General Information & Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Palo Alto University open for business?
Yes. On March 9, PAU moved all classes to an online format. At this time campus operations remain in place with PAU’s Calvin, Los Altos and De Anza campuses remaining open. Some employees are needed physically on campus as services for our community must continue. In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home, we encourage employees and managers to work together to identify possible options for telecommuting.

Are there any COVID-19 cases on a PAU campus?
There are no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of PAU’s three campuses.  

How is PAU responding to the COVID-19 outbreak?
As incidents of COVID-19 continue to grow, PAU’s leadership is closely monitoring data from the Centers for Disease Control, Santa Clara Public Health and other public health authorities in order to make informed decisions about the safety and health of the PAU Community. PAU’s leadership team is meeting daily to assess the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on students, faculty, staff and patients. Regular updates are being shared with the University Community and can be found on the Coronavirus Resource page. PAU President Maureen O’Connor held a virtual Town Hall on Monday, March 9. Also on March 9, PAU took the precautionary measure of moving all classes online.  

How is PAU increasing sanitation efforts on its campuses?
PAU has significantly enhanced efforts to sanitize its campuses to increase protection against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, hand-sanitizer dispensers have been added in front of every building entrance at the Calvin campus and in both suites at the Los Altos campus. Hand sanitizer and paper towels are available in each of the 12 patient rooms. Janitorial efforts have been increased on the Calvin campus with sanitation of all commonly touched areas, cleaned every 3-4 hours Monday through Friday, using products recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. The PAU facilities team is working with building management to increase the level of service on the Los Altos campus. Information about increased sanitation efforts can be found here.    

What do I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19 (but have no symptoms and feel well)?
The CDC strongly recommends that you self-quarantine and contact your doctor. Students should contact your faculty instructors to discuss how you can continue to make progress on your coursework. Staff and faculty who may self-quarantine and can fulfill their responsibilities without physically reporting to campus should contact their supervisors to make arrangements to work remotely. For those who may need to self-quarantine but cannot work remotely—sickness, vacation and/or personal holidays as well as leave programs may be applied.

Will upcoming events continue as planned?
We are evaluating meetings, gatherings, and events through the end of spring break. The President, in consultation with faculty, staff, and student groups responsible for the events, will make decisions that will best serve our community’s health, safety, and well-being. More information and guidance will be distributed regarding upcoming events.

How are you keeping on-campus employees safe?
In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home or at an alternate location, we encourage managers to work with employees to identify those instances, and consider telecommuting during this time of uncertainty. A key consideration for managers is whether or not telecommuting is compatible with the employee’s job responsibilities. We recognize many functions do not lend themselves to being performed from home. In those situations, we encourage employees to adhere to previously-issued preventative hygiene guidance from the CDC. When these measures are practiced with diligence they are an effective means for minimizing the spread of the disease. In addition, employees should consult with their manager for specific protocols that may be in place for certain jobs.

If my child’s daycare or school is closed, may I work from home?
Yes, if your job responsibilities are compatible with working from home. PAU’s Telecommuting Agreement and information can be found at MYPAU/Business Affairs/HR/Telecommuting.

How will the use of sick time change or be applied if we need to use it for a COVID-19 exposure?
As the University continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, faculty and staff are asked to review pertinent workplace policies in the employee handbook and guidance in MYPAU. Information is subject to change as we learn more about the outbreak and its impact on our community. You may charge your available accrued PTO at this time. If you are well and your work lends itself to telecommuting, please speak with your manager about working from home until you are symptom free and you and your manager agree it is safe to return to work. Questions may be directed to your manager or the HR office.

Telecommuting Information

COVID-19 Interim Telecommuting Exceptions

The University’s Telecommuting Agreement, located at MYPAU/Business Affairs/HR/Telecommuting, outlines eligibility, procedures, and expectations regarding staff members working remotely. However, short-term telecommuting can be an appropriate option for staff members in extraordinary circumstances, such as during the current outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which fall outside of the Telecommuting Policy for a limited period of time. Employees should be given flexibility in either taking time from work or working remotely for legitimate reasons (for example, self-isolation due to travel, caring for children during school closures, elderly family members, and those at risk with weakened immune systems, among others). Exceptions to the Telecommuting Agreement last only for the duration of the outbreak, as defined and communicated by the University. Please review the Telecommuting Policy for complete guidance around telecommuting.

Temporary or Short-Term Telecommuting

An updated Telecommuting Agreement is necessary for temporary or short-term work. Supervisors, at their own discretion, may allow some or all of their staff to telecommute on a short-term basis during the outbreak. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their staff and/or departments perform critical work needed to care for the PAU community and to maintain operations as deemed necessary by the University. Supervisors should regularly communicate with their staff regarding the fluidity of such situations, as well as changing business needs (e.g. the need to report to campus). Supervisors or employees may revoke short-term telecommuting agreements any time and for any reason. 

Expectations for Supervisors

Supervisors should communicate specific expectations to individual team members based on each person’s needs and circumstance. To ensure that the telecommuting assignment is mutually beneficial to both the University and staff members, planning and communicating expectations in advance of the telecommuting is crucial.

Expectations for All Staff

  • Telecommuting staff members are responsible to:

    • Fulfill the expectations agreed upon with their supervisor regarding the scope of their telecommuting assignment, such as:

    • Duties and responsibilities

    • Hours of work for non-exempt employees (rest/meal breaks, overtime, and other wage and hour requirements still apply)

    • Hours of availability to communicate regarding University business

    • Communication of work assignments and personal needs, including reporting absences of work due to injury, illness, or caring for a family member

    • The use of University equipment and materials.

    • Inform your supervisor if planning to work from a telecommuting location which is more than 60 miles from the primary telecommuting location

  • Appropriately complete timesheets if necessary. 

  • Protect University information by following the University’s policies governing information security, software licensing, and data protection; ensuring that unauthorized individuals do not access PAU data, either in print or electronically; and not accessing restricted-level information in print or electronically unless approved by the supervisor and protected by policy-compliant encryption and/or physical controls.

  • Maintain a safe environment in which to work.


CDC Recommendations on COVID-19 Prevention

What steps can I take to protect myself and others from COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following preventative measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing
  • Anyone who is sick or exhibiting signs of illness should stay home
  • Additional information about prevention can be found here on the CDC website