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Human Resources

Please see below for Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 regarding Human Resources.

I’m now working remotely. What are best practices I should keep in mind?

Continue to discuss expectations around working from home with your manager. Information Technology Services encourages you to use the available tools which aid in remote work. These tools include the myDrake campus portal, Microsoft Teams, and cloud storage through OneDrive. ITS has prepared knowledge base information about using these technologies to work remotely. Further information is available for staff and for faculty.

Human Resources has prepared extensive information about the temporary telecommuting policy applicable to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please see Telecommuting Best Practices for Employees and Telecommuting Best Practices for Managers.

What if I have a job that can’t be performed remotely?

Drake University has implemented a body temperature self-monitoring and face mask requirement for faculty and staff who are classified as essential workers or must come to campus to complete certain work tasks. This policy is not because of any case or concern specific to the University, but rather a directive from Polk County Health Department based on the University’s classification as a long-term care facility through its continuation of providing limited residential housing.

Please review the complete details of these updated guidelines here: Temperature Self-Monitoring and Face Mask Requirement.

My child’s school has closed, and I’m concerned about my responsibilities at home. Will the University offer flexibility to help me remain in paid status?

We know many employees are concerned since schools are closed. While in some cases telecommuting will allow parents to be home with their children during this time, there may be other situations where telecommuting is not possible. For the duration of this Coronavirus response, therefore, the staff sick leave policy is being adjusted to allow accrued sick leave to be taken for this circumstance.

Drake has implemented a Supplemental Paid Leave plan that provides additional time off for situations related to COVID-19.

Are healthy employees allowed to stay home to avoid contracting Coronavirus?

A healthy employee wishing to stay home to avoid possible exposure may use vacation and personal time for this purpose, subject to normal departmental processes for requesting such leave.

I’m not feeling well but my team members are counting on me to be at work. What should I do?

If you are sick, please stay home. It is important that you take care of yourself and don’t put others at risk by coming to work.

Does Drake’s medical plan coverage offer a tele-health option?

Yes. Doctors on Demand provides virtual visits with Board-certified doctors via live video from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

What if I have used all my paid time off and I or a family member contracts Coronavirus?

First, ensure you understand all the paid time off options available to you. In the event you have exhausted all paid leave, including Supplemental Paid Leave, you may request unpaid leave and/or may qualify for job-protected leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act policy. The Human Resources partner assigned to your department may be contacted for more information. As the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds, the University will provide further guidance on any changes to normal paid leave practices.

What if I have or care for someone with a compromised immune system or respiratory condition?

The University recommends employees with specific health concerns contact their healthcare provider for medical advice tailored to their individual situations. In the event an employee may have a compromised immune system or respiratory condition, and is advised by a medical professional to avoid public spaces rather than risk potential exposure to the virus, the employee should present documentation to HR, who will explore options with the employee, as it would with any other accommodation request.

Remind me when Drake staff sick leave may be used.

Your accrued sick leave is available when a health condition prevents you from working. In addition, accrued sick leave is available when your immediate family member’s illness or injury requires your care. Immediate family members are defined as your spouse/partner, child, mother, father, brother or sister (or the same relatives of your spouse/partner). As described in a previous question and answer, the staff sick leave policy has been adjusted to allow accrued sick leave to be taken for childcare responsibilities resulting from schools being closed due to the Coronavirus situation. Follow your department’s usual notification procedures.

I feel anxious about the Coronavirus situation. Are resources available to help?

Drake offers an Employee Assistance Program that’s available for all faculty, staff and their family members.

Employee & Family Resources may be reached by calling 800-327-4692 or online at

I'm hosting or attending an event on campus, should I cancel?

Gatherings pose unique risks. For that reason, all on-campus events have been canceled through Sunday, May 17, 2020. We will continue to monitor and assess the risk for any events beyond May 17, 2020.

If I am still at work, should I wear a protective face mask?

Yes. It is consistent with CDC recommendations to wear a cloth or homemade face covering. Surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for health professionals and first responders. You are encouraged to consult the Iowa Department of Public Health instructions for homemade face coverings.

If I am an essential employee, can I take my temperature at home?

At this time, essential employees will have their temperature taken on campus pursuant to processes established by their department in consultation with Environmental Health and Safety. This includes those in Facilities, Public Safety, Mail, and Residence Life. These employees have the highest probability of interacting with the few students still living on campus and other employees during their shift. If essential employees wish to take their temperature at home prior to arriving on campus, they may do so. However, these employees will still be required to have their temperature taken upon arrival.

How can I get a reusable fabric face mask provided by Drake University?

Reusable fabric face masks will be provided to essential employees in Facilities, Public Safety, Mail, and Residence Life. All other employees will be given face masks as availability allows. Contact Environmental Health and Safety Director Chris Nickell to check on availability. If none are currently available, you will be placed on a wait list and be provided a face mask as they arrive.

Could Drake lift the employee mandatory contribution requirement?

The Drake Retirement Plan is a mandatory plan under the IRS regulations, which allow employees to maximize their savings for retirement. It is a pre-tax benefit, which allows employees to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. That is a significant benefit that would be lost if employees did not contribute and sought to invest on a post-tax basis with their own advisor.  

The decision has been made to continue the employee contribution for two reasons. First, continued participation will help advance retirement readiness for employees. The mandatory contribution nature of the plan means that continued participation is a key component of the savings tool. Second, because the plan is a mandatory plan under IRS regulations, participation for all eligible employees is required. The process for dis-enrolling and re-enrolling would jeopardize that status and subject the plan to potential regulatory hurdles in the future.


Resource Documents:

Health & Wellness

Health and Wellness Guide

Insurance Information

Wellmark Coverage Information


Telecommuting: Best Practices for Employees

Telecommuting: Best Practices for Managers

Temporary Telecommuting Protocol

Temporary Telecommuting Agreement

Temporary Telecommuting Equipment

Working on Campus

Temperature Self-Monitoring and Face Mask Requirement

Questions? Contact us with any COVID-19 questions.

Call Center: (515) 271-2353