Framework for DOT’s Return to Normal Operations
As the national public health emergency associated with the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) begins to ease, and as America reopens for business, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT or the Department) will transition in phases back to normal operations from our current posture of maximum teleworking. This document will guide DOT leadership in the planning and implementation of the Department’s return to normal operations.
For the Secretary of Transportation and everyone in the Department, safety is always priority number one. DOT’s statutory mission is the safety and efficiency of the Nation’s transportation systems, and the fulfillment of that mission requires that we protect the safety and wellbeing of our dedicated workforce. The welfare of the Department’s employees and contractors (DOT personnel) is the focus and purpose of this Framework for DOT’s Return to Normal Operations.
As laid out in this Framework, we will return DOT personnel to the workplace carefully and gradually, in three distinct phases. The transition for each DOT facility will proceed in accordance with guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and will be informed by the public health assessments of State and local authorities. At each step, our decisions will incorporate the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The general terms for the transition are set forth below. The details will be spelled out in workplans and directives developed in accordance with this Framework.
In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 emergency, DOT adopted a proactive posture ensuring maximum reliance on teleworking for the health and welfare of our people, consistent with the fulfillment of our critical safety mission. By enhancing our network capacity and relying on the ability of our workforce to collaborate effectively on a virtual basis, the Department has never faltered from fulfilling its responsibilities to oversee the safe and efficient operation of our Nation’s transportation systems during this crisis.
At the same time, DOT’s Operating Administrations (OAs) and components within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) have worked overtime to give our Nation’s transportation providers the regulatory flexibility they need, consistent with safety, to endure the crisis and to remain in operation. These actions have helped America’s transportation operators continue to carry the workers, food, medical equipment, and other supplies vital to the Nation during this time of national emergency, and they will help ensure that these operators are there when the crisis passes to lead the U.S. back toward economic recovery.
This Framework addresses the transition back to the workplace for those DOT personnel who have been teleworking or otherwise away from their normal duty stations because of COVID-19. Throughout this public health emergency, many DOT personnel have continued to report to their worksites to perform mission- critical functions and operations for the Department and for the Nation. These include FAA air traffic controllers, pipeline and other safety inspectors and engineers, field investigators, Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation operational employees, and others whose safety-critical jobs are operational in nature and cannot be performed via telework. The workplace transitions and detailed workplans developed under this Framework will not apply to these operational personnel. Their functions will continue to be managed separately. Similarly, the transition back to normal operations for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will also be managed separately from this Framework.
DOT’s return to normal operations will occur in three phases—Phases 1, 2, and 3— based on satisfaction of “Gating Criteria” prescribed by OMB and OPM and medical trends criteria as assessed by State and local authorities. See Aligning Federal Agency Operations with the National Guidelines for Opening Up America Again (OMB Memo M-20-23); and Guidelines for Opening Up America Again (Reopening Guidelines). The concept for the phases is shown in Appendix 1 to this Framework.
The Transition to Phase 1. The decision to advance from the current posture of maximum teleworking into Phase 1 of the reopening for a particular DOT duty station will depend on the initial satisfaction of the Gating Criteria for that duty station, as follows—
- Before DOT personnel who are currently in telework status or otherwise excused from their normal duty stations because of the COVID-19 public health emergency are instructed to begin returning to a particular DOT duty station, the following criteria must be met in that duty station’s local geographic community:
- Influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19-like cases of illness have trended downward for 14 days;
- Documented COVID-19 cases and the prevalence of positive tests for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) have also trended downward for 14 days (without a significant decrease in the rate of testing being administered);
- Local hospitals have the capacity to treat all patients without crisis care, and the local jurisdiction has a robust healthcare worker testing program and plan in place; and
- Other local conditions and considerations are conducive to the transition back to the workplace for DOT personnel, considering factors such as: office location, State and local government directives, school/daycare/summer camp closures, mass transit availability, parking availability, facilities requirements, and the operational missions of the particular DOT duty station.
- The determinations that the Gating Criteria are satisfied will be made on a location-specific basis. In approving these determinations for each location, DOT will accept and rely upon the reasonable and publicly available assessments of responsible State and local authorities concerning whether the public health conditions required by the Gating Criteria are satisfied in the relevant geographic community. For locations where such assessments from State and local authorities are not available, DOT will make the required assessments directly.
- For the DOT and FAA headquarters buildings and OST Offices, the determination that the Gating Criteria are satisfied must be approved by the Assistant Secretary for Administration with the concurrence of OST leadership (and with the concurrence of the FAA Administrator or his designee for purposes of the FAA headquarters buildings).
- For OA Regional offices, the Volpe Center, the Transportation Safety Institute, field offices that either have more than 50 employees or that have employees from multiple OAs, the FAA Aeronautical Center and Tech Center, and the MARAD Gateway Offices, the approval of a determination that the Gating Criteria are satisfied will proceed as follows:
- The respective OA Administrator or his or her designee will submit to the Assistant Secretary for Administration a request for approval to transition the office or facility into the next Phase of the return to normal operations based on a showing that the office or facility location meets the Gating Criteria (see Appendix 2 to this Framework);
- Where a facility houses multiple OA offices, the relevant OAs will coordinate and jointly submit the requests; and
- The Assistant Secretary for Administration, in coordination with OST leadership and the OA Administrator(s), must approve each request to commence Phase 1 of the reopening of the above listed regional and field offices based on satisfaction of the Gating Criteria.
- For facilities under the control of GSA and those that house multiple Federal agencies, the decision to open or close the facility will be made by the building’s Designated Official (the chair of the building’s Facilities Security Committee) in consultation with the building manager and law enforcement organizations protecting the facility.
- These Gating Criteria may change in accordance with updates in guidance from OMB and OPM. DOT will coordinate with OMB and OPM as decisions are made, to apply consistent regional operational decisions where practical when considering varying mission requirements.
Transitioning to Phases 2 and 3.
In accordance with the Reopening Guidelines and subject to the most current guidance from OMB and OPM, the decision to advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2 for each DOT duty station will depend on the satisfaction of the Gating Criteria for a second time with no evidence of a rebound in the prevalence of COVID-19 in the local community.
Similarly, the decision to transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3 will depend on the satisfaction of the Gating Criteria for a third time with no evidence of a rebound in the prevalence of COVID-19 in the local community.
Where there is a rebound in COVID-19 in a local community, the decision may be made to return to Phase 1 or to return to maximum teleworking status for DOT personnel at particular duty stations in that community.
These decisions will be made by the same officials and using the same procedures as the initial decision to transition into Phase 1. We expect that satisfaction of the medical trends criteria will again be assessed by responsible State and local authorities in the first instance.
What the Phased Transitions Will Mean for DOT Personnel and Facilities.
The transition forward to each Phase in the return to normal operations will involve the gradual relaxation of workplace restrictions and the staged return of categories of DOT personnel to their normal duty stations.
For the duration of this transition, DOT personnel should not come into work if they feel sick.
DOT employees who test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus are expected to inform their managers that they are unable to report to a duty station outside their home until cleared by a medical professional. If a DOT manager knows that a subordinate employee has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the manager must direct the employee not to return to the duty station until cleared by a medical professional. Employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or other influenza-like symptoms should also seek medical advice and clearance prior to returning to the workplace. Contractors will be expected to follow the same precautions and health protocols.
In each Phase, in consideration of the health and safety of DOT personnel, all DOT personnel should practice good hygiene practices, consistent with CDC guidance, and DOT will follow OPM and OMB guidelines for special accommodations that can be made for vulnerable individuals or for employees who are primary caretakers for vulnerable individuals.
As identified by CDC, vulnerable individuals are (i) those who have a higher risk for severe illness, including individuals who self-identify as having a serious underlying health condition, such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, serious heart conditions, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma, or a compromised immune system (for example, because of chemotherapy); (ii) those who are over the age of 65; and (iii) those individuals in CDC Special Populations, including those who are pregnant.
DOT personnel returning to the worksite will be provided with wellness checklists to ensure they can safely return. The checklist will ask that they check their temperature at home before coming to the office. A template for this checklist will be provided to the Operating Administrations.
As described in the next section of this Framework, detailed workplans will establish specific controlling policies for the phased transition to normal operations. In general, those workplans are expected to implement the following guidance for operations:
- All vulnerable individuals are expected to remain on maximum teleworking status.
- Designated leadership officials and managers (other than vulnerable individuals) who are needed to oversee the transition back to normal operations will be instructed to return to their duty stations on a gradual basis.
- As specified in workplans for particular OA and OST offices developed in accordance with this Framework, other categories of DOT personnel in each office (other than vulnerable individuals) will either be given specific instructions to return to their normal duty stations or will be invited to return on a voluntary basis, consistent with limits on the number of employees returning in each office that may increase gradually over the course of Phases 1 and 2. All employees will be given ample notice and guidance in advance of returning to their duty stations.
- Unless instructed otherwise by their managers in accordance with a workplan, DOT personnel who can perform their duties efficiently via telework and who are not comfortable returning to their normal duty stations or who have a need to work from home (for example, because of child care obligations) will be allowed to continue on maximum teleworking status.
- DOT personnel who do return will be expected to practice social distancing while in the workplace. To support social distancing, staffing levels and work schedules in particular offices will be limited where and as feasible, including, for example, through the use of platooning schedules for particular duty stations, as appropriate.
- External visitors will not be allowed in DOT facilities without a specific business need for the visit and approval from a manager.
- Access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate will be restricted, as appropriate, and meetings or gatherings of 10 or more people will not be allowed without special approvals and precautions.
- Even smaller in-person meetings should be limited and those in the workplace should make maximum use of conference calls and video conferences in lieu of in-person meetings.
- It will be expected that, to the extent feasible and consistent with their duties, DOT personnel will wear cloth face coverings when they are in close interaction with others in the workplace or moving about in common areas, including elevators and restrooms. During Phase 1, cloth face coverings will be provided to any DOT personnel reporting onsite who do not have their own cloth face coverings. A determination on the use of cloth face coverings during Phases 2 and 3 will be made in the workplans developed in accordance with this Framework.
- Facilities and all common areas will continue to undergo frequent and thorough cleaning in accordance with CDC guidance relating to COVID-19.
- Only very limited, mission-critical business travel will be allowed and will require special approval from the Assistant Secretary for Administration for OST or from the relevant OA Administrator or his or her designee.
- Vulnerable individuals are expected to remain on maximum teleworking status.
- Additional categories of designated DOT personnel (other than vulnerable individuals) may be instructed to return to their normal duty stations, as identified in the workplans developed in accordance with this Framework, and others will be encouraged to continue teleworking.
- DOT personnel will continue to practice social distancing, consistent with the needs of the workplace, and unnecessary meetings or gatherings of 10 or more people will be discouraged and may continue to require special approval.
- External visitors will continue to be discouraged from entering DOT facilities without a business need for the visit approved by a manager.
- Subject to limitations as appropriate, some common area restrictions will be eased, but all facilities and common areas will continue to receive frequent and thorough cleanings.
- Large gatherings or events will not be allowed without special approvals and precautions, as determined in the workplans.
- Business-related travel will be limited and will require special approval from the Assistant Secretary for Administration for OST or from the relevant OA Administrator or his or her designee.
- Vulnerable individuals will be permitted to make liberal use of teleworking arrangements where and as appropriate.
- Until further notice, other DOT personnel will be expected to return to work at their normal duty stations, subject to the flexible approval of leave and authorized teleworking arrangements.
- External visitors will be allowed with less restriction but their entry will continue to be monitored and screened, as deemed appropriate.
- DOT facility managers will maintain heightened cleaning practices in all DOT facilities until directed otherwise.
- Business-related travel will be allowed to resume without special approval.
The Assistant Secretary for Administration, in consultation with senior leadership of OST, shall prepare a detailed workplan for the gradual return to the workplace of particular categories of DOT personnel in OST. The Administrators of the OAs shall prepare detailed workplans for the gradual return to the workplace of the categories of DOT personnel assigned to each of the OAs’ separate duty stations.
These workplans shall—
- Identify specific personnel roles and functions that may have a higher risk of exposure, following OSHA guidance, where more precautions need to be taken (e.g., accident investigators and safety inspectors who visit non-Federal locations).
