DOE COVID-19 Workplace Safety Framework
The health and safety of the DOE workforce and the public is the Administration’s highest priority. The Federal Government and the Department of Energy (Department or DOE) are committed to addressing essential work requirements consistent with best public health practices. The Department’s paramount concern is the health and safety of all Federal employees, onsite contractors, and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce.
As set forth in the January 20, 2021, Executive Order 13991 “Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing,” the policy of the Administration is “to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures”. This Framework has been developed in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum M-21-15, COVID-19 Safe Federal Workplace: Agency Model Safety Principles, issued January 24, 2021; M-21-25, Integrating Planning for a Safe Increased Return of Federal Employees and Contractors to Physical Workplaces with Post-Reentry Personnel Policies and Work Environment, issued June 10, 2021; Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Agency Model Safety Principles, issued July 29, 2021; updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines; and other Federal guidance. This Framework outlines the requirements to protect the health and safety of the workforce at DOE Federal facilities as well as to enable the safe accomplishment of the DOE mission in a COVID-19 environment. The Framework is a living document that will be updated as needed to account for changing COVID-19 conditions and CDC guidelines.
Scope and Applicability
This Framework replaces the DOE COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan, revised on May 20, 2021, and provides overall DOE requirements and guidance for the development of Site/Facility Federal Workplace Safety Plans. DOE will update Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans as appropriate to ensure compliance with this overarching Workplace Safety Framework.
The safety principles in this Framework document apply to Federal employees, contractors, and any others entering or working at DOE sites/facilities. Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans will discuss the specific safety protocols and will be reviewed by the cognizant DOE Departmental Element.
The principles presented here establish a minimum level for workplace safety and are aligned to current CDC guidance and established public health best practices, based on evolving understanding of the pandemic. Principles will be reassessed over time, as conditions warrant. This document is not meant to be exhaustive, and additional program or site/facility controls will be developed as needed. Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans will build upon these principles and be adjusted as appropriate for mission requirements and facility status.
For DOE Headquarters, the Office of Management and the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer are responsible for reviewing and updating the plan for the National Capitol Region (NCR). For DOE sites that have Management and Operating (M&O) or other prime contractors that have previously developed and implemented Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans at the onset of the pandemic, the plans will be updated as needed and each cognizant DOE Departmental Element will review these plans Rev. 2 3 8-20-2021 as appropriate. For DOE sites/facilities outside of the NCR that are not co-located with M&O or other prime contractors, each site/facility will review and update its existing plan or develop a site-specific plan. The cognizant DOE Departmental Element will review these plans. For the Power Marketing Administrations, the DOE Departmental Element will review these plans and the Administrator will approve the plans.
COVID-19 Coordination Team
On January 20, 2021, DOE established a COVID-19 Coordination Team that reports directly to the Secretary of Energy through the DOE Chief of Staff. This executive leadership team, which works closely with the Heads of Departmental Elements (HDE) and other DOE leadership, includes the following representatives:
- Juston Fontaine, Team Lead, Deputy Director for Field Operations, Office of Science
- Michael Ardaiz, Chief Medical Officer, Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security
- Anita Capoferri, Attorney, Office of the General Counsel
- Kelly Cummins, Associate Deputy Director for Field Operations, Office of Science
- Ingrid Kolb, Director, Office of Management
- Terri Lee, Chief Operating Officer, Office of Electricity
- James McConnell, Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations, National Nuclear Security Administration
- Erin Moore, Chief Human Capital Officer
- Matthew Moury, Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security
- Todd Shrader, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Environmental Management
DOE’s COVID-19 Coordination Team is responsible for establishing, implementing, and monitoring compliance with the health and safety requirements specified in this Framework. The team meets regularly to review this Framework and to consider potential revisions and updates based on emerging guidance and any other operational needs. In addition, the team represents the complex-wide components of DOE and keeps HDEs and other DOE leadership apprised of issues. Departmental Elements maintain line management authority and are responsible for monitoring Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans and considering potential changes to Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans to remain in compliance with any revisions to this Framework or other new guidance.
