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COVID-19

Event Summary: Details for INL employees and the public

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22 July 2020

8:00 a.m.

Bonneville County Mask Mandate

Effective immediately, every person in Bonneville County is required to wear a face covering that completely covers the person’s nose and mouth when the person is in a public place, and other non­household members are present and physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained.

Additionally, social gathering and events, both public and private, of more than 150 are now prohibited.

The order of restriction is in place for 14 days, and it will be reevaluated afterward depending on the number of active COVID-19 cases in the district.

View the latest risk levels here.

02 June 2020

3:30 p.m.

Staff operations, experiments to increase over next few weeks

From Mark Peters, Idaho National Laboratory director:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, INL’s Senior Leadership Team has worked with local health officials, state government representatives, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other national laboratories to adjust and plan for working safely.

Guiding everything we do is employee safety and well-being, and the best interests of your families and our communities.

Over the next few weeks, INL will continue increasing staff operations and experiments across the laboratory in support of our missions. INL employees who can telecommute effectively will continue to do so.

Employees who are asked to return on-site will be notified by their managers at least 48 hours in advance.

As stated in previous iNotes messages, staff returning to work will be required to wear cloth face coverings and have temperature checks before entering facilities.

Employees will also be required to monitor for symptoms. Visit the INL COVID-19 website for more information.

Face coverings for returning staff will be available. Site employees who drive personal vehicles can pick up their mask at the guard gates. For CFA employees, masks are located at CFA-612. For town employees, there will be a drive-through distribution on Wednesday, June 3, from 6:45 to 9 a.m. at WCB and IRC (click here for maps). After that, masks can be picked up from facility managers at each REC location. For more information on masks, consult the cloth face coverings points of contact.

Additional information

Business travel: Travel restrictions remain in place at least until the end of July. Nonessential travel is prohibited. Mission-essential travel is permitted only if approved by the responsible SLT member with concurrence from the laboratory director.

Personal travel: Consistent with the governor of Idaho’s order, personal travel restrictions have been lifted. Employees need to use good personal judgment to avoid bringing illness into the community and laboratory. Avoid travel to locations with substantial community spread or states where case rates are higher than in Idaho. If you are traveling to one of these locations, please speak with your SLT member to discuss if a quarantine period, upon return, will be necessary. More information can be found here.

New hires: New hire orientation will continue to be online. New hire travel and relocations must follow the same restrictions as business travel.

Cafeterias: Food Services will offer breakfast and lunch options as well as limited grab-and-go selections for purchase in all cafeterias on the desert Site. To keep employees safe and promote social distancing, the seating areas in cafeterias will remain closed at this time. Dates to reopen the REC cafeterias and coffee kiosks are still under evaluation.

Buses: Bus riders are required to have temperature taken and wear face coverings before boarding and while riding on all INL buses. Through mid-June, riders will be able to maintain social distancing on buses. Mark Peters and Carlo Melbihess, Facilities & Site Services director, will hold a virtual town hall Wednesday, June 3, for riders to discuss the future of bus ridership. More information will be sent to bus riders soon.

INL’s mission continues to be vital to our nation’s success, and I look forward to increasing our research while continuing to maintain the safety and health of our staff.

01 May 2020

9:21 a.m.

On-site operations beginning to increase

From Mark Peters, Idaho National Laboratory director:

I’ve spoken recently about the adjustments we have all been forced to make because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guiding these adjustments is employee safety and well-being, the health of our families, and protection of our communities.

It is with this in mind – and informed by advice from our regional, state, and national authorities – that we make decisions regarding adding more on-site work.

Beginning Wednesday, May 6, INL will begin to increase staff operations and experiments across the laboratory in support of our mission priorities.

The majority of our staff will continue to telework, helping to ensure social distancing for those who return to work at INL facilities.

Employees who are asked to return on-site will be notified at least 48 hours before they need to report.

As stated in previous iNotes messages, staff returning to work will be required to wear cloth face coverings and have temperature checks. Employees will also be required to monitor for symptoms and follow Eastern Idaho Public Health guidelines. Out of consideration for your fellow workers, the expectation is that employees do not come to work sick.

Face coverings for returning staff will be available at the following locations:

  • Bus riders: One-time-use masks will be available at bus lots for returning employees. Cloth face coverings will be provided at temperature check locations at Site facilities. Employees are expected to bring a cloth face covering with them to ride the bus after receiving one.
  • Site staff: Masks will be available at temperature check locations at MFC, ATR Complex, CFA and SMC.
  • Town staff: Masks will be available at drive-up locations at IRC and WCB on Tuesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 6, from 6:30 to 9 a.m., or call REC Operations (208-970-4418).

