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NRAO Coronavirus COVID-19 Response > news > NRAO/GBO update - Mon Apr 13th

NRAO/GBO update - Mon Apr 13th

To all NRAO/GBO employees: 

Welcome to week five in Infectious Disease Operating Status (IDOS). The North American NRAO/GBO instruments are  operational. IT systems are performing well.  We are planning to remain in IDOS until Monday, June 1st 2020. The GBT is returning to service after lightning damage late last week, but should be ok tomorrow.

We continue to hear of a few staff members or family experiencing COVID symptoms, generally without any test results available. Nationally, states and cities are continuing to see many cases, but there are signs nationally that physical distancing is working, and the number of new cases is stabilizing. It remains imperative that you continue to practice strict physical distancing, monitor and disinfect whenever possible your external interactions (necessary shopping, people visits, etc.) and carefully consider your personal role in halting the spread of the virus. 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.

This week we are going to begin installing new procedures for accessing our facilities – in particular, we will be requiring people to wear face coverings when working in our facilities, even during short visits. The CDC and some states are requiring this in situations where physical distancing can be problematic. Jody will be sending out a note to all employees tomorrow or Wednesday. Covering your face is a good practice to adopt when out in public in general at present (e.g. shopping), and doing it in the workplace makes sense. This new guideline is for simple access to the building – so the details for the skeleton screw, including telescope operators, may be different (your supervisors will let you know). Adopting face coverings in the NRAO/GBO buildings is the first of several changes we’ll be installing to create a safe working environment for everyone as we return to normal operations in coming months.  

We may be seeing the worst of the COVID situation here in the major cities this week. Within a month, the situation may ease in many parts of the US and we will all start thinking about getting back to normal. It’s going to be a long road back, with some parts of it (like physical distancing, avoiding community spread) remaining very important for many months to come. We have been working on ways to bring back full Observatory operations and workforce for both NRAO and GBO, and I’m confident we’ll be successful in doing that.  

My next note will be Fri Apr 17th.  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