COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated January 4, 2022

What should an employee do if their child has been identified as COVID-19 close contact?

If an employee’s child (18 years or younger) is identified as a close contact AND the position’s assigned duties are conducive to remote work, a supervisor may recommend to the Department Head a short-term remote work arrangement for their employee while the employee’s child is either waiting for COVID-19 test results or completing the quarantine period – based on the fact that the employee is the primary caregiver. Supporting documentation to substantiate the close contact is required. New protocols recently outlined by the CDC specify a shortened recommended isolation and quarantine period after testing positive or having a close contact with someone who has the virus.

If an employee’s child (18 years or younger) is identified as a close contact AND the position’s assigned duties are NOT conducive to remote work, the employee should use appropriate leave to care for the child while the employee’s child is either waiting for COVID-19 test results or completing the quarantine period – based on the fact that the employee is the primary caregiver. Supporting documentation to substantiate the close contact is required. New protocols recently outlined by the CDC specify a shortened recommended isolation and quarantine period after testing positive or having a close contact with someone who has the virus.

A person is not considered a close contact (e.g. the parent of a child) to another close contact unless the original close contact has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine and where to get one on campus?

Visit shs.tamu.edu/coronavirus/vaccine-information/ and scroll down to view the FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccines.

What is the protocol when a University employee shows symptoms/signs consistent with the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

New protocols recently outlined by the CDC specify a shortened recommended isolation and quarantine period after testing positive or having a close contact with someone who has the virus.

If an employee is coughing or displaying other symptoms consistent with COVID-19, can a manager require them to go home?
Yes. If an employee is ill, coughing or displaying other symptoms, the employee should be sent home to minimize exposure to others; however, the employee cannot be penalized for being sent home. The employee should utilize paid leave as applicable to their position and situation. 
When can an employee who thinks or knows that they have COVID-19 discontinue isolation or quarantine?

Sick campus members should follow the guidance of their medical providers and/or contact tracers on when to discontinue isolation or quarantine. New protocols recently outlined by the CDC specify a shortened recommended isolation and quarantine period after testing positive or having a close contact with someone who has the virus.

Where can I access official information about COVID-19 confirmed cases in my area?
  • For official information about COVID-19 cases and testing reported on the TAMU Bryan-College Station campus, visit the COVID-19 Dashboard.
  • For official information about confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazos County, visit The Brazos County Health District.
  • For updates across all counties in Texas, consult Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • The university relies on information confirmed by the Brazos County Health District and other county health officials for confirmed cases. Therefore, not all presumptive cases nor confirmed cases if not identified by the health department may be known.

Questions not addressed in these FAQs may be emailed to:

What approval is needed for employees to work from an Alternate Work Location (AWL)?

  • Beginning June 1, 2021:  All Alternate Work Location (AWL) requests must be submitted through the formal request process using the Alternate Work Location Request for Nonfaculty Employees Form.
  • Ending May 31, 2021:
    • AWL arrangements made with supervisor and department head approval due to COVID-19 protocols
    • The temporary delegation of authority for approval of short-term AWL requests by department heads

For the latest information about domestic and international travel restrictions and return to campus protocols, visit https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/travel.html
Where can I find student employment guidance as it relates to the Coronavirus pandemic?
In addition to reviewing the HROE website for general guidance applicable to all employee types at Texas A&M University, student employees should refer to the Jobs for Aggies website for guidance specific to student employees.
If a student employee has traveled to high risk locations and is self-monitoring or self-isolating as required, what type of leave should they use?
Student employees including graduate assistants are not in leave-eligible positions; therefore, they do not qualify for any type of state paid leave in accordance with System regulations. Updated Travel Guidance found here.
What changes were made to A&M Care and/or benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The following updates were announced by the System Benefits Administration for A&M Care health plan members and/or those on the student insurance and graduate student employee plans:

  • All co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing consistent with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been waived by all A&M System health plans, until further notice.
  • Due to the closing of day cares and employers directing employees to work from home, employees are eligible to reduce their dependent day care flexible spending account contributions through a Life Event Benefit Change. They will be able to change their deductions again when they return to work, as it will still be considered a Life Event.

If you have any questions, please email benefits@tamu.edu.

Under what circumstances can leave-eligible employees take sick leave?

In accordance with System Regulation 31.03.02, absences that qualify for sick leave are as follows:

  • Your Condition: when injury, illness, or pregnancy prevents you from performing your duty.
  • Care for Immediate Family
    • Who lives in your household (eligible: related by kinship, adoption, or marriage)
    • Who do not live in your household (eligible: employee's child, spouse, or parent; must have a documented medical condition)
What options are available if employees want to self-monitor or self-isolate due to risk factors?
Employees who belong to categories considered to be at higher-risk of getting sick from COVID-19 (adults 60+ OR people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease) should consult with their managers about telecommuting or working from home, where feasible.  Otherwise, employees may take other paid leaves as applicable to their position and situation. See the leave information website for more details.
Can managers ask for a doctor's note from an employee returning from self-isolation?
No. Managers may accept a doctor's note if it is voluntarily provided by the employee, but they may not require or ask for any specific documentation. However, managers may require that the employee notify them prior to return to work and may also require that the employee be asymptomatic upon return from self-isolation.
If an employee is coughing or displaying other symptoms, can a supervisor require them to go home?
If an employee is ill, coughing or displaying other symptoms, the employee should be sent home to minimize exposure to others; however, the employee cannot be penalized for being sent home. The employee should utilize paid leaves as applicable to their position and situation.
If an employee is coughing or displaying other symptoms, can a supervisor require them to go the doctor?
No. Managers should encourage employees to seek medical advice but they cannot require an employee to go to the doctor. They can require the employee to be asymptomatic before returning to work.
Does Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave apply to absences due to confirmed cases of coronavirus?
Yes, coronavirus qualifies as a serious health condition under FMLA, allowing an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member contracts the disease.
Has Emergency Leave due to Death of a Family Member been extended beyond 30 days due to COVID-19?
Yes, System Office extended a waiver to the requirement whereby an employee must take emergency leave due to Death of A Family Member within 30 days of the death. The waiver of the 30 day requirement is in effect through August 31, 2022.
Are there Telehealth Services available for employees who want to talk to a doctor remotely?

Yes, MD LIVE Inc. Telehealth Services is available at no cost to facilitate access to medical care for all A&M Care members. Get access to health care 24 hours a day, seven days a week by online video, mobile app or phone. MD LIVE Inc. Telehealth Services provides safe and convenient care for non-emergency medical and behavioral health conditions, including the common cold and flu, ear problems, headaches, nausea and more. Additional information available online here.

To use MDLive, have your BCBSTX member ID card ready, and:

  • go to MDLive and activate your account;
  • download the MDLive app on your phone; or
  • call customer service at (888) 680-8646
What resources are available to an employee experiencing emotional challenges (such as anxiety) due to the coronavirus outbreak?

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been stressful for many people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause a host of emotional responses. Counseling and Psychological Services has compiled a page with ways to care for your mental health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. It also describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing and/or self-isolation.

Where should I direct employment-related questions concerning the coronavirus?
Employees and/or managers may send an email to Employee-Relations@tamu.edu.