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Caring For You During COVID-19

Enroll in or Make a Change to a 2020 FSA Account

Due to recent Internal Revenue Service guidance in response to COVID-19, GW is providing increased flexibility for the GW Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) and the Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA).

The following changes are allowed to be made through December 12, 2020 for both FSA accounts:.

  • Newly enroll in a 2020 FSA
  • Increase your current 2020 FSA election
  • Decrease your current 2020 FSA election*

These changes are allowed regardless of whether a qualifying life event (i.e. marriage, adoption) occurred, or the employee was affected financially by COVID-19. Visit this page for more information.


Annual Time Carryover Enhancement FAQs

To support our staff, our university will be temporarily enhancing our Annual Time Carryover policy for 2020 as follows:
Benefits-eligible staff will be able to carry over up to 10 days of accrued but unused annual time.
The deadline to use the carryover days is being extended by two months. All days must be used by October 31, 2020.

While this enhancement intends to offer you increased flexibility to use your well-earned time off, we also encourage you to take time in the coming weeks to practice self-care and recharge, even if it is just a “staycation”. Your wellbeing comes first as we face this challenging time. 

If you have questions about this temporary enhancement, please email us at [email protected]

Please note: There will be no change made to the number of annual time carryover days eligible for payout should you leave the university on or prior to the “use by” date. The maximum number of accrued but unused annual carryover days eligible for payout remains at 5 days.

 Pandemic Time FAQs


The university’s Time-Off policy is being augmented specifically for the COVID-19 situation. 

To support our staff and their loved ones, a new paid time off option, Pandemic Time (PND), is available effective March 16, 2020 and can be submitted in Kronos (go.gwu.edu/trs).

This new PND time replaces the previously announced option of using sick time in advance of accrual. 

Please note that the University reserves the right to recoup this time off from the final paycheck of staff who terminate shortly after using Pandemic Time.

The following eligible situations qualify for the use of pandemic time:

  • Self-isolation or quarantine, even if they are not sick, when it is required or recommended by a public health authority or health care provider due to possible COVID exposure
  • Obtaining a personal diagnosis or caring for one’s own COVID-19 exposure or symptoms
  • Assisting a family member* who is self-quarantined because of a COVID-19 diagnosis or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to obtain medical diagnosis or care
  • Caring for a child dependent who is not sick but needs care due to COVID-19 related closures of schools or daycare.

* A family member is defined in accordance with the Time Off and Leave policy:

  • A person related by blood, legal custody or marriage;
  • A foster child or child who lives with the employee and for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility;
  • A person with whom the employee shares or has shared, within the last year, a mutual residence and with whom the employee maintains a committed relationship.

The enhancement provides additional paid time-off hours (PND) for staff as follows:

  • Full time benefits-eligible staff - 80 hours
  • Part time benefits-eligible staff - 40 hours
  • Hourly wage/temp workers - 20 hours
    • GW temp agency employees who are in an active status may request PND for days they are scheduled to work but unable to do so as a result of the COVID-19 situations noted above
  • PND time does not apply to student workers.

Resources for Living (RFL) is a GW-sponsored EAP program that provides you with daily life support.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, RFL has developed specific resources to help employees manage their emotional health and daily needs during this national crisis.

Join an upcoming Coping with COVID-19 webinar.

Single-sign on from GW-owned computer

o Visit my.gwu.edu

o Click “Sign In” in the upper left-hand corner beneath the "myGW" logo 

o Under the Working tab, click “Wellbeing Hotline

From a Non-GW Computer

o Visit www.resourcesforliving.com

o Enter username GW-Wellbeing

o Password: Yourlife 

You may also call Resources for Living at (866) 522-8509


Copying With Anxiety Recorded Webinar

It can be stressful to read about coronavirus in the news. You might be wondering what you can do to protect yourself and the people you care about. This recorded webinar can help you understand some of the reasons new threats such as coronavirus can be so scary.

