COVID-19 Resources for Supervisors & HR Partners

Please refer to the University of Oregon website for the latest news and information and frequently asked questions related to our institutional-wide response. All questions should be submitted through the university inquiry form link provided below.

This webpage will be updated regularly as UO plans and responds to the evolving COVID-19 situation and its impact on our students, faculty, and staff.
Last updated December 9, 2020 at 3:07 p.m.

Important Considerations

  • Social Distancing and Maintaining Operations
    While the university is in a modified operational status for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and employees, managers and supervisors are to immediately explore and implement strategies for social distancing. Where possible, they are to allow employees to remain engaged in work if they are impacted by school closures in the work place while also focusing on their team’s ability to maintain operations. We recommend that employees be engaged in the process of identifying strategies that will work for your team.
  • Employee Accommodations
    When an employee informs their supervisor that they need a change in the work environment because of an underlying medical condition, they are making a request for accommodation.  We encourage you to be flexible in your overall planning as this may likely address any individual employee concerns which may arise and we should acknowledge CDC recognized risk factors (currently age 60+ and underlying health conditions) when exploring distancing and flex work.
  • Flexible Work Policy
    The UO has a flexible work policy that allows for employees and their units to explore flexible work arrangements.  In support of and consistent with the Governor’s guidance to increase distancing in workplaces, we encourage Managers and Supervisors to consider a possible increase use of flexible work approaches as one method to create more space between employees during the workday.  We also encourage you to explore flexible work options to assist employees impacted by school closures.

    In consultation with unit leadership, managers and supervisors could implement flexible work arrangements even without an employee request as a social distancing approach of last resort and take other steps to increase social distancing in the workplace. Flexible work arrangements should be documented on the flex work form.
  • Employee Illness
    Supervisors should not make assumptions about illness or ask about an employee's medical condition. Supervisors are encouraged to talk with all employees about resources and expectations related to sick leave and illness prevention.  If employees feel sick they are to be encouraged to stay home and be provided assurance that their assignments will be covered until they recover and resume work.

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The following resources are intended to inform and assist managers, supervisors, and unit HR representatives to plan and monitor developments related to COVID-19 and the workplace.

Safety Precautions and Employee Training

The university has established safety regulations and plans for increased in-person, on-campus activities, and expect supervisors to know and reinforce established safety regulations. The university provides guidance to assist supervisors as they respond to employee concerns and issues.

Distancing in the Workplace

Applying the principles of social distancing within the workplace is an approach the spread of illness and reducing the impact of COVID-19.

View Tips for Distancing in the Workplace

Flexible Arrangements and Remote Work

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to implement distancing measures to assist with reducing the impact of COVID-19 while the UO remains open and operational. In addition to the social distancing guidelines provided by HR, distancing strategies may include increase use of flexible work approaches as one method to create more space between employees during the workday.

Employee Engagement and Support

Human Resources and the Division of Equity and Inclusion have assembled insights and information for supervisors to apply to the strategies already use and generate new ideas.

Assessing Performance During COVID-19 Response

Every unit and very employee across the university had been impacted the university’s response to COVID-19 in some form or fashion. Regular and ongoing discussions between supervisors and employees is key to adjusting and adapting as the university continues its response to COVID-19.

Both the supervisor and the employee play a role in initiating a conversation about work assignments, work arrangements, and productivity to assess what is going well and what could be better as the employee carries out their responsibilities to accomplish the tasks and functions of their position.

View COVID-19 Performance Management Guide

Caregiver Resources

Caregiving can be particularly difficult due to remote work, remote school, and other challenges at this time. Meeting these responsibilities have a unique impact on UO community members and their families. While UO cannot provide ready-made solutions to childcare and other caregiving issues individuals are encountering, we have created new networking opportunities within the UO community to help alleviate some of the pressure points. Additional work-life resources are also available. Refer employees to these resources to help them address caregiving needs.

Employee Assistance Program

Remind employees of their access to resources through Cascade Center, Inc, our employee assistance program provider, UO contracts with Cascade Centers, Inc. to provide a comprehensive employee assistance for benefit-eligible employees and their dependents. The confidential services are provided at no cost to eligible members.

Cascade Centers also provides tools, resources, and training for supervisors and managers. Create a MyAdvantage account on the Cascade Centers website for access to these resources, and visit the Cascade Centers YouTube channel for webinars on topics related to supervising employees.

Employee Leave Options

The university recognizes the impact that COVID-19 may have on an employee's ability to work for various reasons. The first course of action is to explore flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible schedules, where possible. Because flexible work arrangements are not always appropriate or viable due to personal and operational realities, refer to the university’s leave programs, which includes a new UO emergency sick leave program and expanded FMLA/OFLA available during the UO COVID-19 response.

Instructions for applying UO emergency sick leave are available on the Payroll website in the Payroll-Related News section.

Hiring Freeze and Pay Actions Freeze

Due to financial uncertainty created by COVID-19, the University of Oregon has instituted a freeze on hiring and on off-cycle pay actions. All departments have also been directed to stop any non-essential spending on supplies and services (S&S). These budget management measures are intended to limit expense growth as much as possible during this challenging financial period. The actions will remain in place indefinitely and will be assessed as we move forward and gain a better understanding of impacts to the university budget.

UO Voluntary Summer Work Share Program

The UO Voluntary Summer Work Share Program is based on an Oregon Employment Department program that presents a unique opportunity for eligible employees, upon approval, to take at least one day off per week over the summer (June 14 – August 14) and receive unemployment insurance payments in addition to their UO pay check. With the additional $600/week in unemployment benefits available until July 25, we estimate that employees who reduce their FTE by 0.2 and make less than $131,000 per year may make more than their current pay over the two month period due to the combination of UO income and unemployment payments. Savings from the program will help offset revenue and expense impacts related to COVID-19 for the University.

Student Employees

Units are implementing a variety of social distancing strategies, including flexible work arrangements (i.e staggered schedules, remote work). Any arrangements or planning must include student employees.Student employees should coordinate with their supervisor regarding schedule and time-off requests.

Refer to the important considerations for flexible work provided for unit leaders to guide discussions about flexible work arrangements for all employees, including students.

Units are encouraged to do their best to identify remote work opportunities for student employees to keep them engaged in meaningful work, if possible. If it is not possible for the student employee to work remotely, student employees can utilize their UO Emergency Sick Leave and their regular accrued sick leave if they are experiencing decreased work hours due to COVID-19.

Hiring Freeze and Student Employee Positions

We understand the current circumstances may have limited work opportunities for our student employees. To clarify previous guidance, student employment positions are not subject to the hiring freeze, with the understanding that units will evaluate their needs for new student employees carefully and according to these guidelines:

  • Units that are experiencing work stoppages or insufficient work for regular ongoing staff members may not make new offers to student employees, even if they have previously worked for the unit. Student employees may not be assigned the work of classified or graduate employees. Units that are experiencing work stoppages or insufficient work for regular ongoing staff members should consult with Talent Acquisition ( prior to making new offers. Units who have unmet needs related to graduate employee positions should consult with the Graduate School at
  • If student work is available, units should first ensure their existing student employees have sufficient work before considering making new offers of employment. After ensuring current student employees have sufficient work, units can give priority in making new offers to students who previously worked in the unit.
  • New employment opportunities should be listed in Handshake and offered competitively wherever feasible. For competitively recruited positions, units can continue to give preference in hiring to Federal Work Study-eligible students.
  • Selection processes for student employees, onboarding, and work need to be conducted according to current university requirements for remote interviewing, social distancing, and remote work.

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