DOD stresses telework, social distancing in COVID-19 guidance

"Management fails its employees and the public by not acting. The Agency is breaching [its duty to protect employees' health] by failing to act in accordance with OPM and CDC direction."

In November, the SSA announced it would end its telework pilot program. Employees' ability to telework has been a cornerstone of ongoing bargaining disputes between unions like AFGE and the federal agencies whose workers they represent.

Congress affected

As of March 9, several lawmakers announced they were self-quarantining themselves, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who was recently on board Air Force One with President Donald Trump, and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who was also in contact with the president. Several Republican lawmakers came into contact with an infected individual at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference in National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

Gaetz has reportedly been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results.

Mark Meadows, who is leaving the House of Representatives to become White House chief of staff also announced he was in contact with an infected individual and is in self-imposed quarantine, reportedly through Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters during a March 9 White House briefing he had not been tested for COVID-19 and that he didn't know whether Trump had been.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Wash.) plans to reintroduce a bill that would allow members of Congress to conduct some business, including attending hearings and voting on measures under suspension of the rules, via teleconference or some other remote measure, according to an Axios report. Swalwell and others have backed similar measures in every session of Congress going back at least to 2013.

About the Authors

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.

Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.

Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.


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