Cloth Face Coverings Points of Contact

  • ATR Complex: Dave Schoonen (208-533-4887, cell 208-317-1460)
  • MFC: Shawn Hill (208-533-8294, cell 208-680-0018)
  • REC: Justin Aquino (208-526-3867, cell 843-566-3916)
  • CFA: Bryan Crofts (208-526-7995, cell 208-690-0157)
  • SMC: Jeff Allen (208-526-1736, cell 208-520-3871)
  • Emergency/First Responders/Security: Phillip (Lantz) Turner (208-526-1077, cell 703-244-7534)
  • Emergency Management: Kerry Ward (208-526-6654, cell 208-351-8252)
  • Radiological Control: Paul Nelson (208-526-5414, cell 208-521-1253)
  • N&HS: Bill Kiestler (208-526-9405, cell 208-206-2655)
  • Fleet: Tad Pearson (208-526-5705, cell 208-520-2758)
  • Construction/Subcontractors: Eric Anderson (208-526-8990, cell 208-351-9234)

If you are unable to contact your area/functional group CERG representative, please call:

  • Eric Papaioannou, CERG Operations division supervisor (208-533-7868, cell 208-521-0895)
  • Rande Carson, CERG division manager (208-526-2226, cell 208-681-6619)

Other Updates

Bus Operations: Buses will be available to transport all staff returning to work. Bus riders are required to wear face coverings prior to boarding buses and during transit.

Cafeteria services:

On Monday, May 18, Food Services will begin to offer breakfast and lunch options as well as limited grab-and-go selections for purchase in all cafeterias on the Site. To keep employees safe and promote social distancing, the seating areas in the cafeterias will remain closed at this time.

For a period of time, grab-and-go lunches and bottled water were provided to BEA essential staff at no cost due to limited availability of food options at the Site. The service was provided to staff to lessen the impact of the current operational status. The process to provide meals at no cost concluded on Friday.

Dates to reopen the REC cafeterias and coffee kiosks are still under evaluation.

Business travel: Travel restrictions remain in place. Nonessential travel is prohibited. Mission-essential travel is permitted only if approved by the responsible SLT member, laboratory director and NE-1.

Travel self-quarantine: Anyone returning from out-of-state nonessential travel is required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, any employee who travels to a county or through a county with widespread community transmission (Ada, Blaine, and Canyon counties) will have to seek permission from an SLT member, in coordination with the Lab Director’s Office, before they return to work.

New hires: New hire orientation will continue to be online. New hire travel and relocation must follow the same restrictions as business travel.

The Senior Leadership Team believes this gradual increase in our on-site workforce will ensure the safety and well-being of all INL staff, while allowing us to continue our important work on behalf of the American taxpayer.

Thank you for your support.


Drive-Thru Face Covering Distribution

Masks will be available at drive-up locations at IRC and WCB on Tuesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 6, from 6:30 to 9 a.m., or call REC Operations (208-970-4418).

IRC

29 April 2020

4:00 p.m.

Revised Bus Schedule:

A revised bus schedule for Minimum Safe Plus Enhanced personnel is now available here.

Changes to routes take effect Monday, May 4.  Call bus dispatch for more information at 208-526-0505.

Reminder:  Effective Wednesday, April 29, 2020, bus riders are required to wear face coverings prior to boarding and while riding on all INL buses.

08 April 2020

5:45 p.m.

Essential employees: Temperature readings required before entering INL facilities

Beginning Thursday, April 9, temperature readings will be required for all essential employees entering INL facilities.

All essential employees arriving at the Site will need to have their temperature taken at a temperature check station. Employees who ride the bus will have their temperature taken when they arrive at the bus lot. Bus riders will not have their temperature retaken upon arriving at the Site.

Employees who drive their personal vehicles to the Site will need to wait in line to have their temperature checked. Separate entrance lines will be established at SMC, ATR and MFC with queues to aid with social distancing.

Essential REC employees will also need to check their temperature. Access will be limited to each building’s main entrance where the temperature check station is located.

Every effort has been taken to establish a temperature check station at major INL facilities. Some stations will be staffed, and some will be self-check. The temperature check station list linked below provides the location of each station. Operating and cleaning instructions are posted at each station.

If an employee has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, he or she will be asked to return home and contact his or her manager immediately.

Other reminders include:

Don’t come to work sick: If an employee has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, they need to self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days after date of first symptom, and 72 hours after the fever is gone symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) have subsided.

Nonessential staff: Employees who are not deemed essential in minimum-safe plus status should not enter INL facilities without permission from their appropriate SLT member. If a nonessential employee receives SLT permission, they will need to have their temperature taken before they enter any INL facilities.

We recognize that some people may regularly have elevated temperatures due to the use of certain medications, other medical conditions or pregnancy. Staff who believe their elevated temperature is due to one of these conditions must contact Occupational Health for guidance (208-526-2195).

