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COVID-19 and the Division of Agriculture

 
While the Division of Agriculture does not require the COVID-19 vaccination, it is strongly encouraged that each employee consider receiving the vaccine in an effort to enhance the safety of the work, learning and community environments.
 

SELF-REPORT WITHIN 24 HOURS IF ... 

Division of Agriculture employees are asked to complete the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form within 24 hours of:

  • Obtaining a positive COVID test result
  • Being tested for COVID
  • Being symptomatic, or
  • Have been notified that you are a primary contact with someone who is COVID-positive. 

A primary contact is defined as contact with someone who was within 6 feet of a Covid positive person for 15 or more cumulative minutes within 48 hours of that person being symptomatic or before the test was taken, if asymptomatic.  

For additional information about Covid-19 for Division of Agriculture employees, please visit Human Resource's Covid page here.

 

Aug. 13, 2021 UPDATE — Division of Agriculture implements mask-wearing requirement 

With the rising number of COVID cases in Arkansas, we will be following the guidance issued by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees on Aug. 11.

CLICK to download 8.5 x 11 PDF of this sign for your office.

Effective immediately, mask-wearing is required indoors in common areas on all University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture properties and during Division of Agriculture-hosted events when a social distance of six feet between people cannot be maintained. Find details on our mask policy. 

We have also issued guidance related to events. 

 

DOWNLOAD THE SIGN

Download the new sign

 

Aug. 9, 2021 UPDATE — COVID leave has been reinstated

The Division of Agriculture will extend the opportunity for up to 80 total combined hours of paid leave for employees affected by COVID-19. The leave program is not a continuation of the FFCRA leave.

For such paid leave to be granted, the following requirements must be met:

  • The employee must be unable to work from home due to illness or have a job in which working from home is not possible.
  • The employee must not have previously used 80 hours of COVID-19 leave as was provided by the federal Family First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA).
  • Due to Coronavirus the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order.
  • The employee has been directed by the Department of Health or other health authority to quarantine due to Coronavirus.
  • Due to Coronavirus the employee is subject to extended campus return-to-work guidelines (up to14 days rather than the seven and ten day options provided by the AR Department of Health).
  • The employee is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee must provide care for their dependent child whose school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19.
  • The employee must provide (within a reasonable time established by the campus) appropriate physician, school, Department of Health or equivalent documentation supporting using this leave. 
  • Employees who used a portion of the available FFCRA 80 hours in 2020 may use the remainder as COVID-19 leave in 2021 but in no case may use a combined total of more than 80 hours.
    Including leave previously used under FFCRA, COVID-19 leave is limited to no more than total of 80 hours for any combination of quarantine, illness or child care leave eligibility.
  • The 80-hour maximum will be prorated for less than full-time employees.
  • Employees using COVID-19 leave will be eligible to receive full pay but not to exceed $511 per day or approximately $133,000 annualized.
  • Whenever possible, work from home rather than paid or unpaid leave should be used.
  • Failure to provide appropriate documentation for COVID leave will result in recharacterization of the leave taken as sick, vacation or leave-without-pay within the established leave use guidelines. (Sick leave may not be used for child care purposes due to school closure.)
  • Qualified leave may be applied retroactively to August 1, 2021.   

COVID-19 leave guidelines will be modified, suspended or ended as necessary to meet changing needs and regulations of the current environment.

Aug. 5, 2021 Update

State legislature meets in special session to consider several bills, including Act 1002, which prohibits mask mandates. 

Aug. 2, 2021 Update

State legislature affirms Gov. Hutchinson's declaration of a health emergency. The previous one expired May 30. 

May 20, 2021 Update

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is allowing the current state of emergency to expire on May 30. 

March 25, 2021 Update

Effective April 12, 2021, the Division moved to Stage III, which will allow employees that have not already returned to work in the office to return if the supervisor determines there is an operational need and the ability to provide a safe working environment.

Division is to move to Stage IV effective June 1, 2021, which will require all employees to return to work in the office unless:

(1)    A written telecommuting agreement has been approved by the appropriate unit head and filed with Human Resources, or

(2)    A reasonable accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been granted by the Division’s Office of Inclusion, Access, and Compliance that allows telecommuting.

STAGE IV DETAILS

Before anyone returns to the office, the first step is conducting a self-assessment. Download here.

Updated self-assessment dated 5-20-2021-

 

GUIDANCE FOR FIELD RESEARCHERS

UPDATED May 20, 2021 — Best practices for field researchers. 

 

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND RELATED INFORMATION 

Effective March 5, Division of Agriculture faculty and staff were not permitted to travel for business purposes to countries designated by the U.S. State Department as Level 4 or Level 3. The State Department now has country-specific information related to COVID-19 and can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html or https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

 

 

Get additional information on Covid-19 and other travel alerts

FAQs about COVID-19

The Cooperative Extension Service has a page that contains frequently asked questions and other important information about COVID-19 that is not included on this page.

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