- The health and safety of DOE Federal and contractor employees are of paramount importance and guide all actions for employees at DOE facilities.
- The Framework aligns with OMB’s and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force’s model safety principles and will be revised as necessary to account for any superseding or additional guidance.
- CDC-recommended and optional practices, including enhanced entrance screening, social distancing, and workplace protocols will be used, as practical and appropriate, to lower risk.
- Where a locality has imposed additional pandemic-related requirements more protective than those set forth in this framework, those requirements should be followed in DOE buildings and on DOE land in that locality.
- Plans and protocols will consider contingencies to prepare for potential new developments. The Department will use CDC guidelines to reassess and inform decisions as conditions warrant.
- COVID-19 vaccines are designed to save lives and prevent illness and is integral to dramatically reduce the number of cases and help defeat COVID-19. The Federal Government and the Department strongly encourage all individuals who are eligible for vaccination, including Federal employees and contractors and their families, to be vaccinated. To help facilitate this, the Federal Government has authorized administrative leave for staff to get vaccinated and to vaccinate their family.
DOE continues to maximize the use of telework. During this period, only those individuals whose key duties or work activities are required to be performed onsite will be allowed physical access to DOE sites and facilities. Individuals currently teleworking or not regularly onsite (e.g., if on an expanded remote work schedule, such as “maximum telework”) should continue to do so until further notice.
Reentry and Position Work Categories
Although DOE’s timeline for reentry has not yet been determined due to the recent increased levels of COVID-19 community transmission, DOE’s approach to reentry will be informed by the feedback gathered from our workforce through many different means, including the Department-wide Federal survey, listening sessions, COVID-19 Coordination Team Office Hours, input and collaboration with our union partners, and others. Our approach will allow DOE organizations to determine the right mix of onsite work and telework for their offices based on mission need and in accordance with DOE’s values.
When ready, DOE will conduct an orderly reentry to the workplace where Federal employees will return in a staggered order to the physical workplace. The Department will provide a minimum of 30 days advance notice to Federal employees before they are directed to return to the physical workplace. Additionally, an extension of the Excused Absence for Caregiving has been authorized while DOE remains in its maximum telework posture. At this time, supervisors are authorized to grant up to 20 hours of excused absence per pay period to Federal employees in a telework status who are providing additional care or educational instruction to family members due to COVID-19 closures.
At this time, Federal positions are divided into three main work categories, which will be used to inform reentry planning once the timeline has been established:
- Site Critical: Key duties must be performed onsite (e.g., regular access to classified information, site safety and security activities, mission essential work) and essential national security activities (e.g., Primary Mission Essential Function activities).
- Site Flexible: Some key duties or work activities are required to be performed onsite (e.g., intermittent access to classified information, project oversight, onsite inspections, improved efficiency of mission essential work).
- Site Optional: Most or all key duties can be performed remotely.
When DOE is ready to implement its reentry approach, supervisors will inform Federal employees of their work category and their directed reentry date. No later than an employee’s directed return date, Federal employees must resume a new work schedule that has been reviewed and approved by their supervisor. DOE will update employees regarding reentry once additional information is available.
Health and Safety Requirements
The Department is responsible for advancing the energy, environmental, and nuclear security of the United States; promoting scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; sponsoring basic research in the physical sciences; and ensuring the environmental cleanup of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. To accomplish these vital and varied missions, the DOE enterprise is comprised of a total of approximately 13,000 Federal employees and over 90,000 management and operating contractor and other contractor personnel.
These individuals are located at the Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and more than 80 field locations, including critical energy workers at the Power Marketing Administrations and the Strategic Petroleum Reserves and a nationwide system of 17 national laboratories that provide worldclass scientific, technological, and engineering capabilities. Considering the diversity of DOE mission objectives and operations, the following requirements set the minimum threshold for health and safety and must be included in all Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans. Where DOE has sites/facilities in the same geographic region but are managed by different DOE Departmental Elements, Federal officials shall coordinate as practicable.
Vaccines are now widely accessible throughout the United States. All Federal employees and contractors are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are the best line of defense in combating COVID-19 and ending the pandemic. The full vaccination of our Federal employees and contractors will better protect our workforce and allow DOE to collectively move towards a safe and responsible reentry.
