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Message From The NASA Administrator: March 24 Update on Agency Response to Coronavirus

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear NASA family,
 
Our nation is fighting an invisible enemy – coronavirus (COVID-19). NASA is implementing important measures across the agency to do our part to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our communities. To continue NASA’s inspiring mission, the safety of our workforce is our top priority. We will not ask employees and contractors to perform work if we do not have the highest confidence that it is safe to do so.
 
Mission-Essential Work
Last week, NASA leadership completed the first agencywide assessment of what work can be performed remotely by employees at home, mission-essential work that must be performed on-site, and on-site work that will be paused. You can find the release here
 
We are working closely with center directors, contractors and our partners to analyze this evolving situation to ensure we are taking the right steps for our   workforce. 
 
What We Can Do
Each of us has the important responsibility of taking extra precautions to protect ourselves and our team.  If you are performing on-site work and feel sick, do not go to work. Contact your supervisor immediately and schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. 
 
For more than six decades, NASA has used its expertise to take on challenges that have benefited people worldwide in unexpected ways. Leadership across the agency is looking at how we can use our unmatched expertise and capabilities to help in the national response to COVID-19. We are coordinating an agencywide effort to see how NASA can help and we will be providing more details in the days to come.  
 
Changes at Centers
Following local, state and federal guidance, and taking into account local conditions, we have moved the following centers and facilities to Stage 4 of NASA’s Response Framework

·        Glenn Research Center in Ohio
·        Plum Brook Station in Ohio
·        Armstrong Flight Research Facility in California
·        Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia
·        Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York
·        Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who also reported its first case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19. 
 
Two facilities will remain at Stage 4 after reporting new coronavirus cases, Michoud Assembly Facility reporting its first employee testing positive for COVID-19, and Stennis Space Center recording a second case of a member of the NASA family with the virus. Kennedy Space Center will remain at stage 3, one member of the workforce that has tested positive but given our mandatory telework policy the individual had not been on sight for over a week prior to symptoms. For an updated list of the status of each of NASA’s facilities visit NASA People
 
At Stage 4, mandatory telework is in effect for all personnel, with the exception of limited personnel required for mission-essential work and to maintain the safety and security of the center. 
 
NASA leadership continues to monitor developments around the nation and follow the guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and state health officials in order to keep the NASA community safe. If at any point, as was demonstrated many times last week, we do not feel comfortable with the work conditions, we will not hesitate to temporarily suspend work. Mission-essential work is routinely reevaluated to determine if there is not another way to safely complete the work. 
 
Ask the Administrator

This week, I will be joined by Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk to answer your questions on NASA’s response to COVID-19 during a recorded Q&A. We’ve collected your submitted questions for the “March 25 Ask the Administrator” event, and you’ll get an email Wednesday, March 25, letting you know when the video is available and where to watch it.
 
Your resilience and determination to continue the mission during this unprecedented challenge is worthy of our nation’s gratitude. I am grateful to be a part of this tremendous team as we navigate this difficult time together.
 
Ad astra,
Jim
 
 
Helpful Links:
·        NASA Guidance: Please continue to check NASA People for resources and updates on the agency’s response to COVID-19. 
·        COVID-19: For more information about COVID-19 please visit the CDC website.
·        Symptom tracker: A guide to help make decisions and seek appropriate care via CDC’s COVID-19 self-checker
·        Rumor Control: To prevent incorrect information from spreading, FEMA has put up a website to help dispel myths about COVID-19.
·        15 Days to Stop the Spread: The White House has provided guidance to Americans on how we can slow the spread of the disease during this critical period. 
 

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