Information on COVID-19

Our Commitment To You

August 5, 2020

Our Commitment To You

August 5, 2020

ACERTUS Nation,

Lots of updates and changes to share with everyone since my last email. ACERTUS, like all of you, continue to monitor COVID-19 and the impacts it is having in Canada, United States and globally on the people and the economy during this unprecedented time. As an essential services provider, we remain open to help serve critical transportation infrastructure support, but have temporarily positioned all roles in our workforce to telecommute (that are able to do so) in order to do our part to flatten the curve and keep our employees safe and healthy. For those still working in our locations, we remain committed to providing you with a consistent and safe work environment during these challenging times.

Monitoring: The COVID-19 Response Team is monitoring the situation carefully and will continue to follow guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and other health authorities. In addition, we will follow the guidance of the local health authorities, keeping our ACERTUS family and customers at the forefront of every decision made.

Service Line Updates:

Car Haul: All but a small handful of employees are telecommuting. Kelly Brda and the AP team is stopping by for a few hours each day to deposit checks and cut checks.

Drive Away: All of the Alpharetta office has gone remote, with the exception of the Compliance team. The local offices are still operating, as per our essential provider designation.

  • We have ample amounts of gloves, cleaning supplies, and masks at our office locations.

Title & Registration: Client Services for T&R has moved to telecommuting. The rest of T&R in Lenexa is being spread out between two separate office locations that is allowing for the necessary space as required for social distancing – they have also created second shifts and are doing everything they can to keep the work going and people healthy.

  • Sanitizing company is coming in to routinely sanitize the offices.

More Information:

Additional information for employees (including FAQs) and customers (including DMV closures) is available on our microsites. For anyone traveling to an office location that is currently under “shelter in place” orders, we would encourage you to download the documents below to keep with you during your travels in addition to your ACERTUS badge.

Department of Homeland Security – Critical Infrastructure Workers

COVID-19 Essential Function Letter

Microsite Links:

Employee Site: https://www.acertusdelivers.com/covid-19-employees/

Customer Site: https://www.acertusdelivers.com/covid-19-update/

Please continue to check Glip, email and our microsites for up to date information that is being provided to employees and customers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Manager or your People Services team with any questions you may have.

-Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

Additional Updates on COVID-19

Additional Updates on COVID-19

We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow many of our folks to work from home given our growing focus on a workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work. Our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return. Between now and that unknown return date we want to encourage ACERTUS Nation to continue practicing safety protocols to keep everyone safe and healthy – even when stepping out to grab some groceries. Here are some CDC guidelines on protecting yourself and wearing a mask:

Here’s how we’re thinking about the next few months:

  • Opening main campus’ will be our decision, made by the COVID Response Team and will keep everyone informed.
  • When we do decide to open offices, it won’t be a snap back to the way it was before. It will be careful, intentional, and gradual. 
  • There will be little business travel, with very few in-person company events for the rest of 2020. We will assess 2021 events later this year.

We are proud of the early action we took to protect the health of our employees and our communities. That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months. #LoveWhereverYouWork #ACERTUSNation

-Lainey Strohmeyer

Wanting to ensure that everyone is taking care of themselves as well as others during this time, I am resending some information on mental health management during a crisis. The mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to be aware and take a few minutes to keep an eye on our own mental wellness. If our mental health is not in check, we may not be able to assist our loved ones the way they may need us. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay connected and maintain your social networks. Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines or create new routines if circumstances change. If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to contain the outbreak, you can stay connected via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference.
  • During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected
  • Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus! Poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and/or populations particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the elderly, have been particularly affected by COVID-19.
  • A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and WHO website and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Look beyond rhetoric and arm yourself with information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc. The CDC website is offering email and text message service, visit CDC Subscription Service.

Here are a few resources to help:

  • ACERTUS Employee Assistance Program – Mutual of Omaha: Visit mutualofomaha.com/eap or call 800-316-2796 for confidential consultation and resource services
  • Reach out to your local National Alliance on Mental Illness Affiliate or State Organization for information on support programs in your area. Call the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST for mental health resources
  • Visit the NAMI Resource Library, which provides an extensive list of in-person and online support groups, and other mental health resources.
  • Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Have the number of several Warmlines (emotional support hotlines) at your fingertips. o A warmline gives mental health help before a crisis heats up, unlike a hotline for those in immediate crisis, warmlines provide early intervention with emotional support to prevent a crisis.
  • 7 Cups: www.7cups.com  Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. Also offers fee- for-service online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in Spanish.
  • Emotions Anonymous: www.emotionsanonymous.org   An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be a complement to therapy.
  • Support Group Central: www.supportgroupscentral.com  Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.
  • TheTribe Wellness Community: www.support.therapytribe.com  Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.
  • SupportGroups.com: https://online.supportgroups.com/  Website featuring 200+ online support groups.
  • For Like Minds: www.forlikeminds.com  Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life events.

