COVID-19 Guidance Archive

COVID-19 Guidance Archive

CAES Update 37. Sent Sept. 20, 2021
CAES residents,

We wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the current COVID-19 facility policies:

  • Access to the CAES facility is restricted to those who have received approval from their associate director and CAES Interim Director Terry Brog.
  • Everyone in the CAES facility is required to wear a mask.
    • Masks can be removed to eat, drink or perform other short-term activities that require their removal.
    • You also may remove the face covering while working alone in your office with the door closed.
    • Face coverings should be worn while working in a cubicle and a laboratory.
    • Contact your home institution’s associate director, CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire or Research Laboratory Manager Rocklan McDowell with any questions regarding the CAES mask policy.
  • All COVID-19 policies for the CAES facility can be found here.

We also want to remind researchers it is your responsibility to be aware of all personal protective equipment (PPE) policies required by your Work Control and to adhere to those requirements. Please refer to your Work Control documents for the PPE specific to your research activities. Any further questions about PPE should be directed to the laboratory lead, CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire, Research Laboratory Manager Rocklan McDowell or your home institution’s associate director.

CAES Update 36. Sent June 11, 2021

Following INL guidance, temperature checks are no longer required upon entering the CAES facility.

The temperature check stations will remain at the entrances for those who wish to use them.

Anyone entering the CAES facility is still expected to self-monitor for COVID symptoms prior to entering the facility and should not enter if they are feeling sick or displaying symptoms. Refer to the CAES Decision and Action Tree for more information and guidance.

CAES residents and visitors who have demonstrated to CAES leadership that they are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks inside the facility but are reminded to continue to maintain social distancing and wash their hands frequently while in the CAES facility. Other residents and visitors are required to wear masks inside the facility.

CAES Update 35. Sent May 18, 2021

The Department of Energy has provided new guidance to INL based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's May 13 announcement about wearing masks. As a result, CAES residents who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in the CAES facility. All facility occupants are expected to continue to maintain social distancing and wash their hands frequently, however, and to continue to follow all other COVID facility policies, found here.

  • If you have been fully vaccinated (at least two weeks past your final dose), you are no longer required to wear a mask.
  • If you have not been fully vaccinated (at least two weeks past your final dose), continue to wear a mask consistent with the mask requirements set forth in the CAES COVID facility policy document.
  • Failure to wear a mask by those who are not vaccinated (unless they have been medically or otherwise legally exempted from wearing a mask) is a safety violation that may result in the loss of access to the CAES facility and disciplinary action from your home institution.
  • CAES residents have the right to stop work if they have concerns about mask use. Employees can contact their associate director for help in enforcement.
  • Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, per the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

For now, this change related to masking is the only change to CAES COVID-related guidance – maximum telework and facility access restrictions remain in place. This change will lead to a situation where some people are required to wear a mask while others are not. Choosing to get a vaccination is a personal choice, and we must treat each other with dignity and respect in all situations.

Finally, CAES residents who have been vaccinated can continue to wear a mask if they feel more comfortable doing so, and that should not be stigmatized either.

CAES Update 34. Sent April 20 2021

Current operations at CAES have been extended through August 1. The continuation of the current operational status – maximum telecommuting – does not impact your ability to access the CAES facility to retrieve office materials or conduct rare, one-time essential meetings using your work computer due to home internet shortcomings. Remember to contact your Associate Director to schedule a brief visit. Continuation of the current status also does not impact researchers with approved project plans.

The move to delay a return to normal operations at CAES is the result of a recent announcement by INL Director John Wagner. CAES has followed INL direction throughout the pandemic. Several factors led to the decision to delay a return to normal operations from June to August, Wagner said, including:

  • Increased access to vaccines
  • The impact of increased vaccination rates in the community
  • Department of Energy guidance to national laboratories

Those with current access to the facility or who need one-time access should continue to follow CAES COVID facility policies and the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

CAES Update 33. Sent January 26, 2021

CAES residents,

It has been 10 months since the COVID-19 pandemic forced CAES to adjust how we work. As we evaluate local conditions and the progress of vaccinations in our community, we have extended telecommuting for most CAES residents through May.

