NASA employees and contractors will now be required to work remotely, Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Tuesday night. The requirement is in effect across every NASA facility.
The space agency stress tested its telework capabilities earlier this month before the coronavirus pandemic began to worsen across the United States. NASA Ames Research Center in California was forced to mandate remote work a week later after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Here’s the latest statement from NASA Administrator Bridenstine:
Agency leadership continues to monitor developments regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) around the nation. We are closely following the advice of health professionals and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to keep our workforce safe. Implementing best practices early and quickly will increase the likelihoods of better outcomes.
This evening, NASA leadership has decided to elevate all centers and facilities to Stage 3 of NASA’s Response Framework. Effective immediately, all employees and contractors will move to mandatory telework until further notice. Mission-essential personnel will continue to be granted access onsite. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible if you have any questions.
Although a limited amount of employees have tested positive for COVID-19, it is imperative that we take this pre-emptive step to thwart further spreading of the virus among the workforce and our communities. A list of collaboration tools and information supporting telework is available on NASA’s Remote Collaboration Services webpage.
I strongly encourage you and your families to follow all local, state and federal guidelines to stay healthy and to help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website lists many resources available if you need help, specific state health websites can be found here. Additionally, I urge all NASA employees to follow President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, announced yesterday afternoon. You can find these 15 Day guidelines on whitehouse.gov.
Agency leadership will continue to monitor the rapidly-evolving risks COVID-19 poses to our workforce. You should anticipate continued frequent communication from your center director, myself and others. Up-to-date agency announcements and guidelines are available on the NASA People website, please check it often.
NASA’s early and thoughtful actions in coordination with our country’s unified response to this health emergency is an incredible display of national solidarity. Thank you for your vigilance and flexibility. I am confident your diligence and commitment will ensure our mission will continue. Please make certain you are giving the appropriate attention to your health and that of your family.
NASA has published its coronavirus response here.