Daily Strength

Daily Strength serves as an online forum for mental wellness and stress relief strategies. You can create a free membership on this website to access a wealth of valuable wellness & coping tools.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Helpline: (800) 662-4357 

This organization provides information, education and access to substance abuse and mental illness programs nationwide. The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is a search tool to locate behavioral health and substance abuse/addiction services. . After completing the search criteria you can view a list of treatment providers, their contact information and other pertinent details. You may also call the number above to receive free and confidential information about treatment services in your area.

National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH)

The NCBH operates nationally and connects individuals to local behavioral health providers in their area. For assistance in locating a therapist or other trained professional, please visit their website.

GW is temporarily waiving costs for medical Virtual Visits for employees covered on the GW PPO and GW HSP Medical Plans through September 30, 2020.

The Virtual Visits must be provided by the following UnitedHealthcare vendors in order to be covered at 100%: Teladoc, AmWell, and Doctor on Demand.  See below for information on how to access these vendors.

Costs will be covered for all appointment types (e.g., sore throats, allergies, seasonal flu) and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. The summary of temporary summary of benefit changes from UHC is available to review.

Please note: Virtual appointments provided by your primary care physician that are non-COVID related are still subject to the applicable copay or deductible/coinsurance rates.

What are Virtual Visits?

Through UnitedHealthcare's virtual visit providers, you can talk to a doctor from your mobile device or computer for medical concerns, including concern of COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis of influenza, fevers, migraines, allergies, and more. Doctor's may refer you to see a doctor in-person if necessary and they can also write prescriptions when needed.

We recommend that you register before you need to see a doctor. This will save you time when you’re feeling under the weather and are focused on getting better.

How Do I Register For and Use Virtual Visits?

  • Login at myuhc.com or download the UnitedHealthcare app and login with your myuhc username and password
  • Navigate to Virtual Visits
  • Complete a medical history form

When You Need to See a Doctor Using Virtual Visits

  • Visit myuhc.com or open the app. Login with username and password
  • Select “Find Care and Costs” and choose Medical Directory
  • Select “People”
  • Select Virtual Visits
  • Choose one of the several virtual visit provider sites. You will then be connected directly to the provider’s group site or app.
  • Video chat face-to-face with a doctor in 20 minutes or less.
  • Get prescriptions2, if needed.

Have these three items ready to register for and complete your Virtual Visit:

  • Health plan ID card
  • Credit card
  • Pharmacy location


2 Certain prescriptions may not be available, and other restrictions may apply.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are temporary changes to the GW benefit plans to support you and your family through the pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing Costs

If you participate in a GW HSP or PPO medical plan, the applicable copayments, coinsurance and deductibles will be waived, for approved and authorized testing of COVID-19. Testing must be provided at approved locations in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Other costs beyond the test will be covered based on medical plan benefits and applicable federal mandates. Therefore, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance would apply to care, services or supplies beyond the test itself.

UnitedHealthcare COVID-19 Website

UHC is regularly updating their COVID-19 website with information about related to COVID-19 testing, resources for people with Medicare, and other healthcare resources.

UnitedHealthcare FAQ document

UHC has created a COVID-19 FAQ document that includes information about COVID-19 test costs, Virtual Visits, and key resources to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 news.

UnitedHealthcare COVID-19 Video

In response to numerous requests, UnitedHealthcare has produced the following 2 minute educational video in partnership with internal physicians and subject matter experts from UnitedHealthcare and UHC Global. The video provides basic information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself from the virus, and where to seek ongoing updates. Sourced from the World Health Organization and the U.S. CDC.

Behavioral Health

Optum via UHC is also offering a free emotional support help line for all people impacted. This help line will provide those affected access to specially trained mental health specialists. The company’s public toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

UHC is also encouraging providers and members to use secure video-enabled virtual visits. UHC is supplying the platform that providers need to have secure video visits with members who cannot travel to an office. For members or providers who do not have access to secure video technology, we are allowing telephonic sessions if a member is confined to their home due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine. 