ACERTUS Nation,

Wanted to pass along a quick update in addition to a more thorough update to our longer term move forward plan at ACERTUS. We are continuing to monitor conditions and will keep our working from home arrangement in place for at least another two weeks. Please note that once a return date is decided, we will be providing everyone with at least two weeks’ notice to have adequate arrangements in place to return to the office. Safety and the health of our employees will always remain top priority as we continue to navigate in these unchartered waters.

Continue staying healthy everyone, have a great evening!

-Alisha Buelt

ACERTUS Nation,

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase, so does the associated anxiety. For the past several weeks, Mental Health America has been using its database to monitor daily this increase in anxiety. According to the screening data, anxiety is on the rise. For the general public, the mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to be aware and take a few minutes to keep an eye on our own mental wellness. If our mental health is not in check, we may not be able to assist our loved ones the way they may need us.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay connected and maintain your social networks. Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines or create new routines if circumstances change. If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to contain the outbreak, you can stay connected via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference.
  • During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected
  • Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus! Poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and/or populations particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the elderly, have been particularly affected by COVID-19.
  • A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and WHO website and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Look beyond rhetoric and arm yourself with information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc. The CDC website is offering email and text message service, visit CDC Subscription Service.

Here are a few resources to help:

  • ACERTUS Employee Assistance Program – Mutual of Omaha: Visit mutualofomaha.com/eap or call 800-316-2796 for confidential consultation and resource services
  • Reach out to your local National Alliance on Mental Illness Affiliate or State Organization for information on support programs in your area. Call the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST for mental health resources
  • Visit the NAMI Resource Library, which provides an extensive list of in-person and online support groups, and other mental health resources.
  • Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Have the number of several Warmlines (emotional support hotlines) at your fingertips. (A warmline gives mental health help before a crisis heats up, unlike a hotline for those in immediate crisis, warmlines provide early intervention with emotional support to prevent a crisis.)
  • 7 Cups: www.7cups.com  Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. Also offers fee- for-service online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in Spanish.
  • Emotions Anonymous: www.emotionsanonymous.org   An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be a complement to therapy.
  • Support Group Central: www.supportgroupscentral.com  Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.
  • TheTribe Wellness Community: www.support.therapytribe.com  Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.
  • SupportGroups.com: https://online.supportgroups.com/  Website featuring 200+ online support groups
  • For Like Minds: www.forlikeminds.com  Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life events.

A few online sources:

-Lainey Strohmeyer

ACERTUS Nation,

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase, so does the associated anxiety. For the past several weeks, Mental Health America has been using its database to monitor daily this increase in anxiety. According to the screening data, anxiety is on the rise. For the general public, the mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to be aware and take a few minutes to keep an eye on our own mental wellness. If our mental health is not in check, we may not be able to assist our loved ones the way they may need us.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay connected and maintain your social networks. Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines or create new routines if circumstances change. If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to contain the outbreak, you can stay connected via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference.
  • During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected
  • Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus! Poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and/or populations particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the elderly, have been particularly affected by COVID-19.
  • A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and WHO website and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Look beyond rhetoric and arm yourself with information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc. The CDC website is offering email and text message service, visit CDC Subscription Service.

Here are a few resources to help:

  • ACERTUS Employee Assistance Program – Mutual of Omaha: Visit mutualofomaha.com/eap or call 800-316-2796 for confidential consultation and resource services
  • Reach out to your local National Alliance on Mental Illness Affiliate or State Organization for information on support programs in your area. Call the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST for mental health resources
  • Visit the NAMI Resource Library, which provides an extensive list of in-person and online support groups, and other mental health resources.
  • Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Have the number of several Warmlines (emotional support hotlines) at your fingertips. (A warmline gives mental health help before a crisis heats up, unlike a hotline for those in immediate crisis, warmlines provide early intervention with emotional support to prevent a crisis.)
  • 7 Cups: www.7cups.com  Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. Also offers fee- for-service online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in Spanish.
  • Emotions Anonymous: www.emotionsanonymous.org   An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be a complement to therapy.
  • Support Group Central: www.supportgroupscentral.com  Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.
  • TheTribe Wellness Community: www.support.therapytribe.com  Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.
  • SupportGroups.com: https://online.supportgroups.com/  Website featuring 200+ online support groups
  • For Like Minds: www.forlikeminds.com  Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life events.