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this challenging time.

Temperature check station list

29 March 2020

11:46 a.m.

INL cafeteria service during minimum-safe plus staffing

Beginning on Monday, March 30, INL cafeteria services will be adjusted to support minimum-safe plus operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically:

All cafeteria services in town (REC campus) and coffee kiosks will be closed until further notice.
Breakfast and any grill service at all locations are cancelled.
ATR, CFA, MFC and SMC cafeterias will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for BEA essential employees to receive one grab-and-go lunch box and bottled water at no charge. Employee name and s number are required.

A grab-and-go lunch box and water will be made available (name and s number required) for shift workers in designated areas.

Cold grab-and-go snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

27 March 2020

2:16 p.m.

Revised bus schedule now available

The revised bus schedule for essential BEA and Fluor Idaho personnel is now available. Changes to routes take effect Monday, March 30.

View here

Call bus dispatch for more information at 208-526-0505.

26 March 2020

10:05 a.m.

INL transitions to ‘minimum-safe plus’ status

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — In light of the secretary of Energy’s message to maximize telework for the safety of employees and the community at large, and in consideration of the recent state of Idaho “Stay Home” order applicable statewide, Idaho National Laboratory will transition to “minimum-safe plus” status.

This status means that only select mission critical employees will continue to work on-site to make progress on INL’s highest priority objectives. In addition, INL’s security, fire department, and emergency management will be maintained along with Continuity of Operations functions. Approximately 1,000 employees will continue to report to work at INL facilities. Simultaneously, about 3,900 employees will continue to work remotely.

“We have moved to a minimum-safe plus status to do all we can to protect our staff and our community, while still serving the nation’s needs,” said INL Director Mark Peters. “INL has been anticipating and making contingency plans for this rapidly evolving situation. We have worked closely with the Department of Energy and other government sponsors to redefine the work that’s truly essential given the changing circumstances.”

INL’s Continuity Emergency Response Group (CERG) has been fully activated, and the transition to minimum-safe plus includes the following:

  • Only essential staff will physically report to work at INL facilities. INL senior leadership will notify essential employees.
  • Buses will operate regularly through the weekend. Beginning on Monday, March 30, there will be a limited bus service schedule, which will be communicated to essential employees.
  • Employees are being asked to telecommute to the extent possible, and nonessential employees will not be allowed into INL facilities.
  • Cafeterias will remain open to support essential staff, but only grab-and-go meals will be available. In-town cafeterias and coffee kiosks are closed.
  • Any essential INL staff returning from travel (business and personal) outside the state or from a county in Idaho with confirmed community spread must self-quarantine for 14 days.

At this time, no INL employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

24 March 2020

10:51 a.m.

Q-1 Approximately how many people at the lab are working from home and how many still have to go to the facilities?
A-1 Approximately 40% of staff are working remotely (almost 2,000 employees), about 2,950 are working in INL facilities (in town and at the Site).

 

Q-2 How much more could the lab shut down in-person work while still remaining open?
A-2 The lab can transition to a “minimum safe” condition (less than 500 staff) to maintain essential safety and security capabilities. Note that even in a minimum safe condition, many of the laboratory’s missions would continue to be supported remotely (e.g., staff have access to high performance computing for modeling and simulation).

 

Q3 What measures have been taken for the people still working at the site?
A-3 We have taken a number of precautions including government-recommended guidelines on social distancing, sending staff who do not feel well home to see a doctor, higher frequency of cleaning (buses and facilities), suspending travel (only essential), and implementing staff quarantines when/if conditions warrant it.

 

Q-4 Given the federal involvement, are there any differences in what would happen if/when an employee tests positive for the virus?
A-4 No differences, we have plans to address a positive case of COVID-19 in our employee population if cases occur, including but not limited to, quarantine of those who had direct contact, cleaning of facilities where the employee works, increased preventive measures such as screening for fever.

 

Q-5 Between the effects of COVID-19 and the Sheep Fire last summer, how much of a delay is happening to the lab’s biggest projects?
A-5 We are not seeing impacts to programs so far; however, if we were to shelter in place and go to minimum safe operations most of our research programs that depend on experimental facility work would be impacted. They would experience schedule delays in research deliverables.

16 March 2020

2:00 p.m.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, much of Idaho National Laboratory’s staff will be moved to telecommuting status until further notice. This will help protect the employees that must remain on-site performing our vital research mission. By decreasing the amount of people at work, we will create extra “social distancing” that will help reduce the possibility of infecting each other. INL’s work from home policy (telecommuting) allows employees, depending on the nature of their job, to perform their duties away from our facilities. The information below applies to Battelle Energy Alliance employees.

