COVID-19 Temporary Reasonable Accommodation Process

As part of the institutional response to COVID-19, the University is committed to supporting employees impacted by COVID-19. The University is working on a robust campus COVID-19 Public Health plan that we anticipate will safely allow for in-person instruction in the fall, which will include engineering controls, sanitizing, testing, use of personal protective equipment and social distancing. 

We recognize that there may be some employees with medical disabilities that require temporary reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a result of COVID-19.  Some employees who self-identify as having an increased risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection as determined by current CDC Guidance may have a medical condition that rises to the level of a disability under the ADA.

The University is implementing an expedited process to consider reasonable accommodation requests for ADA-qualified employees who are impacted by COVID-19.  For situations where employees have high-risk conditions that are determined not to be ADA disabilities, or have family members at home with serious health risks, university flex-work and other workplace adjustments may be available. The ADA reasonable accommodation process is not intended to address employees who test positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms as such situations are covered by university leave policies.

Reasonable Accommodations Request for a Disability

An ADA reasonable accommodation is a modification of job duties or the work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment available to a similarly-situated employee without a disability. Examples might be the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. face masks, gloves or gowns), shift changes or changes to work stations to limit exposure to others, or teleworking.  Reasonable accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis after proper analysis of the disability in question, the necessity of the accommodation and to ensure the modification does not cause an undue hardship (e.g. significant difficulty or expense) on the University.

If you would like to request a temporary reasonable accommodation, the process is as follows:

  1. Submit a “Request for Reasonable Accommodation” and a “HIPAA Authorization Release Form” (available below).  You should also submit a current letter from your Healthcare Provider which offers limited medical information that verifies your medical condition and the manner and severity of the impact of COVID-19 on that condition as it relates to your employment and ability to return to campus.   Healthcare providers may be contacted for medical conditions that are not visible and/or necessitate clarification on the manner and severity of impact during COVID-19.
  2. The Director of Human Resources, or designee will review the reasonable accommodation request and medical documentation to determine if the individual qualifies as a person with a disability under the ADA; and
  3. The Director of Human Resources, or designee will engage in an interactive process as necessary with the employee and supervisor to discuss accommodations and employee’s essential work functions.
  4. For situations where employees have high-risk conditions that are determined not to be ADA disabilities, Human Resources personnel will work with the employee and supervisor to determine if university flex-work and other workplace adjustments are available.

Request for Prompt Submission of Requests

To make determinations before fall opening, the University is asking those requiring ADA temporary accommodations based upon possible COVID-19 conditions in the fall to submit requests as soon as possible and by July 15, 2020, or July 31, 2020 for those on furlough. While the University will accept requests for accommodations for the fall term after that date, early submission will allow us to give priority to accommodation needs of those with more serious medical conditions.  While we ask that you simultaneously submit all three relevant documents as outlined in #1 above, we recognize time needed in obtaining your medical documentation. We strongly encourage you to submit the forms as soon as possible and by July 15, or July 31 for those on furlough, pending you obtaining medical documentation to be submitted at a later date. Please submit all documents to this confidential  Submission Inbox.

Notification Timing and Factors Being Considered

In order to allow for appropriate planning for instructional workloads and classroom schedules, accommodation requests from those who provide or support teaching will be reviewed first. Our first priority is employees with medical disabilities, but we may adjust work for those who have health risks that do not rise to a disability.  All requests should be submitted using the COVID-19 Temporary Reasonable Accommodation Process. Accommodation and adjustment determinations will be communicated after reviewing all requests received by July 15, or July 31 for those on furlough. Other requests, including serious health risks for family members at home, will be considered after employee health circumstances. 

If you have questions, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 603.535.2250 or psu-humanresources@plymouth.edu.