DLA works to protect mission essential staff at Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna

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Many Defense Logistics Agency Distribution employees designated as mission essential in their role of resupplying the military and other government agencies continue to report to work at Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna and Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg, and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution leaders are taking measures to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workspace.

The workers’ mission essential designation is tied to the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, which specifies personnel working at government-owned facilities who “provide materials and services to the Department of Defense, including support for weapon systems.”

Non-mission essential employees who are at a higher risk to COVID-19 complications are being granted leave. However, employees who are mission essential may need to continue to work, depending on the local work area mission. In some cases, mission essential employees were granted their leave requests. In other cases, mission requirements did not allow for it.

For employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorizes employees paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. All DLA civilian employees are covered by the emergency paid sick leave provision in the FFCRA. This provision provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave where an employee is unable to work.

The installation has taken significant mitigating measures to combat COVID-19, to include:

  • Maximizing telework for our telework eligible workforce while avoiding mission degradation;
  • Implementing social distancing procedures and cancelling large gathering events;
  • Maximizing virtual interaction through various Information Technology platforms;
  • Restricting travel and reduced/closed non-mission essential functions;
  • Implementing a screening process for visitors and commercial carrier drivers where a series of questions are asked prior to entry;
  • Effective April 8, DLA Installation Management Susquehanna, Security & Emergency Services will temporarily modify the common access card scanning procedure at the main access control point by scanning credentials through the driver side window;
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment for employees as directed by the Secretary of Defense;
  • Increasing focus by custodial staff on cleaning bathrooms, common areas, doorknobs, handrails, and ensuring the availability of soap and paper towels in all facilities;
  • Leveraging the custodial staff’s ability to execute CDC-level cleaning of any affected area;
  • Purchased sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and additional wall-mountable sanitizing dispensers. Distribution of these supplies that took time to procure due to their high demand across the country will occur this week. Additional hand sanitizer is also ordered and expected soon.

With regard to Personal Protective Equipment, the Secretary of Defense is requiring, to the extent practical, all individuals on Department of Defense property, installations, and facilities to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers. This applies to military personnel, DOD civilian employees, family members, DOD contractors and any other individuals visiting DOD property, installations or facilities.

To comply with the Secretary’s intent, DLA personnel who are required to physically report to DLA worksites and whose duties do not allow them to maintain the six foot social distancing, should wear appropriate face coverings while at the worksite. DLA is procuring face coverings for employees. Medical personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators or surgical masks will not be issued as these will be reserved for the medical personnel. The DOD guidance does not mandate the wearing of masks at all times; rather, it mandates the use of face coverings when personnel are not able to maintain the six feet social distancing requirements. Given the lead time to procure face coverings, DLA employees are permitted and encouraged to bring and wear “homemade” cloth face coverings while at DLA worksites.

The command is providing updates to all employees multiple times each week to ensure everyone is aware of these steps to safeguard the workforce while we continue to execute our critically important mission.

Installation update:

Access Control Points:
-The Main Gate (located on Old Depot Road) will continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

-The Truck Gate (off Normandy Drive) will remain open extended business hours Monday through Friday and limited hours Saturday.

Visitor Center:
-The Visitor Center will continue to operate. All visitors will be screened with a list of questions before granted access to the installation.

Cafeterias:
-The cafeterias will continue to operate with a reduced menu selection and will be take-out only.

Child Development Center, Riverview Golf Course, Fitness Center, Pool, Susquehanna Club, Automotive Skills and MWR Grand Central (ticket office & equipment rental):
-Closed until further notice.

We continue to follow guidance from U.S. Northern Command and DLA Headquarters regarding our security posture. In the area of sanitation and facility cleanliness, we are following and adhering to all current DOD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other applicable guidelines regarding COVID-19.

DLA’s webpage (https://www.dla.mil/Info/Coronavirus/) is continually being updated to provide employees and their family members with the most current information about coronavirus and direct links to applicable government agencies, including DOD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State.