Employee Guide for Return to Work

Our worksites are open for employees to work. FCPS is transitioning staff to return to work as part of the Return to School plan.

Return to Work

The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Return to Work Guide is based on the guidelines provided in the Fairfax Forward Employee Guide and adheres to the phased reopening guidelines outlined by Governor Ralph Northam, in accordance with Forward Virginia Guidance. The following guidelines are applicable to all FCPS employees. 

Health and Safety Guidance Document

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is providing the following guidance to staff regarding school health practices for students. The guidance is consistent with Governor Northam’s phased reopening plan for Virginia schools and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Schools should follow all CDC, Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and the local health department guidance for reopening schools during all phases.

This document is updated frequently and contains the most recent information on health and safety topics.

RETURNING TO OFFICES & REPORTING IN-PERSON FOR WORK

Our worksites are open for employees to work. FCPS is transitioning staff to return to work as part of the Return to School plan. Program managers will work with staff to ensure that social distancing can be maintained for employees at all times, including potentially implementing alternating shifts or block scheduling. Employees should work directly with their program managers to determine their in-person schedule. Information on leave programs for employees who cannot return to work or for whom telework is unavailable are included in this guide.

All employees will be asked to wear a face covering/mask in FCPS buildings in public/open areas AND practice social distancing. Staff must complete a daily health screening prior to entering any FCPS building. 

Visitors to FCPS will be required to make an appointment and are limited to those who have business that requires them to come into the offices. Visitors to FCPS facilities must also wear a face covering/mask. All buildings will be supplied with disposable masks for visitors who do not have one. The protocols to schedule and receive visitors are included in this guide. 

PREPARING FCPS BUILDINGS & WORK AREAS

INDOOR AIR QUALITY

The Office of Facilities Management (OFM) has ensured that all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and plumbing systems are operating properly. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is not necessary to clean ventilation systems outside of providing routine and preventative maintenance, including filter replacement, as part of reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

ENHANCED CLEANING AND SANITIZING

Measures have been implemented to ensure that common work areas and equipment, and personal work spaces, are regularly cleaned and sanitized. OFM has worked closely with FCPS custodians to adjust their cleaning processes to better address current considerations. FCPS custodians are using effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day. Along with these measures, they are taking the following steps to maximize our sanitizing efforts: 

  • Refreshed Cleaning Methods/Processes: FCPS cleaning personnel will be sanitizing and disinfecting restrooms more frequently. Their cleaning protocol will include thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces, doors, toilets, handles, etc. and ensuring that all supplies are always fully stocked.
  • Increased Cleaning to High Touch Surfaces/Points: FCPS cleaning crews will be sanitizing touch surfaces/points thoroughly (i.e., door handles, glass, elevators buttons, doors, tables, chairs, light switches). Daytime custodians have been instructed to continuously disinfect and sanitize all touch points throughout the day. In addition, we will be increasing daytime custodian coverage where appropriate, depending on building occupancy.

SUPPLIES

Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes or alternative disinfectant will be made available to all employees. Because these are considered critical items, the Office of Procurement Services (OPS) will coordinate the procurement and inventory of any additional sanitizer or other supplies. Program managers have received a face mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer for every employee.

INSTALLING PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

FCPS is implementing interim changes to key aspects of our facilities. Among them are the addition of Health Department approved sneeze guards at customer service counters to provide an extra level of protection for the public and staff while maintaining the level of service our residents have come to rely on and expect. Office of Safety and Security (OSS), OFM, and OPS management will be working with program managers and staff to identify these needs.

VISITOR PROTOCOL

Our implemented safety protocols will continue to require that we limit the number of individuals who move in and out of our facilities. To promote social distancing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, facility visitors will be limited and should occur by scheduled appointment only. No walk-in visitors are permitted. As much as possible, appointments should be accommodated via telephone, video conference, or other suitable technology. When a face-to-face appointment visit is necessary, the office must schedule an appointment time with the visitor and follow the steps below.

  • Once the visitor has arrived at the building and parked, they must call the office to check-in.
  • While in the car, the visitor must be asked the health screening questions.
  • If visitors are suspected to be sick and/or have recently experienced COVID-19 symptoms, they are not permitted to enter the building and must reschedule. Visitors who pass the health screening should be instructed to access the building through the front doors or appropriately designated entrance and be greeted by an employee, who will wear a mask, for escort to the appointment.
  • Visitors must wear a face covering/mask, enter the building alone, and follow social distancing guidelines. Any family members or friends accompanying the visitor will be asked to remain outside or in a vehicle.

COVID-19 HEALTH SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the visitor will NOT be allowed in building.

YES or NO, since your last day of school/work/visitation have you had any of the following symptoms? Yes No
Feeling feverish and/or having chills –documented temperature of 100.4°F or higher?    
Has there been any use of fever reducing medication within the last 24 hours?    
A new cough that is not due to another health condition?    
Nasal congestion or runny nose?    
New shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that is not due to another health condition?    
New chills that are not due to another health condition?    
A new sore throat that is not due to another health condition?    
New muscle aches that are not due to another health condition, or that may have been caused by a specific activity (such as physical exercise)?    
Fatigue (more tired than usual)?    
Headache?    
A new loss of taste or smell?    
Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting?    
New onset of poor appetite or poor feeding?    
Have you had a positive test for the virus that causes COVID-19 disease within the past 10 days?    
Were you currently tested for COVID-19 because you were sick and are still waiting for the lab results?    
In the past 14 days, have you had close contact (within about 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19? Persons who have been fully vaccinated and are identified as a close contact to a COVID case do NOT need to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:
  • Fully vaccinated
  • ≥14 days since last dose
  • Asymptomatic
   

 

BUILDING SIGN-IN/OUT PROCEDURES TO SUPPORT CONTACT TRACING BY THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT

In order to support health and safety in our buildings and contact tracing efforts by the Health Department, the following sign-in/out process are being put in place by FCPS.

Building Sign-In/Out for Staff and Visitors

  • All staff and visitors are required to sign in and out at the main entrance of the building, documenting the time, their phone number and email address.
  • Staff who are assigned to a work location are not required to sign in/out each day at the main entrance, unless they are working on a non-designated or off schedule day/hours.
  • Each department/office will develop a sign-in/out process for their assigned work location/suite for all staff and visitors indicating the time in and out and a phone number and email address they check regularly.
  • An employee ID number is not required.
  • While all staff and visitors should be conducting a daily health screening before coming to school or work, the daily health screening form is not required to be submitted as part of the sign-in/out process. This contact information is required as the Health Department has detailed guidelines they follow to identify someone if they have been in close contact with a COVID positive person (6 feet or less for for 15 minutes or more) during their infectious period. All staff and visitors are encouraged to use a current phone number and email address that they check frequently and to answer the call if contacted by the Health Department. Any employee identified as a close contact by the Health Department is required to notify their principal/manager/supervisor immediately.

PREPARING THE TEAM

REQUIRED TRAINING

FCPS employees will be asked to complete required training in MyPDE to acknowledge they understand their responsibilities as we reopen our physical worksites.

  • Personal Protective Equipment-FCPS Staff Training
  • Return to Work-Building Procedures
  • Stop the Spread Staff Training
  • Child Abuse
  • Anaphylaxis Awareness
  • Restraint and Seclusion

COVID-19 SCREENING PROTOCOL: EMPLOYEE SELF-CHECK OF HEALTH

Prior to a shift and on days employees are scheduled to work, employees should also self-monitor their symptoms by self-taking of temperature to check for fever and answer these questions before reporting to work.

HEALTH SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the employee will NOT be allowed in building.

YES or NO, since your last day of school/work/visitation have you had any of the following symptoms? Yes No
Feeling feverish and/or having chills –documented temperature of 100.4°F or higher?    
Has there been any use of fever reducing medication within the last 24 hours?    
A new cough that is not due to another health condition?    
Nasal congestion or runny nose?    
New shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that is not due to another health condition?    
New chills that are not due to another health condition?    
A new sore throat that is not due to another health condition?    
New muscle aches that are not due to another health condition, or that may have been caused by a specific activity (such as physical exercise)?    
Fatigue (more tired than usual)?    
Headache?    
A new loss of taste or smell?    
Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting?    
New onset of poor appetite or poor feeding?    
Have you had a positive test for the virus that causes COVID-19 disease within the past 10 days?    
Were you currently tested for COVID-19 because you were sick and are still waiting for the lab results?    
In the past 14 days, have you had close contact (within about 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?    

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Employees should continue to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and coworkers. Program managers should ensure that a physical distancing process is in place at entrances and other high-traffic areas. Employees should not bring guests or other family members into FCPS facility buildings. Gatherings should continue to be limited to 250 or fewer people.

COMMON SPACE PROTOCOL

Staff shall wear a face covering/mask while in common spaces such as corridors/hallways, break rooms, duplication rooms, conference rooms, etc. Maintain social distancing of six feet while in these spaces.

HARD-WALLED OFFICES PROTOCOL

Staff offices (hard-walled offices with doors) are of a size (typically 10’ x 12’ or greater) that doesn’t require the single occupant to socially distance or a need to wear a face covering/mask unless:

  • There is one or more visitors in the room.
  • A visitor is standing/conversing at the office doorway.

In such cases, the occupant must wear a face covering/mask, maintain social distancing of six feet and practice safe workplace behaviors per OSHA and CDC guidelines.