A few online sources:

– Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

ACERTUS Nation,

Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 infection in the United States and Canada, ACERTUS has focused significant efforts on planning to ensure the safety & health of our employees and sustaining our business. 

While this work continues, we understand that there is concern and uncertainty among employees across our multiple locations. Your health and well-being is critical to the company. We encourage you to take care of yourself and each other. Practice the good health guidelines that have been communicated on the WHO and CDC’s websites. Take advantage of resources offered through our Employee Assistance Program with Symetra and United Healthcare programs. 

We also encourage managers to meet with your employees and have an open dialogue. Because every employee’s life situation is different, employees should feel comfortable in speaking with their managers and organizational leaders about their concerns or questions. 

For those individuals who are feeling unwell, have a family member or someone that you reside with that feels unwell or reside in a school district that has temporarily shut down or reverted to online schooling, you may work from home, if your job allows it and you have the necessary resources to do so. You MUST coordinate with your direct Supervisor to discuss this before doing so. If you do not have an illnesses we ask that you not take advantage of this offering and continue to come into the office and work as we have a significant number of employees that do not have the capability to work from home. 

With all of the media outlets and social media constantly providing guidance and theories it is difficult to know what to do during a time of crisis; a great resource to aid during this time is the myth busters page that the WHO recently released.

While we don’t have all of the answers for what will happen with COVID-19, many people across on the COVID-19 Response Team are working diligently to plan for multiple scenarios and keep our entire ACERTUS family informed. 

Take care of yourself and each other!

– Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

ACERTUS Family,

Everyone is receiving information from multiple sources regarding the COVID-19. We are sending out this email in order to ensure you have the most up to date information from our medical insurance provider, United Healthcare.

UHC has released a press release advising of the support and resources they are providing:

  • UnitedHealthcare has waived all member cost sharing, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all commercial insured, Medicaid and Medicare members.
  • Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line is available to support anyone who may be experiencing anxiety or stress following the recent developments around COVID-19. The free service can be reached at (866) 342-6892, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is open to all.  In addition, emotional-support resources and information are available online at www.liveandworkwell.com.
  • OptumCare clinicians across the country are well-prepared and providing compassionate care to COVID-19 patients of the more than 18 million people we serve through our primary care practices, urgent care centers, and in patient homes and nursing homes.
  • Eligible UnitedHealthcare and OptumRx members needing help obtaining an early prescription refill can call the customer care number located on the back of their medical ID card for assistance.
  • Health plan members are encouraged to use UnitedHealthcare’s Virtual Visit* capability, available through the UnitedHealthcare app, to help answer any general questions or concerns they might have.

You may follow the links below for additional information from UHC:

Please do not forget about Virtual Visits. Virtual visits give you the option to seek medical treatment from the comfort of your own home: www.uhc.com/virtualvisits

Team,
 
Due to the recent COVID-19 issues, ACERTUS is taking extra precautions to keep all team members healthy.
 
At this time, all campus provided lunches will be placed on hold.
 
We are asking that team members do not bring in food to share with others (bagels, donuts, etc) and refrain from purchasing lunch to be shared with your department or other departments at this time.
 
We will still have fun days but they will not involve meals until further notice.
 
We apologize for the inconvenience, however, our company policy on outside food vendors has been temporarily modified.

Out of an abundance of caution and effective immediately: we are suspending all non-essential business travel until further notice.

ACERTUS will continue to monitor the situation and provide guidance as more information on the extent and severity of the outbreak becomes available. If you are unsure whether any planned business travel is non-essential, please talk with People Services.

Anyone requesting to travel during this time will require approval from People Services and the Service Line leader.

While these guidelines apply to business-related travel, we ask ACERTUS Nation to apply similar judgment in considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically.

Depending on how the virus spreads, you could be subject to the CDC-recommended quarantine period, currently 14 days.

Additionally, please follow all government advisories and take appropriate precautions.

