Since my last email, the international impacts of COVID-19 have increased significantly. In order for you and your families to stay healthy, I want to provide an update on travel issues and how they might affect you and your work.
At present, the CDC has raised its travel advisory for several more countries to either “Avoid Nonessential Travel” (Warning Level 3) or “Consider Postponing Nonessential Travel” (Alert Level 2). This means that Americans are advised to avoid travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Japan as of now. New countries may be added to the list in the days and weeks to come and with little advance notice. As such, please ensure that you review the CDC travel advisory website before embarking on any international travel.
If you do travel internationally, please know that you may screened for COVID-19 symptoms when you return to the United States. Even if you do not have symptoms at that time, you may be asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days before coming to work. If you come to work and later develop flu-like symptoms, you may be sent home for the duration of the illness. Please talk with your supervisor before you report to work if you have traveled internationally—or someone in your household has—and discuss what should be done to protect yourself, your family, and your colleagues to the greatest extent possible. Both you and your supervisor have flexibilities that can be employed at this time. Please do not be afraid to report symptoms, especially those related to travel. An overview of telework and leave options is provided in the DHS HR Guide for Employees: Pandemic Emergency Reference.
Regardless of the international travel aspect of the virus, the best thing you can do right now is continue to practice good health habits, including washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, covering your cough, avoiding contact with those who are sick, reconsider shaking hands when greeting someone, and if you are feeling sick with influenza-like symptoms, staying home for the duration of your illness. The CDC has an overview video about these items that you can watch.
I will provide additional updates as the COVID-19 situation continues.
Chief Human Capital Officer