SYSTEMS FURNITURE (CUBICLES) PROTOCOL

Within Central Office locations (Gatehouse, Willow Oaks, and other admin centers) there is a range of cubicle sizes, configurations and wall panel heights. The four typical cubicle configurations are:

  • Public/staff facing
  • Individual
  • Collaboration or “corral-type”
  • Dual occupied cubicles – Recommend adapting occupant schedules to avoid schedule overlap

Staff working in all types of cubicles are required to wear an approved face covering at all times while inside any FCPS facility, except while eating or drinking as cubicles may be in close proximity to one another and traffic between areas will make it difficult to maintain social distance.

For staff working in a walled office or conference room, a mask may only be removed when the office door is closed or staff can ensure separation of 6 feet at all times from any open doorway.

Following are examples of these configurations and the safe distancing guidelines. Protocols within these spaces include:

  • Wearing a face covering/mask while transiting the corridors to and from the cubicle areas.
  • Speak with your supervisor about staggered shifts and/or telework opportunities.
  • Practice safe workplace behaviors per OSHA and CDC guidelines

SAFE WORKPLACE BEHAVIORS and MITIGATING STRATEGIES

The CDC issued new guidance with core and secondary indicators for the decision-making process regarding reopening for in-person learning.

Mitigating strategies were identified for implementation. These include, but are not limited to:

Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose when around others.

  • COVID-19 can be spread to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • A face mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a face mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household. Masks, along with social distancing, should be practiced in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Face masks  should not be placed on young children under age two (2), anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep six (6) feet between yourself and others. A face mask  is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect.

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces  daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor Your Health Daily.

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other  symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of six (6) feet.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

The CDC’s guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility includes additional considerations for employers, including developing policies for worker protection and providing training to all cleaning staff on site in advance of resuming cleaning tasks. The CDC notes that an employer’s training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly wear, and how to properly dispose of PPE. 

Appropriate use of PPE and other supplies is an essential component as we scale up operations. FCPS will follow Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on PPE optimization. Specific guidance for your office or work area should be obtained from your program manager.

  • FCPS has established Regulation 2109, Face Coverings to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease, requiring face coverings/masks for any employee accessing FCPS facilities.
  • Practice hand hygiene prior to placing or adjusting and after removal of your face covering/maskt, using soap and water, or hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cloth face coverings can be washed but other masks may be disposed of as regular trash. For more information, visit Types of Masks on CDC website. Program managers have received a cloth face mask and bottle of hand sanitizer for every employee. 

PERSONAL SPACE/WORK AREA CLEANING

Worksites are cleaned every evening, but employees should use extra care to sanitize shared equipment and high contact surfaces more frequently. Areas where additional cleaning should be undertaken include, but are not limited to:

  • Conference rooms and shared workspaces—cafe tables if open or being used
  • Shared equipment such as laptops, projectors and other devices.
  • Work benches, equipment guard handles, etc.
  • Copy machine keypads.
  • Keyboards and mice.
  • Tools.
  • Kitchen: microwave and refrigerator door handles, faucets, etc.

Consider creating a regular cleaning schedule, in collaboration with your coworkers, supervisors, and program managers for common areas and shared equipment. Disinfecting solution, wipes, etc., should be readily available in areas where frequent sanitizing is necessary. 

EMPLOYEE EXPOSURE

If an employee is exposed or potentially exposed to COVID-19, either in the workplace or at home, the employee should notify their supervisor/program manager, who should in turn contact Human Resources (HR). The employee should then follow FCHD or their physician’s guidance to self-quarantine and monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from the date of their last exposure. 

If they have had an in-household exposure, their quarantine time may extend longer. An employee will need to provide a Return to Work (RTW) form (HR466) to HR, signed by their doctor with a release date before coming back onsite. Employees who are awaiting COVID-19 test results for a potential COVID exposure should not report onsite to work.

IF AN EMPLOYEE TESTS POSITIVE

Employees are required to stay home if they are sick or if they cannot answer no to all Health Screening questions, or have been quarantined, and to report any symptoms to their supervisor before coming onsite. If an employee tests positive, they should notify their supervisor, who will then submit a COVID Notification Survey to the FCHD. 

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, the FCHD will initiate a contact tracing investigation, which would include any employees who are deemed close contacts in the workplace, if it was determined that exposure have occurred there. FCHD staff will determine the infectious period, identify any contacts the employee may have had, and make recommendations for isolation of the case and quarantine of persons who had close contact with the case during their infectious period. The FCHD will communicate back to the program managers that an investigation was done and make any additional recommendations that are necessary, including any notifications that may need to occur or cleaning requirements for the facility. Any potentially identifying information in an investigation is kept strictly confidential to protect privacy. 