Essential Travel: Essential business travel should be limited to those situations where business cannot reasonably be conducted without face-to-face interaction or visits to specific locations. People Services and your Service Line Leader must approve all travel (including trips that were previously approved) until further notice. Certify will be reconfigured to require approval on all bookings (air, rail, car, lodging).

Travel Cancellation Procedures: If nonessential business travel has already been booked, please work with Certify and the Accounting Team to cancel properly to receive an airfare and hotel refund or credit if applicable. Set up Zoom meetings with customers or other ACERTUS locations to replace the in-person meetings, if possible.

– Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

Like all of you, we are monitoring the presence of COVID-19 in the United States and Canada as well as its potential effect on employees, families, employees, and community members.

This and subsequent emails will be sent to share the latest information we have and some decisions we have made to look out for the well-being of our ACERTUS Family.

The number of reported cases of COVID-19 are growing on a daily basis and the news is rapidly evolving. Much remains unknown about the threats posed by COVID-19, and we take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent choices for the well-being of our employees. 

A cross-functional response team has been in place for over 4 weeks with the purpose to share information in real-time, consider changes in approach that will best protect our employees and our clients, and set plans in motion for a wide variety of contingencies. I will continue to regularly update ACERTUS Nation, through Glip messages and email, about what we know and our plans are. Please know that any chatter or noise you hear is just that. All formal communication will be sent through Glip and email from myself or another member of the Response Team.

The Response Team is keeping up to date with the recommendations coming out from the WHO, CDC and Department of State.

Business Operations: All offices are operating as usual at this time

Travel: Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of State we have decided to enact the following restrictions and guidelines on ACERTUS-related travel in order to help to mitigate our community’s risk of exposure to the virus.

International Travel: Travel to countries where the CDC has enacted level 3, or the State Department has enacted levels 3 or 4 is prohibited. CDC travel guidance related to COVID-19 is available here.

If you travel or have recently traveled to one of these countries, we expect you to follow CDC guidance about self-isolation: stay home for a period of 14 days upon your return and seek medical attention if you experience fever, coughs, or difficulty breathing.

Domestic Travel: At this point, we are not prohibiting domestic travel, we are implementing a travel opt-out practice that allows for individual decision making based on the travel conditions, particularly that by air, to large gatherings, and to areas experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, as documented by the CDC

If you must travel, please take all possible precautions before traveling, including staying up to date on the latest spread of the virus and considering difficulties you may encounter in returning home, especially when traveling internationally.

While these guidelines apply to business-related travel, we ask ACERTUS Nation to apply similar judgment in considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically.

Basic Prevention: The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking some actions to help prevent the circulation of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  •  
– Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

In an effort to keep people healthy and minimize the spread of illness during this time, we will temporarily not be providing the community snacks in the offices where they are currently offered. We are currently set up in a “community” approach where people are able to touch the snacks and the scoops. Once the virus has moved past we will re-establish the snack program. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.

– Lainey Strohmeyer, VP of People Services

Our ACERTUS Travel Policy

Our ACERTUS Travel Policy

Out of an abundance of caution and effective immediately: we are suspending all non-essential business travel until further notice.

ACERTUS will continue to monitor the situation and provide guidance as more information on the extent and severity of the outbreak becomes available. If you are unsure whether any planned business travel is non-essential, please talk with People Services.

Anyone requesting to travel during this time will require approval from People Services and the Service Line leader.

While these guidelines apply to business-related travel, we ask ACERTUS Nation to apply similar judgment in considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically.

Depending on how the virus spreads, you could be subject to the CDC-recommended quarantine period, currently 14 days.

Additionally, please follow all government advisories and take appropriate precautions.

Essential Travel: Essential business travel should be limited to those situations where business cannot reasonably be conducted without face-to-face interaction or visits to specific locations. People Services and your Service Line Leader must approve all travel (including trips that were previously approved) until further notice. Certify will be reconfigured to require approval on all bookings (air, rail, car, lodging).

Travel Cancellation Procedures: If nonessential business travel has already been booked, please work with Certify and the Accounting Team to cancel properly to receive an airfare and hotel refund or credit if applicable. Set up Zoom meetings with customers or other ACERTUS locations to replace the in-person meetings, if possible.

Tips for Staying Well

Tips for Staying Well

As we all know, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned of a strong possibility of an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occurring in the United States.  ACERTUS continues to monitor the news around COVID-19 very closely as nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our employees. At ACERTUS, we will use the CDC recommendations a guide to how we respond to any risk in the areas where we have offices.  While this can be a scary and uncertain time, we look to take common sense measures to keep everyone in the ACERTUS family healthy.