- Identify and prioritize program functions that are worksite-dependent and require an employee’s onsite presence.
- Implement staggered approaches to onsite staff (for example, by breaking offices into teams and staggering their presence in the office on alternating days to allow for the most effective use of social distancing in workspaces, elevators, and common areas, or by using the cohort model outlined in OMB Memo M-20-23).
- Include a communications subplan that will incorporate:
- Welcome back messages to DOT personnel (OST will provide a template);
- A description of the enhanced cleaning protocol for particular facilities;
- Communications protocols in the event of a suspected/confirmed COVID-19 case (OST will provide a template);
- CDC’s guidance on social distancing, handwashing, cloth face coverings and PPE, and travel; and
- Information on additional special accommodations for vulnerable individuals.
Upon approval of this Framework, the Assistant Secretary for Administration will prepare the templates described above and will advise OA Administrators of the requirement for the detailed workplans. All OA workplans must be submitted for approval to the Assistant Secretary for Administration by [specify date].
Once a determination is made that sufficient conditions allow for particular categories of DOT personnel to work safely in a given setting, the employees in those categories are expected to report to their workplaces, unless in an approved leave or telework status.
As DOT personnel gradually return to the workplace, DOT will continue to maximize telework flexibilities for all eligible workers within the populations of vulnerable individuals.
If an employee is a member of a vulnerable population, and the duty location is within an area classified as Phase 3, the employee may return to work at the duty location. The employee should continue to follow physical distancing protocols and other mitigation measures.
As an initial matter, during the transition back to normal operations, it will be DOT’s policy to accept self-identification by employees that they are vulnerable individuals and not to require certification from a medical professional. This policy may change, if determined appropriate by the Assistant Secretary for Administration, in consultation with OST leadership, and with input from OA Administrators and other relevant DOT managers. If a decision is made to change the policy, employees will be given notice of the change.
DOT will continue to approve leave for safety reasons to employees who are in a vulnerable population as identified by the CDC, employees who are not telework- eligible, and employees whose duty location is not returning to normal operations. Employees should consult with their individual managers as some positions that are considered mission critical could require additional considerations.
OST HR will prepare detailed guidance on human resources and staffing matters, to include:
- Steps supervisors can take when an employee reports to work while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza-like symptoms. These steps shall be consistent with CDC guidelines.
- What parents should do if their child’s school/daycare/summer camp is closed. This guidance shall encourage workplace flexibilities and the liberal use of leave.
- Various employee work schedules such as a staggered approach to onsite staff (e.g., certain days only a fixed number of employees are in the office with another set on the following day, use of cohorts, etc.).
Supervisory guidance on employees’ return to the workplace. This guidance shall ensure that, before requiring employees to report to duty onsite, and when considering any administrative action based on non-compliance with a reporting requirement, supervisors should consider all facts and circumstances in each case, including allowing employees to continue to telework or asking them to request personal leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave if applicable, or leave without pay). Supervisors shall consult with their respective human resources and labor relations personnel in such circumstances.
In implementing this Framework, the Assistant Secretary for Administration shall ensure for OST and shall work with designated representatives of the OAs to assist the OAs in ensuring that all actions taken under this Framework regarding the return to the workplace of DOT employees are managed in a manner consistent with the requirements of Federal labor relations law and applicable DOT collective bargaining agreements.
Prior to implementing a particular workplan for OST or for an OA as contemplated in this Framework, the Assistant Secretary for Administration or the relevant OA will review applicable collective bargaining agreements to identify any compliance questions, including instances where return-to-work directives potentially differ from or affect the conditions of employment obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.
As particular States and local communities begin to permit the reopening of businesses and lift stay-at-home orders—
- The OAs will:
- Monitor and report on employees’ re-entering the workplace to include: how many are reporting to the office, how many are teleworking, how many are on sick leave or other form of leave, and
- Report to OST HR on any lessons learned and best practices.
- OST HR will:
Compile the data received from the OAs on the number of employees in particular States and local communities who return to their workplace and share it with the OAs to assist in future transitions back to the workplace.