An employee who tests positive or who has had to quarantine for COVID 19 must provide a Return to Work form, signed by their physician, to HR before returning onsite. For further information, refer to Regulation 4135.

FCPS EMPLOYEE SUPPORT

Program managers will work with employees to stagger arrival, break, and departure times to avoid congregations of workers at the entrance to the workplace, elevator, and in parking areas, locker rooms (security office) and break rooms.

Program managers should be prepared to support employees with referrals to the FCPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and community resources as needed, particularly if employees are returning to work after dealing with COVID-related illnesses or deaths in their families.

FCPS has developed numerous resources to assist and support employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees should become familiar with and take advantage of these resources as needed. More information is available at https://www.fcps.edu/ current-employee-benefits.

Planning for life or simply managing daily life can affect your work, health, and family. Guidance Resources services are there for you and your household and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. FCPS Employees can direct questions to EAPQuestions@fcps.edu.

LEAVE

Congress has passed legislation that places mandates on FCPS’ leave programming in response to our current health crisis. The FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) is one of several pieces of legislation that addresses the needs of citizens surrounding health and employment.

The FCCRA Act requires FCPS to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19 effective immediately. There are two main components of the FCCRA Act: Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion (EFMLE). These provisions were enacted to supplement other employee leave benefits (i.e. FCPS sick accruals, LOAs or FMLA ‘Classic”).

  • EPSL provides employees two (2) additional weeks of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons
    • 100% of daily rate of pay, up to cap ($511 daily / $5,110 two weeks) for government required quarantine; self-quarantine directed by healthcare provider or personal COVID symptoms and seeking medical care
    • 2/3rds of daily rate of pay, up to cap ($200 daily / $2,000 two weeks) for those who cannot work due to care requirements for family members affected by COVID-19 as above OR cannot work because of son/ daughter’s childcare requirements as a result of COVID-19 school or child care closures
    • Can be taken simultaneously with the EFMLE benefit, when being used for childcare requirements
  • EFMLE is a temporary expansion of FMLA ‘classic’ for employees with at least 30 days of service
    • Provides for 12 weeks of leave for those who cannot work due to childcare requirements as a result of COVID-19 school or childcare closures
    • First two weeks are unpaid (but employee can take EPSL or other qualifying paid leave during first two weeks), then two-thirds of daily rate of pay, up to cap ($200 daily / $10,000 ten weeks; or $12,000 total 12 weeks leave period including the EPSL benefits)

Employees requesting leave under FFCRA may elect to use leave balances to supplement the leave as outlined above when the leave is requested for cases of quarantine, personal illness or to care for an ill family member, as noted in FCPS Regulation 4819. More information on Employee Rights under the FFCRA can be found on the FCPS Intranet website.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The FCPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Guidance Resources, is a free and confidential work-life benefit for employees and their household members. Guidance Resources provides counseling services, legal and financial consultations, work/life resources and support for personal issues.

Planning for life or simply managing daily life can affect your work, health, and family. Guidance Resources services are there for you and your household and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. A full list of EAP resources for current staff members can be found on the FCPS Intranet website. COVID-19 specific supports have been made available through the EAP as well. See Employee Assistance Program—Work/Life Library -also found on the FCPS Intranet website. FCPS Employees can direct questions to EAPQuestions@fcps.edu.

PRIVACY

FCPS will continue to provide employees with additional resources (such as advance notifications of changes in policies and procedures) so that employees learn more about the situation as it develops and can prepare effectively. This is especially important for employees who will be returning to a workplace that may be reconfigured very differently and/or may have fewer employees.

Lastly, FCPS is mindful of privacy issues. We treat all information as confidential under state and federal law and will ensure that we implement appropriate measures to protect the privacy of employee medical information.

Maintaining the confidentiality of all such information is consistent with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance in its technical assistance document and is important even though an employer is not a “covered entity” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Whether an employee returns from quarantine or isolation, their health information will be held strictly confidential and will not be shared with coworkers. Information will only be shared with a public health agency, as needed, to complete a contact tracing investigation.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Currently, the CDC and VDH do not mandate quarantine after travel domestically or out of the country. FCPS is following this guidance.

  • VDH urges all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel, especially if you are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 or if you will be visiting someone at higher risk of serious COVID-19. This recommendation applies to everyone, even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19. OCCR will support public messaging for families in the coming weeks.
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends (but does not require) that all people get tested before and after travel and stay home or reduce non-essential activities for at least 7 days after travel.
  • Students and staff are not required to quarantine or provide COVID 19 test results.
  • Families may opt to keep their students at home for 14 days after they return from travel, however, it is not required.
  • The daily monitoring of symptoms is required. 
  • For further information, please refer to the requirements for domestic and international travel: