Communications to Employees

COVID-19 Employee Newsletters

May 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020  |  Thursday, May 21, 2020  |  Thursday, May 14, 2020  |  Wednesday, May 6, 2020

April 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020  |  Friday, April 24, 2020  |  Tuesday, April 21, 2020  |  Friday, April 17, 2020  |  Tuesday, April 14, 2020  |  Friday, Apr. 10, 2020  |  Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2020  |  Friday, Apr. 3, 2020

March 2020

Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020  |  Friday, Mar. 27, 2020  |  Monday, Mar. 23, 2020


COVID-19 Emails to Employees

See below for the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) communications from Maricopa Community Colleges to faculty and staff. Please continue to check back regularly for the most recent updates and advisories.

As the Chancellor shared in his message, Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) will move to “mask encouraged” protocol, beginning Monday, March 21, 2022, to align with the new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

This change does not impact the following health and safety protocols:

  • Continue to practice social distancing. The social distancing recommendations have not changed under this new guidance. This includes travel in MCCCD vehicles or rented buses.

  • Continue to monitor your health and remain home when ill. 

  • Follow the Isolation and Quarantine Protocols. Individuals with COVID-like symptoms or who have tested positive for COVID-19 (Regardless of Vaccine Status) and those who have been in close contact (less than six feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should follow the Isolation and Quarantine Protocols.

    • Remember, employees who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and have not met the isolation requirements may not come physically onto campus for any reason.

  • Continue COVID-19 Confirmed and Potential Case Reporting. Regardless of if you are working on campus or remotely, you must report if you have symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 through the Risk Management reporting forms

  • Provide respect and support for all individuals no matter what their masking choice may be. MCCCD understands that all individuals - employees, students, and community members - may feel safer or more comfortable wearing a face covering.  

The following policies are still in effect and are available to support employee needs during the pandemic. 

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Leave. All employees are eligible for vaccine leave to receive the vaccination or if they experience an adverse reaction to the vaccination. 

    • Vaccine Leave - Employees can take up to two hours of leave to get an initial or booster vaccination shot. This leave is not submitted through HCM. Employees must notify their supervisor and can use release time for this purpose. 

    • Adverse Reaction Leave - Employees experiencing an adverse reaction to the vaccination can take up to two days of leave by contacting the Leaves department at fmla-leaves@domail.maricopa.edu. The Leaves department will enter the leave into HCM for the employee. 

  • Telecommuting due to COVID-19. This policy created a temporary remote work agreement for employees impacted by the pandemic which can include individuals who have COVID-19, been exposed to COVID-19, are in or live with an at-risk population, etc. This is not a permanent remote work agreement. 

  • Remote and Virtual Work. This policy was created to offer employees a permanent remote or virtual work schedule. This policy should not be used for COVID-19 needs. 

MCCCD will be reinstating two COVID-19 policies to support employees as the pandemic continues. These policies are being expanded and require additional system configuration to meet the new thresholds. Look for more information about these policies in a future email. 

  • Compassionate Expansion Leave related to COVID-19 Pandemic. This policy was revised and reenacted to expand the District’s Policy B-8 regarding Compassionate Leave. These amendments are effective as of the date adopted to address the needs related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Employees are eligible to donate up to 80 hours of leave (vacation, sick, or a combination of the two). 

  • Advanced Sick Leave for COVID-19 Pandemic. This policy was reenacted to expand the District’s Policy B-4 regarding Sick Leave to meet the needs related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

If you are interested in learning about the CDC’s updated mask policy, please visit the CDC website (see the COVID-19 County Check) for more information. We will provide more details and updates as we receive new information guidance from Public Health leaders. 

Additional information about the pandemic and MCCCD’s health and safety procedures is available on the Together Maricopa website and Risk Management’s COVID-19 webpage. The Frequently Asked Questions and Training are currently being updated to align with the new guidelines. 

