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Return to Lab and Current JPL Guidance

Updated Jan. 19 with the latest on booster shots and face mask availability: The Lab’s official information page on the process for reopening JPL facilities and offices impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.


Resources


Introduction

We have organized the information below by category: Access to Lab, Lab Entrances and Parking, Safety Protocols, Facilities and Logistics, IT and Personal Equipment, Travel, Time Charging and Human Resources, and Future of Work. Anyone not on the JPL network can find the same information (minus access to linked internal sites) at www.jpl.nasa.gov/stateofthelab/.

Latest updates appear at the top of this page. Find an archive of the Return to Lab Task Force weekly updates here.

We recognize many JPLers are facing unique circumstances. If your situation is not addressed below, please discuss with your supervisor and HR Business Partner or Talent Specialist. You can also submit inquiries about the return to Lab process through AskHR.

This page supersedes the Coronavirus and Current JPL Guidance page, which provided information on the Lab’s pandemic response. The latter remains on JPL Space as a historical record, but is no longer updated. The following guidance will be updated regularly during the transition from mandatory telework to a post-lockdown blend of virtual and on-site work.


Most Recent Updates

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) The Lab will offer Moderna and Pfizer booster shots to JPL personnel at an upcoming clinic in the West Lot on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All eligible, vaccinated personnel are strongly encouraged to receive their booster shot at the clinic if they have not received a booster elsewhere, especially those working on site. More details about the clinic and how to submit evidence of booster immunization in Workday will be forthcoming from HR.

Am I required to wear a mask at all times while indoors?

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) All face coverings worn on Lab must be well-fitting medical-grade masks, surgical masks or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95. Mask supplies are available from General Inventory in B171-107, online or in designated Covid safety supply areas. Individually sourced medical-grade masks are also accepted.

(Updated Aug. 3, 2021) L.A. County Public Health requires all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when working indoors and in shared vehicles. Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking at a seated or stationary location. L.A. County Public Health recommends that all employees who are eating or drinking indoors be spaced at least six feet from other persons.

Will JPL continue to offer weekly Covid-19 testing?

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) Rapid antigen testing is available to all on-site personnel starting Jan. 19 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Only those working on site are eligible for testing, and only if not experiencing symptoms. Self-administered testing is not permitted.

(Updated Jan. 11, 2022) All personnel working on site who are required to test must maintain a testing interval no greater than 72 hours. If you are required to test and do not have a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours, you must obtain a new test before coming to Lab.

(Updated Jan. 5, 2022) On Monday Jan. 3, the Lab began a two-week pilot of rapid antigen testing in place of the molecular testing used to date.

(Updated Dec. 15, 2021) On Monday Jan. 3, JPL will begin a two-week pilot of rapid antigen testing in place of the molecular testing used to date. Rapid antigen testing has become widely accepted and provides results within 30 minutes. Since the testing site is behind the entrance, rapid testing will not be available for same-day access. If you are required to test and do not have a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours, you must obtain a new test before coming to Lab.

After the pilot phase of rapid antigen testing, which is limited to personnel required to test under the vaccination policy, the Lab plans to make testing available to all on-site personnel starting Jan. 19 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On-site Covid testing will not be offered on the following dates during the holiday season: Dec. 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31. As always, JPL will accept test results from outside providers. Please contact your employer-sponsored health plan or your local public health department for information on free testing options.


Access to Lab

When will personnel be allowed on Lab?

Beginning in July 2021, and subject to authorization by NASA, the Lab plans a gradual phased re-opening of JPL facilities, extending through July and into early September. Reopening dates by building will be posted on this FAQ page in the coming weeks.

Since March of 2020, access to the JPL facility has been limited to personnel whose names are listed on a Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) list maintained jointly by JPL Protective Services and the Information and Technology Solutions Directorate (ITSD). Additionally, access to the Lab has been contingent on personnel completing a daily health attestation, either online or in person. Both the MEP and the daily health attestation are expected to remain in effect through the summer.

How will the Lab verify vaccination and testing status upon entrance to Lab?

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) Rapid antigen testing is available to all on-site personnel starting Jan. 19 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Only those working on site are eligible for testing, and only if not experiencing symptoms. Self-administered testing is not permitted.