  • Stay home if you feel unwell. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
  • Work directly with your Supervisor. Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. Employees should contact their Supervisor should they need to stay home to care for a sick family member.
  • Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Your Questions Answered

Your Questions Answered

With media outlets and social media constantly providing guidance and theories, it can be difficult to know what to do during a time of crisis. Here are some reliable sources for information regarding COVID-19:

Additional Resources:

In February, we assembled a cross-functional and cross-office task force and response team which includes representatives from:

  • All service lines (car haul, drive away and T&R)
  • All offices (STL, ATL, KC)
  • Members from all departments including sales, operations, marketing and people services

The COVID-19 Response Team is working diligently to plan for multiple scenarios and keep our entire ACERTUS family informed. We recognize the crucial importance of preparedness during this time of uncertainty. As this COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, we have increased communications to provide comprehensive resources on the topic. We are leveraging email, Ring Central, Zoom, weekly huddles, Paylocity and face-to-face communications etc. to disseminate information in real time.

In addition, we have set up webpages to keep both employees and customers informed:

Employees: https://www.acertusdelivers.com/covid-19-employees/

Customers: https://www.acertusdelivers.com/covid-19-update/

The information on these webpages and other forms of communication will be updated regularly. We are sharing information in real-time, considering changes in approach that will best protect our employees and our clients, and setting plans in motion for a wide variety of contingencies.

In addition to a remote workforce, ACERTUS is taking extra precautions to keep all team members healthy including:

  • Sanitizing supplies have been increased for employee use.
  • Evening cleaning crews have been asked to conduct deep cleans and clean more often.
  • Constant reminders to the staff of basic virus prevention techniques.
  • Temporarily modifying our company policy on outside food vendors.
  • Removed all community snacks.
  • Discontinued campus-provided lunches.
  • Asked that team members do not bring in food to share with others (bagels, donuts, etc) and refrain from purchasing lunch to be shared with your department or other departments at this time.
  • Encouraged everyone to take common sense measures to keep everyone in the ACERTUS family healthy.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

If your position allows it and you have the necessary resources to do so (such as internet access), you may work remotely until further notice.  You MUST coordinate with your direct supervisor.

For those individuals in positions that must be done in the office, please reach out to your supervisor if you are feeling unwell, in the CDC Higher Risk Group, have a family member or someone that you reside with that feels unwell, or if you reside in a school district that has temporarily shut down or reverted to online schooling and you have children that have been impacted.

Employees in the office must practice social distancing recommendations, follow building entry guidelines, wash/sanitize their hands regularly, and wear a mask at all times. 

Please note, we are constantly monitoring changes and are applying the CDC guidelines for ACERTUS employees. 

Most ACERTUS employees have laptop devices and our operational and technology systems are cloud based including email, phone systems, file sharing, meetings, etc. so in the event of any travel or workplace restrictions, most business functions and employees will resume work remotely.

For our title and registration service line, in the event of a corporate office shut down, we will have a leadership response team assembled to field calls. In the event DMVs shut down, our team will be unable to process, and you may experience delays. As of March 12, 2020, we are closely monitoring potential DMV closures across the United States and Canada.

For the safety and health of our employees, we ask that you work remotely until instructed otherwise. 

However, there are some individuals who may need access to the main campus locations due to their job functionality. Review the list of approved employees here

However, there are some individuals who may need access to the main campus locations due to their job functionality. Review the list of approved employees here

However, there are some individuals who may need access to the main campus locations due to their job functionality. Review the list of approved employees here

  • We created and published a statement for the sales team to share with any customers inquiring on March 5 
  • We sent an email to car haul and drive away customers on 3/9 
  • We made updates to the previous published statement on 3/12 to include new information from DMVs 
  • Sent an email to Title and Registration customers on 3/12
  • We have created a webpage to keep ACERTUS customers up-to-date during this time: https://www.acertusdelivers.com/covid-19-update/

Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of State, we have enacted restrictions and guidelines on ACERTUS-related travel in order to help to mitigate our company’s risk of exposure to the virus:

  • International Travel: Travel to countries where the CDC has enacted level 3, or the State Department has enacted levels 3 or 4 is prohibited.
  • Domestic Travel: We have restricted all non-essential domestic travel.
  • Non-Business Travel:While these guidelines apply to business-related travel, we ask all ACERTUS employees to apply similar judgment when considering personal travel commitments, both internationally and domestically.

