COVID-19 Overview

  • Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. 

    What are COVID-19 symptoms?

    People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms reported ranging from mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people have other symptoms, including chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and fever might not be present. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. This list does not include all possible symptoms and will be updated as we learn more about COVID-19.


    What is exposure?   

    Exposure, or close contact, is defined as less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact. The risk of contracting COVID-19 may occur if someone is in close proximity to a person who has COVID-19 while they are contagious.  Some examples of exposure include: 

    • Living with a person who has COVID-19
    • Providing care for a person who has COVID-19
    • Being within 6 feet of a person who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks
    • Sharing a drinking glass, sharing eating utensils, or kissing

    COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.  It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

    When is a person contagious?  

    A person with COVID-19 is considered to be contagious starting from 2 days before they became sick (or 2 days before they tested positive if they never had symptoms) until they meet the criteria to discontinue isolation.

    What is a positive test? 

    For the purpose of these guidelines, a positive test is defined as a laboratory-confirmed test.

Protocols for the RPS Workplace

  • Health and Safety Protocols

    • RPS staff are required to adhere to health and safety protocols including wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing.
    • If you see employees who are not complying with the safety protocols, share your concerns with your supervisor.
    • When you are not feeling well, communicate this with your supervisor and take time off to support your recovery.

    Daily Symptom Screening Questions

    Before you start your workday or enter an RPS building, employees should complete the daily screening protocols to protect themselves and others from potential COVID-19 exposure. If an employee answers yes to one or more of the screening protocol questions, the employee should alert their supervisor, leave work and seek medical attention. 

    • Are you currently suffering from any of the following symptoms: 
      • Temperature of 100.4 (F) or higher (temperature will be taken on site)
      • Dry cough
      • Difficulty breathing or chest pain and/or pressure
      • Chills and/or body shaking
      • Muscle and/or body aches
      • Change in sense of smell and/or taste
      • Shortness of breath
      • Sore throat
      • Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
    • Have you lived with, or had close contact with, someone in the last 14 days diagnosed with or displaying the symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Have you traveled via plane internationally or domestically in the last 14 days?

    When should a staff member stay home?

    • You should stay home when:
      • You have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
      • You have guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) or a doctor to quarantine based on exposure to COVID-19
      • You have been in close contact with anyone in the last 14 days who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
      • You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 based on self-screening guidelines  
      • You have taken medication to lower your temperature in the past 72 hours
    • You can work from home if you are feeling well enough to do so. If you are not well enough to work, you will complete a Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Request Form to determine your eligibility for emergency paid leave.  Please contact Michelle Owens, Senior Talent Office Specialist, at for more information about FFCRA.  
    • You do not need to stay at home if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 who developed COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and has recovered
    • Please use the Virginia Department of Health guidelines for quarantine and isolation as an additional reference.

    What should I do if I begin to feel sick at work?

    • Complete the self-check for symptoms while at work.
    • Notify your immediate supervisor, and your supervisor will notify the Talent Office.  After this notification, leave work immediately and seek medical advice.
    • The Talent Office will contact you regarding your leave options such as sick leave, FML, and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) emergency leave.

Exposure FAQs

  • If I suspect I have COVID-19 or if I suspect that I have been exposed to COVID-19, what happens next? 

    • Stay home.  Avoid contact with others to avoid possibly spreading the infection to others. Do not go to work. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares, if possible. 
    • Contact your supervisor to alert them of your concerns.  
    • Seek medical advice from the local health department or your doctor.
    • Your local health department may reach out to you with more recommendations if you are identified as a close contact during contact tracing.
    • If the health department or your doctor recommends you to self-quarantine, you should stay home until notified by your doctor.
    • You may work from home if your role has job duties that have been approved for virtual work by your supervisor and as long as you feel well enough to work.
    • Those who are not well enough to work during quarantine may be eligible for emergency sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

    If I test positive for COVID-19, what happens next? 

    • Notify your supervisor so that the RPS nursing team can begin contact tracking.
    • The Virginia Department of Labor and Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) guidelines require investigation of positive COVID-19 cases for work-relatedness. As a part of the investigation, the Risk Manager will contact you to assess the requirement to file a Workers’ Compensation Claim.
    • Self-quarantine at home for at least 10 days starting with the date your symptoms appeared. If you tested positive for COVID-19 and you are asymptomatic, you should quarantine for 10 days starting with the date you took your COVID-19 test. 
    • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day (once in the morning, once at night) and watch for fever. Also, watch for other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. You can download Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Daily Symptom Monitoring Log to help keep track of your symptoms.
      • Your doctor may recommend a longer quarantine period depending on your health condition. 
      • If you believe you were exposed to COVID-19 at work or that you may have exposed your coworkers to COVID-19, alert your supervisor immediately. 
    • You may work from home if your role has job duties that have been approved for virtual work by your supervisor and as long as you feel well enough to work.
    • Those who are not well enough to work during quarantine or treatment may be eligible for emergency sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

    I tested negative for COVID-19 but my doctor or the VDH is recommending that I quarantine. What should I do?

    • You must comply with the quarantine guidance until it has been satisfied. You may be eligible for emergency sick leave under FFCRA during your quarantine period.
    • You may work from home if your role has job duties that have been approved for virtual work by your supervisor and as long as you feel well enough to work.

    I do not have COVID-19 but I am feeling sick for another reason. What do I do? When can I return to work?

    • If you feel ill, you should seek medical advice and comply with your doctor’s guidance on how to treat your condition. 
    • Standard sick leave and FMLA rules will apply in these situations.
    • If you are absent for five consecutive work days, a health care provider will need to provide you with a release to return to work.

    I just heard a rumor that my coworker was exposed to or has COVID-19. What should I do?

    • Alert your supervisor immediately.
    • Do not share this rumor with anyone else. Please show compassion and respect toward your coworkers.
    • If another employee repeats this rumor, please direct them to report this information to your supervisor and refrain from sharing the rumor with others.