COVID-19 Employee FAQ

Fall term starts Sept. 20, enroll today for the best selection of in-person, online, and hybrid courses. All students, faculty, staff, volunteers, contractors, and visitors over the age of 5 must wear a face covering while visiting any GRC location. GRC is a fully vaccinated college, view vaccination protocols for students, faculty and staff.

If you are sick, you must stay home. Stay home even if you have mild symptoms of illness. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These can be symptoms of other respiratory illnesses as well as COVID-19.

If you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 infection, stay home and follow the steps below this symptom list.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, runny nose, sneezing)
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Other symptoms

FIRST: Contact your health-care provider. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without contacting it first.

SECOND: Take the following precautions to avoid getting others sick.

  • Stay home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school or other public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Wear a facemask around other people (e.g., when sharing a room or vehicle) or pets, and before you enter a health-care provider’s office. Be especially careful around persons who may be at higher risk for severe illness.
  • Practice excellent hygiene. Cover coughs and sneezes. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and running water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items (e.g., dishes, cups, utensils, towels and bedding).
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day (e.g., counters, tables, doorknobs, phones and keyboards).
  • Monitor your symptoms, take your temperature daily and call your health-care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with other people for 72 hours after the time when your symptoms improve and your fever goes down without the use of fever-reducing medication.

Additional guidance is available from Public Health — Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health.

1. If an employee tests positive, they should follow CDC guidelines and takes steps to ensure their safety and the people around them (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.htmlView Public Health — Seattle & King County's How long to stay at home when sick guide.

2. The employee should contact the Director of Benefits Services (Sheryl Gordon) at (253)288-3434 and share that they have received a positive Covid-19 test. Be prepared by having the date the symptoms started, when you were tested, and who you may have had close contact with while on Green River College’s campus. The Director of Benefits Services will go over what close contact means and how long you will need to quarantine before returning to campus.

3. Contact your supervisor and let them know you tested positive and that you have already reached out to The Director of Benefits Services.

4. Continue following CDC guidelines as outlined above in protocol #1.

5. The Director of Benefits Services will reach out to any employees that the infected employee had close contact with and instruct them on the proper protocols in regard to following CDC guidelines and their return to GRC’s campus. The Director of Benefits Services will continue any secondary contract tracing with any employee in contact with these contacts to the extent possible.

Please be prepared to accommodate students during this stay-home order. As you work with students, who may have differing needs, be sure to clearly communicate and document your expectations for remote work, alternative assignments, makeup work, etc.

Some of the ways you may accomodate students are:

  • Providing course materials in multiple formats and locations;
  • Accepting course assignments in multiple formats and locations;
  • Allowing group projects to be completed individually;
  • Adjusting the weighting of missed assignments;
  • Eliminating some assignments;
  • Adjusting assignment requirements like length, number of required sources, due dates, etc.
  • Providing the opportunity for alternative or makeup assignments and exams;
  • Late in the quarter, if absences due to illness prevent a student from completing the course requirements, it may be appropriate to award an Incomplete for the course and to allow the student to complete the requirements.

Encourage the student to contact their health care provider. If they do not have a healthcare provider, please share Multicare’s free virtual care services, utilizing the promo code COVID19 to waive the regular $25 fee.

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was enacted on March 18, 2020. These acts are effective on April 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2020.  It includes two different employee leave acts:

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and;
  2. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).

For more information and to learn how to apply, please visit Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Paid Expanded Family Leave during COVID-19 on GatorNet.

An “essential employee” is one whose work is critical for the college to perform its essential operations. Essential functions are functions that if not performed pose a significant risk to the continued operations of the college. An essential function example is Payroll. An essential employee example is a groundskeeper who is needed to clear the walkways and parking lots after a snow storm. Essential employees may be different depending upon the situation. Essential functions may require employees to be on campus, or may be performed via remote access as applicable.

Yes, in fact we encourage all students, faculty and staff to complete the health attestation prior to arriving on campus. 

Complete Health Attestation

Students, faculty and staff must complete the health screening attestation every day they plan to be on campus. For example, if you are on campus for a class that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, you will need to complete the attestation each Monday and Wednesday prior to coming to campus. 