If you travel domestically/internationally for non-business reasons, please inform your supervisor who will work with you to determine if self-quarantine is necessary.

Essential business travel should be limited to those situations where business cannot reasonably be conducted without face-to-face interaction or visits to specific locations.

People Services and your Service Line Leader must approve all travel (including trips that were previously approved) until further notice. Certify will be reconfigured to require approval on all bookings (air, rail, car, lodging).

Essential business travel should be limited to those situations where business cannot reasonably be conducted without face-to-face interaction or visits to specific locations.

People Services and your Service Line Leader must approve all travel (including trips that were previously approved) until further notice. Certify will be reconfigured to require approval on all bookings (air, rail, car, lodging).

Below is a list of recommended commercial and consumer products for disinfecting vehicle interior/exterior surfaces that may be contaminated with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

All of the products are either on the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) list of products that have been pre-approved/registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against emerging enveloped viral pathogens and can be used during the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OR EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19 (List N).

Wipes and sprays that contain a citrus fragrance (terpene hydrocarbon/ d-limonene), and/or chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) cleaning agents are not recommended at this time. Any disinfectant product dispersed by a pressurized aerosol container is not recommended.

NOTE: It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s disinfecting product label for the recommended disinfecting procedure, as it varies by product.  These products should be applied to all customer vehicle touchpoints.

Wipes:

Sprays:

  • Our insurance provider, United Healthcare is providing additional support and resources during this time. They will be waiving all member cost sharing, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all commercial insured, Medicaid and Medicare members.
  • Health plan members are also encouraged to use UnitedHealthcare’s Virtual Visit* capability, available through the UnitedHealthcare app, to help answer any general questions or concerns they might have. Virtual visits give you the option to seek medical treatment from the comfort of your own home.
  • Visit www.uhc.com/virtualvisits
  • As coronavirus (COVID-19) news spreads, it has created worry for many of us. For others, it has added to existing unease. You can find information about COVID-19 from reliable sources such as the CDC, NIH, and World Health Organization (WHO).
  • If you feel you need additional assistance, as part of ACERTUS’ benefit program, employees who are covered by the company’s health insurance have access to Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line. This is available to support anyone who may be experiencing anxiety or stress following the recent developments around COVID-19. The free service can be reached at (866) 342-6892, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is open to all.  In addition, emotional-support resources and information are available online at www.liveandworkwell.com.

Yes. In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has cited its 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu guidance, which states that advising workers with symptoms to go home either (a) is not a disability-related action if the illness is akin to seasonal influenza or (b) is permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if the illness is serious enough to pose a direct threat to the employee or coworkers.  Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance advises that employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness and a fever (greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius, using an oral thermometer) should stay home. Of course, employers should apply this type of policy uniformly and in a manner that does not discriminate based on any protected characteristic (e.g., national origin, gender, race, etc.).

Yes, if the asymptomatic employee fits within certain categories established by the CDC’s guidance (last updated on March 7, 2020), which categorizes employees based on (a) symptoms (i.e., symptomatic or asymptomatic) and (b) risk (i.e., High, Medium, Low, or No Identifiable, which takes into account both (1) travel destinations and (2) level and type of contact with symptomatic individuals).

Under the CDC guidance, employees who are asymptomatic may be excluded from the workplace, if they:

  • have close contact with,
  • sat on an aircraft within 6 feet (two airline seats) of,, or
  • live in the same household as, are an intimate partner of, or are caring for at home, while consistently using recommended precautions [see here and here for home care and home isolation precautions], for

a symptomatic individual with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.

CDC defines “symptomatic” as subjective or measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. CDC defines “close contact” as:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

There are different standards and CDC guidance for healthcare employees.

The CDC reminds employers that in order to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, employers should use its guidance to determine the risk of COVID-19. Employers also should consider reviewing pertinent guidance from state and local public health authorities on appropriate responses to exposure risks, especially as situations change. Employers considering actions beyond the CDC’s guidance (e.g., additional go home/work from home requirements) may want to consider the basis for those and consult with legal counsel.

Yes, if the employee falls into certain CDC risk categories (as explained in the answer above). Among the considerations for these risk categories is travel to certain areas with “widespread sustained” transmission (i.e., covered by a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice). Employers can closely monitor updates from the CDC and state and local public health authorities. The CDC has advised that determinations should not be made based on race or country of origin.