Castlight Resources

Use the Search function on Castlight's website to find local COVID-19 testing sites.

Users will be shown helpful coronavirus tips, including highlighting appropriate providers.

Users can navigate to a Coronavirus Test Location Finder via the top banner on the Castlight app or by clicking here. The search will help you find the closest Coronavirus testing site to your home. The list is compiled of 1000+ testing sites in the U.S.

Additional UHC Resources:

Four Ways to Stay Healthy (English) (PDF); COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms (Spanish); Four Ways to Stay Healthy (Spanish) (PDF); Emotional Support Help Line (Spanish) (PDF); Emotional support information (PDF)

Retirement Counseling Appointments

TIAA and Fidelity are moving retirement counseling appointments to phone. 

To arrange a future appointment, please call to schedule:

Fidelity Investments

Make an appointment online or call 800-642-7131  


Make an appointment online or call 866-843-5640 

Fidelity Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis


Navigating Market Volatility 


Find a live or recorded webinar on Market Volatility on-demand in NetBenefits

Fidelity Learning Center on Fidelity.com has more educational resources that are both timely and relevant. 

Hear Fidelity thought leaders discuss the recent market volatility, the influencing factors, and the potential risks and opportunities. Below are resources shared during the webcast.

Printable Resources: 

Coronavirus and Stocks in Perspective (PDF)

Live Web Workshop Schedule (begins April 1)

2020 Outlook Whitepaper

Business Cycle Update

Market Volatility Update

TIAA Resources

How to Handle the Ups and Down of a Market (article)

Investing for Long-Term Growth (video)

How to weather stock market volatility article (article)

Importance of Diversification (Video)


As many schools are closing in an effort to promote social distancing, we are providing parents with resources that may help meet their children’s educational needs.

A printable flyer version of the email is also available to download (PDF).

At-Home Learning Programs and Resources

Scholastic Learn At Home Program: An activity portal of free daily courses for kids

Mystery Science: Free Science lessons for students in kindergarten to 5th grade

Hippocampus.org: 7,000 free videos across 13 subject area

Emotional Education Resources

Mindfulness Resources for Teens: Techniques for developing the skills to be present and aware every day

15 Mindfulness and Relaxation Apps for Kids with Anxiety: Technological solutions that support addressing and overcoming stress and anxiety

Emotional ABCs: Social-emotional learning resources and programs

GoNoodle: Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts

30 Emotional Health Activities: A month-long calendar of daily activities that's free to download and use

Culture and World Exploration

TED Talks: Educational discussions organized by topic of interest

Free Art Lessons: Youtube-based art classes starting 3/16

Virtual Field Trips: Free videos and cams of animal habitats, famous locations, and unique areas

Online Museum Tours: Free virtual trips to famous artworks and artifacts from around the globe

GW's Live-Answer Information Line

GW’s live-answer Information Line for COVID-19-related questions is available from Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and can be reached at 1-855-GWU-INFO (855-498-4636). This Information Line will assist faculty and staff with questions regarding university operations and will help connect community members with the appropriate offices and resources if they are unable to answer your specific question.

Caring for the Total You

GW is committed to offering its employees a comprehensive benefits package, including health and welfare plans such as medicalprescriptiondentalvisionflexible spending accounts and life and disability insurance.

We also offer competitive retirement and tuition programs to provide you with security and personal development options.

You have the opportunity to choose from a variety of programs that will allow you, and your family, to determine the "best fit." Each year, we evaluate our benefit plans and vendor partnerships. Our goal is to provide you with competitive, high-quality and cost-effective benefits and services.

We are here to assist and guide faculty and staff with navigating the benefits offered by GW as well as the enrollment processes, applications and self-service systems. We encourage you to review the extensive list of benefits offered. The Benefits Guide is a helpful resource providing information on plan options and instructions for enrollment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.