(*Note: This message was issued on July 26, 2021, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)
We’re now more than a month into the temporary pause in reconstitution efforts mandated by Defense Department leaders, so I thought it was a good time to update you on where we stand and remind everyone of some current guidance in place regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccines and the Delta Variant
As this video from the Military Health System explains, the rapidly spreading Delta Variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 presents a new, more urgent reason to be vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta Variant is now the predominant form of the virus spreading in the United States.
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from this virulent new strain is to receive one of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. CDC info indicates these vaccines have an impressive safety record, with hundreds of millions of doses administered in the United States over the past seven months.
Getting a vaccine has never been easier! Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S. DLA employees are authorized up to four hours of administrative leave to receive COVID-19 vaccination during work hours, and additional time may be granted for recovery as needed.
In addition, DLA utilizes an automated tool that allows employees to voluntarily self-report vaccination status. The automated CAC-protected survey platform can be found at https://resources.hr.dla.mil/hrmcenter/apps/ResponseTracker. Information you provide in the tool is safely retained and secure. This information helps agency leaders identify locations or employee populations where vaccinations are desired but opportunities for vaccinations may not readily be available. Not sure if you’ve submitted your info in the tracking tool or need to check that it’s up-to-date? No problem, you can open the tool and view/update your record at any time without creating a duplicate record.
Fully vaccinated DLA employees are not currently required to wear a mask at DLA facilities. Personnel are considered fully vaccinated when two full weeks have passed since the second dose of a two-shot vaccine or the one dose of a single-shot vaccine.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a face mask that consistently covers the nose and mouth and meets current CDC guidance. This does not preclude vaccinated employees from wearing a mask if they elect to do so, and those wearing a mask should not be construed as not fully vaccinated.
You may have heard speculation in the media of returning mask mandates, but no changes have been announced for DoD personnel. If there is an update to this policy, we’ll let you know right away!
As stated, DoD is in an operational pause in bringing personnel who have been on extended telework or weather and safety leave back into the workplace. Several things have to happen before that pause is lifted within DLA: an updated DoD safety plan has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), DoD has to issue implementing guidance to the services and defense agencies, and DLA has to review the DoD guidance and determine what changes are required in our safety plan and reconstitution framework. Only then will the DLA COVID-19 Coordination Team (CCT) issue DLA-specific guidance. We do not have an estimated timeframe for all these actions to occur, but we are committed to issuing timely and comprehensive communications to the workforce when changes in policy and practice occur and will continue that commitment going forward.
During this pause, organizations or locations may still transition into a less restrictive Health Protection Condition (HPCON) level or reconstitution phase reflective of local conditions including hospitalization rates and test positivity rates, but this will not result in more employees being called back into the workplace until the pause is lifted. In addition, if local indicators worsen, commanders of organizations that have begun the reconstitution process can always transition “back” a reconstitution phase or HPCON level.
This operational pause does not prevent commanders and directors from bringing select personnel back into the workplace for mission-related reasons. And, as always, I and the rest of DLA’s leaders recognize that a large percentage of DLA’s workforce has continued work onsite throughout the pandemic to serve our important customers. We owe these employees our gratitude for their efforts.
If you have questions about these policies or other aspects of how DLA is managing the coronavirus pandemic, please visit our DLA COVID-19 Information Page, which includes guidance summaries and an extensive FAQ section, as well as links to information resources throughout the federal government.
Thank you to all of Team DLA for your commitment to serving our customers and for continuing to follow the workplace procedures necessary to keep us all safe and healthy. As the pandemic situation continues to evolve, we will continue to provide important information as it becomes available.
Billie W. Keeler
Acting Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency