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High Risk Employees

The following information is provided to guide supervisors and department heads as they consider preparing a Return to On-Campus Work application. For the fall 2020 semester, employees will continue to work remotely unless a departmental-specific plan is approved.

Employees with High-Risk Conditions

Some individuals may be concerned about returning to their assigned worksite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified certain conditions that may put individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These include:

  • Individuals with chronic lung disease or moderate-to-severe asthma;
  • Individuals with serious heart conditions, including heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, and pulmonary hypertension;
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems;
  • Individuals with severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher);
  • Individuals with diabetes;
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease when undergoing dialysis; and
  • Individuals with liver disease.

When considering possible work options for high-risk employees:

  • Be Flexible – Offer flexible options such as telework to employees. This will eliminate the need for employees to travel to or from higher transmission areas in order to get to work.
  • Offer Alternate Duties – Whenever possible, consider offering vulnerable employees duties that minimize their contact with others.
  • Refer Employees to Available Leave Options.
  • Advise Employees to Contact UMBC’s Human Resources Team to Discuss Eligibility for Reasonable Accommodations – Certain high-risk employees may be eligible for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Human Resources ( is available to discuss COVID 19 health condition-related eligibility for reasonable accommodations. Determination and implementation of employee accommodations due to a disabling condition will be coordinated in conjunction with HR and the University’s ADA Coordinator. Additional information regarding UMBC’s employee accommodation process can be found here.

Employees Without High Risk Conditions

Supervisors/department heads should be prepared to respond to employees identified to return to campus who are unwilling to return.  Consider the reason that underlies the unwillingness and determine whether a workable compromise can be met that assuages the employee’s fear while meeting the needs of the job.

If there is no workable compromise, accrued annual, compensatory, holiday, personal, or approved leave without pay (LWOP) might be viable options. Unless the employee is under medical care, sick leave is not an approved leave option.

Support for Employee Well-Being

UMBC is committed to supporting the overall health and well-being of all employees. To help employees deal with uncertainty, fear, or any other challenges, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are available to provide short-term counseling services for employees and their dependents to help with concerns constructively before they become major issues. Additional support is available through UMBC Together.

For more information, contact Human Resources at