(Updated Jan. 11, 2022) All personnel working on site who are required to test must maintain a testing interval no greater than 72 hours. If you are required to test and do not have a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours, you must obtain a new test before coming to Lab.

(Updated Oct. 15, 2021) To access Lab, badged personnel can upload their vaccination information in the CLEAR system prior to arriving at the workplace. As an additional option offered in response to feedback received, an employee or badged affiliate can provide one-time proof of vaccination to security officers at the entrances to Lab. CLEAR remains the preferred system for Lab entrance due to the app’s connection with testing providers and ability to verify the status of both JPL employees and affiliates.

(Updated Oct. 7, 2021) JPLers working on site will be required to show proof of their Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test result to gain access starting Thursday, Oct. 7 for Lab, Goldstone, and Table Mountain. For details and directions, see the Oct. 4 email from JPL IT and related website (requires VPN).

Also starting Thursday, Oct. 7, JPL will accept negative Covid-19 tests taken within 96 instead of 72 hours. JPL continues to offer testing on Lab three days a week, and encourages all unvaccinated personnel working on site to take advantage of this service. The Lab recognizes that long weekends and RDO Fridays can make it challenging to maintain a 72-hour testing frequency.

(Updated Sept. 29, 2021) Starting Thursday, Oct. 7, JPL will begin using the CLEAR system at the Lab’s gate entry for checking of vaccination and testing status. All employees and badged affiliates planning to access the Lab starting Oct. 7 will need to download the CLEAR app, enroll, and upload their vaccination or negative result from a test taken within 72 hours. Detailed instructions for setting up your account will come from JPL IT by Oct. 4. In the meantime, you can create your CLEAR account by following the instructions on JPL IT, but please wait to create your Health Pass until you receive the detailed instructions.

(Updated Sept. 23, 2021) Personnel who are working on site are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the CLEAR app in advance of the implementation later this month. You can create an account by following the instructions on JPL IT, but we ask that you not upload any vaccine or test results until we complete the system set-up and provide upload instructions.

(Updated Sept. 8, 2021) JPL has signed a contract with the CLEAR identity platform for the management of vaccine and testing verification. Connecting and testing this third-party system with our gate entry protocols will begin this week, and should be completed prior to the end of the month. Once the system is operational, all personnel (employees and affiliates) coming on Lab will be required to set up accounts on CLEAR. The accounts will connect automatically to badge numbers for rapid screening at the gate. More information and set-up instructions to come shortly.

(Updated Aug. 11, 2021) We continue to move towards our mandatory testing or vaccine verification program. We are working with a third party to set this up, and expect implementation to be complete in early September. We will use the interim period for a soft start of new entrance protocols:

  • Starting Monday, Aug. 16, the attestation status of entering badged employees will be visible to gate officers. All employees and affiliates approved to work on site will continue to be admitted to Lab during this interim period, regardless of how or whether they have attested.
  • Personnel entering without an attestation on file will receive information on the Lab’s Covid-19 testing program, including a request that unvaccinated individuals submit to regular testing. Starting Aug. 16, testing will be available on Lab Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (including RDO). Testing hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Our testing location will move to the West Lot from B301 as of Aug. 16.
  • Once the third-party system is in place in early September, employees and affiliates will be required to provide proof of vaccination or of a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours as a condition of entry to JPL.
What is the status of visitors on Lab?

(Updated Nov. 18, 2021) Visitor access to Lab remains limited to business purposes, including during the holiday season. Tours with family and friends are not permitted at this time. Effective Sept. 20, 2021, all visitors to Lab are required to complete a NASA Certification of Vaccination Attestation Form prior to obtaining a visitor badge. Anyone who does not attest to having been fully vaccinated will be asked to provide proof of having received a negative Covid-19 test from within the previous 72 hours. Visitors who do not attest and cannot satisfy the test requirement, or who decline to respond, will be denied access to Lab.

How will we be notified when we are permitted to return to Lab?

(Updated Sept. 29, 2021) As of Sept. 27, personnel with assigned workspaces in all buildings on Lab are cleared to work on site up to three days a week. We will continue to manage the overall population to remain within the current limit of 35%. On-Lab work remains voluntary at this time. For any questions about returning to your workspace, please reach out to your directorate or division Business Administration Manager (BAM).

