FAQ for Staff

Last updated: March 31, 2020

  • New question: Essential Staffing Only Plan Q9

Essential Staffing Only Plan | Timesheet Instructions | Travel | Other

Essential Staffing Only Plan

1. Since students will not be returning, do I still have to come to work?
Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, while the College is not closed, we have moved to an ESSENTIAL STAFFING ONLY plan until further notice. Essential staffing only means that we will ask the fewest number of employees necessary to work on campus to support the most essential services for the safety and security of students who remain on campus, as well as those needed for essential College operations (e.g., dining service, heating plant, security, continuing to support faculty teaching remotely, etc.) Your senior officer and/or manager have determined which employees are essential. An employee may be essential for the next few days to support the work to prepare faculty for teaching remotely and after a time revert to nonessential.

2. Will there be reductions in pay?
All regular/benefits-eligible faculty and staff will continue to be paid. Administrative managers have been sent additional information regarding approved time for their hourly staff.

3. Will my benefits be affected?
No. There will be no changes to College benefit plans. In fact, we will be providing coverage of the COVID-19 screening test and for the doctor visit to receive testing at no out-of-pocket-cost for all employees on our health plans. Additionally, prior authorization is not required for diagnostic services related to COVID-19 testing.

4. What if I get sick with something other than COVID-19 and I am considered essential staff working on campus?
Per regular College policy, hourly/benefits-eligible staff should record the absence as sick time, and administrative staff should record this as exception time in Workday.

5. What if I get sick with something other than COVID-19 and I am working from home, how do I record my time?
Per regular College policy, hourly/benefits-eligible staff should record the absence as sick time, and administrative staff should record this as exception time in Workday.

6. What if I am being presumptively tested or have tested positively for COVID-19?
Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible, especially if you have been working as an essential staff member on campus. If you are a faculty member or responsible for on-line/remote instruction, please also contact the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs. In addition, please notify Mary Cote, assistant director of benefits and absence management, at 207-725-3033 or mcote@bowdoin.edu.

Please also enter your time as sick time in Workday. If you do not have sufficient sick time for this absence, your supervisor will work with HR so that you can remain paid and have benefits continue.

7. Can casual employees be scheduled to work either on campus or at home?
During the ESSENTIAL STAFFING ONLY period, casual employees should only be scheduled to work on campus in extraordinary cases and in life-safety roles primarily. In those cases, casual essential staff will also receive time-and-a-half for hours worked. Casual employees may NOT work from home.

We are developing a plan for pay for casual employees who regularly work at least ten hours per week. More information is forthcoming.

8. Can student employees who have worked for us continue to do so remotely?
Please refer to the FAQ for student employee supervisors. Managers and supervisors of student employees will receive a communication directly from student employment.

9. Maine Governor Janet Mills recently issued “stay at home” rules, effective April 2-April 30. How do these new rules affect Bowdoin employees?
Bowdoin employees are exempt from Maine’s “stay-at-home” rules. Governor Mills previously announced that the state would be guided by the US Department of Homeland Security’s definition of essential workers and businesses. These definitions, which, for Bowdoin, fall under the category of “Other Community- or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions,” provide an exemption for employees who support colleges “for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions.”

Timesheet Instructions

1. How should hourly/non-exempt employees submit their timesheets?

  • Pay Period starting 3/16: All hourly employees should continue to submit their timesheets, and managers should continue to approve timesheets according to the biweekly payroll schedule. Nonessential employees who typically record time via timeclock should contact their manager for time entry requirements during this time. The Workday mobile app is available for submitting and approving time. If you require assistance, please contact payroll at 207-725-3584 or email Robin Saindon
  • Guidance on recording time in Workday is available on the payroll website. The new time code are available in Workday. There is also a Payroll Chart available with the new codes. If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact payroll at 207-725-3548 or email Robin Saindon.
  • Overtime is prohibited during this time. Limited exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis focused on critical operational needs and must be approved in advance by the responsible senior officer and by Tama Spoerri, vice president for human resources.

