Fall 2020 College and School Faculty and Staff Meetings

COVID-19 Health and Safety

Has there been any talk about whether a vaccine will be required for people to return to campus full time?

Our COVID-19 Operations Group has been in the process of assessing how best to develop a policy and protocol regarding a vaccine at the time one becomes available. More detailed discussions will need to wait until more is known regarding how and when approved vaccines will become available.

How long does it take to receive results from a COVID-19 test administered by the university? 

Turnaround time for results will vary according to the type of test ordered, as well as laboratory capacity. At this time, test results for individuals with symptoms or close-contact exposures are back within 24 hours. Results from screening or surveillance tests may take 36 to 72 hours.

How do we make sure we have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Our Office of Procurement has worked to ensure an adequate supply of PPE, including surgical masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, alcohol pads, and plastic face shields. Visit the How to Buy page for more information on ordering PPE.

How is the university helping faculty, staff and students with their mental health? 

There are a number of efforts underway. HR and the Pathway 4 leaders are collating a series of one-stop resources for all faculty, staff, and students into one website, pulling together the many resources being developed across the university. The university will announce when it is completed, but meanwhile, visit the University Wellness website to engage with existing services. 

University Health and Counseling Services offers robust supports for students, including immediate access to counselors 24/7group counselingdedicated services for BIPOC studentsmindfulness sessions, and more. Faculty and staff with concerns about individual students should contact Counseling Services directlyor complete a Care Report for the Dean of Students.

Additionally, our wellness professionals have communicated with the deans and several VPs to about the availability of wellness resources as well as employee IMPACT Services so they can share this information widely with their schools, departments, and units. 

When will the university expand testing to graduate and professional students, faculty and staff? 

The university is offering testing to some graduate and professional students and plans to increase testing in the coming weeks. 

How does the university do contact tracing?

The university has a core contact tracing team from University Health and Counseling Services, the Office of Resiliency, the Dean of Students and Human Resources. This team and an additional group of more than 50 staff members are trained to conduct contact tracing for faculty, staff and students who have a positive COVID-19 test or may have been exposed to COVID-19. The team follows CDC contact tracing guidelines and consults with public health experts and the relevant public health departments.

Will there be enough classroom space when there are more in-person classes?

Yes, there will be enough classroom space for the spring 2021 semester. The university is also visiting all classroom spaces to review safety protocols to ensure the classroom spaces are ready for the spring 2021 semester.

Can you please provide clarity on when we should take the Daily Health Assessment?

Faculty, staff and students should complete the Daily Health Assessment either online or through the Rave Guardian app if they plan to come to campus. This includes going to the library, an academic building, an administrative building, an athletic facility, or the Sears think[box]. Students living in university residence halls should complete the Daily Health Assessment each day, regardless if they leave their residence hall. Community members do not have to complete the assessment if they are not coming to campus at all in a given day.

Working on Campus

What has the university done to assist families with the burden of childcare during the pandemic?

HR and the Provost’s Office have collaborated to offer support for families during this trying time. This includes a childcare subsidy, flexible work schedules and campus-based drop-in childcare for children in grades K-4. For more details, please see this article in The Daily and the child care resources page on the HR website.

Can you provide an update on HVAC inspections across campus?

The university is following the best practices around air dilution, filtration and ventilation.


  • Increase outdoor air intake to as much as HVAC systems can accommodate while still maintaining acceptable indoor temperature, humidity and air-quality conditions during occupied hours.
  • Implement a daily flushing schedule to operate the HVAC system with maximum outside air flows before and after occupied hours.
  • Keep systems running 24/7.


  • Upgrade central air and other HVAC filters to MERV-13 (ASHRAE 2017b) or the highest level achievable, particularly for recirculated air filters.
  • Seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.


  • Minimize direct person-to-person spread of the virus through avoidance of horizontally forced air flows.
  • Ensure proper air pressure relationships between indoor spaces (e.g. restrooms to corridors) to maintain optimal building indoor air quality.

For buildings where we cannot achieve these best practices, we have reduced occupancy levels in them. Faculty and staff in open office spaces are expected to adhere to staggered schedules to reduce the density in these spaces.

Can we have additional guidance on who can work from home during the pandemic?

If you think you should work from home, please contact your supervisor, who will work with HR to assess if there is a reason for the change in your work location. The university is reviewing all of its policies related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks to apply lessons learned, and will provide additional information if any of our work-from-home policies change.

COVID-19 Academics/Research

What do we know about high school students and enrollment during the pandemic?

Our recruitment process is in full gear, with our admissions staff reaching out to prospective students through virtual and online mechanisms. There is a lot of anxiety around the process this year for our prospective students and families, and one way we are helping to alleviate some of the stress is to waive the prior requirement that students must submit standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT as part of their applications.

Why is there a backlog with the IRB?

Because each situation is unique, we ask that you check the Sparta IRB system for progress updates. If there is a delay outside of your control, please contact one of the following individuals in the IRB Office:

Over the last few years, cuts to the library budget are impacting small academic programs much more than larger programs. In general, the cuts will eliminate resources that are vital to research and teaching. Can the university restore this funding? 

Provost Ben Vinson is forming a committee of faculty along with the University Librarian and Associate Provost Arnold Hirshon to review the library holdings in these programs and make recommendations on funding levels for them.

COVID-19 Financials

When will the university end the hiring freeze and restart contributions the Plan A retirement?

The university will review a return to normal hiring practices and the restoration of Plan A retirement no earlier than the third quarter of FY 2021. Only at that time will the university have a better understanding of the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on Case Western Reserve’s FY21 budget.

Will the university allow raises next fiscal year?

Near the end of the fourth quarter of FY 2021, the university should be able to determine if it can allow raises for FY 2022. This too depends on the financial implications from the pandemic.

Human Resources

Will Medical Mutual provide sufficient medical coverage when I am traveling internationally?

Medical Mutual can keep you in the network throughout the whole United States. When outside the SuperMed service area, MedMutual members have access to the Aetna Open Choice PPO network through their partnership with AXA, a global healthcare company. 

When outside of the U.S., MedMutual works with AXA Assistance USA. AXA Assistance offers coverage not only for emergency medical situations, but also for non-emergency services, medical transportation within a foreign country or to another country, and return to the United States if necessary for medical reasons.