(Updated Aug. 31, 2021) The Return to Lab Task Force is proceeding with the gradual, phased, building-by-building repopulation of personnel previously on mandatory telework. The following schedule reflects the timing of buildings planned for voluntary return – subject to relaxation in occupancy requirements by NASA and current conditions:

Target Reopen Dates by Building:

  • July 6: Building 321
  • July 19: Building 301
  • July 26: Buildings 264, 198, 161, 157, 230
  • Aug. 2: Buildings 125, 111, 171, T1706, T1710 and T1716
  • Aug. 9: Buildings 103, 300, 302 and 303
  • Aug. 16: Buildings 156, 180, 238 and 310
  • Aug. 23: Buildings 168, 169, 183, 233 and T1721
  • Aug. 30: Buildings 11, 82, 122, 158, 277, 306, T1719 and T1720
  • Sept. 7: Buildings 190, 200, 201, 202, 241 and 291
  • Sept. 13: Buildings 18, 67, 79, 83, 114, 138, 144, 185, 186 and 298
  • Sept. 27: Remaining buildings

As each building is reopened, personnel with offices in the building will be notified that they are permitted to voluntarily return to on-site work, and their names will be added to the Lab's access control list. All personnel authorized to work on Lab via this access control list receive daily email reminders to complete their daily health attestation if they plan to work onsite that day. The Lab plans to survey returning personnel to each building prior to its initial reopening to understand their return plans so that services for these buildings can be better scheduled.

Once my building is reopened, can I work on Lab whenever I want?

(Updated Jan. 5, 2022) As we are learning from the news and experiencing in our communities, the latest Covid variant is spreading rapidly. The Lab encourages you to work from home when possible and as your job functions allow while we await public health guidance on the duration and impact of this wave.

(Updated June 22, 2021) The Lab is requesting that wherever work conditions permit, personnel who had been teleworking full time limit their on-site presence to 3 days / week on Lab until early September, after which operations will proceed under a new hybrid work policy. This will allow for a more efficient transition as support systems such as ride sharing, cafeteria services and others begin returning to their pre-Covid levels.


Lab Entrances and Parking

When will the East Gate reopen?

Effective July 1, 2021, Protective Services has reopened the East Gate to align with pre-pandemic operations. The gate is open to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians Monday through Friday (excluding RDO) from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Access control protocols at the East Gate are the same as at the Oak Grove entrance.

Can we park in the East Lot?

JPL’s lease with the City of Pasadena for the unpaved East Parking Lot expired on June 30, 2021. By prior agreement, the lease will not be renewed. Personnel with yellow parking hang tags are reassigned to the West Lot effective July 1, 2021. All personnel are expected to park according to their assigned color after this date.

When will ridesharing services resume?

(Updated July 22, 2021) JPL’s onsite “Day Bus” service will resume on Lab starting Monday, Aug. 16. The service will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on normal business days. The bus will travel around the Lab, starting at the B349 parking structure. As with other indoor locations, face masks are required on the bus. For a map and more information, please visit JPL Space.

On-Lab bus service and JPL’s Gold Shuttle Service are expected to resume service later in the summer. Information about the restart of JPL’s other ride-sharing programs will be posted here at a later date. Employees interested in restarting a previous, or establishing a new vanpool, carpool, or transit arrangement may contact JPL’s Rideshare Office at rideshare@jpl.nasa.gov.

The Woodbury shuttle service has been discontinued. Personnel with appointments at the ManTech IT facility on Woodbury will need to make their own transportation arrangements.


Safety Protocols

What are the latest safety guidelines on Lab?

(Updated Oct. 29, 2021) All JPL employees must be fully vaccinated or have an HR-approved medical accommodation or religious exemption by Dec. 8, 2021, per the White House Executive Order and the JPL Mandatory Vaccination Policy. To comply with the policy, all JPL employees, regardless of work location (including those with a telework agreement), must log in to Workday to either upload proof of vaccination, request a medical accommodation, or request a religious exemption. Click on the Vaccinations icon on the Workday homepage and follow the instructions under Covid-19 Vaccination. Please note: This is separate from the on-Lab/facility access requirements—even if you already uploaded your valid vaccination proof to the JPL Health Screening app and/or CLEAR to gain on-Lab/facility access, you also need to upload these documents in Workday.