2. How should salaried/exempt employees record exception time?
No special entries are required for salaried/exempt employees during this time. Administrative exception time should continue to be recorded on a monthly basis.

3. What should I do if I am on an approved medical leave?
If you are on an approved medical leave or you need to go out on a medical leave, all regular College policies and procedures apply. Human resources (HR) will continue to process short-term disability benefits and Family Medical Leave notifications as required.

If you are returning from medical leave, we will need to work with you on the appropriateness of returning to work during the ESSENTIAL STAFFING ONLY period. Please contact Mary Cote for more information.


1. What if I have been traveling to an area where there have been reported cases of COVID-19? Will I need to self-isolate before I can come to campus?
Anyone who has traveled or will travel through a country with a CDC travel advisory Warning Level 3 is required to stay away from campus and urged to self-MONITOR their health for fourteen (14) days after traveling. Those who develop symptoms for COVID-19 should notify their primary care physician and self-ISOLATE for fourteen (14) days.

Travelers to ANY area experiencing sustained community-level transmission of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19—including a growing list of locations in the United States—are strongly advised to stay away from campus, to self-MONITOR their health, and consider working from home for fourteen (14) days after traveling.

2. I have plans to travel for the public school April vacation. Can I still go?

Employees are encouraged to consult the travel advisories issued by the CDC. Employees may proceed with their vacation plans if they are comfortable doing so, but they should understand that, if conditions worsen or areas with outbreaks change, they may need to self-isolate prior to their return to work.


1. Is the Bowdoin College Children’s Center closing for the semester?
We have decided to close the Bowdoin College Children’s Center, effective Tuesday, March 17. 

2. Has the College canceled all large events?
Yes. All large gatherings on campus have been canceled. While the federal government is advising a halt to gatherings of more than ten (10) people, the College advises members of the Bowdoin community to limit gatherings to no more than three or four people.

3. What considerations should be taken when organizing a department or small group meeting?
Whenever possible, teleconferencing or video conferencing using Microsoft Teams or Zoom should be used in favor of in-person meetings. If it is necessary to hold an in-person meeting, organizers should choose a space large enough to allow for social distancing of at least six feet between attendees. 

4. Is the mail center open?
The mail center is open and continues to accept, sort, and process both incoming and outgoing mail and packages for the campus. Students and departments that have requested the mail center hold their mail and packages can come to the mail center to pick them up Monday - Friday, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. 

5. What can I do to minimize the risk of spreading illness?

  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose;
  • Stay at home if you are sick (with any illness, but especially if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, etc.);
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds; and
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

6. What if I need to care for a sick family member? 
If an employee needs to take time away from work to care for an immediate family member, they should do so. It is the policy of the College to allow employees to use up to forty (40) hours of accrued sick and/or vacation time in a calendar year to care for immediate family members who are injured or ill. For the purposes of this policy, an immediate family member includes an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent. Employees with limited leave time should contact human resources to discuss what options are available to ensure that they will continue to be paid during this time.

7. What if I suspect I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Anyone who believes they have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should remain at home and monitor their health, use the CDC guidance, and contact their primary care physician.

8. What steps is the College taking to disinfect residence halls and common areas after students retrieve their belongings?
Bowdoin has purchased additional cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and we are making sure we have enough trained staff to carry out the proper cleaning of our facilities.

9. Are all athletic facilities open or just the fitness center?
Effective Tuesday, March 17, all Bowdoin athletic facilities will be closed until further notice. Pass holders who have paid for access to facilities will be credited for the unused portion of their annual pass when facilities reopen. If you have questions about your pass and access, please call 207-725-3327. 

10. Will fitness and wellness classes proceed?
No, fitness and wellness classes will not be held.

11. May job candidates traveling from outside of Maine come to campus for interviews?
We strongly encourage you to consider virtual options. Any exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis by a senior officer, in consultation with HR.