COVID-19 Employee Concerns - Disability Support Services

Midwestern State University (MSU) recognizes some employees with chronic medical conditions may identify with a heightened sense of risk. There are unpredictable health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Risks include exposure to asymptomatic carriers of the virus, as well as virus transfer through face-to-face communications and sharing spaces with others.

Employees who have known health conditions that present a higher risk of serious illness as identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should be fully aware of the steps being taken by MSU Texas to provide a safe working environment.  The MSU Texas Return to Campus on the MSU website is the source for the most current information regarding the measures the university is taking to minimize exposure and risk. This resource can inform employees of the environment they will be working in when the Fall 2020 semester begins.

Additional Questions

Below are a few questions that you may have about working on  campus. We encourage you to explore the information thoroughly. Please note that this process and any adjustments that result are temporary and should not be confused with disability accommodations, which is an entirely separate matter. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out via our Disability Support Services website, by phone at (940) 397-4140 or via email at disabilityservices@msutexas.edu.

What if I plan to work on campus but I have an underlying health issue?

Employees who work on-campus for fall 2020 but have concerns about their medically related risk factor(s) and feel the need to seek adjustments should complete a Request for COVID Consultation form. For the best experience, employees should initiate this process as early as possible.

The DSS will arrange to review your medical records and may need to discuss your concerns to determine what adjustments, if any, may be put in place. Employees desiring a consultation will need to provide medical records that reflect current status, diagnosis, treatment plan and prescribed current medications.

What are the risk factors?

Individuals may have one or more of the known factors that present a higher risk of serious illness if they are exposed to COVID-19. Below is a list of known risk factors provided by the CDC. Please check the CDC Website for a more comprehensive and updated list.

  • Age, which is defined as people over the age of 65 with an underlying health condition.
  • Serious Heart Conditions, which include history of heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, or pulmonary hypertension
  • Chronic Lung Disease, which includes history of COPD, Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis
  • Moderate to severe Asthma
  • Diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes
  • Suppressed Immune Disorders, which include individuals undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplant; individuals with HIV and other immune deficiencies; and, individuals on prolonged steroid medications or other immune-suppressants
  • Auto Immune Disorders, which include rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriasis
  • Hyper Immune Responsive Individuals, which includes history of systemic inflammatory response syndrome or sepsis
  • Hematological Cancers, which include history of leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myelomas
  • Chronic Kidney Disease, which includes individuals who are undergoing dialysis to manage and treat chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic Liver Disease, which includes history of cirrhosis, intravenous drug users, individuals who are homeless or have unstable housing, or recently incarcerated individuals

What is the process for working with the DSS on this issue?

The following process will be used to manage employee requests for adjustments due to COVID-19 and pre-existing conditions related to their work environment.                                 

  • An employee with an identified risk completes the Request for COVID Consultation form and submits it to the DSS. Employee will also need to submit their medical documentation that identifies current status, diagnosis, treatment plan and prescribed current medications on official letterhead from medical health professional.
  • The DSS reviews the submitted request and medical records and may need to arrange to meet with the employee.
  • The DSS consults with the employee, reviews documentation, and makes a determination if this is a disability as defined by the ADA.
  • Should an employee’s pre-existing conditions be determined to be a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, it could move the employee’s situation into the traditional stream of disability related accommodation determination, which requires a deeper analysis. This may require additional, more-detailed medical documentation from the employee.
  • If the Employee’s documentation does not meet the guidelines for ADA accommodations, the employee request will be forwarded to Human Resources for additional assistance.

It is understood that the COVID-19 list of risk factors is not exclusive, and the reason for the review process is to fully consider the individual employee situation and the request for an adjustment given their unique situation.