(Added Aug. 4, 2021)

(Updated Oct. 11, 2021) As shared in Larry James’ all-personnel email on Monday, Oct. 11, effective Dec. 8, 2021, vaccination will be a condition of employment for JPL employees and a requirement for badged affiliates and contractors working for JPL, regardless of whether you work on Lab, at another JPL facility, or elsewhere off site. Visit JPL’s Human Resources site for the JPL Mandatory Vaccination Policy and related FAQs. (Updated Oct. 15, 2021) To allow for vaccination verification and compliance with the policy and required NASA reporting, the Lab will soon ask JPL employees to upload their evidence of vaccination in Workday. Affiliates will follow a separate process. Details to come.

(Updated Sept. 29, 2021) The White House vaccination mandate deadline has been extended to December 8 for federal government contractors. All JPL employees and badged affiliates, whether working on site or remotely, are now required to be fully vaccinated no later than Dec. 8. You must receive your last dose no later than Nov. 23 in order to meet the Dec. 8 deadline.

(Updated Sept. 15, 2021) The White House vaccination mandate for federal agency employees and contractors applies to our workforce. JPL employees and affiliates are required to be fully vaccinated no later than Nov. 22. More information to come regarding compliance, requirements for personnel on approved full-time remote status, and availability of medical and religious exemptions. (Updated Sept. 23, 2021) The White House vaccination mandate applies to all JPL employees and badged affiliates, whether working on-site or remotely. You must receive your last dose no later than Nov. 8 in order to meet the Nov. 22 deadline.

(Updated July 31, 2021) Following the guidance of the White House and public health agencies, and JPL's resolve to protect the safety of our mission-essential personnel and support teams, the Lab will begin a mandatory Covid-19 testing program on Aug. 16 for employees and affiliates who work on site. Personnel who provide proof of vaccination will be exempt from testing. Workday will be updated to allow employees to upload proof of vaccination and receive an automatic waiver from testing. Attestation without evidence of vaccination will not exempt an employee from testing. JPL plans to set up a comparable system for badged affiliates, as well as new access and testing protocols for unbadged affiliates and visitors to Lab. Details and instructions will come out next week or the following.

(Updated July 28, 2021) The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is recommending fully vaccinated people also wear masks in public indoor settings in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

(Updated July 16, 2021) Due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, Los Angeles County is reinstating its mask mandate for all indoor activities, effective 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. JPL will enforce this mandate for any individuals on Lab. All other Covid safety precautions will continue to be in place.

(Updated June 29, 2021) The county’s public health department is recommending as a precautionary measure the wearing of masks indoors in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant. According to the county, fully vaccinated individuals appear to be well-protected from infections with Delta variants, but those with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not as well protected. Covid infections identified in those who are fully vaccinated have been mild illnesses. 

As always, the Lab will continue to follow the latest guidance from NASA, CDC, OSHA, and Cal/OSHA, and align JPL’s policies to the most stringent of these for people whose work requires an on-site presence. Most recently, the state’s workplace safety agency, Cal/OSHA, approved new rules for worksites on June 17, 2021 and we have updated our guidelines accordingly.

Additional safety measures required of all employees working on Lab

  • Complete the one-time online Covid-19 safety training. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all their employees working on site have taken the training.
  • Verify with your supervisor or business administration manager (BAM) that your name has been added to the Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) List.
  • Complete an online health screening before arriving at JPL for each day that you work on Lab.
Am I required to wear a mask at all times while indoors?

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) All face coverings worn on Lab must be well-fitting medical-grade masks, surgical masks or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95. Mask supplies are available from General Inventory in B171-107, online or in designated Covid safety supply areas. Individually sourced medical-grade masks are also accepted.

(Updated Aug. 3, 2021) L.A. County Public Health requires all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks when working indoors and in shared vehicles. Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking at a seated or stationary location. L.A. County Public Health recommends that all employees who are eating or drinking indoors be spaced at least six feet from other persons.

(Updated Aug. 11, 2021) “Face covering” means a surgical mask, a medical procedure mask, a respirator worn voluntarily, or a tightly woven fabric or non-woven material of at least two layers. A face covering has no visible holes or openings and must cover the nose and mouth. A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric. Additional information on face coverings/masks is available from LA County Public Health.