Generally yes, as long as the employee’s duties allow telework. Permitting employees to telecommute may be particularly useful if there are documented cases of COVID-19 in the geographic area. Employers may want to continue consulting public health authorities in the applicable jurisdiction for additional recommendations and assessments as the virus spreads and situations change. The DOL recently reiterated that requiring or encouraging employees to telework based on current information from public health authorities can be a useful infection-control or prevention strategy and may also be an appropriate ADA accommodation.

The CDC has indicated that in general business settings (i.e., non-healthcare settings where individuals in the workplace are not at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19), employees may return to work after:

  • 3 days with no fever and
  • Respiratory symptoms have improved and
  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

(a) a fever (defined by the CDC as a temperature greater than 100.4º F or 37.8º C), (b) signs of a fever [what the CDC means is unclear], and (c) any other symptoms, without the aid of fever-reducing medicines (e.g., anything containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen) or other symptom-masking medicines (e.g., cough suppressants).

The return-to-work standards and time periods may be different for an individual with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers should consult the CDC’s and other public health authorities’ guidance.

Employers considering implementation of policies beyond the CDC’s guidance (e.g., a longer “return to work” time period) should consider the basis for those and consult with legal counsel.

An employer may want to meet with any returning employees to remind them to practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, avoid close contact with individuals who appear to be sick, and stay home if they begin to feel sick, for the health and safety of those employees and their coworkers, as well as the continued operations of the employer.

Yes. First, employers should follow current guidance from the CDC and public health authorities as it is updated. If an employee is given specific restrictions or instructions by a public health authority or a medical provider, it may prove helpful for the health of the workplace for employers to make all reasonable efforts to accommodate those instructions, including by providing additional leave as necessary.

Second, employers should continue to exercise sound discretion in taking proactive steps to minimize the risk of spreading the virus at work, such as the consideration of accommodations within reason of employee requests for additional time off from work. Third, employers should remain mindful of potential existing leave obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for serious health conditions or accommodations (including additional leave) under the ADA in which an employee’s illness might constitute an ADA disability. As a practical matter, during this outbreak, many employers may wish to encourage employees to stay home until they feel better, up to a reasonable point. Employers should make these decisions uniformly and be on the lookout for potential abuse.

A doctor’s note should not be a prerequisite for returning to work, according to the CDC. This is in part because this requirement would place a high burden on the healthcare system and healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may not be able to provide documentation in a timely fashion. If an employee’s situation meets the ADA’s “direct threat” standards, however, an employer may require a return-to-work doctor’s note (see question 8). Though the CDC’s guidance urges against requiring a return-to-work note, if the employee’s illness is a “serious health condition” under the FMLA (see questions 23 and 24), the employer would be able to require a return-to-work note if the employer complies with the FMLA’s guidelines for requiring such documentation, including, among others, notifying the employee in the initial determination that fitness-for-duty notes will be required and consistently applying the requirement to all FMLA leaves.

Yes, if the employee would create an unsafe or unhealthful work environment or is a direct threat to him- or herself or others. Often, having a one-on-one conversation with the employee will reveal the reason for his or her desire to return to work (e.g., he or she has exhausted all paid leave, has an important project to finish, etc.) and perhaps result in a shared conclusion that he or she is or is not ready to return to work.

Yes, subject to (a) the provisions of the employer’s current vacation time, paid time off (PTO), and other applicable policies, and (b) any state laws (e.g., implied contract of employment) restricting an employer’s ability to interpret or amend those policies.

Yes, subject to (a) the provisions of an employer’s current vacation time, PTO, and other applicable policies, and (b) any state laws (e.g., implied contract of employment) restricting an employer’s ability to interpret or amend those policies. Employers should carefully consider the employee relations implications of such a policy.

Not necessarily. If COVID-19 does not satisfy the regulatory definition of a “serious health condition,” employers should not count the absence against the employee’s 12 weeks of FMLA leave. An example of a situation in which the leave may not be FMLA-qualifying is when an employee is required by the employer to stay home but is asymptomatic.  Employers should evaluate any applicable state mini-FMLAs to ensure they do not contain different or additional requirements or provisions.