The Assistant Secretary for Administration, in consultation with OST leadership, shall establish protocols for visitor access to the DOT headquarters building and for the use of amenities in the building. OA Administrators shall establish similar protocols for separate OA facilities.
The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall—
- Ensure that policies are in place to restrict individuals infected with the SARS- CoV-2 virus or at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 from accessing DOT facilities and determine facility screening protocols, in consultation with GSA.
- Ensure that visitors to DOT will continue to be monitored and screened. External visitors will be discouraged from visiting DOT facilities unless a specific business need is approved by a manager during Phases 1 and 2, and DOT personnel will continue to be encouraged to make use of video and teleconferencing during Phases 1 and 2.
- Procure hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, PPE, and cloth face coverings for employees (during Phase1), as necessary. Note: Because of supply shortages, there may be delays in obtaining certain items.
- Continue to ensure enhanced cleaning in all facilities.
- Establish a protocol regarding elevator occupancy during Phases 1 and 2 and post signage in the elevator banks.
- Monitor ventilation of outside air in the DOT headquarters building.
- Assess the need for sneeze guards or other mitigations for the Security Guard Force and customer service locations, such as cafeteria, parking offices, security/badge offices, employee stores, and credit unions.
- Notify DOT personnel that during Phase 1, it will be expected that, to the extent feasible and consistent with their duties, DOT personnel will wear cloth face coverings when they are in close interaction with others in the workplace or when moving about in common areas, including in elevators and restrooms. Decisions on Phases 2 and 3 will be made in the workplans developed in accordance with this Framework.
- Establish guidelines at the appropriate time for the reopening of the DOT Mobility Center.
- Establish guidelines when necessary for the convening of events in the West Atrium.
- Establish guidelines at the appropriate time for the reopening of the Conference Center.
- Establish guidelines at the appropriate time for the reopening the Fitness Center.
- Establish guidelines for the reopening and use of the cafeterias at the DOT and FAA headquarters buildings, to be informed by the directives issued by the governments of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia for eating establishments, and likely including provision for takeout-only service in accordance with social distancing during Phase 3.
The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall—
- Develop a plan to transition to monthly passes and paid parking in the DOT Parking Garage;
- Assess the DOT Parking Garage Policy concerning prioritization of parking spaces; and
- Update guidance on transit benefits, if needed.
The FAA’s administrative office should consider the need to do the same for the parking facility at the FAA headquarters buildings, and each OA should address any parking facility questions relevant to the OA’s regional and field offices.
The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall—
- Work with OST-Facilities and the relevant procurement staffs of the OAs to explore the feasibility of blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) as appropriate to economize in the acquisition of items needed in the return to normal operations, such as cloth face coverings, hygiene supplies, PPE, and cleaning supplies.
- OAs shall—
- Identify contracts that have stopped work during this time and create a timeline for reinitiating work under the contracts; and
- Assess workspace needs of contractor staff and determine if contractors need to be onsite.
Travel will be limited during DOT’s phased transition back to normal operations as described above and in accordance with OMB guidelines and any subsequent workplans and directives issued in accordance with this Framework. Current recommendations and policies regarding non-essential travel are to defer travel to high risk areas. During Phases 1 and 2, all business-related travel will require the approval of the Assistant Secretary for Administration for OST personnel or the OA Administrator or his or her designee for OA personnel.
- Must be satisfied before proceeding to phased opening
- Determined by geographical location
Source: Aligning Federal Agency Operations with the National Guidelines for Opening Up America Again (OMB Memo M-20-23)
We expect that satisfaction of the medical trends criteria will be assessed by responsible State and local authorities in the first instance.
REGIONAL DATA & OPERATIONAL INFORMATION TEMPLATE
[Note: It is recommended that this information be provided in Excel spreadsheet.]
Name of Operating Administration.
Federal Agency Considerations
- Number of Federal employees in Regional Office or Facility
- Number of Contractors in Regional Office or Facility
- Is the facility under the control of GSA? If yes, please list the Chair of the Facility’s Security Committee and if/when any decision on reopening has been recommended by that Committee.