Face coverings including N95 filtering facepiece respirators are available to the JPL community. Use of a properly worn N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95s) is voluntary but is especially encouraged when you are unvaccinated and you are in settings where you are in sustained close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated, especially if you are unvaccinated. Face coverings and N95s are usually available at your area’s designated PPE/COVID Safety Supply Station (check with your Return to Lab Coordinator for location), can be ordered online (http://gi.jpl.nasa.gov) or picked up at General Inventory in B171-107.

Effective June 22, 2021 while working onsite, face coverings are no longer required outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

How do I report someone not following mask protocols?

(Updated Aug. 3, 2021) It’s concerning to the health and safety of people when individuals are not following protocol. The following is an excerpt from OSPO’s Safe at Work document on what you can do:

“If you witness employees or contractors not engaging in these protocols appropriately, assume positive intent and kindly remind them about proper safety procedures. If you do not feel comfortable having this conversation with an employee or contractor, contact your Area Lead and inform them of your concern.”

Your Area Lead may be your Return to Lab Coordinator, Covid Facility Coordinator, or Group Supervisor. Or you may reach out to your OSPO Representative. If you still feel your concerns are not being adequately addressed, you may voice them to the tip line: safeatwork@jpl.nasa.gov.

How do I attest to my vaccination on Workday?

(Updated Nov. 17, 2021) All JPL employees must log in to Workday to upload proof of vaccination. Click on the Vaccinations icon on the Workday homepage and follow the instructions under Covid-19 Vaccination. This requirement supersedes and replaces employee self-attestation of vaccination. Please note: This is separate from the on-Lab/facility access requirements—even if you already uploaded your valid vaccination proof to the JPL Health Screening app and/or CLEAR to gain on-Lab/facility access, you also need to upload these documents in Workday.

(Updated Oct. 29, 2021) All JPL employees must be fully vaccinated or have an HR-approved medical accommodation or religious exemption by Dec. 8, 2021, per the White House Executive Order and the JPL Mandatory Vaccination Policy. To comply with the policy, all JPL employees, regardless of work location (including those with a telework agreement), must log in to Workday to upload proof of vaccination. Click on the Vaccinations icon on the Workday homepage and follow the instructions under Covid-19 Vaccination. Please note: This is separate from the on-Lab/facility access requirements—even if you already uploaded your valid vaccination proof to the JPL Health Screening app and/or CLEAR to gain on-Lab/facility access, you also need to upload these documents in Workday.

To access the attestation form, go to Workday, click on your profile photo or cloud icon, choose “View Profile,” then “Personal,” then “Additional Data.” This one-time manual process is necessary for attestation even if you were vaccinated at a JPL or Caltech clinic. Affiliates must coordinate attestation documentation with their contractor organizations.

As of June 22, 2021 and until further notice, Covid-19 vaccinations are not mandatory nor a requirement for entry to Lab, but are strongly encouraged. (Updated June 30, 2021) Attestation to vaccination also is not required for access to Lab, but individuals who have not attested must follow the safety measures for unvaccinated personnel. (Updated July 27, 2021) JPL’s request for this attestation complies with all legal obligations and JPL will apply the same safeguards to this information as it does to other sensitive employee data.

Do JPL personnel need to complete NASA's request for vaccination certification?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2021) NASA has requested that all of the agency’s employees and contractors complete and submit a Certification of Vaccination Status. This request is separate from JPL’s request for vaccine attestations and upcoming requirement to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing. As NASA contractors, JPL personnel are encouraged to certify their vaccination status with the agency. (Updated Sept. 1, 2021) To complete this mandatory attestation, choose the “employee/contractor” category on the first screen, then “NASA contractor” as employee type. You are not required to enter your badge number.

What if federal, state, or local agencies change their guidance?

Announcements by federal, state, or local agencies must be reconciled by the JPL leadership team. Personnel should not unilaterally alter behavior as a result of these announcements until the Laboratory has issued updated guidance. We anticipate JPL’s safety protocols to be modified and potentially lifted as we move into the fall.

How long will reporting protocols for personnel who have been exposed to Covid-19 remain in place?

Reporting protocols for personnel who contract or have been exposed to someone who has contracted Covid-19 are expected to remain in place until at least Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 along with JPL’s existing incident response protocols. Personnel quarantine instructions will continue to take into account the vaccination status of the persons in question.

Will JPL continue to offer weekly Covid-19 testing?

