COVID-19 Operational Update

March 15, 2020

Dear Tulane Staff:

As we confront the unprecedented health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to have you as partners in ensuring that Tulane is doing everything possible to reduce the concentration of people at our workplaces. Our intention is to allow as many of our staff as possible to work remotely, while continuing to carry out the essential work of the University. National public health experts, including our own Tulane faculty, physicians and researchers, agree that this is one of the most effective strategies in ending this global health threat.

The guidelines for staff below are designed to help as many employees as possible transition to a remote work arrangement in your vital role at Tulane as quickly as possible, ideally by Monday morning. Please note these guidelines do not apply to those engaged in clinical operations, which will be directed by the Medical School and Student Health. This initiative will require flexibility, cooperation and creativity on your part – qualities that we know are in abundance among our staff. LET US UNDERSCORE: IT IS IN OUR SHARED INTEREST TO HAVE AS MANY EMPLOYEES AS POSSIBLE WORK REMOTELY.

While we are continually reassessing our policies in light of the ongoing pandemic, we expect this protocol to be in effect for at least 30 days. However, since this is a fluid situation, these policies are subject to change. In an effort to give our employees the most flexibility, full-time and part-time benefits eligible employees will have access to temporary emergency paid leave. We will provide up to 80 hours of emergency paid leave for COVID-19 related circumstances, including caring for children that are at home due to the K-12 school closures. This emergency paid leave is for full-time benefits eligible employees, and will be pro-rated for part-time benefits eligible employees. This special type of paid leave is neither sick nor vacation. Any unused COVID-19 paid leave will not accrue or be paid upon separation. More detailed information about this program will be available soon.

Flexible Work Arrangements (Telework)
Flexible work arrangements, including working remotely, support the practice of social distancing. Your supervisors have been encouraged to develop and implement flexible work arrangements into their operations to help reduce the spread of the virus and to protect your health and the health of our community.

  • Your supervisor's approval is required for remote work and should be approved unless it is categorized as critical work that cannot be done remotely.
  • Your supervisor may also consider staggering start and end times or implementing compressed work weeks to further reduce the number of people working near one another.
  • Supervisors have been encouraged to be accommodating to employees who have been told by health professionals to self-quarantine. This may include working remotely or allowing employees to use the emergency COVID-19 paid leave to cover that period.
  • Your supervisors will likely assign alternative temporary duties outside of your normal job duties during this period, as a means to support on-going business continuity.
  • Until further notice, it is not necessary to submit the flexible work arrangement agreement to HR as the current arrangements are temporary, in response to this crisis.

Vacation Leave
As always, vacation leave must be approved by your supervisor in advance.

Sick Leave
Our goal is to ensure that all staff employees who are sick or caring for someone who is sick are able to stay at home. When a staff member is sick or is caring for someone who is sick, and not able to work from home, then sick time should be used. If the illness is related to COVID-19, then the temporary emergency COVID-19 paid leave should be used first. If this special leave is exhausted, then you must use sick time. If sick time is exhausted, you must use vacation time. Ask your supervisor to reach out to their HR business partner for further guidance if your temporary emergency COVID-19 paid leave, sick and vacation time is exhausted.

If you are told by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, even if you are not symptomatic, you should stay home. If you are currently working from home and can continue to work, you will receive pay as normal based on the regular work schedule. If your illness or quarantine prevents you from working, then the temporary emergency COVID-19 paid leave should be utilized. You are required to notify your supervisor as soon as possible if you need to self-quarantine.

Your health and the health of our community is our primary concern.

  • If you are sick, stay home and seek medical care.
  • If you are concerned that you may have contracted COVID-19, your healthcare provider will help you to determine whether quarantine or isolation is needed.
  • If you are concerned about exposure, and are not working remotely, please notify your supervisor immediately.  

The Employee Assistance Program is available for faculty and staff seeking counseling or support. Information about Employee Assistance Programs can be found here. Answers to common benefit related COVID-19 questions can be found here.

The most updated information related to COVID-19, including the university's response, the latest answers to FAQs, communications, travel advisories, and operations can be found at

Finally, we thank each of you for your support and ask that you take care of yourself and your fellow members of the Tulane community.


Robin Forman
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Patrick Norton
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer