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Metro Human Resources Emails All Metro Employees With Coronavirus Prevention Measures and HR Guidelines

3/12/2020
Chris Song

Today, the following letter regarding Metro’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) HR guidelines was emailed to all Metro employees:

March 12, 2020

Dear Colleague:

As the Mayor’s Office has shared in our prior employee communications to you over this past week, your health and safety is a top priority. With regard to the coronavirus known as COVID-19, we have been and continue to work closely with the Metro Public Health Department, Tennessee Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on best practices to keep us safe. As a reminder, the best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

While there are only 2 confirmed cases currently in Davidson County, we realize that the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases will increase as more testing occurs and as this virus spreads. As a result, we want to share what you should do if you become sick.

As noted above, if you are sick, please stay home. This recommendation is true for any illness that is contagious, whether it is flu, COVID-19, or any other contagious illness. It allows you to recover and prevents others from getting sick. Specifically for COVID-19, we recommend:

  • If you are sick, stay home. If you believe your symptoms may be COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider first. Your healthcare provider can discuss your symptoms and help assess whether you should be tested for COVID-19. If your healthcare provider does decide to test you for COVID-19 and you participate in one of Metro’s healthcare plans, it will be covered at 100% by the plan.
  • If you are tested and diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to stay quarantined and away from others for the length of time recommended by your healthcare provider. Currently, most cases of COVID-19 stay quarantined for around 14 days. Please get a healthcare provider’s statement or have your healthcare provider provide it electronically/by email or fax to your department HR coordinator. You will also need to supply a healthcare provider’s statement once you recover in order to return to work. During the time you are off, your department will use your available sick time. If you do not have enough sick time to cover the entire period off for COVID-19, your department will then use administrative leave with pay so that you continue to receive your regular hourly rate or salary.
  • If someone in your immediate household like a spouse, child, parent, roommate, or significant other is tested and diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to stay quarantined and away from others for the length of time recommended by the appropriate physician. Currently, most cases of those people who reside with someone who has COVID-19 stay quarantined for around 14 days. You will need to provide a healthcare provider’s statement showing that someone in your immediate household has been tested and diagnosed with COVID-19 and provide it electronically/by email or fax to your department HR coordinator. You will also need to supply a healthcare provider’s statement once you successfully complete your quarantine period in order to return to work. During the time you are off if the person infected is a legal dependent as defined under FMLA (usually parent, spouse, child or other legal dependent), your department will use your available paid family leave time. If you do not have enough paid family leave time to cover the entire period off for COVID-19, your department will then use administrative leave with pay so that you continue to receive your regular hourly rate or salary. If the person infected in your immediate household is not a legal dependent as defined under FMLA (usually a significant other or roommate), your department will use administrative leave with pay so that you continue to receive your regular hourly rate or salary.

Please know it is our goal to make sure that you stay well, but if you or an immediate household member becomes ill with COVID-19, we want to ensure you are able to recover, take care of others, and prevent anyone else from becoming sick with this virus and make sure that you stay in a paid status so you have the resources you need. If you have questions about your benefits, please contact our Benefit Services team at 615-862-6700. If you have further questions about leave or other employment related questions, please contact your department’s HR coordinator.

As a reminder, the Tennessee Department of Health now offers a Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line at 877-857-2945. The information line is available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time. For more information about COVID-19 visit the covid19.nashville.gov and the Tennessee Department of Health. CDC has updated information and guidance available online.

Thank you for all you do every day and wishes for good health.

Sincerely,

Shannon B. Hall
Human Resources Director
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County