Federal employees may receive up to four hours of administrative leave (per dose) to accompany a family member receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This administrative leave is in addition to the administrative leave DOE currently authorizes for Federal employees (contractors are authorized to allow similar leave) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (up to four hours per dose) and if they experience any side effects (up to two workdays). Please visit www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccination location near you. People are considered fully vaccinated either two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine).
Consistent with current Federal guidance, DOE must ask about the vaccination status of Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors to a DOE site/facility. The method DOE will use to ask about vaccination status will vary depending on the individual’s position as a Federal employee, contractor, or visitor to a DOE site/facility. In all cases where DOE is requesting this information, DOE will comply with applicable Federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act, and any applicable collective bargaining obligations.
For DOE Federal employees and onsite support service contractor employees embedded with Federal staff at a Federal owned or leased facility, DOE will use disclosure forms based on the Certification of Vaccination form issued by the Federal Safer Workforce Task Force, which requires the individual to attest to the truthfulness of their response. When a Federal employee or onsite support service contractor employee discloses that they are not fully vaccinated or declines to respond or complete the attestation form, DOE will treat that individual as not fully vaccinated for purposes of implementing safety measures, including mask wearing, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
For DOE sites/facilities that have M&O contractors or other prime contractors (including contractors outside the NCR not co-located with an M&O or prime contractor), the M&O or prime contractor must certify to DOE the percentage of its employees and its subcontractors working on a DOE site/facility who have been fully vaccinated, with regular updates of the vaccination status percentage to DOE. When an M&O or prime contractor employee or applicable subcontractor discloses to the M&O or prime contractor that they are not fully vaccinated or declines to provide their vaccination status, the M&O or prime contractor will treat that individual as not fully vaccinated for purposes of implementing safety measures, including mask wearing, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
For visitors to DOE sites/facilities, DOE will use a disclosure form based on the Certification of Vaccination form issued by the Federal Safer Workforce Task Force, which requires the individual to attest to the truthfulness of their response. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from within the previous three days prior to entry to a DOE building. DOE will not maintain the Certification of Vaccination form from visitors; however, visitors must keep the form with them during their time in a DOE facility. Visitors may be asked to show the form upon entry to a DOE site/facility. DOE Federal employees will be treated as visitors during their visit to another agency and will be asked to provide information about their vaccination status and, if they are not fully vaccinated or decline to disclose their status, need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within the past three days.
Levels of Community Transmission at DOE Sites
In applying COVID-19 workplace safety protocols connected to levels of community transmission in a given area, DOE sites must reference the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View. Sites should determine the counties relevant to the determination of the level of community transmission in a given area for a DOE facility (e.g., consider the county in which a DOE site is located, the transmission levels of surrounding local counties from which DOE employees and visitors travel to the site, and transmission levels in counties through which DOE employees regularly travel over the course of their work in the field and between various work sites).
DOE sites should assess transmission rates in each area at least weekly to determine proper maskwearing requirements. When the level of transmission related to a DOE site increases from “low” or “moderate” to “substantial” or “high,” DOE sites should put in place more protective safety protocols consistent with CDC guidelines and guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force as soon as operationally feasible. However, when the level of transmission related to a DOE site is reduced from “high” or “substantial” to “moderate” or “low,” the level of transmission must remain at that lower level for at least two consecutive weeks before the DOE site implements the protocols recommended by CDC guidelines and guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force for areas of “moderate” or “low” transmission.
Using the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker referenced above, in areas of “substantial” or “high” transmission, all Federal workers, contractors, and visitors will be required to wear a face mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. In accordance with the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, and consistent with guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and Executive Order 13991 “Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing,” fully vaccinated Federal employees, contractors, and visitors entering or working inside or on the grounds of a DOE site/facility where CDC has classified COVID-19 transmission as “moderate” or “low” are not required to wear masks while in DOE buildings or in DOE leased spaces, except where called for by Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
Regardless of community transmission levels, Federal employees, contractors, and visitors entering or working at a DOE site/facility who are not fully vaccinated (i.e., who are not at least 2 weeks past their final dose) and those who decline to respond on Certification of Vaccination form are required to wear a mask while in DOE buildings and in leased space, including all public and work areas within a building (e.g., garages, hallways, snack bars, cafeterias, elevators, and restrooms). The policy also applies to facilities leased or owned by DOE contractors and in which DOE Federal or contractor employees work. To ensure compliance, signage will be posted throughout all sites, especially entrances, to remind individuals of the requirement.
Individuals who are required to wear a mask must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth and is in accordance with current CDC and OSHA guidance. The CDC recommends the following: non-medical disposable masks, masks that fit properly (snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face), masks made with washable and breathable fabric (such as cotton), masks made with tightly woven fabric (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source), masks with two or three layers, and masks with a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. Novelty/non-protective masks, masks with ventilation valves, or face shields are not considered an acceptable substitute for masks. To the extent funds are available, DOE or site contractors are encouraged, but not required, to purchase masks for staff and visitors.
When an individual is required to wear a face mask, masks must be worn in any common areas or shared workspaces (e.g., open floorplan office space, cubicle embankments, hallways, garages, conference rooms, or other workspaces) even when physically distant. Masks must also be worn outdoors in crowded settings or during outdoor activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated. When required, face masks must be worn in all in-person meetings and are required at staffed security checkpoints. Security Officers may direct individuals to lower or temporarily remove their masks to verify identity. Masks, when required, must be worn inside government-owned vehicles.
Exceptions to wearing a mask for non-vaccinated or vaccinated employees, when required, may include:
- Mask removal when alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls and the door shut;
- Mask removal when the sole occupant in a government-owned vehicle;
- Intermittent removal when eating/drinking -- masks may be removed for a limited time if one is at least six feet from another individual;
- Conducting work utilizing controls and/or personal protective equipment identified in a job hazards analysis or similar evaluation as long as the COVID-19 risk is factored into the analysis and the controls identified as part of that analysis are implemented;
- Conducting work where the hazards associated with wearing the mask (e.g., straps getting caught in machinery, heat stroke, etc.) are greater than the risks with not wearing a mask if the COVID-19 risk is factored into the job hazards analysis and the controls identified as part of that analysis are implemented; and
- Individuals who have a medical or religious reason why they cannot wear masks. Exemptions to the face mask policy will be considered in accordance with existing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance. Federal employees will be required to go through the Department’s Reasonable Accommodation process in order to seek an exemption.
The HDE or their designee will approve exemptions for visitors. For the contractor workforce, approval will be provided consistent with the terms and conditions of the contract.
DOE’s COVID-19 Screening Program
DOE sites/facilities must establish a COVID-19 screening program to test Federal employees and onsite contractors who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status. For those individuals, enrollment in DOE’s COVID-19 screening program is mandatory and must be tested at least once a week. If appropriate, Federal employees must use the Reasonable Accommodation process to address any disability or religious issue that may prevent them from taking a COVID-19 test. DOE sites/facilities may use any COVID-19 viral test, such as a PCR or antigen test, that has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to detect current infection. Any test utilized must include a report that documents the test result and can be provided to the Federal employee or onsite contractor employee who was tested, DOE, or both.
COVID-19 screening tests are intended to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals without known or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Federal employees and onsite contractor employees who are reporting to a DOE site/facility and attest to being fully vaccinated generally do not need to undergo COVID-19 testing. Federal employees and onsite contractors who are not reporting to the physical workplace will not be tested unless they report to a DOE site/facility.
The cost of COVID-19 testing for Federal employees in the DOE’s COVID-19 screening program will be covered by the Department. A Federal employee who is part of DOE’s COVID-19 screening program will be tested during their basic tour of duty hours. As such, the time the Federal employee spends obtaining a test at a DOE-approved testing site (including travel time) is considered duty time (i.e., there is no need to use administrative leave). In most circumstances, Federal employees will be authorized no more than one hour to travel to a DOE-approved testing site, complete testing, and return to work. A Federal employee or onsite contactor’s access to a DOE site/facility will be restricted if they have not obtained a test in accordance with DOE procedures. More information regarding DOE’s COVID-19 screening program and requirements will be forthcoming.
Sites must continue contact tracing to help identify, track, and manage contacts of COVID-19 cases. Site contact tracing must be done in collaboration with, and support of the contact tracing programs of local health departments, as applicable. Site/Facility Workplace Safety plans should include site procedures and protocols to implement infection control and workplace safety efforts once informed of a case of COVID-19. Disclosures of COVID-19 cases should be made to local public health officials as required or necessary to provide for the public health and safety of DOE employees and contractors in accordance with local public health mandates. Where a site does not have the capability to perform contact tracing or needs additional assistance, the DOE COVID-19 Hotline Response Team will perform the contact tracing or assist as needed.
Programs and sites will continue to follow established protocol for reporting to the DOE COVID-19 Hotline. All confirmed cases (including updates, whether an individual is working onsite or on telework) must be reported to the DOE COVID-19 Hotline within one business day. Other cases (possible, cautionary, other, or cleared) may be reported to the DOE COVID-19 Hotline. Sites may use the COVID- 19 Hotline’s application to track cases at their site. To promote transparency and safety, sites will notify the workforce about confirmed COVID cases, as relevant and appropriate, consistent with local and Federal privacy and confidentiality regulations and laws. Depending on the circumstances and such factors as the size of the site, notifications will be made by contacting individuals or by issuing broader messages. In addition, DOE will continue to regularly provide its workforce with anonymized, aggregate data on DOE confirmed cases.
Federal and contractor employees should adhere strictly to CDC, state, and local guidelines before, during, and after travel, regardless of whether the travel is personal or for official business. The CDC has provided guidance on travel.
At this time, official domestic and international travel remains limited to only mission critical trips and will be conducted in accordance with applicable CDC guidance and the January 21, 2021, Executive Order Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. Official domestic and international travel must be approved by the HDE or their designee.
When DOE announces a date for reentry, fully vaccinated Federal employees and contractors may resume regular, pre-pandemic travel when their position work category is directed to reenter the workplace. Official domestic and international travel for Federal and contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated or decline to respond will remain limited to only mission critical trips.
Federal and contractor employees who are fully vaccinated do not need to get tested before or after official domestic travel or self-quarantine after domestic travel, unless required by their destination. However, vaccinated individuals must wear a mask over nose and mouth on planes, buses, and other forms of public transportation travel into, within, or out of the United States, and while indoors in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Vaccinated individuals must follow other state, federal, and local requirements during travel. They must also monitor their symptoms for 14 days after travel. If symptoms develop, they must isolate themselves, notify their physician, and follow their site requirements for notification.
For international travel, prior to arrival in the United States, all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board a flight to the United States. Fully vaccinated Federal employees and contractors are not required to get tested before leaving the United States unless required by their destination. After official international travel, Federal employees and contractor employees, regardless of vaccination status, must get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel; self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.
Federal employees and contractors who are not fully vaccinated must follow all applicable CDC guidance for unvaccinated travelers while on official travel. Federal employees and contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated or decline to respond will be required to telework upon return from official travel for the duration of the CDC quarantine period, as well as follow any applicable testing guidance. Federal employees who are not telework eligible must work with their management on an appropriate work status to mitigate impacts to the mission of their office to the greatest extent possible.
If Federal employees, contractors, or visitors are not feeling well, they are not to enter the Federal workplace. Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans must ensure procedures and processes are in place requiring Federal and contractor employees working on site to complete screening for symptoms (e.g., a symptom questionnaire, a temperature check, self-verification of entry requirements) and other exposure history factors (e.g., recent travel, exposure to a person with COVID-19) upon entry to the workplace. Visitors may also be asked to complete symptom screening and exposure history before entering a DOE facility. Entry screening may be self-screening or administered in-person by the site contractor or DOE office. Individuals are encouraged to monitor themselves for the development of symptoms. Any individual who develops any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the workday, even if fully vaccinated, must immediately isolate, wear a mask (if the individual is not already doing so), notify their supervisor, and promptly leave the workplace.
