Remote vs. On-Campus Student Employment (Action Required for Campus Supervisors)

July 27, 2020

Dear Campus Supervisors: 

We are writing on behalf of the Student Care and Engagement Working Group of the Fall Reopening Task Force with important information about hiring and supervising student employees in Fall Quarter 2020. At the end of this message, you will find the link to a survey that all departments employing students for Fall Quarter must fill out prior to any students beginning or resuming work. The survey will ask you to indicate the title of each position you will fill in Fall Quarter, how many students you plan to hire for each position, and whether students employed in each position will work on campus, remotely, or in a hybrid model.  

Student employees contribute to the university’s operations while receiving financial support for their education and associated living expenses. Some student employees are funded through the Federal Work Study program and others through institutional funds. No matter which funding source supports their employment, these students provide important services to the university while earning wages and gaining valuable career-related skills and experiences. 

As we move to re-open the university in Fall Quarter 2020, we aim to employ students on campus or remotely while maintaining a safe and healthy workplace in accordance with guidelines set forth by Human Resources, Public Health of Seattle/King County, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. While some campus offices and departments will be physically open in Fall Quarter, physical distancing remains our best strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19. To that end, student staff in roles that allow them to work from home should be asked to continue to do so until further notice. This is to reduce risks for both our workforce and student populations. 

If the essential function of a student employee’s position makes it impossible for the student employee to work remotely, the on-campus office or department where the student employee works must comply with all Seattle University guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In order to employ students in a physical campus office or department, campus employers must: 

  • Require student employees to undergo the university’s daily Safe Start Health Check screening process and require student employees to present the health screening confirmation email at the outset of the work period;

  • Require students to participate in the comprehensive testing plan that is being developed as part of our health and safety practices for reopening and returning to campus. We are planning to require testing for students prior to their arrival on campus and are strongly encouraging faculty and staff to be tested before returning as well. You can expect to receive more information on these testing protocols soon;

  • Require students to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and report their symptoms or any suspected or confirmed diagnoses to the university by emailing;

  • Ensure physical distancing by moving workstations further apart, staggering work schedules, using dividers or markings to establish appropriate spacing, conducting meetings remotely whenever possible, and controlling the number of people within confined spaces;

  • Adhere to Seattle University’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy, which requires face coverings to be worn on site at Seattle U at all times except when alone at a workspace with a closing door;

  • Require employees to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds;

  • Ensure frequent surface sanitization in work and service areas;

  • Determine and supply appropriate personal protective equipment for each position and require its use;

  • Provide disease prevention training for all employees, including how to use personal protective equipment appropriately;

  • Require that student employees stay home when sick or leave work immediately as symptoms arise; and

  • Monitor and enforce compliance with all related university policies. Student employees who do not comply with prevention policies and guidelines may face corrective action, up to and including possible termination, as well as possible disciplinary action through the Office of Student Conduct & Integrity Formation. 

Campus supervisors with questions about workplace safety, training, and personal protective equipment requirements should consult with their dean, director, or department head. Additional information about workplace safety and disease prevention is available in the “Returning to the Campus Workplace” guide published by Human Resources, and the following Washington State Department of Labor & Industries document: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces.”

Action Required: Student Employee Work Location Survey

All departments employing students for Fall Quarter must fill out this survey prior to any students beginning or resuming work. This includes undergraduate student employees, work-study employees, graduate assistants, interns, and any other students performing work duties in your department. The purpose of this survey is to provide the university with a sense of who will be working on campus versus working remotely, which will assist with safety planning and contact tracing efforts. The purpose of the survey is not to request approval for hiring student employees; please consult your supervisor if you have questions about whether your department is authorized to hire students.

The survey will ask you to indicate the title of each position you will fill in Fall Quarter, how many students you plan to hire for each position, and whether students employed in each position will work on campus, remotely, or in a hybrid model. The survey will also ask you to indicate the ways in which your department will promote safety for any students working physically on campus.

Link to survey:

Frequently Asked Questions

The document, Guidance to Supervisors of Student Employees Working Remotely Due to COVID-19, provides supervisors of student employees with a reminder about expectations related to weekly hours, time sheets, rest and meal breaks, and overtime. Please review these expectations carefully and ensure that all supervisors of student employees understand and train their student staff about these policies upon their return. In addition, we have anticipated a number of questions and hope to answer them below. 

General Questions

Q: Can I hire student employees for Fall Quarter 2020 and the 2020-21 academic year?

Yes, Seattle University will employ student employees in the 2020-21 academic year.

Q: Will student employees work on-campus or remotely?

Seattle University is directing all employees, including student employees, to work remotely unless their physical presence on campus is critical.

Q: What if a student and/or those with whom they live are in a “high risk” category for exposure? How do we accommodate them?

Supervisors should err on the side of remote work arrangements for student employees whenever possible. If a student employee wishes to seek an accommodation, they should discuss it with their supervisor. Supervisors are in the best position to discuss these requests and to determine how best to meet the needs of their student employees. If a student employee and supervisor are not able to come to an agreement on a reasonable accommodation, the student employee and/or their supervisor should contact Alexa Goodman in Human Resources to discuss next steps. If a student employee feels that the university did not agree to a reasonable accommodation, their next step would be to contact the Office of Institutional Equity for assistance.

Q: What is the process for hiring student employees for 2020-21?

The overall hiring process has not changed and can be found in the Supervisor’s Guide to On-Campus Student Employment. However, all campus departments employing students in Fall Quarter 2020 must complete the Student Employee Work Location Survey prior to any students starting work. 

Q: How can the student employee complete on-boarding paperwork, such as the I-9, W-4, and Direct Deposit paperwork if they are not physically on campus? 

Student Financial Services is happy to continue helping student employees complete their employment paperwork even though we are working remotely. To start the process, the student or their supervisor should email their Student Employment Action Form (SEAF) to The student will be contacted shortly thereafter with additional instructions and a way to setup a virtual appointment to complete their paperwork. 

Q: If the university is forced to close campus early, will student employees receive any financial assistance?

While the university was able to provide a COVID Relief Payment using CARES Act funding to displaced student employees in Spring Quarter 2020, no determination regarding the availability of financial assistance for potential future displaced student employees has been made at this time. 

Q: How can we support a student employee who may not have adequate hardware, software, and/or other equipment to work remotely? 

Supervisors are responsible to ensure that their student employees have the tools necessary for the responsibilities they were hired to perform. Supervisors should determine what hardware, software, and other equipment is required for each student employee role. During this current time of working remotely, a student may already have access to a personal computer in their remote location that they can use to access SU resources in a secure fashion to perform their role, such as through a virtual desktop. In a situation where this is not the case, the supervisor should either provide the appropriate hardware/software for the student's use in the remote location, or seek a limited exception for the student to work on campus in order to access the appropriate resources. 

Student Employee Safety Requirements 

Q: Are there new requirements for student employees who physically work on-campus? 

Yes. Each department must comply with the guidelines issued by the Department of Labor & Industries: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Workplace Requirements – SUMMARY document.  Please review this document for more details. 

The requirements include ensuring physical distancing; mask use; frequent handwashing; staying home when sick or leaving work as symptoms develop; reporting symptoms to the university; providing disease prevention training; ensuring clean and sanitized work areas; and, supplying appropriate personal protective equipment.  

All students, staff, and faculty will be expected to conduct a daily Safe Start Health Check screening to be permitted on campus. Additionally, they can report symptoms and/or a diagnosis by sending an email to

If your department cannot comply with these requirements, you will not be able to employ students physically on-campus. 

Q: What personal protective equipment must we provide?

PPE requirements will vary by position, but at a minimum, employers must follow the guidance issued in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Workplace Requirements – SUMMARY. 

This includes wearing masks when indoors, and outdoors when maintaining six feet of distance is not possible; have access to hand sanitizer and handwashing facilities; and, have access to disinfecting cleaning supplies. Some positions may require the use of disposable gloves, face shields, and other types of equipment. 

Q: How can I ensure appropriate physical distancing? 

Student employees should work remotely whenever possible. If a student employee’s presence on campus is critical, the Department of Labor & Industries requires that employees are kept at least six feet apart from coworkers and the public when feasible. If physical distancing is not feasible, the department must install barriers and other proven prevention methods to prevent disease transmission. Staggering work and break schedules can also help to de-densifying workspaces. 

Q: What steps should I take if a student employee reports symptoms, possible exposure, or a diagnosis related to COVID-19?

Any employee who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who is experiencing symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, headache, and/or fever must stay home from work (using sick time or unpaid leave), report their symptoms to, and self-isolate for 14 days. 

HR Policies, Hiring Procedures, Timekeeping, & Payroll 

Q: Are there any restrictions on whether or not the university can pay a student working remotely depending on the state, territory, or country in which they are physically located?

Yes, there are restrictions on whom we are able to pay for work that occurs out of state. Seattle University cannot pay students working outside of the United States. Additionally, Seattle University is currently set up to pay students working from the following states only: 

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. 

If a student employee in your department will be working from a state not listed here, please contact Payroll at least three weeks prior to the student’s start date for assistance.

Q: Are student employees eligible for sick time?

Yes. Learn more about student employee paid sick leave here:

Please be aware that isolation or quarantining is not a qualifying reason to claim sick time. This is in accordance with Washington State and City of Seattle regulation. Sick pay is available for students who are ill, or who must provide care to a family member. 

Q: Are students able to work for multiple departments?

Yes. Students can work in multiple departments, but are still limited to working no more than 20 hours per week across all campus positions. The student’s supervisor in each department is responsible for determining whether the student should work remotely vs. on campus and for providing appropriate protective equipment for their respective positions. 

Q: Will there be any changes to timekeeping policies and procedures?

Though unrelated to COVID-19, a new time entry tool through MySeattleU (where current employees can see their pay advices) will be on-boarded in August. Trainings and information will be forthcoming. 

Q: What happens if circumstances change and the university decides to transition to fully virtual learning in Fall Quarter 2020?

Students already working remotely could continue to do so at the department’s discretion. Those students working physically on campus who can transition to remote work may do so at that time. Students whose jobs require physical presence on campus would likely need to stop working until campus reopens.

Additional Questions: Who to Contact 

If you have additional questions or concerns about supporting student employment on campus, please contact any of the following individuals: 

Human Resources Return-to-Work Guidelines Human Resources

Hiring Procedures & On- Boarding Paperwork
Alea Frankwick, Student Employment Coordinator or 206-220-8020

Timekeeping, & Payroll
Rita Lin, Payroll Manager or 206-296-5887

General Questions
James Willette, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students or 206-296-6060

Joelle Pretty, Assistant Provost for Student Academic Engagement or 206-220-8525