JLab Implementing MEDCON 5 Precautions Starting Tuesday, March 17 (msg.6)


Posted on behalf of Lab Director, Stuart Henderson

The growing number of COVID19 cases in our region, particularly James City County, requires more aggressive action to protect our employees, their families, our Users, visitors, and the community. At the recommendation of the Jefferson Lab Pandemic Advisory Team we are implementing MEDCON 5 effective today, Monday, March 16.

Given the nature of the national public health emergency, and in the interest of minimizing the risk of coronavirus transmission at Jefferson Lab, we are requiring all staff not engaged in mission essential work that can only be performed here on campus to begin working from home starting as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17.
It is important that you understand we are not closing Jefferson Lab at this time. By applying appropriate controls outlined in this message, members of our team can continue to work on-site safely to complete the experimental run, continue to make progress on the highest priority objectives identified by the Department of Energy, and maintain essential services to support our staff. Simultaneously, many of us will be able to continue to advance our scientific, technical and business objectives by working remotely.  

I am asking all supervisors to review and adjust work schedules and assignments to minimize the number of mission essential workers that need to be on campus. Routine maintenance and upgrades not required to meet mission essential needs should be deferred until we can return to a normal operations tempo. For work that can only be performed on-site, supervisors should consider splitting work into shifts and allowing staff to remain home and on-call if needed to respond to unplanned outages, emergent requirements or staff shortages. In formulating these plans, supervisors must give safety our first priority while recognizing this will be a stressful time for many, and all work should be planned with additional safety margins in terms of time and resources.   

I recognize that remote work will not be possible for some employees, either due to the nature of their work or because of extenuating circumstances, such as dependent care, arising from the public health emergency. Starting tomorrow, March 17, and upon approval by the supervisor, JSA employees unable to work, either at the lab or remotely during any part of their regular work schedule, are authorized to use the newly created Public Health Emergency leave. Employees that are sick and unable to work must continue to use their sick leave. Additional details on time charging during this emergency will be posted separately.

Remote Work During the National Health Emergency

JSA employees must coordinate with their supervisors before transitioning to remote work and both must agree on tasks to be accomplished; tasks must be consistent with the employee’s normal job functions and capabilities, and be realistically achievable remotely. Supervisors with questions about the nature of work that can be performed remotely should contact Human Resources at humanresources@jlab.org.

Employees will use their normal project codes for work performed remotely and follow all time keeping policies. Employees working remotely are expected to be physically present at their home or remote work location and be accessible by phone or email when charging time. Supervisors are encouraged to check in with each staff member on a regular basis.

JSA prefers employees use lab-provided laptops for remote work, but personal equipment may be used if lab provided equipment is not available. JSA will not reimburse employees for home internet service or other incidental expenses related to remote work. Consistent with the lab’s information security policies, employees must continue to ensure the protection of proprietary company, customer, or employee information accessed while working remotely. Steps include, but are not limited to: the use of locked file cabinets and desks; regular password maintenance; and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment. Employees are expected to select remote work locations that meet the same safety and health standards that apply to work here at Jefferson Lab.

Campus Access

Starting tomorrow, March 17, campus access will be limited to JSA employees, subcontractors and Users with JSA picture badges to perform mission essential work that can only be performed on-site. Hosts should notify Users who are not required to be on-site for the experimental program to remain off campus until further notice. SOTRs must coordinate with Procurement on any changes to subcontractor access.
Admission of visitors or guests requires advance approval of the Director and requires health screening by Occupational Medicine before entry.
Anyone having symptoms consistent with a possible coronavirus infection (cold- or flu-like symptoms, but especially fever and cough), should not come to campus, or leave immediately, and seek the advice or care from your personal medical professional.  

Anyone with Campus access, their immediate family members or a close contact who has, or suspects in having, COVID19 must call Occupational Medicine (757-269-7539 or x5585) immediately and establish conditions for returning to campus. Likewise, employees who travel on a commercial aircraft must have Occupational Medicine clearance before returning to campus. Depending on your exposure history and symptoms, Occupational Medicine may direct you to self-quarantine for 14-days before returning to the campus.
Staff Travel
All official business travel, both domestic and international, is cancelled. Do not make reservations for future travel until further notice. Emergency exceptions require advance approval by the Director.
Employees are urged to avoid all personal travel by commercial aircraft and be aware of the potential for new travel restrictions within the United States in coming weeks that may make it difficult to return home in a timely manner. If you undertake personal travel on a commercial aircraft you must call Occupational Medicine for clearance before returning to campus. You may be required to self-quarantine for 14-days symptom free prior to returning to the Jefferson Lab campus, and you should consider this possibility before embarking on personal travel and ensure you have adequate sick leave or vacation to cover a possible quarantine.
On-Site Events, Meetings, and Conferences
All on-site events, meetings and conferences with external participants are cancelled until further notice.
Teleconferences and internal meetings may continue, but only when organizers can ensure adequate social distancing of all on-site participants. That is, on-site meetings must provide at least six feet (6 ft) of separation between attendees.
All on-site student and teacher activities and in person job interviews are cancelled until further notice.
The Quark Café will remain open this week for regular business, but self-serve options will be discontinued. Catering of group activities is discontinued until further notice. The café will remain open at this time; however, we are working with Momo’s to explore Café options for mission essential staff working at the lab after this week.
Additional Information
I recognize there will be many questions about these measures. We are developing a central repository for detailed guidance and answers to FAQs about these measures and the Communications Office will announce those details later today.
Finally, I appreciate all of your efforts as we work together to safely operate Jefferson Lab and to confront these challenging times for our community and nation.