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UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for JSC


Center Management |
March 26, 2020

Update: March 26:

JSC's Center Leadership continues to work closely with NASA Headquarters and members of the JSC and White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) communities. The safety and well-being of our employees, families and community is of utmost importance. As the situation continues to evolve, we want to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available. (Please bear in mind that the answers are not always straightforward.) Below are the latest resources and guidance from the center: 

  • JSC and WSTF are open and at Stage 3 of the Agency's framework response, with only mission-essential personnel whose duties cannot be done remotely going in to work at JSC, WSTF or our contractor facilities.
  • NASA employees and contractors may use their Personal Identity Verification (PIV) badges as proof of NASA and NASA contractor employment, if travel is questioned by local authorities. Click here for United State Attorney General memo.
  • JSC employees preforming essential tasks who live in Harris, Galveston or surrounding counties are part of the Harris Country essential business exemption, which includes NASA. WSTF employees preforming essential tasks are considered part of the stay at home order in New Mexico, which includes laboratories and defense and national-security-related operations supporting the U.S. government or a contractor to the United States.  
  • There is center guidance on COVID-19 reporting, self-quarantining, isolation, social distancing, travel and return to work in accordance with CDC guidelines. You can find it here.
  • You can find the town hall with Director Mark Geyer, Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche and JSC Medical Officer Dr. Terry Taddeo here.
  • JSC's Employee Assistance Program is here to help if you're having difficulty coping during this time. You can also call them at 281-483-6130.

 As always, visit NASA People and JSCSOS and the Roundup for the latest information.

Update: March 24

Director Mark Geyer and the leadership team addressed questions submitted by JSC employees about JSC's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the recorded Town Hall here.

Update: March 22

In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Center Director Mark Geyer, Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche and JSC Medical Officer Dr. Terry Taddeo will record a JSC All Hands Town Hall to discuss the status of the center, steps that have been taken under Stage 3 and the importance of working safely from home or onsite. The recorded Town Hall will be posted to Roundup on Tuesday, March 24, in the afternoon.

Employees are invited to submit questions for consideration HERE prior to 2 p.m. on Monday, March 23. Questions will be reviewed and considered for responses either during the recorded program or to be answered and posted to Roundup. 

Unfortunately, due to the worldwide demand of the teleconference phone lines, employees will be unable to join live. Check Roundup on Tuesday afternoon to view the recorded program.

Our thoughts are with the entire JSC team during this challenging time. We wish you both health and safety.

Update: March 17

JSC Center Leadership is continuing to work closely with NASA Headquarters and members of the JSC and White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) communities. There are still no confirmed cases at JSC as of March 17; but, given the most recent information about the virus nationwide and in accordance with President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread, JSC and WSTF will be stepping up to Stage 3 of the agency's response framework as of March 18. 

This means:

  • NASA facilities are under mandatory telework effective March 18 until further notice.
  • Mission-essential and non-mission-essential personnel must telework unless their position requires them to be on-site.
  • Mission-essential civil servants and contractors required to be on-site will be informed by their supervisor and contract program mangers respectively. 
  • Travel is restricted to mission-essential only. Civil servant travel requires Center Director approval. Contractor travel is at the direction of their program manager.
  • All personnel are encouraged to stay in close communication with your supervisor during this period.

Note That On-site:

  • The JSC Child Care Center is closed in Stage 3.
  • Building 3 and 11 cafeterias are closed. 
  • Clinic is open for emergency medical services only.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning in mission-essential buildings to include cleaning of interior entrances, handrails, door handles, elevators, conference rooms, water fountains, break rooms and bathrooms. 
  • Personnel are reminded to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol and avoid touching your face.

Information Resources Directorate (IRD) resources while teleworking:

  • The IRD help desk is available. You can call 281-483-4800 to get help with computer issues
  • You can also go to the Information Resources Directorate telecommuting web page, which has helpful resources.

  • There are options for folks who have desktop computers to take those computers home with you after this has been approved by your supervisor using a new process.
  • If your government computer is damaged while on telework, report it immediately to IRD just as you would if you were working on-site.
  • A list of collaboration tools and information on VPN are available online.

Safety while teleworking:

  • Working safely is important wherever you work! 
  • Employees on telework are covered by Workers Compensation, just like while working on travel.
  • This means if you are injured or develop an illness like carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to report it to your supervisor, who needs to treat the report as a mishap.
  • You must work as safely at home as you do at work, including setting up your home workstation ergonomically just like their workstation should be.
  • There is good information in Chapter 5 of the Safety and Health Handbook (JPR 1700.1).

If you're having difficulty during this time, please speak with your supervisor or connect with our Employee Assistance Program

The status of the center will be updated regularly and communicated to all employees

As always, visit NASA People and JSCSOS and the Roundup for the latest information.

Update: March 16

As the center continues to operate under Stage 2 of the NASA Response Framework, here are some reminders and helpful tips to ensure the safety of the team and the effective continuation of the mission.

Site Access

During Stage 2 of the NASA Response Framework, the center is encouraging telework and trying to limit on-site access. The only people permitted to be on-site during this phase are employees and mission-essential visitors. This means that personal visitors and children cannot be on-site during this time.

The center understands that local school districts are closed and asks that you please work with your supervisor on the availability of remote work options in order to navigate child care during this time.

Virtual Meetings

Due to an extremely high demand of NASA's teleconferencing system, some users are receiving a busy signal when dialing the toll-free number (1-844-467-6272). If you are experiencing this issue, we recommend that you utilize one of the following options to minimize the impact to your work.

  • Use the toll number to join your meeting: 720-259-6462 (and enter your meeting passcode).
  • Use the calling capability in Microsoft Teams.
  • Use the "call me" function in Webex Meeting Center if your meeting will be held within Webex.
  • If your meeting is with one other participant, call them directly.

Starport Services

  • The Gilruth Center closed effective Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. This includes the fitness center, league play, reservations and all other activities at the Gilruth.
  • Building 3 café will provide reduced food-service options (operational status will be re-evaluated if center moves to Stage 3).
  • Building 11 food vendors and food trucks are suspended. 
  • Buildings 3 and 11 gift shops are closed. 

Update: March 14

The protection and care of the Johnson team is our top priority and critical to the success of our mission.

While we do not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at Johnson as of today, March 14, out of an abundance of caution, the center is transitioning to Stage 2 of our response framework.

Telework is strongly encouraged for employees who can work remotely. If you already have everything you need to work remotely, you can begin telework on Monday, March 16. If not, you can come to the center on Monday for a brief period to get your laptop computer, power cord, and any other equipment you need to work effectively from an alternate location, as well as essential personal items you may need. More information on leave and telework is available on the NASA People website. A list of collaboration tools and information on VPN are available online.

You are encouraged to limit travel that is not mission-essential, as defined in the response framework.

Maintain frequent contact with your supervisor throughout this period. We will continue to assess the situation and update the status of the center, and its facilities, as needed. 

Stay healthy and safe, and please continue to consult NASA People for the most current guidance on NASA’s response to the coronavirus.

Please check your email for a message from the Center Director.

Update: March 13  

JSC's Center Leadership is working closely with NASA Headquarters and members of the JSC and White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) communities to monitor the progression of COVID-19 in the Houston and Las Cruces areas to reduce its impact to our local workforce and facilities. To keep you informed during this ever-evolving situation, JSC's latest status is below for your awareness and governance.

Travel

  • Employees or visitors who have traveled to (or had a layover in) the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Iran and China within the last two weeks will be denied access to NASA facilities until they have completed 14 days (from the date of return to the U.S.) self-quarantine and have remained symptom-free. Please notify your supervisor.

  • If a JSC employee, or someone who lives with a JSC employee, has come in close proximity with someone returning from the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Iran, or China (for personal or business travel), please follow CDC guidelines, notify your supervisor and complete a 14-day self-quarantine period to monitor for symptoms. This observation period may include telework and/or administrative leave.

