COVID-19 FAQ

The Bureau of Human Resources is working closely with other departments to ensure that we have a safe and healthy workplace. As this is a fluid situation, we will work to keep you informed as changes occur.

We understand the spread of COVID-19 across South Dakota may impact you and your families whether related to work changes, school and daycare closures, or illness. Our goal is to minimize that impact whenever and wherever possible.

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. A complete list of symptoms is available at Covid.sd.gov.

The following websites will provide you with up-to-date information:

  • Covid.sd.gov - A new department of Health website with up-to-date information on COVID-19 in South Dakota.
  • CDC Coronavirus Page - The official CDC page for COVID-19.
  • If you experience symptoms, please contact your health care provider immediately. If you live in a rural area or have difficulty traveling to your doctor, you can use a Video Visit. Telehealth services are a convenient and affordable alternative that can help minimize exposure for others.

    Note: To help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Dakota State Employee Health Plan will cover 100% of the cost for Telehealth services between March 16 through June 30. Telehealth services are a convenient and affordable alternative that can help minimize exposure for others during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you experience symptoms, a Video Visit can be an excellent way to contact a health care provider conveniently from your own home.

    You should contact your health care provider if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, even if you are not showing any symptoms. Notify your supervisor so that they can assist you in properly assessing the situation. 

    Other precautions everyone should take:

    • Stay home if you begin feeling sick.
    • Wash your hands frequently with warm water with soap for at least 20 seconds.
    • Cover your mouth with tissues when you sneeze and immediately discard them in the trash.
    • Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Get your flu vaccine if you have not already done so.     
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, including cell phones, desk phones, keyboards, remote controls, refrigerators, countertops, and door handles.

    Not necessarily. Human Resource Managers will work with the DOH and Agency on individual employee or agency issues. Human Resource Managers will give additional direction on those specific issues as they arise.

    Supervisors can tell employees to go home if they are suspected to be sick. The employee would then be allowed to utilize sick leave if they have available accrual.

    *Per a recent executive order, some State offices will be closed until May 2.

    Visit the Official CDC Coronavirus Travel page for information about affected areas across the United States. It is recommnended that you exercise extreme caution when traveling to states or countries with confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.

    We recommend you seek direction from your supervisor prior to making any decisions related to planned travel. All business travel to impacted areas on the CDC list Warning Levels 2 and 3 should be cancelled. Requests for exceptions to travel to CDC-restricted areas must be reviewed and approved by the Governor’s Office. Non-essential business travel should be limited, while essential business travel will be determined by Agency Directors.

    *Per executive order, all out of state work travel is prohibited from from 12:00 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 15 and shall continue until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.

    Employees returning from a vacation in a highly impacted area will be directed to self-quarantine for 14 days. If it's possible to perform their job remotely, their supervisor will work to make it possible. If the job cannot be done remotely or they are unable to work due to illness, the employee will have the ability to use vacation, sick, and unpaid time to cover the missing work days.

    Employees returning from a work trip from an area that requires quarantine will work with their supervisor to provide for remote work as much as possible. Should the employee become ill or is otherwise unable to perform their responsibilities from the quarantine location, they will not be required to utilize vacation or sick leave to be paid.

    Employees with higher risks or who have family members in the same home with higher risks who work in an office the public frequents should speak to their doctor, supervisor, and Human Resource Manager to determine options as well as the best steps for prevention.

    Talk with your supervisor about what job duties can be completed remotely and what actions will need to take place to do so. You may need to complete a RAD form to allow you access to email and desktop remotely

    24/7 facilities have different demands and will need the flexibility to address employee leave requests while still meeting the needs of patients, clients, and prisoners. Success for these facilities will require all involved to be flexible, patient, and understand as the situation continues to develop.

    Should the spread of COVID-19 impact you due to work changes, illness, or the closure of school and/or daycare, leave options may be available. Work with your supervisor and Human Resource Manager to determine the best course of action for your situation. Our goal is to minimize the impact to your pay as fairly and consistently as possible.

    When necessary, we will utilize short-term remote work strategies where possible for individual positions and circumstances.

    The Employee Assistance Program is available to all state employee health plan members at no additional cost. This service can provide a wealth of information and emotional support.

    By logging onto EAPHelplink.com and entering the company code (SouthDakota), you will have access to such features as the new online seminar entitled "Building Psychological Immunity During the Coronavirus Outbreak." This seminar offers practical suggestions for coping with the outbreak.

    The Employee Assistance Program has scheduled a second online seminar entitled "Keep Calm and Carry On - Maintaining Your Composure Amidst the Pandemic Panic." The seminar will be available online for everyone on March 23, 2020.

    StayWell introduced a new COVID-19 resource center on StayWell.com to support our clients, partners, and community-at-large with relevant patient education and wellness content throughout the coronavirus pandemic. To access this resource center, visit www.staywell.com/coronavirus.

    Below are answers to the most frequent questions we've received pertaining to the three wellness qualifications and the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact the Benefits department at 605.773.3148 if you have additional questions.

    Are you extending the deadline for completing the wellness qualifications?

    There will not be an extension for the three wellness qualifications (On-site Health Screening, Online Health Assessment, and earn 100 points) except in the most extreme cases directly caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    I don’t think I should go to my annual wellness exam or go to the clinic to complete a screening. What if I am exposed to COVID-19 while I am there?

    Most clinics are operating business as usual and are continuing basic care appointments. Those with COVID-19 symptoms are asked to contact the clinic first, therefore they should be kept separate from other people in the clinic. You will need to use your best judgement in regard to whether to proceed with your appointment. The deadline for the wellness qualifications has not been extended.

    If you have been to the doctor for any reason since April 1, 2019, the doctor could complete the Health Care Provider form with at least one value from a previous visit (blood pressure, blood glucose, or height and weight). You can send this electronically to the clinic, and have them complete and sign it before sending it back to you. You can then submit to Total Wellness

    My clinic is not allowing annual wellness exams/screening and now I won’t be able to be on the Low Deductible Health Plan, or if I choose the High Deductible Health Plan, I won't receive the State contribution to my HSA.

    If your clinic is not allowing annual wellness exams or other basic appointments, provide your name, Health Plan ID number and we will make an exception for your health screening. You would still need to complete the Health Assessment and 100 Wellness points by the April 1 deadline.