Issue Briefs

Following is guidance from FEMA for federal agencies and other entities in returning to normal operations as Coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted.


Identifying reconstitution considerations assists organizations to develop and coordinate a plan to resume operations. Organizations should determine how to assess the status of personnel, assets and facilities. Organizations should:

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· Begin now by developing a plan and procedures for how operations will be resumed.
Organizations may need to consider a time-phased approach to prepare a facility to be reoccupied. Offices, functions and returning personnel may need to be prioritized or work in staggered shifts.

· Communicate with employees and inform them of the process for returning to work.
Consider providing online training and guidance for employees before returning.

· Coordinate with partners and stakeholders.
Determine what methods will be used to inform employees, customers, vendors and stakeholders that operations are being resumed.

· Identify and implement additional facility maintenance tasks necessary to safely reopen closed buildings.

· Address physical and psychological impacts to personnel through employee and family support plans and other human resource measures.

· Develop an after-action report/improvement plan to note lessons learned and improve plans.

Questions to Consider When Reconstituting Operations

People:

Who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and how they impact our workplace(s)?

Are our human resources policies and processes consistent with public health recommendations and federal/state statutes?

Have we established a priority order of return?

Do new policies regarding sick leave, scheduling, control measures, etc. need to be established and/or continued?

How do we determine employee status and their availability to return?

Have employees been exposed to COVID-19?

How can we protect employees?

Can alternate work arrangements be established for at-risk employees?

Will there be new requirements for returning to work (e.g., employees must be symptom-free)?

How will hiring be conducted?

Have we accounted for a possible resurgence of COVID-19 within our workforce and the community?

Do we have a plan if stricter social distancing policies are enacted?

Can training be conducted virtually, including new hire and new health and safety requirements?

What is the status of childcare and dependent care services to support employees returning to work?

Messaging/Communications:

How and what are we messaging/communicating with our employees, stakeholders, vendors, and customers?

What considerations need to be communicated to employees prior to reopening?

Health and safety measures?

Change in schedule or shifts?

Employee status?

Priority/phased opening?

Requirements for returning to work?

How frequently will messages be disseminated?

What should employees expect when they return to work?

How would we conduct employee accountability?

What should customers/stakeholders expect when we reopen?

Have we coordinated with contractors or vendors about their plans to reopen or how our reopening will impact them?

Facilities:

Who is responsible for ensuring our facilities meet the necessary safety and health guidelines to reopen?

Have we established a priority order for opening multiple facilities or business locations?

Have we identified the health and safety requirements outlined by CDC, HHS, OSHA, etc. specific to our organization?

Can our facilities accommodate any necessary social distancing requirements?

What health and safety assessments need to occur before we can re-enter our primary location?

Will this require contract or vendor support?

Can any necessary facility repairs, updates, or cleaning occur now (during social distancing measures) to prepare for reopening?

How can we reduce our employee exposure to COVID-19?

Have we created a plan to clean and disinfect our frequently touched objects and surfaces per EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19?

Resources/Logistics:

Have we determined which portions, if any, of applicable statutes apply to our organization (e.g. CARES Act, etc.)?

If required or necessary for infection control, do we have the necessary cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for our employees (e.g., masks, gloves, face shields, etc.)?

Has an accounting been done to determine what resources we have on hand, and what resources are required to reopen?

Is our supply chain able to accommodate supporting our logistical requirements in preparation for reopening?

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