  • This situation is dynamic, and a potential exists that travelers may find themselves in self-quarantine away from home. Traveling with additional medication is recommended, and changes to travel or the status of the site they are visiting is possible.

 

Teleworking

  • JSC is open and not operating under a mandatory telework order, as stated in the HRMES message sent out this afternoon with agency leave guidance and JSC/WSTF-specific information.

  • We recognize that telework for eligible employees may ease the burden of school closures.

  • Telework is subject to supervisory approval, and employees should coordinate with their supervisors since mission-essential functions must continue to be performed.

  • Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible to the extent possible by allowing employees to telework and/or take leave if needed due to school closures and family care.

  • There is a mandatory Telework Simulation planned for Tuesday, March 17. All non-mission-critical personnel are expected to participate.  Please contact your supervisor if you have questions.

 

Center Access/Tours

  • Building 21 has been added to the list of buildings where access is limited to those who have official business in the facility. The complete list is: Buildings 5, 9, 21, 30, the NBL and Ellington Field.

  • We are implementing a mandatory restriction of no children in any building on-site, including the café. This is to protect families as well as employees.

  • No tours of Buildings 5, 21, 30 or Ellington Field.

  • No floor access to Building 9 and the deck of the NBL will be allowed until further notice. Tours may continue on the catwalk.

  • No Escort-Required Visitor Badge (ERVB) or employee-led "official visitor with wristband" tours in offices, the cafés or any of the restricted buildings listed above.

  • ERVB tours, wristband tours, Center Director guests and Space Center Houston guests are only allowed to visit the catwalks of Building 9 and the NBL, and the Building 16 SAIL.

 

Thanks for continuing to keep everyone safe by practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.

Stay tuned to jscsos.com for updates, including the latest information, and area updates.



Update: March 11

The Center Leadership Working Group continues to meet twice a week to discuss the dynamic and evolving COVID-19 situation. Based on the status of our community and surrounding areas, our center is proceeding with normal operations, and we are functioning in telework-ready mode. Each day employees must take home computers, chargers and any additional materials necessary for teleworking. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, liberal or mandatory telework may become necessary. Employees should speak with their supervisors or contractor management regarding telework eligibility and resources, such as Information Technology (IT) equipment.

We know you have health questions and concerns, and many of you have reached out to the JSC Clinic. To avoid impacting the JSC Clinic's daily support role, a dedicated email address has been set up for you to submit your COVID -19 related questions: jsc-clinic@mail.nasa.gov. Medical professionals will monitor this inbox to help answer your questions, but please do not use this email, or go to the clinic or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offices, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19. Call your primary care physician or an emergency room.

We realize we're in the midst of spring break; however, we ask that you refrain from bringing your children to work. This step is a precaution to lessen the risk of exposure for everyone on-site and ensure we remain prepared to support the mission. Please work with your individual management to implement alternate solutions to bringing children on-site.   

As a reminder, to protect our employees and our mission of human spaceflight:

  • Access to Buildings 5, 9, 30, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) and Ellington Field are limited to those who have official business in these facilities.
  • No tours of Buildings 5, 30 or Ellington Field.

  • No floor access to Building 9 and the deck of the NBL will be allowed until further notice.

  • No Escort-Required Visitor Badge (ERVB) or employee led "official visitor with wristband" tours in offices or the cafés.

  • ERVB tours, wristband tours, Center Director guests and Space Center Houston guests are only allowed to visit the catwalks of Building 9 and the NBL, as well as the Building 16 SAIL.

  • Rocket Park and Gilruth are available to the public. Employees should take the same precautions in these areas as they would at other public areas.


Update: March 10

Town Hall on Agency Response to Coronavirus

Please join NASA leaders at 11 a.m. CDT today, March 10, for an important update on the measures NASA is taking to protect its workforce and maintain normal operations while we navigate this situation.

During the town hall, agency leaders will provide a status update and discuss health and safety in the workplace, leave and telework policies, travel guidance, and telework technologies available to employees.