Quarantine and Isolation
Any individual with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case will not be allowed onsite and will be advised to isolate, pursuant to CDC guidelines, and in compliance with local laws and regulations. Personnel who are not fully vaccinated and who have had close contact in the past seven days with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must follow CDC and local guidance for quarantine and testing.
Fully vaccinated employees who have had close contact (within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone suspected of or confirmed COVID-19 case do not need to quarantine, but should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they do not have symptoms. They should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. If their test result is positive or they develop symptoms, they should isolate for 10 days. Personnel should refer to the latest CDC guidance on quarantine and isolation for additional information.
When providing information to the workforce on confirmed COVID-19 cases or vaccination status, the Department balances the privacy rights of the individual diagnosed with COVID-19 with the need to openly communicate with the workforce. All medical information collected from personnel, including vaccination attestation, test results and any other information obtained as a result of testing and symptom monitoring, is treated confidentially in accordance with applicable law, and accessible only by those with a need to know in order to protect the health and safety of personnel. The DOE COVID-19 Hotline Response Team directs all questions relating to personal medical data to an appropriate point of contact.
Generally, in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, and with privacy laws, managers and supervisors may not specifically disclose the identity of an individual who has or may have COVID-19 or provide information, such as the specific location of the individual’s workstation, which will allow other employees to identify the individual. Supervisors may ask the individual for consent to share their identity information with those whom they have been in close contact. Even if an individual consents to such disclosure, identifying information is only to be provided to those who have a need to know.
Additionally, managers and supervisors may not specifically disclose the vaccination status of individuals unless there is a need to know. In general, managers and supervisors should make modifications to travel, work schedules, and operations in accordance with CDC and OSHA guidelines without singling out specific individuals. Managers and supervisors should only disseminate information to the appropriate DOE officials who have a need to know to ensure effective implementation of the safety protocols.
The COVID-19 Hotline Response Team or the site individuals who are performing contact tracing will work with managers and supervisors to verbally (vice email) notify coworkers who may have been in close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 to provide these employees more information to help when monitoring themselves for signs or symptoms and quarantining themselves, if appropriate. Again, the information provided about any individual’s health should be minimized as much as possible.
In accordance with the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, and consistent with guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, fully vaccinated Federal employees, contractors, and visitors entering or working inside or on the grounds of a DOE site/facility are not required to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet in DOE buildings or in DOE leased spaces, except where called for by Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
Federal employees, contractors, and visitors entering or working at a DOE site/facility who are not fully vaccinated are required to always maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, consistent with CDC guidelines, including in offices, conference rooms, and all other indoor communal areas and workspaces. This is in addition to wearing a mask, where required.
Operator aids such as floor markings, one-way walkways, reconfiguration of workspaces or office assignments, and other mitigation strategies may be implemented to minimize interactions. If work is being conducted outside, personnel can be closer than six feet if all personnel required to wear masks are wearing masks or if personnel are in respiratory protection equipment (e.g., respirator, air-feed hood).
Enhanced cleaning in common use/high touch/high density spaces, such as lobbies, restrooms, elevators, and stairwells will continue to be performed. Office space that is in regular use will be cleaned regularly, and in accordance with CDC guidelines. Wipes, gloves, and EPA-approved disinfectants will continue to be made available for individuals to wipe down their workstation and related personal property. Physical barriers such as plexiglass shields may continue to be used where appropriate.
In accordance with CDC and General Services Administration guidelines, if a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been in a facility within the last 24 hours, the spaces occupied by that person should be cleaned and disinfected. If more than 24 hours has passed since the person has been in the space, cleaning is sufficient. If more than 3 days have passed since the person was in the space, no additional cleaning is necessary. Judgment should be used in identifying the appropriate scope of the cleaning and in cleaning industrial and radiological work areas.
Site/Facility Workplace Safety Plans must ensure procedures and process are in place that determine the scope of any workplace or area closures related to cleaning and disinfecting requirements.
