Employment-Related FAQs Specific to COVID-19 - Human Resources at Ohio State


Employment-Related FAQs Specific to COVID-19

This matter continues to evolve. These FAQs are subject to change as determined by the university. Please continue to monitor these FAQs for further information. Page updated 11/8/2021 at 3:08 p.m.

FAQs by Category

The COVID-19 benefits page has additional guidance on benefits changes for COVID-19.

1. Does The Ohio State University Faculty and Staff Health Plan cover testing for COVID-19?

Last updated 2/24/2021

When medically appropriate, the following items and services are covered at 100% without any cost-sharing, prior authorization or network restrictions:

  • In vitro diagnostic tests for the detection of SARSCoV-2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19, and the administration of such a test, that:
    • Is FDA-approved, cleared or authorized
    • The test developer has requested, or intends to request, emergency use authorization under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
    • Is developed in and authorized by a state that has notified HHS of its intention to review tests intended to diagnose COVID19
    • HHS otherwise has approved in guidance
  • Serological tests for COVID-19 used to detect antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and are intended for use in the diagnosis of the disease or condition of having current or past infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
    • Items and services furnished during a visit to a provider’s office (including via telehealth), urgent care, an emergency room, drive up testing site or other (even nontraditional) provider visit that results in an order for or administration of an in vitro diagnostic test described above, but only to the extent the item or service relates to:
      1. the furnishing or administration of the diagnostic test or
      2. the evaluation of the individual to determine need for the diagnostic test.

Note, the test must still be medically appropriate under the circumstances. Examples of non-diagnostic tests that are not covered include testing for travel, testing without symptoms or testing as a return-to-work requirement.

If you have questions, please contact the OSU Health Plan at 614-292-4700.

2. What if an employee needs support?

Last updated 3/25/2020

If you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and fear, you are not alone, and there are resources and help available if you want someone to talk to or need support. The Office of Human Resources’ Keep Well web page has resources for you or your family to receive individual, personalized support – either via text, telephone or online counselling. All Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are confidential, complimentary and provided by experienced, licensed mental health professionals. EAP is available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff and their family members..

3. Can I make a change to my Health Care and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) elections ?

Last updated 5/24/2021

You may make one mid-year decrease to your 2021 health care and/or dependent care FSA. You cannot decrease your annual election to an amount below what has already been contributed or been reimbursed, whichever is greater. The decrease in your contribution amount will occur with the beginning of the first pay period following receipt of the form by the Office of Human Resources. Complete the FSA Election Form and return via email to hrconnection@osu.edu or fax to 614-292-7813 prior to December 1, 2021.

4. Are telehealth/telemedicine services covered by The Ohio State University Faculty and Staff Health Plan?

Last updated 3/26/2020

Ohio State’s medical plan covers telehealth services (direct electronic delivery of health care services to a patient) from appropriately licensed providers to members through HIPAA-compliant platforms. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the types of providers and methods in which services are delivered have been expanded and now include nontraditional platforms, such as Skype. Coverage for these services will be based on the office visit benefit for the provider’s specialty and according to their network participation under the applicable benefit plan. Members should contact their network providers to confirm they are offering appointments through telehealth. For more information, visit https://osuhealthplan.com/ or call OSU Health Plan at 614-292-4700.

5. Are teledentistry services covered by The Ohio State University Faculty and Staff Dental Plan?

Last updated 3/26/2020

Ohio State’s dental plan now covers teledentistry services. Teledentistry services are dental care evaluations, or advice, provided remotely using videoconference technology. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, these services provide an option to receive care from home when possible. Teledentistry is covered based on the plan’s preventive services benefit. Members should contact their dental provider to confirm they are offering appointments through teledentistry.

6. Will the tuition assistance benefit be impacted if employees have to go on leave?

Last updated 3/31/2020

As long as individuals continue to otherwise meet all eligibility terms within the Faculty and Staff Tuition Assistance Plan and the Dependent Tuition Assistance Plan, there is no impact to the benefit for an individual who is on a leave of absence.

