Employees who are not fully vaccinated or those who to decline to provide their vaccination status will be subject to weekly COVID-19 screening testing and will also be subject to any other safety protocols when required based on CDC or other applicable guidance such as wearing a face mask and practice physical distancing.
Employees who are required to enter VACO facilities or employees who do not work at a Federal facility but who interact in person with members of the public as part of their job duties and are not fully vaccinated must comply with the following procedures. According to guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on testing, self-test kits are acceptable as long as the tests are not both self-administered and self-read by the employee. To address these requirements, the employee’s supervisor or designee must observe, either in-person or virtually, the self-administration of the test or the reading of the test result. The following protocols (with the exception of the need to have the test observed) should also be utilized by fully vaccinated employees who are undergoing diagnostic testing (i.e., showing symptoms or exposed to or in close contact to an individual with COVID-19).
- Employees must contact their supervisor with advance notice to obtain a self-test kit.
- Supervisors must notify the VACO Mailroom via e-mail
- (VACOCovidtestkit@va.gov) with at least one day advance notice to request a self-test kit for an employee.
- Employees may pick-up a self-test kit from the VACO mailroom (located in room B-12 in 810 Vermont Avenue) Monday – Friday during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Employees that are not fully vaccinated and are utilizing the screening testing are not permitted to both self-administer the test and self-read the test results according to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force; testing must be observed by the agency. The method of observation is up to the discretion of each Administration / Staff Office.
- Room A-27A in 810 Vermont Avenue will be open and available to conduct testing if so desired by the employee and observer. Upon exiting the elevator on A level, directional signs are posted to A-27A.
- Employees must follow the instructions on the self-test kit and confirm a clear result. If the test kit shows an “unclear result”, the employee shall request another kit from their supervisor and complete another test.
- Employees must immediately advise their supervisor if they receive a “positive” result and should leave the workplace immediately to avoid exposing other occupants to the virus (see section below “Positive test results”).
- Employees may request a reasonable accommodation to testing. A request for reasonable accommodation should be submitted to the reasonable accommodation coordinator.
- Employees who refuse to submit to the COVID-19 testing or other safety protocols when required, absent a reasonable accommodation, will be subject to administrative action up to and including removal from Federal service.
- It is acceptable for an employee to provide their supervisor with results from a third party in lieu of requesting and using a self-test kit obtained from the mailroom. Other methods include 1) in-store or drive-through point-of-care testing such as at pharmacies or 2) swab-testing capabilities that enable an individual to collect the specimen—using a self-collection kit—and drop it off at a designated collection location or ship it to a laboratory. If either of these methods are utilized, the outside source must be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to detect current infection.
- If an employee undergoes COVID-19 testing outside of VA, the employee must speak with their supervisor prior to obtaining a test regarding the amount of time approved to travel to and take the test and any costs that may be reimbursed.
- Supervisors are responsible for informing their employees required to be on-site in VACO about the weekly screening testing requirement.
- Supervisors must ensure weekly testing is conducted when required under CDC and other applicable guidance until such time that the employee has submitted proof that they are fully vaccinated.
- If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to or in contact with an individual with COVID-19, the supervisor will immediately report the incident to their on-duty Administration/Staff Office Watch Officer or designated POC and the organization’s space liaison so cleaning and disinfecting activities may commence immediately. Supervisors should also consult and follow the guidance in the OCHCO Bulletin: Updated Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation and Available Leave Options During COVID-19.
- Supervisors must immediately report to their senior leadership when an employee reports a “positive” result from a COVID-19 test to ensure proper communications is initiated. • Supervisors will track and maintain the date of testing for each employee in LEAF (a VA information technology system). This information must be protected in accordance with the law and agency policy.