As DHS continues to participate in our Nation's efforts to contain the novel Coronavirus, called COVID-19, your health and safety as members of the DHS workforce remain our top priority. I know that with the global situation evolving rapidly, and so many sources of information vying for your attention, you or your loved ones may still have questions. In terms of the virus, how to protect yourselves and your families, and how to be on the lookout for symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 website remains the most authoritative source for these facts. This site is updated frequently and also has travel advice. For example, as of today, with the COVID-19 now present around the globe, the CDC has raised its travel advisory for several more countries to either Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) or Alert Level 2 (Consider Postponing Nonessential Travel). Just like the health advice, the travel advisories are updated frequently; please ensure that you review the CDC travel advisory website before traveling internationally.
If you do travel internationally, please contact your supervisor when you return to discuss telework or leave options if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you went through airport screening upon your return to the United States and were told to self-observe or self-quarantine. Any symptoms during this time should be reported to your local public health department. As always, if you are feeling sick with influenza-like symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing, malaise), regardless of whether you have traveled or not, please request sick leave and stay home for the duration of your illness. An overview of telework and leave options is provided in the DHS HR Guide for Employees: Pandemic Emergency Reference. Please engage with your supervisor to discuss these options or specific concerns you may have.
If you are interested in additional common sense preparations to consider during this time, Ready.gov has information you may wish to review and share with your families. Our Employee Resources site is also a great place to bookmark so you can keep informed about ways to deal with stress or family readiness.
I will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.
Chief Human Capital Officer