7. Can I increase my 2021 Dependent Care FSA election to the new $10,500 annual maximum?

Eligible individuals may elect to enroll or increase current 2021 dependent care FSA elections up to $10,500 by completing the FSA Election Form and return via email to hrconnection@osu.edu or fax to 614-292-7813 prior to December 1, 2021. Eligible individuals who have a qualifying status change will be able to elect or change their dependent care FSA within the 30-day enrollment window in Workday.

To be eligible, employees must have earned a gross income from Ohio State of less than $130,000 in calendar year 2020.

The new contribution amount will occur with the beginning of the first pay period following receipt of the form or election by the Office of Human Resources and will be deducted evenly over the remaining pay periods in 2021.

8. Does The Ohio State University Faculty and Staff Health Plan cover prevention services and vaccines for coronavirus?

During the public health emergency for COVID-19 and as recommended by the governing preventive service agencies, coronavirus preventive services will be covered at 100% with no out-of-pocket costs or network restrictions. These services include an item, service or immunization intended to prevent or mitigate the coronavirus disease and that is:

  • An evidence-based item or service that has in effect a rating of “A” or “B” in the current recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; or
  • An immunization that has in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the individual involved.
1. What are my options when my child’s school or daycare is closed?

Last updated 5/24/2021

If you are in need of child care, please see this link to the state-wide pandemic child care list. Important considerations:

  • The university does not endorse a child care facility; however, you are encouraged to check the pandemic child care list linked above and call to make sure your child care choice has openings.
  • Two forms must be completed for your selected child care location and a verification of employment is required. Acceptable forms of verification of employment include a copy of a pay stub, tax forms, work ID, a work schedule or letter from the employer. A client statement can be used if no other verification is available.

The COVID-19 leave page has additional guidance for leave options.

While flexible work is not a substitute for child care, a flexible work arrangement can be used to accommodate pickup/dropoff times and available child care hours. Learn more on the Flexible Work policy page.

Visit Flexible Work for more information.

1. Are HR offices open for walk-in appointments and other in-person service requests?

Last updated 4/10/2020

The health and safety of our employees, their families, and those we interact with daily is a priority. Effective immediately, please utilize phone/email/fax or drop box (for campus, located in the 3rd floor elevator lobby at 1590 N. High Street) to communicate, provide paperwork, etc., in lieu of walk-in services.

For Wexner Medical Center, please utilize phone/email/fax for HR services, including Verification of Employment, Change of Information forms and I-9 services.

Effective immediately, fingerprinting services at the Office of Human Resources (located at the Gateway C Building at 1590 N. High Street) will no longer be available on a walk‐in basis, but by appointment only until otherwise communicated. Appointments must be made in advance with the Background Check Team at HR‐BackgroundChecks@osu.edu or 614‐292‐3595.

If it is critical to speak directly with an HR staff member, please schedule an appointment in advance with the appropriate HR contact, if known, or contact HR Connection at 614-247-myHR (6947) or email hrconnection@osu.edu. For Wexner Medical Center, schedule an appointment with the appropriate HR contact, if known, or contact the HR Service Center at 614-293-4912 or HR.ServiceCenter@osumc.edu.

Visit Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for information on illness, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

The COVID-19 leave page has additional guidance on leave options.

1. How will occurrences related to COVID-19 be assessed within the context of attendance policies/guidelines?

Last reviewed 8/30/2021

Attendance occurrences related to COVID-19 will be excused from consideration for corrective action in all attendance policies across the university and medical center. Employees are expected to follow the proper call-off procedures established within their department.

2. If I am an employee with an underlying high risk medical condition or part of a high-risk population according to CDC guidelines for COVID-19, what are my options?

Last updated 6/7/2021

Ohio State’s Employee Health office is monitoring and assessing risk based on CDC guidelines for any employee exposure at work.

Employees should talk to their health care provider to determine if they should be under restrictions at this time. Telework should be considered and utilized where appropriate. If telework is unavailable and the employee has restrictions per their health care provider, employees should submit a Workplace Accommodation request via HR Connection. Additional information can be found at COVID-19 Related Work Accommodations page.