Employees who work on-site at a GRC work location are required to complete seven steps:

  • Complete COVID-19 Safety Training for employees requirements.
  • Employees needing to visit campus can request permission from their dean or supervisor here: Campus Visit Request Form.
  • Attest that they are symptom-free each scheduled work day.
  • Wear all Personal Protective Equipment including masks as directed by CDC and Health Department.
  • Maintain all Social & Physical Distancing requirements in work space
  • Stay away from their work location if they are experiencing symptoms and therefore unable to complete the attestation.
  • Follow their department’s normal call-in process to either take the day off or work from home when ill, as applicable.
    • Contact Human Resources if:
    • diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • a healthcare provider instructs the employee to self-isolate because they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
    • they experience COVID-19 like symptoms; and/or
    • they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (even if not experiencing symptoms).

Completing the attestation

On each scheduled work day, employees who are expected to report to work at a GRC facility must complete an attestation to confirm they are not experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in the attestation. The attestation may be completed before coming to work, however the time to complete the attestation will not be considered work time unless it is done at their on-site work location. Employees without technology available at home to complete the attestation before coming to work should work with their department to identify the best means for completion.

Complete Health Check-in and Attestation Form

Experiencing Symptoms

Employees who are unable to complete the attestation because they are experiencing symptoms should do the following:

If the employee is at home, the employee must:

  • Remain at home and not go to work when sick, even if the symptoms are mild.
  • Notify their supervisor according to their department’s procedures.
  • Contact their health care provider by phone.

If the employee is already at work, the employee must:

  • Inform their supervisor that they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, leave work, and go home.
  • Contact their health care provider by phone.

Whether the employee is at home or at work, employees need to contact their doctor and Human Resources if experiencing the symptoms in the attestation. This ensures appropriate contact tracing and employees are provided support in accordance with privacy regulations.

Employees may return to work on-site once they can attest they are not experiencing symptoms and have notified their supervisor/Human Resources they are able to return. Campus employees who have had COVID-19 may return to work on-site per the public health guidance provided by their health care provider. Other ill employees may return to work on-site 72 hours after fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Whether the employee is at home or at work, employees need to contact their doctor and Human Resources if experiencing the symptoms in the attestation. This ensures appropriate contact tracing and employees are provided support in accordance with privacy regulations.

Campus employees who have had COVID-19 may return to work on-site per the public health guidance provided by their health care provider. Other ill employees may return to work on-site 72 hours after fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Infographic showing how covid contact tracing works


Download printable version of Washington Statea Department of Health's Contact Tracing Infographic (PDF)

You can discuss with your supervisor, or with HR, or, if you are a represented employee, your job steward or other union representative. Also, please check your email; the President’s Office is sending regular college-wide communications on this rapidly changing event.

For day-to-day cleaning, Facilities’ Custodial Services uses an anti-viral disinfectant to clean frequently touched surfaces including public workstations, countertops, handrails and doorknobs once per day. According to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.

In the event that the College receives notification that someone who has been on campus has tested positive for COVID-19, a response team including the Facilities Director, Facilities Manager, Environmental Safety Manager and Custodial personnel will assemble. This team develops the plan of cleaning and disinfecting an area. The cleaning scope will be implemented based on the risk of potential contamination as determined, in coordination with input from the Executive Team, Facilities and Campus Safety. Coordinate with GRC’s Emergency Operations personnel and Campus Safety, on communication methods, campus wide.

  • Identify areas that require restricted access during and immediately following enhanced cleaning. Communicate with impacted department(s)
  • Cleaning and disinfecting room’s surface area such as desks, tables, and other furniture, hardware and other high touch surfaces.
  • Every attempted will be made to give advance notice allowing the building occupants to be apprised of the schedule for disinfection of the space and any areas that may require restricted access during cleaning.
  • Identifying staff who will be conducting the cleaning disinfecting. This includes a debrief of the situation, reviewing resources and provided and question answer period.

Review Green River College's Covid-19 Facilities Custodial Plan

While Campus Corner Apartments provides general cleaning of the apartment common spaces on a monthly basis, student residents are expected to clean their private bedrooms, kitchen spaces and bathrooms. Students living in CCA can check out cleaning supplies from the front office located in the Townsend Center at no cost.

Facilities is introducing UV-C technologies campus wide. UV-C helps protect public spaces from pathogens. UV-C is a type of ultraviolet light, also known as Germicidal UV. This is an extremely powerful technology to facilitate clean air.