How to participate:

View the Town Hall on JSC Cable TV channel 4-2. JSC team members with wired computer network connections can watch using the JSC EZTV IP Network TV System on channel 4522 (HD). Please note: EZTV currently requires using Internet Explorer on a Windows PC or Safari on a Mac. Mobile devices, Wi-Fi, VPN or connections from other centers are currently not supported by EZTV. Questions? Visit the FAQ site.

It will also be streamed online here. Password: Town-Hall-3-10-2020

Or, join via teleconference. Call 888-324-9238 and use passcode: 2162251

How to submit a question:

  • Go to: https://www.nasa.gov/townhall
  • Select Agency Town Hall on the list of events.
  • Enter your center.
  • Click “Ask” or, if your question is already on the list, vote it up the list by clicking the arrow on the left.

Update: March 6

In response to recently identified Coronavirus cases in the Houston area, JSC management is updating the policies regarding all tours and guests on site. The safety of JSC and White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) employees is our top concern. These policies may be revised as the situation develops. A center leadership working group has been formed and will meet twice a week to discuss this dynamic and evolving situation. We are taking these steps as precautions to ensure our workforce is prepared to support the mission.

These changes will be effective March 7, and include:

--Access to Buildings 9 and 30, NBL and Ellington Field are limited to those who have official business in these facilities

--No tours of Building 30 and Ellington Field, and no floor access to Building 9 and the deck of the NBL will be allowed until further notice

--All Escort Required Visitor Badge (ERVB), employee led "official visitor with wristband" tours, Center Director, and Space Center Houston Guests are only allowed to visit the catwalks of B9, NBL and B16 SAIL.

Everyone should be aware that Rocket Park and the Gilruth are available to the public. Employees should take the same precautions in these areas as they would at other public areas.

****

March 4:

NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) management is working with NASA Headquarters to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation as it develops. The safety of JSC and White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) employees is our top concern. A center leadership working group has been formed and will meet twice a week to discuss the dynamic and evolving situation; we are taking appropriate precautions to ensure our workforce is prepared to support the mission. 

As part of those precautions, JSC and WSTF employees and contractors returning from personal travel from one of the countries included in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Level 3 concern, which currently includes China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, will not be allowed onto NASA centers until the 14 days of observation and self-care period has expired, and they are determined not to be infectious. Civil servants impacted by this guidance should consult with their supervisors on telework or alternatively using administrative leave. Contractors should consult with their supervisors. This temporary restriction also applies to JSC and WSTF visitors who are part of official visitor tours, tours for center director guests and friends and family tours using Escort Required Visitor Badges (ERVBs).   

JSC and WSTF are supporting the agency-wide telework day this Friday, March 6. All onsite personnel (civil servants and contractors) are encouraged to participate by taking home government-furnished laptops to test the capabilities of the Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will be utilized in the event that teleworking becomes necessary. While participation is encouraged, the exercise should not interfere with mission critical activities. Contractors should speak with their management to ensure telework guidance is coordinated and approved. If you have not previously used VPN, you should test the capability before leaving the office. For problems connecting through VPN, contact the Helpdesk at 281-483-4800. You can also go to the Information Resources Directorate telecommuting web page, which has helpful resources.

As the CDC recommends, call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling symptomatic, please do not go to or contact the JSC clinic; you should contact your local healthcare professional by phone and they should provide you further guidance. The CDC website has a good list of what to look for.

An Emergency Notification System (ENS) test  message will be sent on Friday. Stay tuned to jscsos.com for updates, including the latest information, FAQs and area updates.

How to stay healthy

  • Practice social distancing
  • Proper hand washing is the number one recommended practice to stay healthy in any environment.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or by coughing and sneezing into your sleeve.
  • Please stay home if you’re sick. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently


Helpful Links

CDC

EAP

Houston Health Department

Harris County

JSC and WSTF Clinics

NASA HR website: Click on the right arrow next to the Brené Brown article to find the information