The regulatory definition sections that most likely apply in the COVID-19 context (assuming a mild case) are the following:

  • More than three calendar (not work) days of incapacity plus two treatments by a healthcare provider (the first of which must occur within seven days of the first day of incapacity and the second within 30 days of the first day of incapacity)
  • More than three calendar (not work) days of incapacity plus one treatment by a healthcare provider (which must occur within seven days of the first incapacity) plus continuing treatment (including prescription medication) under the supervision of a healthcare provider

Because some individuals will not seek health care treatment unless they need urgent medical attention or they are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19, some cases of COVID-19 will not qualify as a serious health condition simply because the employees will not have visited a doctor/healthcare provider for any treatment.

Not usually, unless the employer acquired the information in its role as the administrator of the health insurance plan. Because most employers will learn of a COVID-19 diagnosis from the employee or his or her family, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) usually will not be implicated.

Yes, according to the CDC, employers should inform fellow employees of their potential workplace exposure, but only to the extent necessary to adequately inform them of their potential workplace exposure, while maintaining confidentiality under the ADA (i.e., without revealing the infected individual’s name unless otherwise directed by the CDC or applicable public health authority). Employers may communicate to non-exposed employees generally that there has been a potential COVID-19 exposure, without sharing additional identifying information.  Employers also may be able to communicate to appropriate non-employees (e.g., customers, vendors, and others with whom the employee may have come in contact while working) that there was a potential COVID-19 exposure, again without sharing identifying information. In all cases, time and circumstances permitting, employers may find it helpful to coordinate with state or local health authorities for guidance and direction regarding the scope and content of disclosures.

Employers also should evaluate any applicable state privacy law or state “mini-ADA” laws to ensure they do not contain different or additional requirements or provisions.

  • OSHA will not conduct inspections of employees’ home offices.
  • Osha will not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.
  • If OSHA receives a complaint about a home office, the complainant will be advised of OSHA’s policy. If an employee makes a specific request, OSHA may informally let employers know of complaints about home office conditions, but will not follow-up with the employer or employee.

Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home, including work in a home office, will be considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting.

Must An Employer Record on the OSHA 300 Log A Case of Coronavirus? Employers must record cases of the coronavirus only if the employer believes that the employee was exposed at work, and the case is diagnosed by a laboratory test or healthcare provider as having been caused by the coronavirus, and the case is otherwise recordable.

Beth Hermiller is our OSHA contact; Please reach out to her with questions and circumstances that need logged: Beth.Hermiller@ACERTUSdelivers.com

For exposed employees who experience no symptoms, or only mild, temporary symptoms, COVID-19 standing alone likely would not qualify as a “disability” under the ADA, as temporary, non-chronic impairments with little or no long-term impact, such as broken limbs, sprained joints, concussions, appendicitis, pneumonia, and influenza usually are not viewed as disabilities. However, an employee who contracts COVID-19 may be entitled to reasonable accommodation and protection under the ADA if the employee’s reaction to COVID-19 is severe or if it complicates or exacerbates one or more of an employee’s other health condition(s)/disabilities. The ADA requires employers to assess whether a particular employee is “disabled” under the ADA on an individualized basis, taking into account the employee’s particular reaction to the illness, their symptoms and any other relevant considerations. In addition, COVID-19 may qualify as a disability under applicable state disability laws with definitions of “disability” that are less stringent than the ADA’s definition

Yes, the CDC recommends that people to wear a face mask help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Facemasks are required even if the employee is not experiencing symptoms. 

Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

If an employee shows symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the CDC recommends that the employee be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately, thus negating the need for a mask.

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers should not, however, disclose to co-workers the identity of the quarantined employee because confidentiality requirements under federal law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or state law, such as California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA), may apply.

  • OSHA will not conduct inspections of employees’ home offices.
  • Osha will not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.
  • If OSHA receives a complaint about a home office, the complainant will be advised of OSHA’s policy. If an employee makes a specific request, OSHA may informally let employers know of complaints about home office conditions, but will not follow-up with the employer or employee.

Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home, including work in a home office, will be considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting.

Must An Employer Record on the OSHA 300 Log A Case of Coronavirus? Employers must record cases of the coronavirus only if the employer believes that the employee was exposed at work, and the case is diagnosed by a laboratory test or healthcare provider as having been caused by the coronavirus, and the case is otherwise recordable.

Please reach out to Beth Hermiller with questions pertaining to OSHA and circumstances that need logged: Beth.Hermiller@ACERTUSdelivers.com