3. What are my options if I live at home with someone who has an underlying high-risk medical condition(s)?

Last updated 6/7/2021

Employees should have their family member contact their health care provider to determine risk and review the process for submitting a Flexible Work request.

4. Are employees allowed to stay home to avoid possible exposure of infection?

Last updated 6/7/2021

If a healthy employee wishes to stay home to avoid possible exposure, telework should be offered, where appropriate. If telework is not available, the employee should talk to their manager to explore whether other alternative work arrangements are available.

5. Paid Leave Policy 6.27 states that vacation leave accrued in excess of the maximum carryover will be eliminated on the employee’s time off service date (employee’s anniversary/benefits service date) that occurs each year. Will I lose accrued vacation hours accumulated over the maximum if COVID-19 restrictions limit my ability to take vacation before my anniversary date?

Last updated 12/22/2020

A vacation exception to allow use of accrued vacation over the established maximum carryover amounts as stated in Paid Leave Policy 6.27  has been extended to include every employee whose service anniversary date is between March 22, 2020 through June 30, 2021. This extension provides employees flexibility to use accrued vacation over the maximum until their anniversary date occurring July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

6. I have resigned my position and had an exception to the Paid Leave Policy 6.27 to allow me to go over the maximum carryover. I was not able to take my time that I carried over. Will my payout include the amount over the carryover maximum?

Last updated 12/22/2020

No, the purpose of the exception to the Paid Leave Policy is to allow employees who have a service anniversary date between March 22, 2020 – June 30, 2021, to use excess vacation hours as stated above. For employees leaving the university, the policy still requires that an employee only be paid unused vacation up to the maximum carryover amount at the termination of employment.

7. Can a supervisor require an employee to submit medical documentation to validate their illness or to return to work?

Last updated 4/15/2020

The Ohio Department of Health Stay at Home Order states that employers should not require documentation to validate illness or return to work for employees with acute respiratory illness because medical facilities are extremely busy at this time. However, managers should ask employees if the employee was provided medical advice by a health care provider related to their need for leave due to their own illness or to care for someone with an illness related to COVID-19. If the employee has documentation available, they should submit it with their leave request.

Medical documentation may still be required to support time off and/or medical leave for medical issues unrelated to COVID-19. However, in all cases (COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 related) managers are encouraged to be more flexible regarding the timing and types of medical documentation they receive during this period of time.

8. Can I donate vacation to a staff member for a COVID related absence?

Last updated 1/11/2020

Under the Paid Leave Program Policy 6.27, employees can receive donated vacation to provide care for their own or an immediate family member’s serious health condition. During this pandemic, the vacation donation allowance has been temporarily expanded to allow employees to receive donated vacation for the additional situations listed below:

  1. You are off of work due to your positive COVID diagnosis.
  2. You are off of work to care for an immediate family member who has a positive COVID diagnosis.
  3. You have a high-risk condition and your physician has written you off of work.
  4. You are caring for an immediate family member who has a high-risk condition and your physician has written you off of work.


1. How can a department take proactive measures related to infectious disease preparedness?

Last updated 6/7/2021

Please refer to Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for this information.

2. Can our department or unit post a sign telling people to not come into our workplace if they are ill?

Last updated 3/15/2020

It is important during this time that we treat each other with tolerance and respect. We need to continue to implement the appropriate hygiene practices and encourage employees who are ill to remain home for their own health and well-being.

If your unit provides services to the public and is concerned about visitors coming to your unit who are actively ill with fever or cough/shortness of breath, you may ask that visitors not enter the building and instead either (a) call the office or staff member they were going to visit and complete their business over the phone or (b) reschedule their appointment for a different day when they are not ill.

With respect to notifying visitors of this process, Wexner Medical Center has specific guidelines and visitor guidelines about ambulatory locations and hospitals in place.

All areas should work with marketing and communications at either the university campus or Wexner Medical Center before posting any signage.

Please refer to Safe and Healthy Buckeyes for travel information.