Employees at higher risk for COVID-19 can request work arrangements

To ensure a safe ramp-up of on-campus operations this summer and fall, employees, post-docs and graduate assistants with risk factors that make the coronavirus more dangerous -- or live with someone at higher risk -- can request an alternative work arrangement that limits potential exposure.

Iowa State faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate assistants and student workers will receive an email June 4 with information about how to submit a request for an alternative work arrangement via an online form on the university human resources (UHR) COVID-19 website.

Employees with one or more of the risk factors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or living with a person who with one of the potential complications, can self-designate as high-risk. CDC guidance says COVID-19 poses a greater chance of severe illness when contracted by people who are 65 years or older or have any of these medical conditions:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Severe obesity with a body mass index of 40 or higher
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Compromised immune system from conditions such as cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids or other immune-weakening medications

After submitting a request, employees will receive an email containing further instruction on the information needed to complete their request, along with next steps. The email will come from notifications@origamirisk.com. (Origami is the software provider for the ISU portal being used for the request process.)

Any medical information provided will be kept confidential and will not be shared with an employee's supervisor. UHR will review requests and discuss proposed arrangements with supervisors. Employees will be involved in the interactive process of determining a suitable option for safely performing their job duties. College leaders will consult on faculty arrangements, and the Graduate College will consult on arrangements for graduate assistants and post-docs.

"Our faculty and staff have demonstrated great resilience these past several months, but we also know more challenges lie ahead in our efforts to ensure safe work environments for all," said Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty. "I encourage faculty to work with UHR and their college leaders to ensure that teaching and learning activities are safe not only for students, but for their instructors as well."

Though plans for the fall semester are still being developed and finalized, it is critical to submit requests as soon as possible to allow time for appropriate discussion and planning. 

Employees with questions can contact UHR at COVIDHRSupport@iastate.edu or 294-4800.