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WSU Employee FAQs

The university reserves the right to modify this information at any time in accordance with changing public health directives, best practices, and/or university needs.


COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Declaration

Effective Thursday, May 27, 2021, Washington State University system-wide has adopted the COVID-19 guidance regarding facial coverings and social distancing, set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of Washington Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). L&I’s COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance identifies certain fully vaccinated (such as two shots for Pfizer and Moderna or one shot for Janssen/J&J) employees do not have to wear a facial covering or socially distance at work unless their employer or local public health agency still requires it. Certain WSU departments or business units (such as health care services, child care services, day camps, etc.) must continue to wear facial coverings so it is important to check with your supervisor regarding facial covering requirements even if you complete this declaration.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Declaration process.

COVID-19 Vaccine

How can employees get vaccinated? (Updated 4/28/2021)

WSU encourages employees to check their home state’s vaccination website: 

Where can I find information additional information on the vaccine? (Updated 4/28/2021)

I am scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during work hours. How do I account for my time?  (Updated 03/22/2021)

Effective March 22, 2021, WSU employees (faculty, administrative professional, civil service) may receive up to 2 hours of release time during their scheduled work period to receive each dose of the vaccine, provided the vaccination appointment is during said period. If additional time is necessary, it must be accounted for as sick leave, annual leave, comp time, leave without pay and/or flexible scheduling options. Employees must coordinate release time, time off or flexible schedule options with their manager. Student and hourly employees may use their accrued sick leave if they receive the vaccine during a regular scheduled work shift.

If I am not vaccinated, can I choose to work remotely? (Updated 5/26/2021)

Employees who have been instructed to return to their work location should work with their department to determine if ongoing telework options are available for their position.  If an employee has a medical condition which preclude them from wearing a facial covering and/or receiving the COVID-19 Vaccination, contact HRS Disability Services to discuss options related to your specific situation.

Who should I contact for student vaccination-related questions or concerns? (Updated 5/27/2021)

Please visit the WSU COVID-19 FAQs on vaccines or email covid‑19.info@wsu.edu for questions related to student processes.

I received my COVID vaccination prior to March 22, 2021 and used another leave type. Can I change my time taken to Release Time?  (Updated 03/31/2021)

No. The authorization of two hours of Release Time for the COVID vaccination is authorized beginning March 22, 2021.  

If I get sick from the vaccination, can I use release time?  (Updated 04/22/2021)

No – Please see the COVID-19 Leave Scenarios & Available Benefits for information on time off and leave of absence options for COVID-19 related reasons.

I am receiving the vaccination outside of my work schedule. Do I get two hours of release time to use at another time?  (Updated 03/31/2021)

No. Release time is authorized for employees receiving the vaccination during their work shift. 

Can I use the release time to get a flu shot?  (Updated 03/31/2021)

No. The release time is for the COVID vaccination only.

Can I use the release time to get a COVID test?  (Updated 03/31/2021)

No. The release time is for the COVID vaccination only.

How long will release time for the COVID vaccination be available?  (Updated 03/31/2021)

This is effective until the expiration of proclamation 20-05, issued February 29, 2020, by the Governor and declaring an emergency in the state of Washington, or any amendment thereto, whichever is later. If state or federal law otherwise provides paid leave specifically to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, this provision no longer applies.

Do I still have to complete the employee attestation? (Updated 6/15/2021)

No. Effective June 15, 2021 employees are no longer required to attest when reporting to a WSU work location.

Leave

What should I do if an employee or co-worker comes to work and is obviously sick? (Updated 8/20/2020)

Review and follow Washington State Department of Health guidance for handling illness and suspected COVID-19 cases in the workplace. If you are not the employee’s manager, report the issue to the manager. If you are the manager, or a manager is not available, report the matter to HRS immediately.

If at any time an employee acknowledges they are symptomatic for COVID-19, ensure the employee is separated from other employees and directed to self-isolate at home/location away from work site. Employee should call their health care provider for assistance.

Follow WSU Environmental Health & Safety guidance using the applicable flowchart.

Employee’s are also to be referred to HRS Disability Services for COVID-19 related leave options.

What should I do if an employee or co-worker comes to work who has been exposed to COVID-19? (Updated 8/20/2020)

Follow WSU Environmental Health & Safety guidance using the WSU Personnel Identified as Close Contacts Flowchart.

