Coronavirus/COVID-19 Fiscal Guidance

Fiscal Services is actively supporting the Mason community and will continue operating in a modified format. Most Fiscal Services staff will be working remotely and all offices are closed to visitors until further notice. Departments who need assistance with check deposits should email cashiers@gmu.edu. Information for student payments is available on the Student Accounts webpage. 

All fiscal training and walk-in assistance will take place virtually (as scheduled). Information about upcoming trainings, walk-ins and registration is available on the Training Page.

Click a topic below for expanded guidance.

COVID-19 Safety Supplies and Equipment

In fall of 2020 Mason centralized purchasing of COVID related supplies. There are still limited quantities of supplies available. In an effort to maximize use of these items, Mason will distribute supplies to departments instead of individual departments purchasing duplicate supplies. Items that are in stock and available for distribution, will remain on the list of supplies that are not permitted for individual departmental purchase until Mason’s stock is depleted.

If departments are interested in the supplies below they should submit a work order to Facilities Management via SchoolDude. The work order should reference the COVID number listed below and the quantity of each item needed.

Departments are not permitted to order the following safety supplies directly with vendors (including Amazon):

  • Plastic Barriers (to separate office spaces or customer service counters)
    • 2′ x 2′ Plexiglass barrier – COVID-0023
    • 2′ x 3′ Plexiglass barrier – COVID-0024
  • Reusable Face Coverings – COVID-0002
  • Face Coverings with clear window over mouth – COVID-0010
  • Face Shields – COVID-0017
  • Hand Sanitizer
    • 16.9oz bottle – COVID-0008
    • 1 gallon size – COVID-00027
  • Disinfectant Wipes
    • Empty dispenser – COVID-0036
    • Wipes – COVID-0035
  • Spray Disinfectant (comes in pack of 6 bottles/2 spray nozzles) – COVID-0013
  • Paper Towels – COVID-0011

The following are considered specialized items and should not be ordered unless part of the units’ existing medical/research related activities:

  • N95 or other Medical Grade Masks
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Air Purification Systems
  • Thermometers
  • Non-latex disposable gloves

The following are prohibited items and should not be ordered under any circumstances:

  • Latex Gloves
  • KN95 Masks
  • Disposable Face Coverings – Please order the reusable face coverings listed above

Department expense report reviewers should not approve expense reports requesting reimbursement for supplies noted above. Health and safety items such as hand soap or other cleaning supplies usually purchased during the course of normal, routine work are still allowed. However, units are strongly encouraged not to purchase items that are not needed or essential to their operations.

For additional questions related to safety supplies and equipment needs please contact SEERM at safety@gmu.edu. All purchasing related questions should be directed to the Purchasing Department at purch1@gmu.edu.

Remote and Telework Expenses

Remote and Telework activities should be conducted in an electronic format. When not practical, units may purchase supplies that are essential to ensure business continuity. All purchases remain the property of the university and must be returned to campus once the remote/teleworking period has concluded. We are relying on the sound judgment of office administrators, P-Cardholders, and Org approvers as stewards of Commonwealth funds to ensure all purchases are reasonable and economical.

Remote Work Supplies

Remote work is an arrangement where an employee spends most, or all, of their working hours outside the traditional place of work. Visits to the campus are infrequent, the location is sufficiently far away that daily commuting is not possible, or the position is designed specifically for off-site work.

Supplies should be purchased from their current sources following existing procedures. Units may order most essential office supplies and pay with a Mason P-Card through their Amazon Business Account or through The Supply Room (eVA). A waiver in no longer required when using Amazon Business or The Supply Room. Remote work supplies may be shipped to an alternate location when approved by the unit. In circumstances where orders cannot be placed on a P-Card, and an alternative address is necessary, units can request to have an address changed in eVA by sending a request to purch1@gmu.edu. Please do not purchase items with personal funds and seek reimbursement.

Telework Supplies

Telework is an arrangement that allows an employee who spends most of their work hours at a university site to conduct work at an approved alternate site for an agreed upon period of time.

Supplies should be purchased from their current sources following existing procedures. Units may order most essential office supplies and pay with a Mason P-Card through their Amazon Business Account or through The Supply Room (eVA). A waiver in no longer required when using Amazon Business or The Supply Room. Telework supplies should be delivered to an on-campus location and obtained by the employee on their next visit to campus. Please do not purchase items with personal funds and seek reimbursement.

Generally, equipment and supplies used to set up a home or remote office location should not be funded by state funds (i.e., standing desks, office chairs, lamps). If an accommodation is needed, please see guidance at https://diversity.gmu.edu/employee-accommodations.

