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COVID-19 Staff Resources

Last Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020

A key principle of Otis College’s navigation through the current global COVID-19 pandemic is the protection of the health, safety, and wellness of our community members. With these in mind, Otis must respond quickly and responsibly to rapidly changing factors. A number of notable events have taken place since the community emails announcing the transition of all classes online on March 12, and the closing of our campus on March 16.

On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted a Stay at Home order: “Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance.”

With the closure of campus, most staff jobs are now working remotely, with exceptions for essential staff (who have been in contact with their managers already). Those who are working remotely do not need to submit telecommuting forms to Human Resources. The parameters for remote working can be found on the COVID-19 Staff Resources page and mirror our current practice. Please connect with your manager regarding how this will work in your department or division. 

We are fortunate to have many resources and procedures already in place for remotely processing of payroll, benefits, and absences from work. Until such time as we return to business as usual, we’d like to share new information regarding these topics in the updated FAQs below. 

The following FAQ is designed to help Otis College exempt and nonexempt staff members navigate the changes happening on campus. We continue to take as many proactive steps as practical to safeguard the Community while simultaneously supporting continuity of business as we decide on alternative methods for operations. We know that situations such as this can create a number of concerns, and our best way to address that is through communication, education, and preparation. Please read through these questions and answers, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your manager or the Human Resources department with any additional questions.

View the telecommuting agreement here.

View Operations Departments (Campus Safety and Security, Facilities, Purchasing, and IT) Hours of Operation and Contacts here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will Otis staff be paid and will we keep the same payroll cycle?

    Otis staff (Nonexempt and Exempt) will continue to be paid according to our payroll cycle on the 10th and 25th of the month. The Payroll Calendar can be downloaded from a link on this page.

  • If I am a non-exempt staff member working remotely, how will my hours for payroll be captured?

    Nonexempt (hourly) employees must utilize the Kronos portal to keep track of hours worked each day. VPN (remote) access is required. If you need VPN access, please reach out to helpdesk@otis.edu. If you have questions with any of the Kronos instructions below, please email Eloa Leme, Payroll Manager, at eleme@otis.edu.

    1. Log into the Otis Employee Dashboard at my.otis.edu. 

    2. Click on Kronos Timekeeping under Campus Applications. 

    3. Log into Kronos with your Otis user name and password. 

    4. Click on Record Time Stamp. Use this feature to track your hours when you begin work, take a break, return from the break, and end your day. 

    5. To access your timesheet and view your hours, please click on the Home option in the top right corner, and then click My Timecard.

  • What if I don’t have direct deposit? How will I get paid?

    If you don’t have direct deposit today, we encourage you to sign-up by filling out and submitting via email this form (you will need to be logged into the Employee Dashboard to access the form). It normally takes at least one pay cycle for the system to electronically deposit your paycheck into your banking account. You can email the completed form to payroll@otis.edu. We are working on how to distribute checks or other forms of payment to those of you who normally get hard-copy payroll checks. 

  • I’ve already signed up for vacation time, what do I do now?

    If you’ve already submitted an Absence form and it was approved per our guidelines, you’re all set. Your email and voicemail will need to indicate that you are out of the office and who should be contacted during your vacation. 

  • What if I want to cancel a planned and approved vacation?

    If you would like to cancel your vacation, please notify your manager. You will need to contact Payroll if you have already submitted an Absence form to ensure it is not inadvertently processed.

  • What about other absences from work?

    As per our guidelines, absences from work will need to be arranged with your manager and processed using the Absence form. Once approved for time off, your email and voicemail will need to indicate that you are out of the office and who should be contacted during your time away.

  • Will we keep the staff performance review schedule?

    Human Resources has put on hold staff performance reviews, which would typically start at this time of year, and will share details for next steps when we have them.

  • If I'm part of essential staff still on campus, should I come to work if I start feeling sick?

    No, staff should not report to or remain at work if sick—including having a fever with other flu/cold-like symptoms. Staff should use their accumulated sick time to call-in sick. You can check your current sick time balance through the Otis Dashboard at my.otis.edu. If staff members have no sick time available, they can use vacation or unpaid leave.

  • If I need to care for myself or a family member if sick, can I also do work and not use my sick pay?

    The priority in any instance requiring sick time is to attend to your own, or your family members’, needs. This time should be accounted for through the utilization of sick pay.

  • What if I have to take care of an immediate family member who is sick?

    Staff members who are required to care for an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible for family medical leave pursuant to the College’s family medical leave policy, and therefore should consult with Human Resources if they are in this situation. 

  • What if I'm returning to the U.S from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC?

    Any staff member whose flights have returned, or will return, to the U.S. from countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC, are encouraged to stay away from campus and also self-isolate for 14 days. We recommend checking the CDC website for an updated list of Travel Health Notices and monitor Level 2 advice. Managers and staff should contact Human Resources for further guidance or information in these instances as appropriate.

  • Can the Student Health and Wellness Center test faculty or staff members?

    The Student Health and Wellness Center is for students only. The SHWC staff cannot test or give medical advice to faculty or staff. Please call your healthcare professional for medical advice.

  • Am I eligible for any California State benefits?

    Yes. If you are unable to work because of an exposure to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.

    If you're unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member (or, in the case of new parents, to bond with a new child).

  • What are some best practices to consider for remote work?

    Here are a few quick suggestions:

    • Designate an “office” space. Create a quiet place to concentrate and spread out. Find an area in which work-related material can be stored and organized and secured.
    • Establish work hours. Develop a schedule and stick to it. If at all possible, adhere to the same work schedule that is followed on campus (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., with breaks). You need to plan to be available during this time for co-workers, etc.
    • Communicate with your team members early, often, and on a schedule. Communication can often be taken for granted when working on campus, since people can drop in or ask questions informally. Working from home means that communication must be more formal and intentional. Consider set times each day for phone calls to discuss progress, check in, or get updates. Explore the use of technology, such as the Zoom teleconferencing tool, to provide face-to-face interactions so that all of the nuances of communication can occur.
    • Anticipate interruptions and manage outside demands. Establish rules or guidelines for yourself and others to make it clear that you are engaged in your job/work and are not available for nonessential issues.
  • Will the Roth 403b information sessions still be held?

    Human Resources will reschedule these important informational sessions with the certified financial planner for a later date. The new schedule will be shared with the Community once we’ve established new dates.

  • I have questions related to benefits? How do I get my questions answered?

    Pam Sasuga (psasuga@otis.edu) is working remotely and will continue to respond to all benefit questions, including those pertaining to medical, dental, and 403b plans.  Pam will also be able to share links and phone numbers to relevant resources and other services.

  • I need to connect with Human Resources for questions unique to me or my area, where do I go?

    Please send an email to the Human Resources general mailbox at humanresources@otis.edu. This mailbox is monitored and checked several times a day. The appropriate HR staff member will get back to you as soon as possible. The College also has helpful resources, such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides confidential counseling services to employees and their families. To inquire about EAP, you can call 888-238-6232 or www.mylifevalues.com

  • I'm having a tough time coping with COVID-19 fears, can I speak with someone?


    Yes. Our Employee Assistance Program through AETNA provides 24/7 help for coping with the unknown, whether it's COVID-19 or any other stressor. You can learn more about the program here.