If you have any questions, please contact askhr@domail.maricopa.edu

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it had relaxed its guidelines for when and where it recommends the use of masks and facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Based on this new guidance and Maricopa County’s current COVID-19 metrics, beginning March 21, 2022, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) will move to “masks encouraged.” In instructional settings, individual faculty may require masks based on the needs of their class. All other health and safety protocols, including social distancing, will remain in place at this time. Our goal remains centered on providing high-quality academic instruction and services while maintaining a safe workplace for our students and employees. We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 community levels and adjust our policies to stay consistent with the CDC’s guidelines and recommendations. 

If you are interested in learning about the CDC’s updated mask policy, please visit the CDC Website for more information. As new information becomes available, we will provide more details and updates as we receive guidance from Public Health leaders.

Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate COVID-19. I am optimistic that this is the beginning of a step toward normalcy for our MCCCD Community and appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. There have been difficult decisions made over the last two years, and I applaud the MCCCD family for its diligence in keeping our students, colleagues, and peers safe and healthy.

Sincerely, 

Steven

On February 10, the Chancellor announced the approval of the COVID-19 Essential Worker Stipend Administrative Regulation. This policy provides a one-time Essential Worker COVID-19 Stipend (using HEERF dollars) for those employees required to work in-person at all times from March 16, 2020, through June 30, 2020, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The Essential Worker COVID-19 Stipend serves to recognize the increased risk of these employees and the additional duties they were required to complete while others were able to work remotely, whether fully or partially. Full-time essential workers received a $1,500 stipend, and part-time essential workers received a $750 stipend on the February 25, 2022, paycheck. 

Request for Consideration

The policy also introduced a Request for Consideration period for employees who believe they meet the definition of Essential Worker per the policy to request consideration of Essential Worker status to be eligible for the stipend. The Request for Consideration period will be open for one month from today, February 28, through Thursday, March 31, 2022. 

Any employee who meets the Essential Worker definition (and has not already received a stipend) may submit a Request for Consideration for Essential Worker Status Dynamic Form. The form must be submitted by March 31, 2022, to be considered. 

Once the employee completes the form, it is routed for approval through the following steps:

  • Employee’s current supervisor,

  • Employee’s prior supervisor (if needed),

  • Local Human Resources, and

  • Human Resources Solutions Center (HRSC) (final approver). 

The supervisors and local HR will be reviewing the form to identify if the employee does meet the Essential Worker definition (i.e. worked in-person the entire period of March 16, 2020, through June 30, 2020) and confirm the number of hours the individual is required to work. HRSC will review the items above and will also be reviewing the number of leave hours taken, as employees who exceed 10 days of emergency paid sick leave are not eligible for the stipend (see the SOP for more information). 

View the resources below for additional information:

If the Request for Consideration is approved, the employee will receive the stipend on the next possible paycheck. 

Please contact askhr@domail.maricopa.edu if you have any questions. 

Dear Colleagues,

As we near the second anniversary of the pandemic, I know each and every one of you, whether in person or remotely, has stepped up to ensure the continuity of MCCCD services. During this challenging time, I am most proud of our ability to rise above our circumstances to meet the state of our reality together. With that, once again, I would like to acknowledge and honor the continued work of our District’s employees for your tireless service to our students and communities.

For the past several months, we have been consistently evaluating the various legislation related to the pandemic. One particular legislation includes the Fiscal Recovery Funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, commonly known as HEERF. This legislation allows HEERF dollars to be used to support those essential workers required to be in person at all times to mitigate or respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

I am therefore approving a one-time Essential Worker COVID-19 Stipend using HEERF dollars for those employees required to work in-person at all times from March 16, 2020 through June 30, 2020 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Essential Worker COVID-19 Stipend serves to recognize the increased risk of these employees and the additional duties they were required to complete while others were able to work remotely, whether fully or partially. Full-time essential workers will receive a $1,500 stipend, and part-time essential workers will receive a $750 stipend. Please see the COVID-19 Essential Worker Stipend Administrative Regulation for further guidance.

District Office Human Resources will be notifying all eligible employees in the next few weeks. Eligible employees will receive the one-time stipend on their February 25, 2022 paycheck. Once this process is complete, employees who believe they are eligible for the stipend based on the definition in the policy may submit a Request for Consideration. Human Resources will make the request form available from February 28, 2022 through March 31, 2022.

Please know that this stipend is not meant to diminish the work of those employees working remotely. I recognize that it took the extraordinary efforts and possibly some personal expenses of all employees to maintain the systems operations and meet the daily needs of our students and communities under trying circumstances. So, in recognition of this extra effort, I am extending spring break by three additional days for staff, and granting residential faculty two additional floating holiday days for the 2022-2023 Academic Year. Spring break will be March 14, 2022 through March 18, 2022 for all employees.

Thank you for all that you do,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back again. I hope your first few weeks and the first week of classes went as well as possible. I know we are continuing to face challenges due to the increasing rise in cases of COVID-19.

MCCCD is facing the highest number of cases per week this month than we have ever seen before. It is important to focus on the health and safety of our students, employees, and community. Given the continued increase, it is critical to continue to follow our established safety protocols. These include the requirement for all individuals — faculty, staff, students, and visitors — to wear face coverings in all indoor areas, including classrooms, to practice social distancing, and to monitor your health and remain home when ill.

There are a few updates that have occurred over the past few weeks that you should be aware of:

  • Supreme Court Decisions on the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and Health Care Worker Mandates. The Supreme Court blocked the OSHA ETS mandate that requires employees with 100 or more employees to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement. In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court did allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule, which requires vaccination of all healthcare workers at CMS-covered facilities throughout the United States
    • Note: These decisions do not impact the injunction blocking the enforcement of Executive Orders 14042 and 14043 which was the federal vaccine mandate that previously applied to Maricopa. 
    • If you would like to voluntarily submit your vaccination documentation you may request a unique submission link through AskHR@domail.maricopa.edu.
  • Free At-Home/Over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 Tests. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through the federal website covidtests.gov. Orders will ship within 7-12 days.
    • Need more tests? On January 15, 2022, President Biden issued a notice to Health plans to reimburse employees for the cost of 8 at-home tests per household per month. If you need more than the 4 free tests provided through the link above, you can request reimbursement from your health insurance company for up to 8 additional tests. Employees who have prescription coverage through CapitalRX should submit reimbursement requests through the claims process below:
    • Member purchases of covered OTC tests made on or after January 15th, 2022 can be submitted for reimbursement by the member using their plan’s Direct Member Reimbursement (DMR) Form.
    • Capital Rx will be sending a COVID-19 OTC test specific DMR form to facilitate a smoother process for members, until then Capital Rx will accept the standard DMR form.
    • Member claims for tests purchased on or after January 16th, 2022 and submitted via DMR are subject to quantity limits and are only reimbursable up to $12 per test.
      • Note: If you use the At-Home COVID-19 test there are three things to be aware of: 1) At-Home tests are not as accurate as provider administered tests. There is a potential for false positives and false negatives. 2) Tests should not be overused as overuse of the nasal swab can irritate the respiratory tract. 3) MCCCD practices a symptom based strategy, rather than a negative test, to determine if an employee is able to return to work. Even if you decide to test and receive a negative test result, it will not shorten the isolation or quarantine period.

In addition to the new information above, please continue to follow the processes and information below:

  • COVID-19 Confirmed and Potential Case Reporting. Regardless of if you are working on campus or remotely you must report if you have symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 through the Risk Management reporting forms.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Leave. All employees are eligible for vaccine leave to receive the vaccination or if you experience an adverse reaction to the vaccination.
    • Vaccine Leave - Employees can take up to two hours of leave to get an initial or booster vaccination shot. This leave is not submitted through HCM. Employees must notify their supervisor and can use release time for this purse.
    • Adverse Reaction Leave - Employees can take up to two days of leave if you are experiencing an adverse reaction to the vaccination by contacting the Leaves department at fmla-leaves@maricopa.edu. The Leaves department will enter the leave into HCM for the employee.
  • Follow the New Isolation and Quarantine Protocols. Individuals with COVID-like Symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 (Regardless of Vaccine Status) and those who have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should follow the new Isolation and Quarantine Protocols that were announced in my January 7, 2022 email.
  • Contact your Local COVID-19 Liaison if you have questions about your specific College or Site. Review the contact information available for Risk Management, Leaves, and your local COVID-19 liaison.