Items that may be purchased for remote or telework:

  • Limited quantities of consumable items- pens, pencils, toner, paper
  • Computer hardware that is essential to provide business continuity and will be able to be used in your department on an ongoing basis. Please order through Dell, Patriot Tech (Barnes and Noble) or CDW
  • Microphones, webcams or headphones (standard and economical)

Items that should not be purchased for remote or telework:

  • Furniture, like chairs or desks
  • Personal items- cushions, tissues, lamps, privacy screens, sound machines
  • Phones
  • Purchase costs or maintenance expenses associated with employee-owned items or related services
  • Upgrades to existing home infrastructure- new routers, antennas, internet enhancements
  • Printers or scanners (unless department head has determined there are extenuating circumstances)

Business Travel

Mason has suspended all International travel through the end of summer semester 2021, with the exception of travel to South Korea, where Mason has a campus.

Effective May 1, 2021, UTAC approval will no longer be required for university domestic travel. Requests to travel domestically shall revert back to the pre-Covid process wherein travel approval is given at the department level, in accordance with University Policy 2101, Travel, Meals and Entertainment Expenditures.

Mason will continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation throughout the United States and will reinstate the requirement for UTAC approval for university domestic travel if needed. Please refer to the Safe Return to Campus webpage for the most up to date information.

Contractor Expectations

As we prepare to return to near-normal operations for our Fall 2021 semester, George Mason University (Mason) wishes to reiterate existing safety requirements and outline new COVID-19 vaccination expectations for university contractors.

Mason expects our contractors, including all of their employees, independent contractors, and subcontractors (collectively “Personnel”), who serve on any university campus, to follow university expectations regarding employee public health and safety precautions, testing, quarantining, and reporting. These expectations have recently been updated and are outlined in the attached memo. In addition, contractors are further expected to follow the university’s public health and safety precautions and guidelines, as outlined on our Safe Return to Campus website.

If you are the contract administrator or the primary person conducting business with a vendor through eVA or P-Card, please send this Contractor Expectations memo to your contact at the vendor. We expect that you will communicate with your contact as soon as possible so that our vendors have the most recent information. Click Here to review the Contractor Expectations.

Tracking COVID-19 Financial Impact Using Activity Codes

George Mason University has been tracking the financial impact of the COVID-19 preparation and response for reporting to university leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and other stakeholders.  The tracking provides support for requested funding from state and federal programs when available to reimburse Mason for the impact of the pandemic.

To enable the tracking of COVID-19 costs, campus departments have been using Activity Code ‘CORONA’ on transactions to capture extraordinary costs that would not have otherwise been required in the normal course of business. 

To be able to further monitor expenses related to the Safe Return to Campus, additional Activity Codes have been setup in Banner to categorize expenses in FY21/FY22.

Activity Code Activity Description
COCCES Co-Curricular & Engagement Space Optimization
COINST Instructional Continuity
CORISK Planning for High Risk Populations
COSCRN Screening Plan & Implementation
COSMOD Building & Academic Space Modification
COSPAC Space Assessment & Optimization
COTEST Testing Plan & Implementation
COTRAC Testing Plan & Implementation
COVACC Vaccination Clinics & Related Expenses

Departments must review and ensure that expenses tagged with an Activity Code adhere to the following eligibility requirements:

  • A clear business purpose and justification as to how the expense transaction relates to the COVID-19 outbreak must be specifically stated in the supporting documentation. This tie to COVID-19 must be explicitly stated and not left to inference, assumption, or interpretation.
  • The expense must be both necessary and reasonable. Consider if the purchase was absolutely required and clearly justifiable? If so, would less expensive alternatives have sufficed? If it had been your money, would you have purchased?
  • The expense must be directly tied to the pandemic. It cannot be questioned as relating to COVID-19. Items that would have been purchased regardless of the outbreak or that have a future use at an event or activity would not qualify.
  • To avoid “double-dipping”, the expense cannot be claimed if it will be subsequently refunded, credited, or funded by another source. Take into account any grant or other funding, airline credits, potential reimbursements or refunds.

Transaction approvers should note when the activity code is applied to a transaction, they are validating that the expense is, in fact, an incremental expense that would not have been incurred in the normal course of business prior to approval.  Manager/supervisor approval of transactions that include the activity code will be interpreted as evidence that this review has occurred and that the expense is appropriately tagged as related to Safe Return to Campus Activities.

Research and Sponsored Programs

Please visit the Office of Sponsored Programs webpage for the most up to date information regarding research and sponsored activities.