UV-C components are being installed into the HVAC systems on campus. You won’t see the actual technologies, but air reading would demonstrate improvements in the quality of air.

The CDC, FDA and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) are recommending this means to mitigate the spread along with increased filtration which GRC is actively doing. Dr. Johnson and I have discussed this system in multiple meetings with our campus partners along with posting information on the Facilities web page (Requested by Deb and the Opening Committee). I would just like to add that this investment provides continuing benefits of the mitigation of influenza and colds during future seasons long after the Covid crises.

Description and information of this system: 

  • The UV-C wavelength inactivates microorganisms living on HVAC air ducts and evaporator coils with a kill ratio of 90 percent or higher, depending on light intensity, length of exposure, lamp placement and lamp life cycle. The technology removes both bacterial and viral aerosols from the air.  -ASHRAE
  • Several studies have examined the health benefits of using UV-C lamps to decontaminate the air streams in healthcare facilities. Some have concluded that, by eliminating harmful germs from the air, UV-C can protect a hospital’s most vulnerable patients from getting sick. -ASHRAE
  • Other studies have found a significant reduction in building-related illnesses by using UV-C. These include the alleviation of conditions such as sick building syndrome, mold-related allergies and asthma.
  • UV-C has been found to be effective in eliminating fungus growing in HVAC systems. Rampant fungus can contribute to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma. – ASHRAE
  • UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis. For this reason, UVC lamps are often called "germicidal" lamps.  UVC radiation has been shown to destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus, which is a different virus from the current SARS-CoV-2 virus. The destruction ultimately leads to inactivation of the virus. UVC radiation may also be effective in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  -FDA

Supportive links:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Disposable disinfectant wipes are availiable to clean individual employee workstations, phones and keyboards. Disinfectant wipes will be available throughout campus including each floor of academic buildings, at the front desk in SU, at the reception desk in SA, at the front desk in the library, at the first floor desk in Kent, Auburn and at the front desk at Enumclaw. Hand sanitizer stations will also be setup in public locations throughout campus.

In times of fear and uncertainty there is often misinformation shared as a result of bias and, at times, discrimination. COVID-19 is a global concern that can make anyone sick, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Green River College is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all who study, work or visit at any of our locations.

If you experience or witness any bias or harassment, please report it to GRC Campus Safety at 253-288-3350. Any Green River student in need of more personal support during this time is encouraged to contact GRC Counseling Services at 253-833-9111, ext. 2460. King County Public Health has also created a site dedicated to anti-stigma resources.

In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, it’s understandable to feel stressed or anxious. We recommend the following steps: Find credible sources you can trust to avoid any panic that can be caused by misinformation. Follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about preventing the spread of the virus. We'll do our best to share up-to-date facts on our website. And, if you sign up for GRC's Safety Alert System you’ll get important messages sent right to your cell phone: https://www.greenriver.edu/alerts.

Here are some resources and tips that may be helpful:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has guidance on managing mental health and coping during COVID-19 for children and caregivers, as well as guidance for higher education administrators.
  • The Child Mind Institute has published a resource on how to talk to young people about COVID-19.
  • The Hope Center has outlined resources for supporting college students during this crisis.
  • American College Health Association has created a guide to help college health staff and campus administrators address COVID-19 on campus.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has information on travel, media resources, and other research on COVID-19.
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America Psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic provides some science-based strategies and tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety.
  • The Washington State Employee Assistance Program provides free counseling and referrals to help with personal or work-related problems that may be impacting your work performance. Participation is voluntary and confidential. For more information, visit the EAP website and refer to the Coping with Disease Outbreak brochure . Employees can request a work schedule adjustment to allow access to the services of the employee assistance program.

Yes, Green River College declared itself as a vaccinated college on July 15, 2021. All GRC students must be fully vaccinated or have obtained a medical or religious exemption by Monday, October 18, 2021. Per Gov. Inslee’s proclamation, all state employees, including those in higher education, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. Exemptions will be allowed for those with sincerely-held religious beliefs and documented medical reasons.

View vaccination protocols >

Yes. All students, faculty, staff, volunteers, contractors, and visitors over the age of 5 must wear a face covering while visiting any GRC location.