COVID, the DRC, and Employees

COVID-19 UReturn FAQ

1. How do I know if I am eligible to explore workplace accommodations through your office now   that I will be coming back on campus to work August 2?

The Disability Resource Center’s UReturn is the office designated to serve all employees (including faculty and staff) with any disability or health condition requiring accommodations or workstation adjustments. If you have a disability or health condition that may warrant accommodations, please contact us at [email protected].

UReturn Access Consultants work with you and your supervisor to determine what accommodations are reasonable based on the impacts of your health condition and the barriers in the environment. These conversations and information gathering are part of the interactive process used to determine reasonable accommodations.  Your hiring department plays an important role in determining whether recommended accommodations are reasonable. 

UReturn also gathers information from your healthcare provider and explores the medical necessity of your accommodation request. In addition, we will ask questions of your healthcare provider to explore medical need versus preference. 

Unfortunately, UReturn is not able to determine or implement reasonable accommodations for individuals who do not have a disability or health condition.  For example, UReturn cannot assist in determining or implementing accommodations for individuals because:

  • they are caregivers;
  • they live with someone who is at risk for COVID and who cannot be vaccinated due to health conditions; or
  • they have a fear of exposure to COVID.

2. I am a professor/instructor who worked with UReturn/DRC Fall2021 and, due to a serious health condition that could be negatively impacted by contracting Covid-19, was allowed to teach classes remotely.  Because the pandemic has not diminished and my health condition remains ongoing, do I need to provide additional medical documentation to your office, in order to keep teaching remotely?

Unless your health condition has changed, we do not need additional medical documentation.  Please communicate with your Chair/Head/Director that your condition is ongoing and that you would like to continue remote teaching another semester. 

3. I am pregnant and because of recent CDC guidance around the Delta variant, my doctor and I are concerned about me working on campus.  How do I handle a request to work remotely?

Please discuss any pregnancy-related accommodation with your supervisor and Human Resource representative.

4. I do not have a health condition or disability, but I am still concerned about possibly being exposed to COVID by others who are not vaccinated and bringing the virus home to compromised family.  Is there anything I can do to minimize my risk of exposure?

Whether or not you have a disability or health condition, you may wish to explore additional protective gear, such as face coverings, through the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.  More information, along with contacts for each of the campuses can be found at University Health and Safety Mask Support Program.

If you do not have a disability or health condition, you may also talk with your manager regarding how you may use the Work. With Flexibility Guidelines to address your work needs. 

More information is available in Work. With Flexibility. Operational Guidelines (PDF).

5. When returning to campus, I have concerns about interacting with coworkers and others in person.  What should I be aware of?

University Health and Safety has information about resources on their website, including answers to frequent questions that they are receiving at UHS Safe Return To Work

6. I am transitioning back to work on campus and have University-supplied equipment in my
home office. Whose responsibility is it to get it moved back?

Returning equipment back to campus is the employee’s responsibility.  Please review the information put out by the Controller’s Office titled Remote Work - Business Expenses: "If the University provides equipment, the individual employee assigned the equipment is responsible for safe transportation and set-up of such equipment."

7. I am having issues with ergonomics now that I am at home. Can UReturn help me? If so, how?

UReturn has and will assist with virtual assessments of your home workspace. You can start by downloading our work-from-home ergonomics fact sheet (PDF). We will also bring in the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS) resources if necessary. DEHS Links:  

8. I applied for Short Term Disability through UNUM.  My orthopedic surgery was cancelled at the last minute and I am not able to reschedule it at this time.  I am having a lot of pain and am unable to do my job.  Can you help me?  (And other questions about UNUM benefits).

Please contact the University Employee Benefits office.

Also please connect with your UReturn Access Consultant regarding possible workplace accommodations.

9. What are my options regarding pay if it is determined that I cannot work remotely, but am medically required to stay at home?

Please contact your HR professional and/or the University Employee Benefits office.

10. Do I need to disclose my underlying medical condition that may be adversely affected by COVID 19 exposure?  

No.  If you have been exposed to COVID 19, or tested positive for COVID 19, you will be asked to disclose this information from a public health standpoint (and take the proper precautions-  self quarantine etc).  You do not have an obligation to disclose additional diagnoses that may require additional steps be taken to avoid exposure, or additional accommodations to avoid exposure.  DRC/UReturn can assist in maintaining your confidentiality as it relates to your personal health information outside of COVID 19.

University of Minnesota COVID-19 Operational Updates