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January 14, 2021: COVID leave, State Agency Vaccination, and Metro Safe Update

Posted Thursday, January 14, 2021 | Announcements to Employees

State agency vaccination update

As many of you are aware, the beginning distribution of COVID-19 vaccine has begun here in Minnesota and elsewhere. With many questions regarding the prioritization of vaccinations, availability to state workers, and whether or not vaccination will be mandated circulating among state workers and others, Minnesota Management and Budget has put together a COVID-19 vaccination information for state agency employees bulletin for reference. This information is likely to be updated frequently, so consult it as questions arise.

COVID-19 campus exposure update

For the week of Jan. 6–Jan. 12, Metropolitan State has reported 8 COVID-19 cases to the Minnesota State dashboard among individuals associated with our campus. Of these individuals, none were infectious while on campus. The data reported is shown below:

Students—Week of 1/6/2020 - 1/12/2021 / Total from 08/24/2020 - 1/12/2021

Case Number/ Total Reports—8 / 269

Negative—0 / 75

Unknown/ Unconfirmed—0 / 0

Positive (Reported to System Dashboard)—8 / 194

Contagious while on campus—0 / 17

Not Contagious or Not on Campus—8 / 177

Recovered (Isolation has ended)—6 / 188

Employees—Week of 1/6/2020 - 1/12/2021 / Total from 08/24/2020 - 1/12/2021

Case Number/ Total Reports—0 / 14

Negative—0 / 1

Unknown/ Unconfirmed—0 / 12

Positive (Reported to System Dashboard)—0 / 12

Contagious while on campus—0 / 0

Not Contagious or Not on Campus—0 / 13

Recovered (Isolation has ended)—0 / 13

As a campus with many students and employees studying and working offsite, if a positive case does not trace to an exposure/contact on campus, the campus may not be notified. Data may not be comprehensive or in real-time​ due to testing and reporting delays and are subject to change. Individuals, particularly those that have been at one of our locations, are also encouraged to report any COVID-19 health updates through our reporting form. As part of the Minnesota State system and in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, Metropolitan State posts a link to the Minnesota State COVID-19 dashboard on the website.

COVID leave changes

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has revised the Paid COVID-19 Leave Policy and the Expanded School Leave (ESL) Policy. Following are important points on the revised policies effective Jan. 1, 2021:

  1. Employees are entitled to a single leave bank of eighty (80) hours of Paid COVID-19 Leave (pro-rated for part-time employees). All paid leave taken under this policy prior to Jan. 1, 2021, counts toward the amount of leave available under this policy on and after Jan. 1, 2021. Employees who have exhausted Paid COVID-19 Leave by Jan. 1, 2021, are not eligible for any additional Paid COVID-19 Leave.
  2. The COVID Paid Leave Policy is largely unchanged, except that the policy will now offer paid leave for employees who are directed by their Employer to remain home because of exposure to a confirmed case of COVID. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the COVID Paid Leave Policy will be authorized by the Governor’s Executive Authority under the Peacetime Emergency rather than the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and are expected to end when the Peacetime Emergency ends.
  3. Use the new Minnesota State COVID Leave-Expanded School Leave (ESL) Request Form (attached) for ESL leaves.
  4. The former EFMLA Policy will expire and change to the Expanded School Leave (ESL) Policy as of Jan. 1, 2021. The primary difference in the Expanded School Leave Policy is that leave taken under the policy will not be counted against an employee’s FMLA leave balance.
  5. Length of Service Criteria. The new ESL Policy requires employees to have worked 1,044 hours in the previous 12 month period to be eligible. In contrast, the EFMLA Policy required that the employee had been employed by the State for 30 days.
  6. The ESL Policy will provide for 10 weeks of paid leave for employees who are unable to telework and who must stay at home to care for their child due to the child’s school or a childcare provider being closed due to COVID related reasons (and there is no other suitable person to provide childcare). The paid leave is offered at the same rates of pay as were offered under the EFMLA Policy.

If you have any questions about COVID Leave, please contact Victory “Vy” Le at victoria.le@metrostate.edu or 651-793-1281.

COVID Preparedness Plan

Our campus COVID Preparedness Plan has been updated for the semester. The plan outlines information for employees and students on campus operating requirements during the pandemic. In it, you can find information on building access points, health screening locations, face coverings requirements, and how to report COVID exposures or positive test results.

Community testing—no-barrier access continues

Minnesota has worked hard to provide no-barrier access to COVID-19 testing at all Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) community testing sites. Testing is available to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test, with or without insurance. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance does not cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains available at no cost to everyone.

What does no-barrier access mean?

  • You do not need to show identification.
  • Tests are at no cost to you, and insurance is not required (but please bring your insurance card if you have one).
  • Appointments are recommended, but you may walk in.

Community Testing sites for nasal and saliva testing can be found at the community testing page of the MDH website.