Hand sanitizer stations will continue to be available at building entrances and throughout workspaces, and must contain hand sanitizing solution, with at least 60 percent alcohol and be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). DOE sites should ensure that the hand sanitizer is not on the FDA’s do not use list.
Personnel are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer or alcoholbased hand rubs frequently. To reinforce the importance of hygiene, signage is required at all DOE sites/facilities if not already posted.
Each Site/Facility plan must have procedures and processes for disinfecting shared tools, equipment, and common work surfaces (e.g., workbenches, laboratory spaces, desks). Disinfectant wipes will continue to be provided by the DOE or the contractor, as appropriate.
Ventilation and Air Filtration
To the maximum extent feasible, and with consideration of current guidance from the CDC, indoor ventilation will be optimized to increase the proportion of outdoor ventilation, improve filtration, and reduce or eliminate recirculation. Where technically practicable, and depending on the availability of funds, continued action will be taken to improve engineering controls such as improving Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filter efficiency ratings and sealing of filters. Space heaters, desk fans and other devices that provide air movement inside a space are to be eliminated to the extent practicable. If needed, work should be relocated to room/buildings with better ventilation characteristics.
Efforts should continue to be made to conduct visits virtually. The requirements for the provision of information about visitors’ vaccination status and testing are addressed in the Vaccinations and COVID- 19 Screening Programs sections of this Framework. These requirements for visitors do not apply to members of the public entering a DOE building or DOE land to obtain a public service or benefit. If those individuals are not fully vaccinated, then they must comply with all relevant CDC guidance, including wearing a mask and physically distancing from other people. DOE sites/facilities should ensure procedures and processes are in place to implement any required visitor controls, including screening, testing, and wearing a mask if required.
DOE Federal employees will be treated as visitors during their visit to another agency and will be asked to provide information about their vaccination status and follow applicable protocols. DOE Federal employees should keep the disclosure form with them during their time onsite at the other agency. Likewise, other Federal employees will be treated as visitors during their visit to a DOE facility, unless they are detailed to the Department.
Meetings, Events, and Conferences
For any DOE-hosted in-person meeting, conference, or event that will be attended by more than 50 participants—regardless of whether participants include members of the public—HDEs must seek approval of the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the DOE COVID-19 Coordination Team.
In-person attendees at any meetings, conferences, and events hosted by DOE (including advisory committees or those hosted by Special Government Employees), regardless of size, must attest to vaccination status. In requesting this information, DOE will comply with any applicable Federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act. In-person attendees who are not fully vaccinated or decline to provide information about their vaccination status must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the previous three days and comply with masking and physical distancing requirements for individuals who are not fully vaccinated consistent with the requirements for visitors in the Face Masks and Physical Distancing sections of this Framework. In-person attendees in areas of “high” or “substantial” transmission must wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.
Assessments will continue to be performed to determine the safe occupancy level of elevators to ensure social distancing, and signage detailing the requirements will be posted near the entrances. Individuals who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks in elevators and in elevator lobbies. The use of stairs by those who are physically able is strongly encouraged. Signage has been posted to explain current procedures.
Assessments will continue to be performed to determine the safe occupancy level of shared spaces such as elevators, conference rooms, auditoriums, and cafeterias and the requirements will be posted near the entrances. Other visual markers will be installed to promote physical distancing within common spaces, and furniture should be removed.
DOE COVID-19 Hotline Response Team
The DOE COVID-19 Hotline Response Team protocols will be used across the DOE complex for handling reports of COVID-like symptoms and confirmed cases. Field sites will be responsible for following established DOE-wide protocols, and where applicable, managing the site/facility cases, and providing recommendations to site staff. These field sites will report the status of their confirmed cases and the health of their onsite personnel to the DOE COVID-19 Hotline Response Team.
For DOE HQ, the COVID-19 Hotline Response Team will triage potential cases and follow up on cases. The COVID-19 Hotline is available for reporting cases as well as for answering questions. The COVID-19 Hotline can be reached by calling 202-586-2683 (202-586-COVD) or by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox at COVIDemail@example.com. Emails with personal information should be sent using Entrust.