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NRAO Coronavirus COVID-19 Response > news > NRAO/GBO update - Fri Apr 17th

NRAO/GBO update - Fri Apr 17th

To all NRAO/GBO employees:

This is the end of week five in Infectious Disease Operating Status (IDOS). The North American NRAO/GBO instruments are all operational. IT systems are performing well. We are planning to remain in IDOS until Monday, June 1st 2020.

We have not received additional reports of NRAO or GBO staff receiving medical care for COVID-19, so that’s good news. Strict physical distancing, monitoring and disinfecting whenever possible your external interactions (necessary shopping, people visits, etc.) remain important. Please contact Jody Bolyard jbolyard@nrao.edu) or me if you need more information regarding COVID-19. If you or family members encounter illness (tested for COVID-19 or not), please let HR know at some point so we can assess overall staff health. As IDOS continues, we are all still adjusting to new styles of working and recreating.

The two-week work period completed last week showed positive trends – more people were able to find ways to work from home, and the number of people unable to record worked hours in any form dropped 10%. In coming weeks, we anticipate distributing documents describing new workplace practices that in the near future will allow people to spend more time at the NRAO facilities and at GBO. Efforts continue to document key areas, essential activities and the personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gloves, suits) that will be needed to accomplish the many support tasks we routinely carry out. More news on our return to the buildings and goals for more maintenance work in coming weeks.

Vacations – though there are plenty of restrictions in terms of traveling widely, it remains just as important that you take time to get away from your work-from-home jobs and meetings, to rest and recreate. Maybe all our “vacation time” is “staycation time” at the moment, but taking that time to pursue personal interests, work on home projects, spend time with people in your biosphere, remains important. People need to take their vacations (and recording them in ETK) now just as much as always. Changing your zoom background to a vacation scene is not taking a vacation.

For people visiting the facilities regularly (skeleton crew) or occasionally – please remember to use a face covering, this is now a requirement. Covering your face is a good practice to adopt when out in public in general at present (e.g. shopping). I believe these new practices in daily life (physical distancing, face covering, hand sterilizing, avoiding community spread) are going to be with us for a long time now, perhaps through the end of the year, and maybe longer. Nationally, we have made progress with “flattening the curve” to avoid overloading medical capabilities (which is critical), but a consequence is… the infection cycles take place over a longer period. We may see a second wave of infections in late summer, as some restrictions lift nationally or regionally. It seems obvious to me that many of the new practices we’re dealing with at present cannot be removed until we’re well past significant active infection phases (first, second or other waves), and long-term observance is certainly our plan for the NRAO/GBO workplace practices we’re developing. You deserve a safe working environment.

My next note will be Wed Apr 22nd. Any staff member with questions, concerns or comments, please contact your supervisor, Department Head, Site Director, or me. As this situation continues, new challenges will emerge and I welcome hearing from you if there is something we can help with, or you have suggestions. The website containing all our COVID support information is: https://info.nrao.edu/covid-19

Tony Beasley