Faculty & Staff Guidance

Wake Forest is following U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and our incident management team is actively monitoring the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation. The ongoing priority of the University is the health and safety of our campus community. 

This remains a fluid situation and we are prepared to adjust as circumstances change.

Feeling sick?

For information about what to do, see this page.

Essential Employees

Wake Forest is following guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency regarding the designation of essential employees during the COVID-19 response. Employees needed on campus to perform critical services are notified by their supervisors and follow staggered schedules and workplace arrangements that promote appropriate social distancing. If you are uncertain about whether to report to campus, ask your unit head (e.g., department chair, dean, vice president) or supervisor if you are an essential employee. 

Essential employees are designated by the relevant vice president or dean, who has full discretion as to who is deemed essential and the right to change that designation as needed. Leaders should identify these designations using the Essential Employees form so Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety can maintain a log of all colleagues who are regularly reporting to campus. Updates to the list should also be provided through the form, as essential employee designations may change as the situation evolves. 

Employees who are not designated to provide essential services should remain at home, even if their work cannot be performed remotely. If a colleague must come to campus, they should discuss the need with their unit head or supervisor, who should then inform Melissa Clodfelter (clodfem@nullwfu.edu). It is imperative for the University to record all instances of faculty and staff on campus in the event contact tracing is needed due to cases of COVID-19.

Distance-Working and Teaching

Wake Forest University has moved to a remote-working arrangement for all colleagues whose work can be performed remotely. All employees who are not designated to perform essential services, and whose work can be performed remotely, should work from home. While forms are customarily required to initiate remote work, they are being waived during these unprecedented circumstances.

Colleagues should follow the guidelines outlined on Information Systems’ IT Resources for Working and Teaching Remotely webpage and coordinate plans with their unit head (e.g., department chair, dean, vice president) or manager. Additionally, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching website is a valuable resource for faculty.

Please consider the following expectations associated with remote work arrangements:

Goals and Objectives
Please continue to work toward the same goals that you were pursuing in your on-site work; if the objectives of your work need to be adjusted, discuss with your unit head (e.g., department chair, dean, vice president) or manager.

Facility Operations
Deans and vice presidents responsible for overseeing the work taking place in campus facilities are responsible for determining the need for the facility to remain operational to support students, ongoing research and business functions. Deans and vice presidents have the authority to designate essential employees for the purposes of facility operations.

Respond to email, texts and phone calls in a timely manner. Attempt to maintain regular work hours; if child care or other needs will require you to adjust your schedule, please discuss with your manager. If you and your manager agree that you can adjust your work hours, keep some routine in your work day, such as waking up at the same time every day, planning a lunch break and making time to stay in touch with other people.

Continue to conduct your regular meetings and connect with your teammates daily. Whenever possible, use video connections, instead of phone calls, for your meetings and try to avoid using email or text messages as your primary mode of communication. Stay professional: Dress appropriately and do your best to minimize background noise (or mute yourself when you aren’t speaking).

Pay, Time and Attendance
Staff who work on-site to provide essential services and those who can work remotely should continue to record their work time as usual. A team of leaders is working with urgency to understand and make recommendations regarding opportunities for Wake Forest employees and contract employees who are underemployed due to remote working and social distancing requirements. In addition, the University is reviewing ways that the CARES Act might help Wake Forest meet its guiding principles amidst these uncertain economic times.

Work Space
Establish a dedicated workspace in the remote area, in which you can focus and get things done. Finding a solution might take some creativity. For example, you could create a work schedule with others who share the space in your home, or use a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Establish a plan with people in your household so they understand when you are working and not available for other tasks.

Ask for Help
Wake Forest offers resources to help you connect with technology, but working from home can still be lonely. Consider pairing up with a productivity buddy to stay focused, leaning into an existing mentoring relationship or inviting someone into a new mentoring relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Employee Assistance Program is a valuable resource. Appointments are available by calling (336) 716-5493.

Quarantines and Diagnoses

If this occurs: The following will take effect:
Faculty or Staff member is quarantined (i.e., due to travel). CDC advises individuals to self-quarantine if traveling from impacted areas. Faculty: Follow the “Absences and Leaves of Absence” information outlined in the Faculty Handbook and discuss individual scenarios to continue delivery of classes with your unit head (e.g., Department Chair, Dean).
Staff: Continue working remotely or take Paid Time Off (PTO). If work cannot be performed remotely or PTO is not available, the University may grant administrative leave.
Faculty or Staff member is diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19). Faculty: Follow the “Absences and Leaves of Absence” information outlined in the Faculty Handbook and discuss individual scenarios to continue delivery of classes with your unit head (e.g., Department Chair, Dean). If incapacitated and unable to continue delivery of classes, then begin procedure for Medical Leave.
Staff: Begin the Family Medical Leave + Short-Term Disability + PTO process (if applicable). The University may grant administrative leave.
Person in the household has COVID-19. Faculty: Discuss individual scenarios to continue delivery of classes with your unit head (e.g., Department Chair, Dean).
Staff: Continue working remotely or begin the Family Medical Leave + PTO process (if applicable). The University may grant administrative leave.

Medical Plan Participants

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) covers doctor visits to screen for COVID-19 the same as other doctor visits covered by the University’s medical plan. If a doctor suspects that a patient has COVID-19, he/she/they will contact the CDC, who will decide if a test is needed. At this time, testing can only be conducted through the CDC and select public health laboratories.

State and local health departments who identify a person under investigation will notify the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to report and determine whether testing is needed. The EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to the CDC, including during after-hours or on weekends/holidays. The latest updates for medical plan participants are available on the BCBSNC website. 


  • Transactions: Any Human Resources transaction, including creating new job requisitions/positions, salary increases, mobile stipends, allowance plans, job profile changes, or contract extensions that are initiated after April 8 should be reviewed and approved by the Provost or Executive Vice President, with input from the Budget Committee. The initiator should indicate this approval by adding the following to Workday’s “Comments” field:

“Approved by (Provost or Executive Vice President) for COVID-19 Event”

    Once the appropriate vetting process has occurred, the transaction will continue in Workday.
  • Contact Information: The University needs to know how to get in touch with faculty and staff by phone. Add your mobile number by going to Workday/Personal Information/Change/Contact Information. You may mark it “private,” so it only will be visible to your leader, the Talent Liaison and Human Resources.
  • Direct Deposit: Receiving pay via direct deposit is the most reliable option, and faculty and staff should make this election by going to Workday/Pay/Payment Elections.
Financial Services Information
  • Visit the Financial Services website for important notices, contact details and answers to questions related to COVID-19 planning and response.

Available to WFU Medical Plan Participants

Telephonic Resources

Available to WFU Medical Plan Participants

  • MDLive: Remote access to board-certified doctors is available around the clock by registering online, texting “bcbsnc” to MDLive (635483), or calling (888) 657-9982.
  • Carolina Behavioral Health Alliance: Telephonic behavioral health consultations are available by calling (800) 475-7900.
  • Employee Assistance ProgramAsymptomatic individuals who feel anxious about the coronavirus may find this service beneficial. (336) 716-5493