COVID-19 Information

These are unprecedented times at NIU and our teams in Administration and Finance and Information Technology are here to make sure you have what you need to be successful. Below, you will find the latest updates on how to make emergency purchases, get reimbursed for university-related travel, contact someone with concerns about building maintenance, make departmental deposits, get mail for your unit or department, schedule video conferencing calls with colleagues and more.

We ask that you monitor our webpage and the NIU coronavirus website for updates.

Facilities

Our facilities crews are monitoring building conditions every day to ensure they are clean, dry, and reasonably climate controlled. Buildings that are occupied are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. If you notice water leaks, electrical outages or other building conditions that need immediate attention, please call our Facility Emergency number to report it at 815-753-1741. For routine issues that do not require immediate attention, please submit a work request.

Materials Management

Our Materials Management teams are still working to receive package deliveries and make sure your units or departments can get mail that is critical to continuing operations. The hours are limited during this time but a complete guide is available on the Materials Management webpage. 

Parking

We have lifted some of the parking restrictions during this time and if you need to be on campus for essential needs, you are free to park in any lot, with or without a parking permit. We do ask, however, that you do not park in handicapped or reserved parking spaces.

Because many of you are working remotely, NIU will offer a credit to all faculty and staff who have an annual or semester parking permit that is valid through the spring 2020 term. Payroll deductions will remain in place and a credit, which will accommodate for the time spent working off-campus, will be offered when the university returns to normal operations. More details about the credit, including when and how it will be applied, will be provided at that time. 

University-related Travel

We understand that you may have had to rearrange schedules and cancel University-related travel plans as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These cancellations have caused very valid concerns and questions about whether the costs of travel could be recovered. Visit our website to find guidance on how to seek reimbursement or travel credits, where possible. It is our goal to ensure that you have access to the information and services you need. If you need any additional help, please feel free to contact Accounts Payable Services at AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu.

Commercial Card

We have taken proactive steps to ensure we can continue to serve commercial card holders during this unprecedented time. Our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) reference webpage offers guidance on how to request spending limit increases for Commercial Card purchases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also find details on how to purchase items that are generally prohibited, upload receipts while working remotely, and use alternate shipping addresses. Our teams are available to answer questions at cardservices@niu.edu and will get back with you within 24 business hours. We appreciate your partnership and your patience as we work through this, together.

Accounts Payable Services

We are making current processes more flexible to assist departments during this time. To support the campus working remotely, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Accounts Payable Services has enabled electronic submissions and approval of the Check Request form and the Travel Voucher. Details about the new processes, as well as information on how to track COVID-19 related expenses, are available on our reference page. Feel free to contact us at AccountsPayableSrvs@niu.edu or call 815-753-1514 with any questions. We’ll get back with you within 24 business hours.

Procurement

Procurement Services & Contract Management (PSCM) has adjusted some of its work processes to accommodate the needs of campus due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please review the PSCM Interim Guidelines webpage to get the latest updates on how to handle routine purchases and emergency procurement needs. Our teams are available to assist via email at pscm@niu.edu and will respond to messages within 24 business hours. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time at NIU.

Bursar

The Office of the Bursar has adjusted some of its hours and work processes to ensure students, faculty, and staff continue to have access to services during this unprecedented time. Details about student accounts, how to reload Huskie Bucks, what to do if you need to make a deposit, and how to request an adjustment on a customer’s account or invoice are available on our COVID-19 Interim Bursar Guidelines page. Please feel free to email us at bursar@niu.edu with questions or concerns. We will respond to you within 24 business hours.

Information Technology

Our Division of Information Technology has a comprehensive website available to make sure you have what you need to work and teach your classes remotely. On our Working Remotely page, you will find answers to questions about employee schedules and payroll as well as resources on how to connect to the NIU network, login to Blackboard and schedule a video conferencing call with colleagues.

Avoiding Scams

Do you think your identity has been stolen, that your computer has been compromised, or that you’ve been the target of an email or phishing scam, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis? Our Information Security team has provided guidelines on how to identify and report suspicious activity.

Guidance on Financial Reporting and Tracking Fiscal Impacts from COVID-19

With the university responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, we are incredibly appreciative to all our campus partners for continuing our mission and responsibility to the state and other agencies to which we report.

The President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by Congress that allocates financial resources to government entities, businesses, organizations and individuals dealing with this event.

The university will need to track its COVID-19 related expenditures and activities in order to seek assistance in the future. Properly documenting these activities now will strengthen our case and help expedite the application process later for requesting assistance and/or reimbursement from the state and federal agencies.

The following guidance should be used to capture impacts for extraordinary expenses and activities related to COVID-19. Only extraordinary costs should be included (e.g. those that would not have been incurred had it not been for the emergency event COVID-19).

Direct expenses

To enable the tracking of COVID-19 costs, departments should use Program Code “COVID” on transactions to capture costs that would not have otherwise been required in the normal course of business. Examples would include purchases of materials or services to support the response to the outbreak and non-refundable costs related to canceled events. These costs should be captured in the cost center incurring such costs.

If there are increased costs associated with the acquisition of routine goods in short supply via an already established open order, those costs will be captured when the invoice is submitted to the department for payment authorization via OnBase. Please state “COVID” in the comment section of the Payment Authorization Form in OnBase as well as a brief explanation. See the Accounts Payable Services webpage for additional guidance.

Departments should reimburse travelers for the cost of canceled travel and conferences if those costs are non-refundable. Travelers are encouraged to reach out to airlines and other booking agencies to request direct refunds before requesting reimbursement from NIU. If a credit is issued for future travel, the department head should track the use of that voucher to ensure it is used for future university business. For additional guidance related to travel impacted by COVID-19, visit the Accounts Payable Services travel impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs.

All expenses reported in the university’s commercial card system, PaymentNet, that relate to COVID-19 cancelations or disruptions should use the “COVID” Program Code listed in the business purpose section. For additional information on COVID-19 related purchases using the commercial card, please visit the Treasury Operations website.

For Sponsored Projects, please follow the guidance provided by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.

Tracking Labor

It is likely that there might be extraordinary labor costs, such as staff overtime or emergency hires, to cover staffing needs. These costs will also need to be analyzed and captured. If your department incurs extraordinary labor costs due to COVID-19, other than the university’s commitment to additional compensation for undergraduate student workers, please contact Audrey Southard at asouthard@niu.edu for guidance on tracking those costs.

Lost Revenue

Since lost revenue is not captured in our financial management system, the Budget Office will work with affected units to evaluate any claims of lost revenue or unexpected decline in revenue due to COVID-19. Tracking is for informational purposes and will help the university gauge the overall impact of COVID-19. Lost revenue should not be entered into PeopleSoft.

The Bursar’s Office Commercial Accounts Receivable will track adjustments made to customer accounts and invoices due to canceled activities related to COVID-19. Please review the Office of the Bursar website for more guidance on how to request an adjustment to an existing charge on a customer account or and/or invoice.

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