Will sick leave rules be relaxed to allow people (hourly and/or staff) to use accrued sick leave while not able to come into work when remote work isn’t available?

Managers must evaluate telework options available and your HRS Service Team member can assist in discussing telework options.  If no telework is available, employees may use leave in accordance with their employment type.  Please refer to the COVID-19 Leave and Work Information for additional details on leave usage.  WSU must follow state civil service rules regarding leave and cannot independently approve additional sick leave usage outside of what is currently allowable.

Additionally, employees and managers are responsible for compliance with all WSU policies.  Employees must accurately account for hours including hours worked (on-site and/or telework), annual or sick leave used, and leave without pay. The Ethics in Public Service Act, RCW 42.52 applies to all WSU employees. All state employees have a duty to ensure proper stewardship of state resources and ensure accountability. Employees and managers are responsible for compliance with the state ethics laws and university policies and procedures.

Do the state of Washington COVID-19 employee communications and rules apply to faculty and staff at WSU?

It depends. Rules and communications that reference “higher education” employees apply to WSU and the other four year state institutions. The term “general government” or “state employee” refers to employees of WA state agencies, for example the Department of Transportation.

HRS knows this can be confusing when there are public announcements. HRS connects and communicates regularly with the other WA institutions and the OFMHR to ensure WSU is applying the rules impacting our faculty and staff. HRS will communicate any rule changes impacting WSU.

May I use sick leave if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

Employees are authorized to use up to 14 days of sick leave, who are otherwise healthy and have not tested positive and meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to self-quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19):

  • Within the last three weeks, traveled from a country that has been identified as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice by the CDC.
  • Been in close contact with a person with a positive laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection.

If you are at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 per the CDC guidance, contact HRS Disability Services regarding leave and alternate work options.

I am currently a benefit eligible employee, and have taken leave without pay (LWOP) during the month. How does LWOP impact my benefits?

A benefit eligible employee must be in paid status for eight hours or more in each month to continue coverage. In the event a person were on LWOP for a full calendar month, they may lose eligibility as of the end of the month they were in paid status.*

*Exception: benefits can be continued during periods of full Leave Without Pay during Family Medical Leave provided the employee pays their portion of the premiums.

Contact HRS Benefits Services for additional guidance regarding benefit eligibility at hrs.benefits@wsu.edu or 509-335-4521.

What should I do if I am a student employee who receives work study?

Please review the Work Study Guidance COVID-19 update provided by Student Financial Services.

If you have other questions about leave and work options please contact your department’s HR Service Team. You may also call HRS at 509-335-4521 or email hrs@wsu.edu.

Check your COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and where to receive the vaccine using the Vaccinate WA: Vaccine Locator.

Tuition Waivers

Will WSU employees be eligible for Fall 2021 tuition waivers?

Tuition waivers will be permitted for campus based classes that have converted to distance delivery. Classes offered through Global Campus or blended with Global Campus are not eligible for the waiver. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for additional information.

WSU Managers FAQs

Leave

As a manager, what should I do if a direct report comes to work and is obviously sick? (Updated 8/20/2020)

Review and follow Washington State Department of Health guidance for handling illness and suspected COVID-19 cases in the workplace. If you are the manager, or a manager is not available, report the matter to HRS immediately.

If at any time an employee acknowledges they are symptomatic for COVID-19, ensure the employee is separated from other employees and directed to self-isolate at home/location away from work site. Employee should call their health care provider for assistance.

Follow WSU Environmental Health & Safety guidance using the applicable flowchart.

Employees are also to be referred to HRS Disability Services for COVID-19 related leave options.

Can temporary hourly employees and/or student employees use their accrued paid sick leave?

Temporary Hourly employees with a qualifying sick leave event may use accrued paid sick leave in accordance with Paid Sick Leave for Temporary Hourly Employees – BPPM 60.43.

If a school or place of care is closed by order of a public official for a health-related reason, temporary hourly employees may be eligible to use accrued paid sick leave in accordance with WSU policy.

Where can I locate more information about leave and/or work options for faculty and staff?

Visit Leave and Work Options for Faculty and Staff.

Where can I locate more information for parents and caregivers?

Visit COVID-19 Resources for K-12 Parents and Caregivers.

This information is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.

Updated : 6/15/2021