NOTE: The university has released updated guidance that is effective April 1-April 30. Read the latest guidance.

Dear Campus Community, 

As COVID-19 continues to spread across our country, we are seeing a dramatic shift in the way we are conducting daily life in order to slow the spread of the virus. The situation is evolving quickly, and the UNC System has instructed all System institutions, including East Carolina University, to significantly reduce all operations on our campuses. Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our campus community is our first priority; and secondly, we need to provide the best possible student experience that we can under the circumstances. 


Know Your Tools

Avoid frustration and maintain productivity by testing technology and accessing files remotely before you need it. Consider forwarding your calls and learn to access voicemail remotely.

Set Your Space

Find a comfortable, quiet spot where you can focus and maintain an ergonomically-sound work environment.

Structure Your Day

As appropriate, keep your same work hours; structure your day like you were going in to the office. Be sure to maintain boundaries around hours. Plan for meal breaks just like you would in the office.


You won’t “see” everyone in the hallways, but it’s important to stay connected with your coworkers and clients. Use all of your tools to stay connected — instant messaging, online meetings, MS Teams, phone calls and emails are just a few.

Be Proactive with Your Manager

Keep your manager up to speed on your accomplishments, struggles and areas in which you need assistance. Be clear on goals and tasks. Plan to provide regular and frequent status reports as appropriate and discussed.

Avoid Distractions

Plan your work space and schedule to minimize distractions. Limit interactions with family members, friends and pets to break periods or after your work day ends.

Keep Healthy

Make sure you periodically stretch, walk around and frequently look away from your screen. Use your calendar if you need a reminder!

Adhere to Policies

While you are working remotely, remember you are still “at work” so be sure to follow your institution’s policies including downloading apps and visiting websites on work computers.

Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Employee Designations 

For this COVID-19 response, the UNC System has temporarily changed the definition of “mandatory employee” to employees who are directed by their supervisor to report to work, at a designated University worksite other than their personal residence, at specific dates and times. It is possible that an employee will have a portion of duties that are on campus and can fulfill the remainder of their duties remotely. 

Effective immediately and until further notice, only mandatory employees under this new definition who need to report to work on campus should do so. All non-mandatory employees — including temporary employees and student workers —will be expected to work remotely and will continue to be assigned work, to the fullest extent possible. 

Division Vice Chancellors, or those who they delegate the authority to, are responsible for designating mandatory employees. Supervisors are responsible for assigning and tracking their non-mandatory employees’ remote work. To be clear, these designations do not remove an employee’s responsibilities to complete their work assignments. Supervisors should work with Employee Relations and their divisional HR representatives to ensure mandatory employee designations are logged by Human Resources. 

Mandatory and non-mandatory employees — including temporary employees and student workers — who cannot work remotely for either of the following reasons may receive paid administrative leave until March 31 for the period of time they are unavailable to work with appropriate approvals. 

  • Because of childcare or eldercare needs due to COVID-19-related school and facility closings; or
  • Because their position duties cannot be performed remotely, and no alternate remote work is available or feasible.

Additionally, employees who are sick due to symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with such symptoms will receive paid administrative leave for any time lost through March 31. 

This guidance, which is provided by the UNC System, is effective immediately through March 31 and will be revisited as the situation evolves. Further updates will be provided. For further information related to administrative leave provisions please see the below March 17, 2020 memo from the UNC System Office “COVID-19 SPECIAL FACULTY AND STAFF WORK AND LEAVE PROVISIONS – EFFECTIVE MARCH 16 – MARCH 31, 2020.” 

Timekeeping and Administrative Leave Management

We also understand that the campus community has many questions regarding the use of COVID-19 Administrative Leave and its pay implications. While there are still many details that require finalization, here is what we do know:

  • For permanent employees, Kronos is being configured with a new paycode to record the use of COVID-19 Administrative Leave. Employees will be expected to code such time on their timecards just as they would any other type of leave. Additional information, including when the paycode will be available, is forthcoming to employees, supervisors, and SuperAdmins.
  • For hourly temporary and student employees, ECU will, in accordance with the recent guidance issued by UNC System Office, calculate an average of weekly hours worked in the month of February to ensure a pay event occurs for time between 3/16 and 3/31 (subject to the parameters described in the guidance). Departmental leadership will be given information on their employees in advance so that they can comment if they have concerns with the proposed payments. No additional action will be required in Kronos to ensure this occurs, and employees and supervisors should continue to use Kronos as they normally would.
  • For FLSA exempt temporary and student employees (e.g., graduate assistantships, some EHRA Non-Faculty temps), pay will be processed as it normally would be and additional action will not be necessary.
  • Questions regarding the appropriateness of use of COVID-19 Administrative Leave should be directed to departmental leadership and/or Employee Relations.


Be Prepared

Make sure your employees have the technology and system access they need to work remotely and are comfortable using it.

Set Expectations and Goals

Talk with your team and each person about your and their expectations of working remotely. Create working agreements and goals to encourage accountability and measure success.

Keep Connected

Continue team meetings and one-on-ones, check in throughout the day and ask if they need anything. This may look different for different employees depending on their needs.

Trust Your Employees

Trust your employees just as you would if they were in the office and manage accordingly. Great employees will still be great employees when working remotely!

Choose Tech Wisely

Use online video calls for meetings when possible. As appropriate, continue to connect via phone, email, instant messaging, MS Teams, etc.

Know Your Team

Identify team norms and encourage positive cultural aspects. For example, some teams are very collaborative — find ways to continue that virtually.

Be Mindful of Boundaries

Working remotely does not mean working 24/7. Identify, discuss and respect boundaries such as “office hours.”

Adapt as Needed

Periodically review working agreements and modify as needed to ensure work is getting done and employees stay engaged.

Teleworking (e.g., Working Remotely) 

Employees who are working remotely will undoubtedly face new challenges if they’re unaccustomed to teleworking.  An infographic provided by the UNC System Office is attached to this message with helpful tips for successful teleworking.  Resources for employees teleworking can be found on the ITCS “ECU IT Tools and Resources for Teleworking (e.g., Working Remotely) website. 

Managers may find themselves balancing their duties with the responsibilities for providing leadership and support to employees who are teleworking as well.  An infographic provided by the UNC System Office is attached to this message with helpful guidance on managing remote employees.  Supervisors who have specific questions about managing teleworking employees can contact ECU’s Employee Relations department at for consultations and guidance on this topic.   

As we mentioned earlier, this is an unprecedented time for our campus. We realize this update presents challenges for everyone. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we make decisions for the health, safety, and well-being of our community. Please stay safe and make it a point to stay informed daily. Information will be updated on the University’s Coronavirus Updates page as it is available, including the answers to many frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 special leave provisions.  

UNC System Office: COVID-19 Special Work and Leave Provisions

Effective March 16-31, 2020

Note: The following are special emergency provisions authorized by the interim president of The University of North Carolina in response to the COVID-19 event. These provisions will be subject to modification or discontinuation by the interim president at any time based on COVID-19 developments and the operational needs of the University. Special paid administrative leave provisions are per the employee’s regular work schedule (or typical work schedule for temporary employees as determined by management) and do not include overtime or other special pay provisions.

Employee Designations and Work Assignments

  • Mandatory employees are those employees who are directed by their supervisor to report to work, at a designated University worksite other than their personal residence, at specific dates and times. The institution should revise the list of mandatory employees to reflect this definition and the University’s operational needs specific to the COVID-19 event. These designations may be changed by management at any time due to the operational needs of the University and COVID-19 developments.
  • Special consideration should be given to mandatory employees who are determined to be “high risk” for contracting COVID-19 or experiencing greater complications (i.e., over 65 years of age; have underlying health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes; or a weakened immune system) or who are providing care to someone at high risk. These employees may be allowed to telework or apply other special leave provisions below.
  • Non-mandatory employees are those employees who have not been directed by their supervisor to report to work onsite at any particular date and time. Non-mandatory employees will continue to be assigned work and will be expected to telework if feasible given the nature of their position duties. If not, special COVID-19 leave provisions apply.

COVID-19 Special Leave Provisions

  • Mandatory or non-mandatory employees (including temporary and student employees) who cannot work because they have childcare or eldercare needs due to COVID-19-related facility closings will receive paid administrative leave per for the period of time they are unavailable.
  • Non-mandatory employees (including temporary and student employees) who are unable to telework will receive paid administrative leave if they cannot telework because their position duties cannot be performed remotely and reasonable alternate remote work is not feasible or productive.
  • For part-time employees with irregular schedules, paid administrative leave should consider the employee’s average hours per week over the course of a month. In no case shall paid administrative leave exceed forty hours per week.
  • Any mandatory or non-mandatory employees (including temporary and student employees) who are sick due to symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with such symptoms will receive paid administrative leave. All other medically related absences will utilize regular forms of leave such as sick, vacation, and bonus leave, or shared leave if previously approved.
  • Non-mandatory employees who were on other pre-approved leave, choose not to work, or are unavailable for reasons other than provided for in the special COVID-19 provisions must use available and applicable leave types; e.g. vacation leave, parental leave, bonus leave, or compensatory time.
  • There are no special compensation provisions for mandatory employees in effect at this time. Provisions regarding time and one half compensation for mandatory employees who are required to work onsite are being reviewed in consultation with State Government.


Mike’s supervisor directs him to report to work on his regular schedule Tuesdays and Thursdays and telework for his regular schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Mike is a mandatory employee for those hours on Tuesday and Thursday, and a non-mandatory employee for the remainder of the week. When Mike is not onsite, he will be expected to telework or if applicable, use available leave, including special leave provisions as noted above.

Kim is a non-mandatory employee and a single parent to a kindergarten-age child. With the closure of the public schools, Kim is the sole caregiver to the child during the day. Kim cannot telework during the day due to childcare responsibilities arising from COVID-19 facility closures, but Kim can complete some of work duties by teleworking. Kim arranges with her supervisor to telework 20 hours per week outside her regular work schedule and will receive 20 hours of paid administrative leave for the period of time dedicated to childcare.

Terry is a non-mandatory employee who is assigned telework. After two days of working from home, Terry develops symptoms consistent with cold, flu, or COVID-19 and stops working. Because Terry is unable to work during this time due to health issues, Terry may take paid administrative leave for the time they were unable to work.

Pat is a mandatory employee who has been assigned to report to work at a particular date and time. Pat is 65 years old and has an underlying lung condition. Because Pat is in a high risk group for COVID-19 infection, they should be allowed to telework, if feasible. If teleworking is not an option given the nature of the work, then Pat should be granted paid administrative leave.

Sam is a temporary employee who averages about 15 hours of work per week. Sam’s duties cannot be performed remotely and are not considered mandatory. Sam would receive paid administrative leave for their regular hours of work using 15 hours per week.