- Is Regional Office co-located with other Federal Agencies? If yes, please list:
- Please list public facing functions of Regional Office or Facility, if any:
- Is there a need for and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline Federal employees/contractors currently in the Regional Office or Facility? If yes, is PPE available for these employees/contractors? Please note that cloth masks are not considered PPE.
- Is Regional Office or Facility located in a GSA-owned building? If not, who is the building owner?
- Is there capacity for adequate cleaning of Federal Facilities (Based on discussion with GSA building manager or building owner)
- If childcare facilities are available within the Regional Office or Facility, what is the operating status of those childcare facilities?
- Other information
- Office Location
- State-wide Directives
- County-wide/City Directives
- Status of Mass Transit Operations
- Status of Schools/Daycare/Summer Camps
- Status of Childcare Services
- Status of Dependent Care Services
- Other Local Services
General Guidance for DOT
Employee Awareness Campaign
Turning awareness into action, general considerations include:
- Minimizing in-person meetings. If meetings must be held, stand or sit at least 6 feet apart
- Deferring travel to high risk areas
- Cleaning facilities routinely
- Cleaning individual employee workspaces using commercially available disinfectant sprays or wipes, following the manufacturer’s recommendations
- Not sharing phones, desks, offices, computers, or personal work tools and equipment (like headsets) among employees when possible. In congregate work areas like command centers, these pieces of equipment should be sanitized at the beginning and end of every shift
Encourage Employees to Practice Frequent Handwashing
Advise employees to wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol- based hand rub (at least 60% alcohol), especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; before eating; after using restroom facilities; after having contact with another person (shaking hands); or, if their hands are visibly soiled. Also, encourage employees to avoid touching their noses, mouths and eyes.
- When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse hands with water, and dry completely.
- When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, apply liquid to palm of hand, cover all surfaces of the hands with the liquid, and rub hands together until dry.
- Post instructional hand-washing materials in restrooms, food preparation spaces, and food consumption areas (cafeterias and kitchenettes).
Encourage Employees to Cover Their Coughs and Sneezes
Communicate the importance of covering coughs and sneezes to decrease the presence of viral particles in the air and provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
- Employees should cover their cough/sneeze with a tissue and throw it away in a trash can, then wash their hands.
- If a tissue is not available, employees should cough/sneeze into their sleeve, then wash their hands.
- At the beginning of traditional flu season, post reminders in restrooms and public gathering areas to remind employees of the importance of covering their coughs and sneezes.
Establish Social Distancing Guidelines for DOT
Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by public health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms, conference rooms, and cafeteria).
Strategies would include:
- Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)
- Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)
- Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
- Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., partitions)
- Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non- essential meetings or events)
- Delivering services remotely (e.g., by phone, video, or Internet)
Maintaining a Healthy Work Environment
Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include the following activities:
- Increase ventilation rates.
- Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
Support good hygiene measures for employees and visitors by:
- Providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
- Providing soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
- Placing hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
- Providing no-touch waste containers near doorways for proper disposal of towels used when passing through.
- Placing posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Encouraging the use of other noncontact methods of greeting in lieu of shaking hands.
- Directing employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
Perform Routine Environmental Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfecting surfaces, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. Check the EPA’s website: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
- Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Employees Will Wear Face Coverings
Note: During Phase 1, it will be expected that, to the extent feasible and consistent with their duties, DOT personnel will wear cloth face coverings when in close interaction with others in the workplace and when moving about in common areas, including elevators and restrooms. Cloth face coverings will be provided by DOT to onsite personnel who do not have them.
Consistent with the Department’s efforts to provide a safe and healthy work environment the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The beneficial purpose of wearing cloth face coverings is to limit the viral spread when people infected with COVID-19 lack symptoms.
Options and Instructions for Employees Using Cloth Face Coverings
Because surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders, the CDC has provided guidance for the construction of cloth face coverings. Cloth face coverings can be made from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. Cloth face coverings should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
During Phase 1, while in DOT facilities, employees will be expected to wear cloth face coverings when in close interaction with others in the workplace. Employees may be asked to remove the face coverings when passing through security checkpoints at the DOT headquarters building.
Guidance from CDC on the proper use of face coverings and how to make one can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
OPM provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the resumption of normal workforce operations.