COVIDWe have now reached the next level where we need to take further steps that will help minimize the number of employees, subcontractors and visitors required inside INL facilities. At this point, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at INL.  

This information will be updated as new or changing information becomes available. Our priority is to help employees and their families remain as healthy as possible while continuing to keep INL’s customer commitments. Please know we are actively monitoring the situation and will continue to keep the lines of communication open.


FAQs

Q-1 How many INL employees are working from home (telecommuting)?
A-1 Approximately 2,500 INL employees will be telecommuting.

 

Q-2 What is the status of INL’s operating reactors?
A-2 All reactors are safe and operating under normal conditions and schedules. Employees working in these areas will not be telecommuting.

 

Q3 Is INL involved in COVID-19 research?
A-3 INL does not currently conduct any research on the coronavirus. Some of the other national laboratories do conduct infectious disease research and development, but not INL.

 

Q-4 What work will continue onsite?
A-4 Employees whose work requires them to access facilities—including operations, production, research, and secure spaces—are expected to maintain their normal work routine unless future guidance is issued.

 

Q-5 Will INL buses continue to operate?
A-5 INL buses will continue to operate as normal for INL employees.INL Bus Operations is assigning available buses to current BEA routes. This action is being taken to reduce the number of passengers per bus resulting in an opportunity to increase social distancing.

The additional buses will load and unload at the same times and locations at the park-and-ride lots for their assigned routes. These buses will then load and unload at or near the same location for their assigned routes at the Site facilities and depart at the normal times.

Buses will be disinfected after each route.

 

Q-6 Has the laboratory restricted site access in response to COVID-19?
A-6 New hires are allowed to begin work at INL as long as they pass the COVID-19 medical screening questions. Nonessential tours have been canceled until further notice.

 

Q-7 Have INL-hosted events, conferences or workshops been canceled?
A-7 All nonessential visits, events and conferences have been canceled for the time being and will be rescheduled for a later date. All international visits are suspended until further notice.

 

Q-8 How has COVID-19 affected lab-related travel?
A-8 All nonessential domestic and international business travel is suspended until further notice. Any essential business travel (as required by the customer) must be approved by the Senior Leadership Team with final approval by the laboratory director’s office. No employees will be obligated to travel if they feel uncomfortable doing so.

 

Q-9 What if an employee or an immediate family member has traveled from or through a CDC Level 2 or 3 country?
A-9 Employees who have traveled from or through a CDC Level 2 or 3 country in the last 14 days (or have household members who have traveled from or through these countries) must immediately inform their manager. They also must self-quarantine away from work for 14 calendar days from the date they or their household member(s) returned to the residence. If the employee shows symptoms during this time, they must remain quarantined until symptom free for 14 days.

 

Q-10 Are INL cafeterias still open?
A-10 As of March 17, INL cafeterias are open. Please note the following:

·     Discontinue all self-serve food that is not individually wrapped or “grab-and-go” such as the salad bar, pizza, soup, oatmeal and baked goods.

·     All whole fresh fruit will be washed and wrapped in plastic wrap.

·     Salt, pepper and condiments (ketchup, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, etc.) bottles will be removed from the service areas and individual portions or packets will be available instead.

·     All self-serve coffee sales will be discontinued. Instead coffee will be poured by the barista into a new disposable cup. Baristas have been instructed not to pour coffee into personal coffee cups, but will pour into clean, unused paper cups only. In addition, cream for coffee will also be kept behind the counter and poured by the barista only.

·     Staff will sanitize “high-touch” (countertops, tables, chairs, etc.) areas at least every hour.

·     Staff will be instructed to increase handwashing and to use gloves.

 

16 March 2020

2:34 p.m.

INL News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2020

INL encourages employees to work from home amid coronavirus outbreak

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Beginning March 17, Idaho National Laboratory will recommend its employees work from home, depending on the nature of their jobs. The announcement came Monday from INL Laboratory Director Mark Peters who says the measures are meant to ensure the health and well-being of the lab’s workers. At this time, no INL employees or subcontractors have tested positive for COVID-19.

Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic. On Friday both the nation and Idaho declared states of emergency. Also on Friday, the state of Idaho announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in southwest Idaho.

“We have now reached the next level where we need to take more aggressive steps that will help minimize the number of employees and subcontractors required inside our facilities,” Peters said.

Employees whose work requires them to access facilities – including operations, production, research and security – will maintain their normal work routines for the time being. By decreasing the numbers of people at work, the lab will create extra “social distancing” that will help reduce the possibility of infecting others. Other social distancing measures include limiting in-person meetings and encouraging video teleconferencing.

The laboratory has implemented an increased cleaning schedule of areas frequently contacted by staff, such as doorknobs, handrails, food preparation and service areas. Buses are also being disinfected after each route.

INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

—INL-20-010—