March 7, 2020: Communication to UMSON Supervisors from Karen Jarrell, Human Resource Manager / Business Partner

Updated March 10, 2020

Dear UMSON supervisors,

As part of our commitment to supporting a healthy work environment and to protecting the safety of all employees, students, and visitors of the School of Nursing, employees are encouraged to stay home when they are feeling ill. We are asking supervisors to be flexible and accommodating with employees who are required to be away from work for reasons associated with preventing or lessening a COVID-19 outbreak. In these cases, the preferred option is for employees to work remotely (if they are well enough to do so).

If employees are out of the office and unable to telework, we expect them to follow sick leave guidelines as established by their departments. Employees must notify their immediate supervisor or designee at the worksite that they will be using leave each day of their absence until such time that they return to duty. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to below. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments.

Supervisors should advise employees who feel ill to contact their health care provider or UMaryland Immediate Care at 667-214-1899.

As we navigate this public health situation, there may be questions that arise. Below are some guidelines to help us; as with any process or procedure, consistency of practice is of utmost importance.

I suspect an employee I supervise may be sick.

You should first encourage the employee to go home. If the employee refuses to go home, please reach out to Karen Jarrell, Human Resources Business Partner, at 410-706-8773 or for support. You should also advise employees who feel ill to contact their health care provider or UMaryland Immediate Care at 667-214-1899.

How do I determine if my employee is able to work remotely?

Both exempt and nonexempt employees are allowed to participate in a telework arrangement as long as they have the ability to perform their duties from a remote site. You should begin immediately to assess which duties can be performed remotely and verify that employees performing these tasks have the necessary equipment, IT access, and knowledge.

If an employee does not have the necessary equipment to perform their normal duties remotely, contact Karen Jarrell, Human Resources Business Partner, at 410-706-8773 or to determine the availability of an alternative assignment for that employee.

If UMSON or UMB implements a full remote work environment, we would refer to UMB’s Policy on Emergency Conditions for guidance for those employees who cannot work remotely.

My employee is concerned about having enough sick leave.

Employees may also need to care for sick family members. Providing a telework arrangement is the preferred option. Otherwise, employees need to use their leave. Employees who are not able to telework because they or those for whom they are caring are not physically well can use sick leave and other forms of paid leave.

If the employee has run out of leave, please direct them to Karen Jarrell, Human Resources Business Partner, at 410-706-8773 or to discuss other options, such as advanced sick leave. Individual situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Please be aware that leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for an employee’s illness and/or to care for a sick family member may necessary. These instances should also be referred to Karen Jarrell to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Employees are expressing concerns that colleagues may be sick.

Please report to Karen Jarrell, Human Resource Business Partner, at 410-706-8773 or any concerns regarding potentially ill employees to ensure our employees are not placed in a position to engage other colleagues about their well-being. Karen will follow up with the employee and their direct supervisor.

It is important that we be mindful of employees’ privacy and our obligation to hold in confidence any personal or medical information that is shared.

My employee declines to come to work out of fear.

Keep lines of communication open and keep employees informed. Communicate questions from employees to Karen Jarrell, Human Resources Business Partner, at 410-706-8773 or

It is important that we do not promote panic. We need to be consistent, fair, and patient.

If an employee requests time off from work for a reason that is not related to illness, they should follow the individual department’s procedure. A supervisor can approve or disapprove such a request based on the operational needs of the department.

My employee wants to go to a conference or travel.

Employees should not register for any conferences or book any future travel until additional University guidance is issued. For those who have already been approved to travel, the dean’s office will notify the employee of next steps at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel, given the evolving nature of COVID-19 in the United States and worldwide.


Karen Jarrell
Human Resources Business Partner