(Updated Jan. 19, 2022) Rapid antigen testing is available to all on-site personnel starting Jan. 19 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Only those working on site are eligible for testing, and only if not experiencing symptoms. Self-administered testing is not permitted.

(Updated Jan. 11, 2022) All personnel working on site who are required to test must maintain a testing interval no greater than 72 hours. If you are required to test and do not have a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours, you must obtain a new test before coming to Lab.

(Updated Jan. 5, 2022) On Monday Jan. 3, the Lab began a two-week pilot of rapid antigen testing in place of the molecular testing used to date.

(Updated Dec. 15, 2021) On Monday Jan. 3, JPL will begin a two-week pilot of rapid antigen testing in place of the molecular testing used to date. Rapid antigen testing has become widely accepted and provides results within 30 minutes. Since the testing site is behind the entrance, rapid testing will not be available for same-day access. If you are required to test and do not have a negative result from a test taken in the prior 72 hours, you must obtain a new test before coming to Lab.

After the pilot phase of rapid antigen testing, which is limited to personnel required to test under the vaccination policy, the Lab plans to make testing available to all on-site personnel starting Jan. 19 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On-site Covid testing will not be offered on the following dates during the holiday season: Dec. 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31. As always, JPL will accept test results from outside providers. Please contact your employer-sponsored health plan or your local public health department for information on free testing options.

(Updated Nov. 17, 2021) Effective Dec. 8, on-site Covid testing will be limited to personnel with an approved medical accommodation or religious exemption. Elective testing for all personnel working on Lab remains available through Dec. 6 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m., with the exception of Thanksgiving Friday.

(Updated Aug. 11, 2021) Yes, starting Aug. 16, on-site surveillance testing is available on Lab Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (including RDO). Testing hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the West Lot. Testing is also available on request for unvaccinated employees, if you had close-contact Covid-19 exposure or if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms while on Lab. Inform your supervisor or HR business partner immediately.

(Updated July 31, 2021) The Lab will begin a mandatory Covid-19 testing program on Aug. 16 for employees and affiliates who work on site. See the Safety Protocols section for more information with additional details to come.

If an individual tests positive, they will be instructed to isolate according to JPL HR’s Return-to-Work Guidelines and will be contacted by a member of Human Resources for contact tracing and further guidance. Personnel who test positive will not regain access to Lab until they are cleared by HR and meet the guidelines for a return to the work site.

How should I report possible exposure while on Lab?

If you test positive, or if you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been in close contact to an individual who is exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive, inform your supervisor or HR business partner immediately. The Lab’s response team will evaluate your circumstances and err on the side of caution in protecting you and your colleagues.

Unvaccinated employees who work in close proximity to others are encouraged to use the JPL contact tracing app.

The incident response process describes the roles of organizations on Lab involved in gathering relevant facts after an active case has been verified.

Upon confirmation of an active case, JPL Facilities and their contracted janitorial services provider will respond to disinfect the area of concern using the cleaning protocols described in the General and Detailed Cleaning at JPL reference document.

Will JPL still require the current weekly task-by-task project restart approval process?

As the general re-population of Lab personnel commences over the summer, and federal facility occupancy caps are relaxed, the weekly task-by-task project restart approval process will only be required for on-site work that cannot be accomplished within the safety protocols in effect at the time, with a goal of eliminating this approval process no later than the beginning of September.


Facilities and Logistics

As part of the re-opening process, how will JPL handle cleaning and sanitation on Lab?

All buildings at JPL have been deep-cleaned and sanitized to ensure they are ready for occupancy. All restrooms now have touchless faucets, flush valves, hand soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers. 800 motion-activated sanitization stations were added throughout the Lab. Janitorial staff has been increased to manage all janitorial and pest control issues, including daily sanitization of high-touch points.

How is the Lab ensuring adequate ventilation in buildings?

Where possible, buildings have been retrofitted with air filters upgraded to MERV 13 standard to improve air filtration, and/or with ION Needlepoint Systems as part of a plan to reduce pathogens and particles in HVAC systems. HVAC systems are operating for extended hours to improve fresh air circulation.

What about shipping, receiving and transportation?

Shipping, Receiving and Transportation continue to support activities Monday-Friday. Mail deliveries continue Monday-Thursday. Property management support continues Monday-Friday. ADA transportation support is available on a call-in basis. Full-time shuttle bus services are currently targeted to restart by Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

When will the cafes and store reopen?

