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July 2: Employee Procedure to Request COVID-19-Related Accommodation/Adjustment/Modification

July 2, 2020

Dear Colleague:

As George Mason University plans for our Safe Return to Campus (SRTC) this fall, the university is working to prioritize the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students.

As part of this planning, Human Resources and Payroll has created a process for requests by employees for accommodations, adjustments or modifications to their work plans based on COVID-19 risk factors. Details are outlined below; we are asking you to file your request by July 13 to assist in the planning and implementation process.

As the university progresses from its current stage of re-opening through an eventual return to normal operations, supervisors and employees should focus closely on what their department or unit will require to resume operations, working to identify the positions that will be necessary to ensure business needs can be met. This process will require evaluation of positions to determine those best suited to meet the responsibilities of the department/unit and business needs. It is important, and encouraged, that supervisors are as flexible as possible while working to design a plan for their department/unit that both supports the university’s mission and reduces physical presence on campus as a means of controlling transmission of COVID-19.  This will also support the university by allowing time to appropriately set up work areas that align with the new physical distancing recommendations.

We ask that certain principles guide the development of plans for resuming operations:

  • Support the university’s academic mission to provide meaningful on-campus educational experience,
  • Support the need to think flexibly and creatively about individual employee work arrangements,
  • Support the health and safety provisions being offered by the university, and required of all university community members, to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and provide a positive on-campus experience. 

As plans are being made, and positions required to return to campus are identified, some faculty and staff may have concerns about how their personal circumstances place them at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, which may impact their ability to return to campus. Those risks may include their own underlying health conditions, their age, or living with or providing care to a family/household member who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. To address the needs of this group and their supervisors, Human Resources and Payroll has created a streamlined process for faculty and staff to confidentially request an accommodation/adjustment/ modification. This process will allow us to address employees’ needs, support supervisors’ planning, and maintain medical confidentiality. 

Faculty and staff who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or live with or provide care to a family/household member who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should submit a request for accommodation/adjustment/modification. Requests should be submitted by July 13 in order to provide the necessary time for consideration, planning, and implementation. Those who have already begun working directly with their supervisors should submit a request to HR & Payroll to document the agreed upon accommodation/adjustment/modification.

To initiate a request, visit the Human Resources coronavirus page and select the SRTC Reasonable Accommodation/Adjustment/Modification Request link to access and complete the online request form. Confirmation of receipt will be sent within one business day.

HR & Payroll will review the request and work with the supervisors to determine whether the accommodation/adjustment/modification can be made, engaging the ADA Coordinator as needed.

The employee will receive an email notification with next steps when a decision has been made.

If you have questions regarding your request while it is under review please contact Employee Relations and/or Benefits.

Lester L. Arnold, Sr.

CHRO | Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll