Employee FAQ

This is a time of great uncertainty. We are all being asked to make changes to our regular routines both at work and at home. Olin has a responsibility to take actions to keep our community safe and to make sure we do our part to stop the spread of this virus.  We also have a responsibility to maintain the wonderful community we have built here and will make every effort to do so. We will be continuing to update this FAQ in the coming days. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered, please email chrt@olin.edu.

Update: March 19, 2020

An employee webinar was hosted on Wednesday, March 18, please click HERE to listen to the full recording.

How are we approaching people who work for Olin in Dining and Facilities?

We have committed to pay the Rebecca’s staff their full salaries for now. Rebecca’s staff that continue to work on campus to provide food service will take precautions with social distancing. Our facilities staff are also taking precautions. Their team meetings are now held in larger spaces that allow social distancing and their work flow is such that they do not often have to work side by side. The campus does need regular maintenance and we need a small group of people to continue to do that work. But we are doing our utmost to make sure they are taking precautions and remaining healthy.  All of the Aramark staff have reported that they do not use public transportation to travel to and from Olin and we are working with the Rebecca’s staff to a similar end.

Is there anything we as a community can be doing to help people who may need it.

We are looking into that and will advise as soon as we know.

I need to be on campus for deliveries. What should I do?

Normal mail and package service is continuing. If there are things you need to send out please email the mailroom a day in advance. For other kinds of deliveries you can reach out to facilities and they will help you.

Why do we need to mark EMERGENCY on our timecards?

We are asking staff to mark any time they are not able to work as emergency time. This is not intended to track whether or not you are working your set hours. This is only intended to help us track the budget impact of coronavirus. Time not worked includes time that is spent caring for children not in school due to closures.

Are there any online events planned for emotional support?

Yes, we plan to offer online activities in the coming days and weeks. If you can help with that please reach out to Jeremy Goodman. We are a community and will continue to be so. We will need to find a way for people who are seeking connection. For the short term use the connections and channels you have and we will have more for you soon.

What might a return to campus look like?

We have not even begun to tackle that yet.

Update: March 18, 2020

If I need to come to the Olin campus should I practice social distancing?

Some employees must be on campus to perform essential functions. If your job does not require you to be on campus, please work remotely. Although we strongly discourage it, if you do need to come to campus we ask that you practice social distancing.

Update: March 17, 2020

Campus Security

  • Effective at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18, all external building doors will be locked 24/7.  Faculty and staff will need to use their ID cards to swipe in. 
  • Public Safety will also be stepping up their patrols of the campus.  Please carry your ID card at all times if you are present, as an officer may ask to see it if they don’t know you by sight.  
  • Please also bring the key to your space, as you may find that internal doors have been locked, too.

We are taking these actions to ensure the safety of the few employees whose duties require them to be on campus and the security of all of our equipment. 

Information Technology

  • The physical Help Desk in Milas Hall is closed and IT staff are working remotely.
  • For the quickest support, please contact us via email at helpdesk@olin.edu, and include detailed information and a call-back number. We will respond as promptly as possible during regular hours.
  • If you have technology questions, please check the IT Documentation Wiki, and in particular our focused Working Remotely section where we are collecting information about VPN, Zoom, voicemail, Office 365, and other topics.
  • Want to experiment with Microsoft Teams collaboration? We have created a public Olin College space in Teams, where you can create your own channels for collaboration


  • The Facilities staff will continue to work on campus, keeping it ready for us all to return.
  • Beginning on Thursday, we will be changing the settings on heating and cooling systems to save energy on most of the campus.  If it is critical that you be on campus, please bring layers so that you can adjust to warmer or cooler temperatures than you may be used to.
  • The team will continue to respond to requests submitted through workorders.olin.edu.

Human Resources

  • For assistance with HR questions, email hr@olin.edu.
  • For changes to benefits or payroll information, complete the proper forms from the HR section of the portal and email either a scan or a clear photograph (do not include your social security number or date of birth).
  • Please continue to submit your Summer 2020 Student Employment and research stipend requests by Wednesday, April 1.
  • Boot Camp and Yoga are cancelled until further notice; Boot Camp payments will carry forward.

Is there a specific message I should put on my voicemail during this time? 

We have created a suggestion below: 

Hello, As a proactive measure against the spread of COVID-19, Olin College will remain open but has moved to online instruction and suspended almost all in-person visits to the campus until further notice. Faculty and staff are working remotely as their responsibilities permit and may not be able to check voicemail during this time. The best way to reach me is by email @ or if this is an emergency please contact xxxx or public safety at  Thank you for your patience and stay well.

I have a visitor coming to campus in the next few weeks, do I need to cancel? 

  • Yes. Please make arrangements to postpone all non-essential visits or move them to a virtual environment.

  • The Admission and Financial Aid and Collaboratory visitor’s programs have been suspended. 

  • All  events or meetings should be moved to a video or teleconferencing option such as Zoom. There is a College-wide Zoom conferencing subscription. You can go here to find more information and contact IT if you need further help in using it. 

Working During the COVID-19 Outbreak

This situation is evolving rapidly and Olin is working to support the transition to a virtual work environment for all staff. During this time, changes may need to be made to your regular work schedule and accommodations made for you in other ways. Please work with your supervisor and your team to determine what you need to continue to be an effective employee. 

Are Olin staff expected to come to campus? 

Effective immediately, all staff should begin working remotely. Employees will not be required to report to campus except for essential duties that must be performed on campus. Your supervisor will work with you to determine which of your duties, if any, are essential.

Am I required to work from off campus?

Some employees must be on campus to perform essential functions. If your job does not require you to be on campus, please work remotely. Although we strongly discourage it, if you do need to come to campus we ask that you practice social distancing.

My child’s school is cancelled and I have no one to take care of them, how do I balance work and caring for my child?

Please work with your supervisor to figure out how much, if any, time you will be able to work.  Olin is committed to doing its part in the management of this public health emergency, so staff should report your normal hours in ADP. Use the EMERGENCY code for any regular hours that you cannot work due to childcare or other extenuating circumstances. 

I don’t have an appropriate home work environment. What should I do?

Please work with your supervisor to address your particular needs so that you may work from home. Please note that using a co-working space is not a good option; it negates the public health considerations we are attempting to address.  The college will not fund the use of a co-working space.

Posted March 13, 2020

Is the College closed? 

No, Olin isn’t closed. The College will remain open even though we are moving students to an online learning model. Staff are needed to keep the College running, support the change to online classes and help ease the transition for our students. In order to facilitate this necessary work the College will remain open. However, keeping the College open and having all of us show up at 1000 Olin Way each day are two different things.

How long should I expect this condition to last?

We are currently assuming that this arrangement will last for 8 weeks.  The College will reevaluate that assumption regularly and communicate when and if things change. This FAQ has been written from the 8 week perspective and will also be updated when and if things change.

I have been told to self-quarantine. What do I do? (updated: 8am on 3/17/20)

If you are sick or must care for a family member who is sick, please take sick time and focus on your own or your family’s health, rather than the College’s needs.  Inform your supervisor as you normally would for sick time. If you are not sick, but required to self-quarantine, please work remotely to the best of your ability. If there are items you need to accomplish your work (e.g., physical files), please contact your supervisor, who may be able to arrange to drop them off to you as long as they are not exposed (e.g., leave them on your front door step).  If you are able to do some, but not all of your work, please report your normal hours in ADP. Use the EMERGENCY code for any time not worked. If you do not have sufficient sick time, please reach out to HR.  

How do I know if I should self-quarantine?

Please do not make decisions about self-quarantine on your own. Email the CHRT prior to coming to campus if you experience any of the following:

  • You or a member of your household is will with fever, cough and/or shortness of breath or has come into contact with anyone who shows those symptoms.
  • You believe or have been notified that you have come into close contact with someone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

It is campus policy for the CHRT to evaluate anyone who meets these conditions, even if you have consulted a medical professional.

Technology and Equipment

I don’t usually work remotely, what do I need to know? 

Here are some items to consider in planning your remote workplace. Make sure you have access to a computer, phone, basic internet connectivity, as well as VPN access to the Olin network. Please remember to check if you need to access files stored on the network drives. Check to see if your computer has a webcam, helpful for video conferencing. 

  • General IT documentation area: http://it.olin.edu/ 

  • We are gathering additional technology information that may be helpful for working from home.

  • We have made Zoom Pro licenses available to all faculty, staff and students.  This license allows unlimited video meetings with up to 300 participants. You can find more information about Olin’s implementation here and Zoom instructional documentation here.

How can I work at home if I don’t have an Olin laptop?

IT has already coordinated with staff members that we know do not have an Olin laptop to issue loaner laptops. If we have missed you, please contact the IT Help Desk (helpdesk@olin.edu). Updated 3:45pm on 3/13.

There’s other equipment I need. Can I take it home? Updated: 3:48pm on 3/13.

We generally prefer that Olin-owned assets remain on campus, but this is possible as necessary. At this time, we are not able to assist with disassembling desktop equipment in your office, so you must be comfortable doing this on your own. Please notify IT of any technology equipment (other than basic laptop accessories) that you are taking home. Please talk to the Library staff before bringing any Library items home.  For other items, please speak with your supervisor. 

How does COVID-19 affect Olin’s benefits?

All of Olin’s benefits continue as normal during this period.  We have worked with Harvard Pilgrim to make sure the following are covered for all employees on Olin’s health insurance plans:

  • COVID-19 Testing – covered in full (including office, urgent care and emergency room visits for COVID-19 testing).

  • COVID-19 Treatment - covered with no copay.  Applicable deductible and coinsurance apply.

  • Telemedicine - covered in full for any reason.

  • Members will have access to out-of-network providers for the initial COVID-19 test when no in-network providers are available.

  • No prior authorization and referrals are required, where applicable, so that members can get timely medically necessary testing and treatment for COVID-19.

  • The telemedicine service through Doctor On Demand, is available to Harvard Pilgrim members. If you have concerns related to COVID-19, you can check in with a health care provider from home (via smartphone, tablet or computer) to determine whether you need to take further action and to avoid long emergency room waits. Telehealth visits may help limit the spread of the disease. It may also be an option for individuals in self-imposed quarantine to check in with a health care provider.  To access the telemedicine service, download the free Doctor On Demand app from the App Store or Google Play to your mobile device. Or create an account on Doctor On Demand

Optum Rx has given us the following information about our pharmacy benefits:

  • OptumRx does not anticipate delays in dispensing prescriptions from Optum-owned pharmacies (Optum Home Delivery, Optum Specialty, Optum Infusion Services, Avella, Genoa, and Diplomat) related to COVID-19. They are monitoring the supply chain and actively working to maintain a reliable inventory. OptumRx uses anticipatory analysis to determine if, and when, they need to expand operations to include advance dispensing, workforce management, medication access, and more involved in ensuring they secure the medications needed for patients and deliver those medications to members.

  • OptumRx members may obtain an early refill of their maintenance prescription medications if they have refills on file at a participating retail or mail-order pharmacy to ensure they have an uninterrupted supply of medication during the COVID-19 situation.

  • The refill obtained will stay consistent with the standard days supply previously filled by the member as allowed by their plan (e.g., 30 or 90 day supply).

  • Members or Pharmacies can call OptumRx at 1-800-356-3477 to request the early refill override, and this will be approved if the member is self-identifying as impacted by COVID-19.

  • This refill too soon waiver will be continuously evaluated to determine the appropriate duration based on CDC guidance, Federal and State declarations, and other relevant data.  While the initial waiver term is set at 90 days, additional guidance could shorten or lengthen this duration.

  • If you are interested in switching a prescription to Home Delivery, visit the OptumRx website or call 1-800-356-3477 to determine if your prescription can be filled by OptumRx’s home delivery service.

Don’t forget about our Employee Assistance Program (EAP)!  As information about COVID-19 unfolds, you may experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions.  If you need help navigating through this uncharted time, call the e4Health support line at 1-800-828-6025 or log on to helloE4 using olin college (user name) and guest (password). 

TIAA has also given us information about our retirement plans.  Stock market volatility can be unwelcome and unnerving. No doubt the recent declines—amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on economic activity and corporate profitability—gave many investors pause. TIAA has put together the following resources that offer perspective on the U.S. economy in general and these recent events that may be helpful. 

If you have retirement account questions or transactions, you can call TIAA’s national call center at 1-800-842-2776.  You can also reach out to Amy Scarborough, TIAA Financial Consultant at 617-788-5823 or ascarborough@tiaa.org to set up a phone meeting for more in-depth questions and review of your accounts.

Posted March 11, 2020


    • There are a number of big events (Commencement, EXPO, SCOPE Summit, Summer Institute, Summer Research) scheduled this semester and into the summer. Will these events happen?

      • No determination has been made regarding events such as Expo, Scope Summit, or Commencement. While we all hope to be able to hold these events as scheduled we are unable to make those decisions at this time.  

    •  Can members of the Olin community travel?

      • All Olin-related or -sponsored travel is suspended until further notice. This includes any travel that is being paid for with College funds or is on behalf of or in service of the College. We strongly discourage all personal international travel and urge caution about any personal domestic travel. 


  • Why is Olin College taking these measures at this time?

    • While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time, it is clear that it is important that we do our part to try to slow the spread of this virus. Our primary concern is to do what we can to limit exposure to the virus among members of our community. We recognize the significant impact this decision has on members of our community and are working to address issues as quickly as we can.

  • How long will these measures be in place?

    • We do not yet know how long these measures will be in place. We will make decisions about continuing these measures as information about the containment of the virus becomes available. For planning purposes, we have asked faculty to be prepared to move courses to virtual instruction through the remainder of the spring semester. 

  • What are the other BOW colleges doing? 

  • Is there someone sick with COVID-19 on campus now? 

    • There are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time.