(Updated July 27, 2021) As of July 6, 2021 Café 167 is operating at 100% indoor seating capacity. As more JPLers return to Lab, a coffee cart and Café 303 will be next in line to reopen. The JPL Store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily. For additional seating, most exterior tables now include partitions.

When will the gyms reopen?

A variety of other common services supporting the JPL community are expected to restart over the summer. No date has been set at this time for reopening gyms or restarting fitness classes.


IT and Personal Equipment

How can I receive IT support once I return to Lab?

(Updated Sept. 23, 2021) IT Support Technicians are available and ready to assist users in-person with hardware and system issues at the Tech Café/Hub (111-104). At this time, they are not able to assist with new system /device set-ups. To schedule an appointment for Tech Café support, visit the JPL IT Catalog's Self-Scheduling tile. The JPL Service Desk is also available 24/7 by calling 4-HELP (818-354-4357). For more detailed IT Support information, including hours and appointments, Wi-Fi troubleshooting, connecting to a network printer, and registering your MAC address, please visit JPLIT. You may also download the Return to Lab IT Support flyer to post in your workspace and share with your colleagues.

How do I request assistance with bringing my equipment back to Lab?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2021) If you need assistance with moving equipment, including your chair, from your vehicle back to your office, you will need to submit a Move Request and select “Return to On-Site Work” as the move type. This will generate an email that will be sent to Corovan to help facilitate the move. ManTech will follow-up to see if assistance with set-up is needed. Personnel planning to participate in the voluntary reopening during the summer and who plan to continue to routinely telework should consider whether they will need to order additional IT equipment needed to enable them to work efficiently from home or the office (e.g., additional monitor, keyboard, peripheral). However, we strongly encourage personnel to wait to order until they have returned to Lab for a period of time and determined what is needed for optimal work. Additional information on the ordering process will be provided on an FAQ page to follow.


Travel

What is the latest travel guidance?

(Updated Nov. 17, 2021) For guidance on when to return to work on Lab after Covid-19 exposure, please see JPL HR’s Return-to-Work Guidelines. For the latest travel guidance, please see JPL’s new Travel Guidance document.

(Updated Aug. 25, 2021) For guidance on when to return to work on Lab due to Covid-19 or travel, please see JPL HR’s Return-to-Work Guidelines.

(Updated July 13, 2021) As part of the transition to Stage 2, domestic non-essential travel, such as conference travel, is now authorized. Approval and forecasting for JPL travel has reverted to the Lab’s pre-pandemic process, except for the addition of a one-time Covid Prevention for Travelers Safe Work Practice (SWP) training. All prospective travelers will need to complete the short training via the Lab’s Learning Management System (LMS) before submitting a travel request. For domestic trips, employees will no longer be required to develop a travel plan, request a safety review or obtain senior leadership approval.

(Updated July 6, 2021) Currently, only essential travel for JPL’s ongoing project and research activities is authorized. Non-essential travel, such as conference travel, is not presently authorized. Forecasting for conference travel after Sept. 7, 2021 is permitted. Travel approval for these conferences will be evaluated when the travel request is submitted. Effective as of June 14, 2021, approval and the process for JPL essential business travel (defined above) will revert to the Lab’s pre-Covid process, except for the addition of a one-time Covid Prevention for Travelers Safe Work Practice (SWP) training (i.e. temporary COVID travel practice requiring Director for approval of all travel is rescinded). All prospective travelers will need to complete the short training via the Lab’s Learning Management System (LMS) before submitting a travel request. Employees will no longer be required to develop a travel plan, request a safety review or obtain senior leadership approval.

Which vaccines are acceptable for visitors to JPL?

(Updated Oct. 15, 2021) Per the NASA OCHMO, the following ‘WHO and FDA Covid-19 Vaccines Authorized for Emergency Use or Approved’ are currently accepted by the U.S.: 

  • Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca/CovidShield, Sinopham and Sinovac

Sputnik and Novavax are not approved vaccines in the U.S.


Time Charging and Human Resources

What is the latest with the administrative leave charging guidance?

