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Message From the Associate NASA Administrator: Coronavirus Update

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, I am updating you on behalf of the NASA leadership team regarding actions we are taking to respond to this serious and evolving situation. As always, the protection and care of our NASA team is the top priority and critical to the success of our mission.

The agency is taking, or has taken, the following actions:

Multi-Office Executive Leadership Team

.  NASA has formed a multi-office Executive Leadership Team that will work with the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO) to proactively adjust our plans and actions in response to changes in the risk level and address issues as they arise. 

Resources and Information

.  We've posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other information on the Human Resources (HR) Portal (https://hr.nasa.gov/group/guest) and we're establishing a public-facing webpage on NASA People (link forthcoming). We will post important information to both sites on a regular basis and will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

Agencywide Telework Day

.  Friday, March 6, will be an agencywide telework day. The purpose of this exercise is to test our capabilities, resources, and preparedness for large-scale teleworking. Participation is optional and highly encouraged. Remember to take home your government-furnished computer, if you have one.

.  A separate email will be sent later in the week with additional information about the agencywide telework day. The email will include guidance on use of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and virtual collaboration tools, and other helpful information. This is also an opportunity to ensure your home internet connection can support teleworking.

.  Contractors should speak with their program manager and/or COR regarding telework eligibility and then they are required to follow company guidance/policy regarding telework, travel, and all other work activities. NASA will remain OPEN throughout this exercise.

Travel

.  Agency management is monitoring official travel on a daily basis to determine risk. If you are scheduled for travel, you may hear from the travel office about trip cancellations including both domestic and international. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer is working with local travel offices and the Office of International and Interagency Relations to ensure travelers are informed as soon as a determination is made on disapproved travel.

.  As you are aware, the situation with coronavirus continues to evolve. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed Iran, South Korea, Italy, and China at Level 3 concern. NASA leadership has decided to enact a temporary policy for these countries. Individuals who have recently traveled anywhere in these four countries may not return to work onsite at NASA centers for a 14-day period, from the time of re-entry to the United States, and should self-monitor for symptoms. You should notify your supervisor to determine if you should telework or what other flexibilities exist. This includes both business and personal travel.

.  If you feel symptomatic, whether it be with the flu or symptoms of a lower respiratory infection (including fever and cough), please do not come to the occupational health clinics to be seen, but see your primary care provider instead. Before arriving at your private physician's office or the emergency department, let them know ahead of time what your symptoms are so that they can appropriately isolate you from other patients. 

As a reminder, continue good practices regarding your health and safety. Make liberal use of handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based cleansing gels, and practice social distancing as appropriate. If you have a health risk or special circumstance (e.g., you are on a medication that lowers your immune system for a chronic disease or condition) talk with your private medical doctor about your concerns and ways to reduce your risk.

NASA's Employee Assistance Program provides no-cost, confidential support and the opportunity to discuss your concerns with a professional licensed clinician. Find out how to contact your center clinician on the Health4Life page at https://inside.nasa.gov/health4life/eap_center_contact_list

We are mindful of the stress and uncertainty this situation may cause and will continue to communicate and share information as it becomes available. Please monitor the HR Portal and NASA People public webpage, and consult with your supervisors if you have any special circumstances to address.


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