Q & A
Am I allowed to take a vacation, for non-COVID-19 reasons?
Yes! But be aware of State and County Orders if you travel out of State or out of the Country. If you travel out of the country you may be required to quarantine for 14 days. If you cannot work from home, then this would become part of your vacation request for time off.
How do I use the thermometer given to me by the City?
- Make sure you haven’t eaten, drank, or exercised in the last 30 minutes, and you haven’t just come in from outdoors
- Take temperature indoors, and avoid direct sunlight or strong lamps
- Hold to the forehead for 15 seconds
- Read temp while still on the forehead (green is correct reading; add 1 degree for a blue reading and subtract one for tan)
- 98 and below is good; 100+ is dangerous and you must not come to work
- The thermometer is multi-use for you. Clean it with a soft cloth
I'm a manager, what do I do if I see symptoms of illness in an employee?
- Per our Sick Leave Policy you may send an employee home who is showing signs of sickness (they utilize their own sick leave). You can also take their temperature or ask them to take their temperature and show you the reading. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or greater cannot be in the workplace. The CDC has listed the following as symptoms of COVID-19. Ask the employee if they are experiencing any of them, and send them home if they are or if you observe any of them in the employee:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
What do I do if I have a positive COVID-19 test?
- Notify HR and your Supervisor.
- Work with your Supervisor/HR to identify any 'Close Contacts' you may have had and work areas you touched.
- Follow protocols and directions as determined by the County Health Officer and/or your personal physician. This includes the Isolation Order issued by the County.
- Utilize your available, eligible leave.
- You may be eligible for FMLA protected leave or Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- Isolate in your home or another residence. You may not leave your place of isolation or enter any other public or private place, except to receive necessary medical care or during an emergency that requires evacuation.
- Isolate for ten (10) days if you have no symptoms.
- If you have symptoms, isolate to the later of the following: (a) At least three (3) days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement of respiratory symptoms, if present (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND (b) At least ten (10) days have passed since your symptoms started. Longer isolation periods may be recommended in certain circumstances.
- Carefully review and closely follow all requirements listed in the “Home Isolation Instructions” posted at www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
- Promptly tell your Close Contacts that they need to self-quarantine themselves and should be tested.
Refer your Close Contacts to the “Home Quarantine Instructions” posted at www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders which describe steps that Close Contacts must take to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Cooperate fully with Public Health concerning: i) collection, reporting and monitoring of temperature readings and other health data; ii) contact tracing and related investigations, including identification of contacts; and iii) any ongoing monitoring by Public Health, including after the period of isolation.
I have symptoms consisted with the those of COVID-19 and I have been in close contact with someone who had/was suspected of COVID-19 within the last 14 days. I don't have any medical condition that explains my symptoms. What should I do?
Follow the instructions in the question for a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
I have been informed by a healthcare provider that I am likely to have COVID-19. What should I do?
Follow the instructions in the question for a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
I have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and I am waiting for test results. What should I do?
Follow the instructions in the question for a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
What do I need to do when I am under Home Isolation Orders from the County?
- Do not leave your home or another residence except to receive necessary medical care or during an emergency that requires evacuation.
- Stay in a specified room away from other household members and use a separate bathroom if possible. If areas need to be shared, like a kitchen or a bathroom, increase the frequency of cleaning those areas, including doorknobs, fixtures, and toilets.
- Do not leave your place of isolation to work.
- Do not travel.
- Utilize delivery services, such as Amazon or Instacart.
- Do not share dishes, eating utensils, towels, bedding, drinking glasses without first washing the items with soap and water.
- Cooperate with directives from Public Health.
- Seek medical attention right away if your illness is worsening.
- If you need to call 911, notify dispatch personnel that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Whenever possible, before seeking care, call your medical provider and inform them that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Put on a face-covering/mask before leaving your residence to travel to a healthcare facility.
- If you frequent, volunteer, or work in a skilled nursing facility, a nursing home, a memory care center, a correctional/detention facility, a shelter, a group home, a day program, a dialysis center, or a healthcare facility, or as a first responder, take reasonable steps to inform each such facility that you have been required to isolate.
What do I do if someone in my house is sick, or has a fever?
- If they have symptoms of COVID-19 they should seek medical advice and get tested for COVID-19.
- Monitor your health. Continue your required daily pre-shift temperature and symptom checks.
- Come to work if you pass the pre-shift screening.
- Don't come to work if you don't pass the pre-shift screening and seek medical advice.
- If your family member becomes a "Person with COVID-19" as defined by the County, follow the instructions from the County if you qualify as a "Close Contact" as defined by the County.
- If your family member becomes a "Person with COVID-19", notify your supervisor and HR and do not come to work. Follow the County Quarantine Orders.
What is a "Person with COVID-19"? How does the County define a "Person with COVID-19"?