Additional information about the pandemic and MCCCD’s health and safety procedures is available on the Together Maricopa website and Risk Management’s COVID-19 webpage.

Thank you,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you, your family, and your friends in good health. The start of another semester brings with it excitement and anticipation, and once again this year, a level of anxiety. Along with the excitement of a new semester, there is a surge in COVID cases across our state, as well as the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Given the rise in cases of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, it is an important reminder that the pandemic is not over. MCCCD will continue to enforce our established safety protocols. These include the requirement for all individuals — faculty, staff, students, and visitors — to wear face coverings in all indoor areas, including classrooms, to practice social distancing, and to monitor your health and remain home when ill.

With respect to face coverings, the CDC recommends wearing three-layer (surgical) face coverings as they provide the best level of protection.  Initial scientific findings indicate the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant, and three-layered masks (such as surgical masks) are the best option to protect against the Omicron variant.

Additionally, MCCCD continues to strongly encourage members of our community who are able to do so to receive the vaccine and follow-up booster. We are committed to remaining in-person and open for in-person services to support our students and community. The vaccine and adherence to our established safety protocols provide the best protection for us all.

New Isolation and Quarantine Protocols based on CDC’s 12/27/2021 update:

(These protocols are subject to change as additional CDC recommendations are proposed.)

Individuals with COVID-like Symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19: (Regardless of Vaccine Status)

Isolate yourself for a minimum of 5 days and monitor your symptoms. You are able to return to in-person classes/work when all 4 of the following CDC criteria have been met:

  • At least 5 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving or have completely resolved (and no new symptoms appear) and
  • Continue to wear a mask/face covering around others for 5 additional days after isolation is discontinued.

Potential Exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual:

If you are asymptomatic and any of the following scenarios apply to your situation:

  • Completed the two-dose vaccine series for either Pfizer or Moderna within 6 months of your potential exposure or
  • You do not need to quarantine, but you must wear a mask around others for 10 days.**
  • Completed the primary series of the J&J vaccine within the last 2 months from your potential exposure or
  • You have had any of the booster shots or
  • You have recovered from COVID-19 within 3 months of your potential exposure.

Then, you do not need to quarantine, but you must wear a mask around others for 10 days.**

If you are asymptomatic and any of the following scenarios apply to your situation:

  • Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted or
  • Completed the primary series of the J&J vaccine over 2 months ago and are not boosted or
  • Are unvaccinated or
  • Have not recovered from COVID-19 within 3 months of your potential exposure.

Then, stay home for 7 days from the date of your last exposure. After that continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.*

**If you develop COVID-19 like symptoms or test positive during your quarantine, regardless of your vaccine status, you must isolate and immediately complete the online form Report Symptoms or Confirmed Case.

As a result of these changes to the COVID-19 isolation and quarantine periods, those who have recently received an email from Risk Management with the 10 and 14-day isolation/quarantine time frames may reduce them to 5 and 7 days, respectively. If you have any questions, please contact Risk Management at dl-dssc-risk-management@domail.maricopa.edu.

I want to acknowledge the frustrations and anxieties that members of our Maricopa community may be feeling. I have every reason to believe that our approaches to safety measures across our college campuses and the district office will continue to be successful. There may be differences across our District, and we thank you for your patience as District Office and College leadership teams evaluate local needs.

I cannot express enough my gratitude for your patience and perseverance. I am proud of Maricopa and look forward to a great 2022. I will continue to share more information as new details emerge or as our plans evolve.

Sincerely,

Steven

Attention Maricopa,

As the Chancellor announced in his message, a federal court in Georgia issued a nation-wide injunction blocking the enforcement of the Federal Vaccine Mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors. To comply with this injunction, we will not be taking any enforcement action on the vaccine mandate at this time, which means the deadline of January 7, 2022 to upload proof of vaccination or request an exemption/accommodation is no longer in effect.  

Given the rapidly changing landscape, if you would like to voluntarily provide your vaccine information or continue with the accommodation process you may certainly do so. MCCCD will leave the Federal Vaccine Mandate submission structure in place and will continue to monitor the situation. 

Employees will have access to complete the following forms if they choose to do so:

  • Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Acknowledgement in the Employee Learn Center

    • However, reminders will be turned off for those who have not completed the form. 

  • Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Documentation or Intent to Request an Accommodation Form

    • If you have not already completed the form, you should have received an automated email on Monday at 1:00 p.m. from noreply@info.maricopa.edu with a unique link to complete the form. 

    • Vaccination documentation that has already been submitted will continue to be processed. 

    • Reminders for this form will also be turned off for those who have not completed the form. 

  • Requests for Accommodation/Exemption

We strongly encourage employees to continue to follow the health and safety protocols by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, and becoming fully vaccinated. 

Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Resources

The Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate webpage will continue to be available to employees. All resources and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be updated to reflect the new information. These will be provided along with the other FAQs in case you do choose to move forward with voluntarily providing your information.

Question? Any questions submitted to Ask HR prior to the injunction will continue to be responded to with the most recent information. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources at AskHR@domail.maricopa.edu

Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to keeping every employee, student, and community member healthy and safe. 

Dear Maricopa,

I am writing to provide further clarification regarding MCCCD health and safety protocols as they relate to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Please be aware that, while the federal order requiring vaccinations is the subject of a preliminary stay, all of MCCCD’s remaining safety protocols were in place prior to the federal executive order, and therefore remain in place. This includes the requirement for all individuals — faculty, staff, students, and visitors — to wear face masks in all indoor areas, including classrooms, to practice social distancing, and to monitor your health and remain home when ill.

I apologize for the miscommunication.  We’re just trying to remind everyone to stay as safe as possible, while on campus or elsewhere, both because we care about you and so that we can continue our in-person, on-campus learning.

Steven

Dear Maricopa, 

Earlier today, a federal court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction blocking the enforcement of the Federal Vaccine Mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors. To comply with this injunction, we will not be taking any enforcement action on the Federal Vaccine Mandate at this time, which means the deadline of January 7, 2022, to upload proof of vaccination or request an exemption/accommodation is no longer in effect. 

As the legal landscape is rapidly changing, we will leave the vaccine structures our Human Resources team put in place and strongly encourage employees to continue the process of becoming vaccinated against COVID-19 and voluntarily uploading their vaccine status. This will help us protect MCCCD and the greater Maricopa county community.

Moving forward, we strongly encourage all individuals — faculty, staff, students, and visitors — to wear facial coverings while indoors at any of our facilities and socially distance, where possible. Wearing a mask and social distancing provides the best chance to maintain our in-person learning experiences as well as the health, safety, and security of our students, faculty, and staff.

If you are interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the Arizona Department of Health Service’s website for more information or to sign-up.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Maricopa,

President Biden’s Executive Orders 14042 Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors and 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees on vaccines require all employees of federal contractors to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or request and have an approved reasonable accommodation based on a medical/disability need or a sincerely held religious belief. Because MCCCD has covered federal contracts, this Executive Order applies to all employees of our System including faculty, staff, student workers, full/part-time, temporary employees, and volunteers. 

MCCCD works with a variety of federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense and various military branches, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the National Science Foundation.  Among other things, these contracts and programs allow MCCCD to provide career training and degree opportunities to members of the military and veterans.

While the Federal Vaccine Mandate stipulates that entities will be in compliance by December 8, 2021, we have additional time as our federal contracts renew and the implementation of this mandate becomes necessary. Therefore, in order for us to comply with the Federal Vaccine Mandate, all employees must be vaccinated for COVID-19 by January 7, 2022, or have applied for religious or medical accommodation. This COVID-19 vaccination requirement applies to all employees regardless of remote or virtual status.

We understand that you may have questions about religious or disability/medical accommodations. Additional communications with details on the process to report your vaccine status and how to apply for religious or medical accommodations will be coming from our Human Resources team later today.

If you are interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the Arizona Department of Health Service’s website for more information or to sign-up.

Sincerely,

Steven