Jefferson Lab Returns to MEDCON 3

Dear colleagues,
We are excited to announce that the lab will return to MEDCON 3 status on Monday, March 14, 2022, as previously mentioned in the MEDCON Level Update announcement released last week.
Please find revision 10 of the TJNAF COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan (formerly known as the TJNAF Resumption of On-Site Operations Plan) here.
Revisions to this plan include changes made as a result of the new guidance from the CDC, DOE and the substantial decline in COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 related hospital admissions and hospital bed occupancy in our region. These changes reflect that while the risk of COVID-19 has subsided in recent months, there are still some health risks the lab needs to mitigate to keep our lab community safe.
This reduction in MEDCON levels moves the laboratory to more “normal” operations and relaxes many of the controls that have been previously implemented, while leaving some controls in place until the risk to the lab is minimal. 
Some notable revisions to TJNAF COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan include:

  • Face coverings are no longer required when working on-site regardless of vaccination status except for work deemed “close quarters.” Close quarters is defined as working less than three feet from another person. 
  • Social distancing is no longer required, as long as the lab remains in the “low” or “medium” range.
  • Testing is not required for unvaccinated or accommodated staff when the community level is in the “low” range. It will be reinstated if the level rises to “medium” or “high.” On-site testing will remain available on an appointment basis.
  • Daily “health certification” are still required for all staff entering the site.
  • Individuals working on campus may choose to continue wearing face coverings if that is their personal preference.

The CDC has adopted a more composite metric to evaluate the relative risk of COVID-19 in the surrounding area. This metric termed “Community Level and Indicators” replaces the old measurement of community transmission, and reflects a shift from eliminating COVID-19 transmission to more relevant metrics given current levels of population immunity and tools available. 

These metrics consider current levels of population immunity to reduce risk of severe outcomes, such as:

  • High rates of vaccination. 
  • Availability of boosters and booster coverage among populations at risk.
  • For those who are unvaccinated, high rates of infection-induced protection. 
  • Broad access to vaccines, therapeutics and testing.

The figure below lays out the risk matrix for the “Community Levels and Indicators.” Jefferson Lab has been in the “low” range since February and the individual indicators are continuing to decline.

The hazard control measures described in the latest version of this plan follow current best practices from public health authorities. The lab will revise this plan as needed, and readers should always verify they have the latest version.

Plans to distribute the hybrid work plan are forthcoming. With the transition to MEDCON 3, the DOE maximum telework guidance for lab operations has been lifted. This means that if you would like to return to work on-site beginning Monday, March 14, you may do so; however on-site work is not mandatory at this time unless required by your supervisor. 

For questions, please contact your supervisor or me directly
Thank you for everything you have done to ensure a smooth transition back to campus.
Steven Hoey
ES&H Director