely, management should consider assigning other tasks.  Perhaps those things that cannot normally be done, due to the demands of normal operations, could be pose some opportunities like updating policies, procedures, and websites, training, strategic planning, developing new programs, implementing process improvements, and other special projects.  The opportunities are endless!  So please take advantage of this time.

What's most important to starting a productive teleworking arrangement?

Clearly outlined and executed teleworking arrangements can prove beneficial to employees and managers alike. Although the use of the FWA form (doc) is optional, we encourage managers to use it to facilitate a discussion with the employee and to articulate clear expectations. With proper planning, communication problems can be minimized. Also, well-planned FWAs may enable departments to extend their service hours and to make more effective use of space and equipment.

Tips for supervisors 

  • Determine an employee's eligibility for a FWA based on the nature of the employee's position, available technology/equipment to perform the work, the need for on-site presence, how faculty/student/client interaction will be handled, the employee's ability to work independently with minimal support and supervision.
  • Supervisor approval is necessary for FWAs which may also include flex time.
  • Communicate clear expectations over assignments, deliverables, deadlines, response times, methods of communication, and work hours/schedules.
  • Ensure the employee has the appropriate systems access for remote connectivity
  • When expectations are not met, discuss the concerns with the employee and develop a plan to resolve the concerns to promote accountability.
  • Conduct regular check-ins.  Continue normally scheduled meetings with employees and encourage employees to do the same; keep an inclusive mindset and avoid out of sight, out of mind perspectives.
  • Be sensitive and supportive to the challenges which arise from remote work arrangements. Acknowledge that people may be working in environments with inherent distractions and encourage employees to explain the situation or environment they are working from (i.e., children, pets, other); it helps to put the employee at ease.
  • Use many communication methods (i.e., email, phone calls, Facetime, Skype, Web Chats, Teams, etc.) to "humanize" communication and promote a collaborative team environment.
  • Stay connected with remote employees to promote interaction and prevent feelings of isolation.  Consider creating virtual activities to encourage engagement (i.e., virtual water cooler, virtual lunches, Teams meetings, etc.)
  • Celebrate successes working remotely.  This arrangement may be a big change and accomplishments should be recognized and rewarded.
  • Check in frequently on progress toward goals and provide support and resources as necessary.
  • Inform stakeholders about employees' FWAs and that the work expectations are the same.  Advise them of flexible schedules.  
  • Document the FWA (doc) and provide a copy to the employee
  • Comply with the FWA  
  • Assess the FWA to determine if adjustments need to be made.  
  • If applicable, remember that all overtime provisions are still in force regardless of where the employee is working.
  • Consider cancelling reserved meeting space if it is not needed for in-person meetings during this period.
  • Give recognition for good performance. All employee's want to feel that their work is appreciated.

Be positive

A positive attitude and employee trust is key to making such arrangements successful and productive. Teleworking presents an opportunity for managers to become better leaders. Emphasize a focus on measuring results and accomplishing objectives. By focusing on the employee's work product, managers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives. This will also help to promote employee satisfaction, productivity, creativity, and loyalty.

Debrief after normal operations resume

Employees and supervisors should review work plans when work returns to normal, assess progress on the employee's work plan, and prioritize any unresolved or new work that resulted from temporary operational disruption.

Tips for employees

  • Obtain supervisor approval for any FWAs.
  • Normal work hours apply (8:30am – 5pm) unless alternative arrangements are made with your supervisor.
  • Have a clear understanding of goals and expectations and comply with the FWA.
  • Set daily goals, track progress, and communicate timely.
  • Expect to continue to perform your normal job duties as if you are working from your office (i.e., attend meetings remotely, interface with your co-workers as required and during established work hours, be responsive, and complete assigned work).
  • Choosing your workspace is important; privacy and ergonomic considerations are critical to comfort, safety, and success.
  • Keep your supervisor informed of challenges you may have working from a remote location and work to resolve issues timely.
  • Familiarize yourself with remote access, forward your office phone to your cell/home phone, and obtain key IT contact information.  For C&IT assistance with remote login to University systems see or or call 313-577-HELP.  
  • Keep in mind that co-workers may also be working remotely so flexibility is needed.
  • Ensure you have a copy of the written FWA and be willing to make adjustments as needed to help promote effective and efficient operations.
  • Express your gratitude to your supervisor for allowing the FWA and their support.  Management needs support too.

Resource reallocation 

Department management must evaluate their resource needs to ensure successful ongoing operations.  To that end, management should ensure they have current business continuity plans that include:

  • Current employee lists with accurate home/cell phone numbers and email addresses
  • Essential personnel and critical tasks that must be performed
  • CBA considerations on any work restrictions
  • Tasks that can be performed by temporary employees

Human Resources will partner with supervisors and approved vendors to identify a temporary staffing solution that meets your needs. Click here for a Requisition for Temporary Employees. Some bargaining units have language regarding temporary employees.  Units should work with their HR Consultant, Employee and Labor Relations, and/or Faculty Affairs to explore options for hiring temporary employees during this time period. 

Voluntary shared PTO (coming soon!)

Employees with significant sick leave banks will be able to donate up to 14 days (112 hours) to the Voluntary Shared Paid Time Off (PTO) pool to provide employees with additional leave time if their banks are not sufficient to cover the needed time off. University leaders have already donated a significant number of hours to the pool in support of their colleagues. So stay tuned!

Student employment

Student assistants provide necessary support to the campus community in a variety of roles.  They rely heavily on the financial support they receive through their on-campus positions.  We encourage management to allow student assistants to continue their campus employment if they are able to work.  However, if students are ill and cannot work, they should be encouraged to stay home, seek medical care, and continue to be compensated at their hourly rate.  In the event that student assistants are unable to work because of discontinued operations or other limitations, supervisors should be willing to share their services with other units who may need assistance.  Your student will be matched with units who need additional support.  Please note that the student will continue to be paid from their original home department. 


For questions about COVID-19 or testing protocols, please contact the Campus Health Center at 577-5041.
The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to faculty, staff, and their immediate family members.  To speak to one of Ulliance's trained employee counselors, please call the toll free number, 24/7, 365 days at (800) 448-8326 .  You can also visit the LifeAdvisor Wellness website for additional resources.   For other Wellness tips and resources:

Healthy habits

Our body does a better job fighting off illness when it's not under stress. So here are a few tips to help you: 

  • Sleep.  A healthy immune system can fight off infection. A sleep-deprived immune system doesn't work as well.
  • Healthy eating not only improves your health, it also helps fight disease.
  • Ensure you are getting your information regarding COVID-19 from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  
  • Try walking or meditation to relieve stress. 
  • If you have a regular exercise routine, stick to it. There are plenty of workouts that you can do at home if you are concerned about going to your fitness center
  • Follow the CDC's precautionary guidelines
  • Here are a few additional resources:

Worried about your finances?

Contact Fidelity online or call 1-800-642-7131 or 800-343-0860.
Contact TIAA online or call 1-800-732-8353 or 855-200-0155.

The appointments will be virtual and instructions will be sent to WSU employees during the scheduling process.

Virtual doctor's visits

Virtual doctor visits are provided by each of the medical insurance options. This service provides medical consultation via telephone for acute health issues such as cold/flu type symptoms, and minor eye, ear and respiratory infections. Virtual doctor visits are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Physicians who consult virtually can issue prescription drugs for a variety of acute care items, and can call the prescription in to the pharmacy you choose for easy pickup. Virtual doctor's visits cost about the same as an office visit, without the limitation of office hours and the inconvenience of travel time. are provided by each of the medical insurance options. This service provides medical consultation via telephone for acute health issues such as cold/flu type symptoms and minor eye, ear, and respiratory infections. Virtual doctor visits are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Physicians who consult virtually can issue prescription drugs for a variety of acute care items and can call the prescription into the pharmacy you choose for easy pickup. Virtual doctor visits cost about the same as an office visit, without the limitation of office hours and the inconvenience of travel time.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM)

BCBSM has initiated temporary changes to the application of certain benefits. The changes are:

  • Fully covering the cost (including cost share) of medically necessary COVID-19 tests that are prescribed to our members by their physicians, following CDC guidelines.
  • Waiving prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and for covered services related to COVID-19 that are medically necessary, if the physician follows the CDC guidelines in prescribing the test.
  • Waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (consistent with member's benefit plan) except for opioid drug limits. The company is also encouraging members to use 90-day mail order benefits if available. These changes are only for customer groups or individuals with Blue Cross pharmacy coverage.
  • If there are shortages or access issues due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Blue Cross will also ensure formulary flexibility. Patients will not be liable for the additional charges stemming from obtaining a non-preferred medication for COVID-19 treatment – or if there is a shortage of drugs stemming from a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Helping to reduce the need for in-person medical care which may lead to further spreading of the virus. The use of virtual care benefit and BCBSM's nurse hotlines can assist in this situation.  Many groups cover online doctor visits and BCBSM will encourage others to add the benefit. Seeking virtual consultations for flu-like symptoms is a safe step for members who want to talk with board-certified doctors and can help avoid the spread of illness in physician office and emergency room settings.

Detroit Medical Center COVID-19 Hotline

The Detroit Medical Center has established an after-hours COVID-19 hotline available from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., seven days a week, for those with questions regarding COVID-19. The number is 1-888-DMC-3370.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Hotline

For general information about COVID-19, please visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service's website or call the hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136.