A "Person with COVID-19" is someone who meets any of the following criteria:
- The person is informed they have a positive lab test for the COVID-19 virus; OR
- The person has signs and symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, as set forth in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html, within 14 days of knowingly being in close proximity with another person who was known or suspected to be capable of actively transmitting COVID-19 and such symptoms are not explained by another condition that preexisted such close contact; OR
- The person has been informed by a healthcare provider that they are likely to have COVID-19; OR
- The person has signs and symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 and is awaiting results of testing for COVID-19.
What is a "Close Contact"?
- Someone you lived with or stayed at the same residence with when the person with COVID-19 was not following Home Isolation Instructions; OR
- Someone you are an intimate sexual partner of; OR
- Someone you stayed within 6 feet of for 10 minutes or more while the person with COVID-19 was not wearing a face-covering; OR
- Someone you had direct contact for any amount of time with the body fluids and/or secretions of the person with COVID-19 (e.g., was coughed or sneezed on, shared utensils with, or was provided care by or provided care for them without wearing a mask, gown, and gloves).
I have been told by someone I am a "Close Contact" of theirs and they are considered a 'Person with COVID-19'. What do I do?
Follow the County Home Quarantine Orders for Close Contacts. As of May 14 these are:
- Quarantine yourself in your home for 14 days
- Get a COVID-19 test
- Carefully review and closely follow all requirements listed in the “Home Quarantine Instructions” posted at www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
- If you become sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you must isolate yourself at home and away from other people and follow the “Home Isolation Instructions,” posted at www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 follow the “Home Isolation Instructions,” posted at www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
I am first responder (Corp Yard or PD employee) for the City, do I have to follow the Quarantine instructions if I am a Close Contact?
Corp Yard and PD employees who are household members, intimate partners, or caregivers of a person with COVID-19 are not subject to the Quarantine Orders under the following circumstances:
- You tell your supervisor and HR you are a Close Contact of a person with COVID-19; AND
- You have no symptoms and based on staffing levels you are needed at work; AND
- You return to work.
What do I need to do when I am under Quarantine Orders from the County?
- Follow Social Distancing Requirements, which include:
- Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit;
- Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer that is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as effective in combatting COVID-19;
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, if not possible, into the sleeve or elbow (but not into hands); and
- Avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
- Do not leave your place of quarantine to work.
- Do not travel.
- Utilize delivery services, such as Amazon or Instacart, as much as possible to avoid entering essential businesses like the grocery store, pharmacy, and hardware store.
- Do not share toothbrushes, drinks or eating utensils.
- Monitor yourself for symptoms.
- If you start to feel sick contact your healthcare provider and notify your provider that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- If you frequent, volunteer, or work in a skilled nursing facility, a nursing home, a memory care center, a correctional/detention facility, a shelter, a group home, a day program, a dialysis center, a healthcare facility, or as a first responder, take reasonable steps to inform each such facility that you have been required to quarantine.
Since the Stay At Home Order extends beyond April 7, 2020, will I get paid after April 7, 2020?
If you have been directed to continue performing your regularly assigned duties (either on-site or via telework), participate in approved professional development opportunities (i.e. on-line training), work on assigned special projects, or to work as a disaster service worker, then you will continue to receive your regular pay for hours worked.
If you are unable to work your full regular work schedule performing your regularly assigned duties (either remotely or at a worksite), or participate in approved professional development opportunities (i.e., on-line training), or work on assigned special projects, or work as a disaster service worker, you may use any of your accrued leaves (i.e., sick, vacation, comp time, etc.) to achieve 100% of your regular pay. You may also be eligible for other benefits depending on your situation.
Under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, what is Emergency Paid Sick Leave? Who qualifies for it?
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which requires employers to provide eligible full-time employees with up to 80 hours of leave, with full pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 total), who are not able to work or telework due to:
- a quarantine/isolation order related to COVID-19,
- a health care provider’s advisement to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, or
- to seek a diagnosis when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Care for an individual who is subject to a quarantine/isolation order related to COVID-19 or to a health care provider’s advisement to self-quarantine related to COVID-19,
- Care for a minor child whose school/place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
Corp Yard and Police Department employees are deemed emergency responders and are not eligible for these leaves.
If I am over 65 years of age or have a health condition that puts me at high risk of serious illness if I contract COVID-19, do I have to come to work?
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) generally recommends that you should self-isolate at home. The City supports this recommendation and encourages these employees to remain at home during this time. This applies to employees performing essential duties. If you are able to perform assigned work remotely or participate in approved professional development opportunities (i.e., on-line training) or work remotely as a disaster service worker to support the City’s emergency response you may do so and you will be paid for hours worked.
If you are unable to work your full regular work schedule performing assigned work remotely or participating in approved professional development opportunities (i.e., on-line training), or working remotely as a disaster service worker to support the City’s emergency response then you may use any of your accrued leave (i.e., sick, vacation, comp time, etc.) in any order of your choice to achieve 100% of your regular pay.
If I am a parent or guardian of a child who is under 18 years of age and who is home because their school/daycare is closed (or their childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19, will I be paid or do I have to use my leave accruals?
Under the FFCRA, starting April 1, 2020, eligible may use up to two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave paid at 2/3 of your regular rate up to a maximum of $200 per day and $2,000 total.
Further, starting April 1, 2020, eligible employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may qualify for up to 12 weeks of expanded FMLA leave. The first ten days of expanded FMLA leave are unpaid, but you may elect to use any of your accrued leaves, or use the Emergency Paid Sick Leave discussed above. For the remainder of the expanded FMLA leave, you will be paid at 2/3 of your regular rate for the number of hours you would otherwise be normally scheduled to work, up to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 total. If your schedule has varying hours from week to week, the hours used for this calculation will be a number equal to the average number of hours that you were scheduled per day over the six-month period ending on the date which the employee takes the Leave. You may supplement the two-thirds pay with your accrued leaves to achieve 100% of your regular rate of pay.
Emergency responders (i.e., PD department and PW department) are exempted from expanded FMLA.
What if I am subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis? Will I get paid?
If you are able to telework, you may do so and you will be paid at your regular rate of pay for the hours that you work.
If you are unable to telework, then eligible employees may use any available leave. This might also include Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave up to 80 hours to be available starting April 1st based on your normal work schedule (up to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 total), Corp Yard and PD employees are not eligible for this Federal leave.
Could I be called to work as a Disaster Service Worker?
Under State law, Section 3100 of the California Government Code, all government employees are declared Disaster Service Workers who can be called upon in an emergency. This means that in addition to our everyday duties, we have an added responsibility to help in a disaster. You may also be asked to take on tasks outside of our normal responsibilities to work in support of emergency operations, assist with support functions at a disaster site, coordinate information about the disaster or available public services, and other activities needed to effectively respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This means that you may be called into work and, if so, you must be available to report to work within a reasonable amount of time. All time spent in these assignments will be regular pay.
What if I am ill, not due to COVID-19?
If you are ill, unrelated to COVID-19, then you should utilize your sick leave accruals. If it is a serious health condition, please contact the Human Resources Department.
What if I fall into ALL of the following categories? Will I be paid or do I need to use my leave accruals? My position does not support an "essential service". I was told I need to shelter-in-place at home. I don't have any work that I can do remotely. I do not want to participate in any professional development opportunities. I am not assigned emergency duties as a Disaster Service Worker. I do not qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave or expanded FMLA leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Under these circumstances, you would need to use any of your accrued leaves to be paid. As a declared Disaster Service Worker, you may be directed to return to work or work remotely to support the City’s emergency response by your supervisor. If you are called back to work (in person or remotely), you will be paid your regular pay for any hours worked.
What if I want to stay home to avoid getting sick?
Under these circumstances, you would need to use your accrued PTO, CTO, Vacation, holiday, or administrative leave to be paid. You may not use your sick leave.
What if I want to volunteer? Will the City still pay me?
If you are unable to work remotely or at a physical location, you have no professional development or training you can complete, there are no other City assignments for you, and you are not needed as a Disaster Service Worker for the City, you may volunteer and continue to be paid by the City for up to 10 hours per week. The volunteer work must be direct with the County Emergency Volunteer Program, or an equivalent emergency volunteer program closer to your home, must be verified and must be approved by your Department Head and Human Resources. You will be required to sign an agreement provided by the Human Resources Department. This agreement may be found under the Forms tab of the COVID-19 emplyee resources on the HR website.
What if I think I was exposed to the virus at work?
You have the option to file a Worker's Compensation claim if you feel you were injured on the job. This will be treated as an exposure claim. The 'HR Procedures' tab has additional information on COVID-19 and the workers' compensation procedures.
My co-worker was exposed to the virus, what now?
- HR will notify all individuals who have potentially been exposed to the virus
- Monitory your health (temperature and symptom check)
- If you begin to show symptoms of COVID-19, follow the County Health Orders and instruction for quarantine and isolation, which are found here: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
My spouse/housemate was exposed to the virus, what do I do?
- Notify HR and your supervisor
- Seek medical treatment
- Monitor your own health (temperature and symptom check)
- If you start to show symptoms, follow the County Health Orders and instructions, found here: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders
If I am exposed to the virus, can I stay in a Burlingame hotel so my family does not get ill?
The county has hotels available for first responders who need a place to rest in between shifts or need a place to quarantine if required to do so. This is coordinated through the Police Lieutenants.
My family is having financial difficulties due to COVID-19, can I access my 457 funds?
The Federal Government passed the CARES Act, which provides for some flexibility in accessing your 457 account because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact HR if you are interested in finding out more about this.
What kind of air filters does the HVAC system use?
- The City has temporarily upgraded the standard commercial MERV 8 air filters to MERV 11 or MERV 13 filters. Some filter sizes were not available in MERV 13 so MERV 11 filters are used in those areas. (These upgrades were also temporarily made during the wildfires a year or two ago. The aging HVAC systems cannot run on the 11/13 filters indefinitely, so this upgrade is used when environmental conditions support the need.)
- Increasing the amount of fresh air (outside air) will reduce the amount of circulated air in the buildings, which will dilute the air.