Since March of 2020, JPL has adapted policies for the use of administrative leave related to employees who are unable to complete all or some of their regularly scheduled hours due to Covid-related concerns. As the Lab completes the process of returning to our new normal operating procedures, use of Administrative Leave for Covid-related concerns will phase out gradually between now and Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Employees with Covid-related or other medical issues that may require consideration of a workplace accommodation beyond that date should contact the Medical Leave Unit in HR.


Future of Work

What is JPL's new telework policy, and when does it take effect?

(Updated Dec. 15, 2021) In a message to all personnel on Dec. 15, 2021, Sammy Kayali, chair of Return to Lab Task Force, stated that given the current state of Covid case counts in the Los Angeles County area, JPL will maintain its current on-site work posture and does not anticipate a widespread return to Lab until late winter/early spring at the earliest. Before recalling the workforce, the Lab would need to see a sustained drop in cases in Los Angeles County and an encouraging outlook for the lifting of social restrictions. JPL will provide ample notice before recalling the workforce. JPL has been open since September to all personnel who wish to work on site in compliance with current Lab safety protocols.

(Updated Nov. 2, 2021) In a message to all personnel on Nov. 2, 2021, Interim Director Larry James stated JPL expects to continue mandatory telework through Jan. 10 at a minimum. Once the Lab does start to return, the process will be gradual, coordinated with NASA, and mindful of local health and safety conditions. Personnel will be given at least 30 days’ notice before putting into place our recently adopted telework policy.

(Updated Aug. 11, 2021) Employees can now log into Workday and enter their telework agreement requests, which are due by Sept. 7. From the Workday home page, click the article under Announcements for details. The Voluntary Telework Policy and related materials are available on the HR Site. For any questions, please contact your HRBP, Talent Specialist, or AskHR via the Telework AskHR Portal or by calling (818) 354-4447.

(Updated July 31, 2021) In a message to all personnel on July 30, 2021, Deputy Director Larry James stated a return to Lab would be postponed from Sept. 7 to a date to be announced at a later time. JPL will continue to monitor conditions and provide everyone adequate notice before starting to recall our workforce.

(Updated July 27, 2021) The Voluntary Telework Policy is now accessible on the HR site. Managers should continue to have conversations with each of their direct reports to understand personal telework preferences and needs. Official telework agreements will be recorded in Workday, and guidance for this step is forthcoming.

Since November of 2020, the JPL Future Telework Guidelines Committee has been working to develop a new voluntary telework policy for JPL employees—one that considers the positive outcomes achieved during our year plus of mandatory telework, and at the same time, seeks ways to strike a balance that will encourage individual flexibility for our employees while sustaining regular face-to-face interaction. The Committee intends to approach this journey of change in a measured way: the primary goals are to preserve JPL’s tradition of excellence and set up the Lab to fulfill our ever-ambitious commitments to our customers.

The Committee has conducted surveys and focus groups to gather inputs throughout this process. The details of this policy will be published in the summer of 2021, with the policy expected to take effect Sept. 7, 2021.

Which telework agreement meets the LCUSD eligibility requirement?

(Updated Sept. 20, 2021) To meet the La Canada Unified School District (LCUSD) requirements, an employee, if Voluntarily Teleworking, can only select a General Telework Agreement with 1 day teleworking so that 32 hours of work will be performed on site at JPL during each work week. Each work week is based on a 40 hour payroll week for employees working either 5/40 or 9/80 schedules. Any other Telework choice: General Telework 2 days, Primary Telework, or Remote Telework would not qualify for LCUSD requirements. For employees on either 5/40 or 9/80 schedules, the 40 hour work week is based on payroll hours per week. Employees who wish to change their telework agreements in Workday should inform their supervisors. 

Will JPL employees have flexibility in teleworking?

It is expected that many employees will continue to telework a few days of the week. For those who would like to move to or remain on a telework schedule that involves primarily working away from the Lab, a formal agreement will continue to be required, as was the case before last March. As part of the roll-out of these new policies, JPL managers will receive additional guidance and training to ensure telework agreement requests receive thoughtful and equitable consideration in the approval process.

JPLers learned over the last year how to communicate when most participants are remote, but learning how to communicate in a “hybrid” configuration will be a new challenge. The Lab will need to make additional investments in conference room technology and equipment, and have started that process. Technology alone, however, is unlikely to solve all these challenges, and new meeting practices and protocols will likely be required.

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