Q&A for Faculty and Staff

This page contains a selection of questions and answers that NMU has received from faculty and staff. Our complete COVID-19 frequently asked questions is a comprehensive list of questions and answers and should be referred to if you don't find your question on this page.

Employees and workforce

What is being done to protect employees?

Keeping NMU employees and students safe is the top priority for Northern Michigan University.

NMU is working in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s executive “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which is effective from Tuesday March 24 through Sunday, April 14. The full executive order is available at Executive Order 2020-21. Many of our buildings are closed or working with minimum staff to remain operational. NMU faculty and staff will be mostly working from home. Refer to the University FAQ page for current campus operations.

What is the plan regarding essential employees?

Essential employees have been receiving training, information and, in some cases, safety provisions to prepare them to work in a possibly deteriorating environment. Each area is following emergency plans specific to their unit and essential employees should contact their direct supervisor or unit manager to ask specific questions related to their job and role as an essential employee.

Can job interviews for open positions be conducted on campus?

As of Monday, March 16, Northern is instituting a hiring freeze and an interviewing freeze for all positions except those that impact health, safety and business continuity, including hiring so that class can continue to be offered. Questions about position searches moving forward or being delayed should be brought to your division leader.

Should I tell my student employees to file for Michigan unemployment?

Student employees may or may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. That determination is made by the state, and there are specific earnings requirements that need to be met in order to qualify. NMU provides earnings information as requested by the state. It is important that you not promise any student workers that they will get unemployment, as that may not be the case.


Since the University is telling employees who are sick to stay home, do I have to use my sick leave?

Yes. If you are sick you should remain at home and get well, and using your sick leave enables you to be paid while you are unable to work. The University provides employees sick leave for the very purpose to use when you are sick.

How can I find out more about the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

Employees may read the Family First Coronavirus Response Act Employee Rights poster, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Frequently Asked Questions page, or may contact Kim Hongisto, Human Resources Benefits Assistant, at 227-2470 to discuss individualized situations.

What is a medical accommodation?

Northern has a medical accommodations process for employees with medical conditions that affect their working situation. If you have a medical condition, even if you are already working remotely, work with Human Resources to complete the medical accommodation process.  The Human Resources Office can be reached at hr@nmu.edu, 906-227-2330. 

Will the COVID-19 test be covered by our insurance?

If a medical professional orders the test, it is covered by NMU’s insurance.

If my local doctor wants to schedule an appointment with me over the phone, will our Blue Cross plan cover this type of visit?

Yes.  This type of appointment with your in-network doctor is known as telehealth medical services and Blue Cross has temporarily waived the employee co-pay amount.

In addition, if you use the Blue Cross Online visits app or website the employee co-pay is temporarily waived for these services.  With Online visits, you are making an appointment with a physician who is not your primary care doctor.

My daycare closed or reduced their hours.  Am I permitted to decrease my election for my dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) or cancel my election entirely?

Yes.  Since this is a change initiated by your dependent care provider you may prospectively decrease or cancel your election entirely within 30 days of the event; the day the school and/or daycare facility closed.  However, you will not be permitted to decrease part of it now and then decrease more later.  Retroactive changes cannot be made.  The change of status form may be found here - Change Form - and you should return your complete form to hr@nmu.edu.

In turn, you may also increase your election amount within 30 days of the school/daycare re-opening.

I had a scheduled medical procedure and other medical appointments that were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Am I permitted to decrease my election for my health care flexible spending account (FSA) or cancel my election entirely?

No.  There is not any new guidance issued at this time in regard to making election changes as a result of medical appointments and procedures being delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is possible new guidance may be forthcoming addressing this issue.

Travel matters

Explain Northern’s current travel restrictions.

Per the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Northern has suspended all university-sponsored air and ship travel, both domestic and international, for students, faculty and staff until further notice.

What is meant by university-sponsored travel?

University-sponsored travel means some level of funding of the travel is coming from Northern Michigan University.

Is it OK for job candidates, guest speakers and others to travel to campus?

As of March 16, Northern is restricting all university-sponsored travel to campus for job candidates, guest speakers, student-athlete recruits and others with the exception of situations directly related to health, safety and business continuance. Contact the President’s Office (227-2244, NMUPres@nmu.edu) for exception approvals until further notice.

Should I travel abroad for a personal trip?

With the COVID-19 virus at a pandemic level, according to the World Health Organization, Northern strongly encourages its students, faculty and staff to be aware of the risk of travel of any kind, both domestic and international, as the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide and is now reported in all US states.

What is the NMU International Travel Registry?

The NMU International Travel Registry is a database maintained by the University to record general travel itinerary information for student, faculty and staff travel, both university sponsored and personal, so that Northern has the information it needs to contact individuals in the event of an emergency or to pass along information being received from the U.S. State Department, Homeland Security, the CDC, WHO and other agencies before, during and after the travel period regarding the travel destination. During the COVID-19 emergency, Northern has been using the NMU International Travel Registry to record domestic travel to and from high-risk areas, as well, as a way to communicate information quickly to travelers as needed. The Registry can be accessed through the MyNMU portal. Submission to the NMU International Travel Registry is required for university-sponsoring international travel by students, faculty and staff for funding reimbursement.

Additional Resources:

University COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Frequently Asked Questions

Telecommuting Expectations & Checklist for Managers

Telecommuting Expectations & Checklist for Employees

'Work from Anywhere' Technology Instructions

Strategies to Manage your Stress and Anxiety