This extension applies to those who are currently telecommuting. There is no change to access for researchers with an approved project plan or for CAES residents who need brief, one-time access to the facility. Limiting the number of people in the facility protects those who absolutely must be there. Researchers, if you can work from home, please do so.

The decision to extend telecommuting at CAES mirrors INL’s approach. As has been mentioned, CAES has been following INL direction throughout the pandemic per the CAES Steering Committee. We will continue to update you on vaccinations, a return to the CAES facility, and all other pertinent decisions. Please bear with us: Everything is fluid and little is certain; updates and new information are coming out daily from the CDC, the state government, and our local health district. All decisions are being made with your health, safety, and well-being foremost in mind. The CAES COVID facility policies remain in place for the foreseeable future. They are attached and available here, along with other COVID-related resources. Among them is to continue to wear a mask while in the CAES facility, to self-monitor for symptoms, and to take your temperature prior to entering the facility. If you are sick, stay home. Do not come to the CAES facility even if you have mild symptoms, and refer to the CAES Decision and Action Tree. These policies are in place for the protection of ourselves, our families, our communities, our co-workers, and our ability to continue performing our important work.

Hang in there. We are beginning to see light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Thank you for all you are doing to protect yourselves, your co-workers, family, friends, the CAES community, and our community in general.

CAES Update 32. Sent November 9, 2020

CAES residents,

Based on the continued conditions of COVID-19 cases in the region, as well as the number of cases reported at INL, telecommuting will be extended at the CAES facility through March 2021.

This extension applies to those who are currently telecommuting. There is no change to access for researchers with an approved project plan or for CAES residents who need brief, one-time access to the facility, although that could change if the number of cases in the region continues to rise. Limiting the number of people in the facility protects those who absolutely must be there. Researchers, if you can work from home, please do so.

The decision to extend telecommuting at CAES mirrors INL’s approach. As has been mentioned, CAES has been following INL direction throughout the pandemic per the CAES Steering Committee. In announcing its decision to extend telecommuting through March, INL Director Mark Peters cited a significant increase in cases at INL in October. He also urged employees to embrace personal responsibility to protect not only yourself and your family but also to reduce the surge in COVID-19 cases in our community.

  • Wear a mask in public places. Doing this protects those you might encounter, including those with compromised immune systems and other conditions that put them at greater risk.
  • Social distance.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Avoid large gatherings.

The CAES COVID facility policies remain in place. They are attached and available here, along with other COVID-related resources. Among them is to continue to wear a mask while in the CAES facility, to self-monitor for symptoms, and to take your temperature prior to entering the facility. If you are sick, stay home. Do not come to work even if you have mild symptoms, and refer to the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

These policies are in place for the protection of ourselves, our families, our communities, our co-workers, and our ability to continue performing our important work.

CAES Update 31. Sent October 2, 2020

CAES residents,

Since we do not have any updates to the CAES COVID facility policies this week, we are asking you to show how you are helping to curb COVID-19 by submitting a photo of you in a mask. Others can be in the picture, and you’re welcome to include a sign stating your reason(s) for wearing a mask. Studies show that wearing a mask protects those around us and ourselves from contracting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. So “mask up” and show how you are helping curb COVID-19, take a photo, and email it to matthew.evans@inl.gov by Oct. 15. A video of all submittals will run on the CAES web site later this month.

This email is the last of the weekly COVID-related emails. Going forward, we will email about COVID issues when conditions change or news emerges. Please continue to adhere to the CAES COVID facility policies and the CAES Decision and Action Tree. If you have concerns or questions, please contact your Associate Director or reply to this email.

CAES Update 30. Sent September 24, 2020

CAES residents,

There are no new updates to the CAES COVID facility policies this week. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in eastern Idaho; please continue to be diligent in preventing its spread. In the wake of the first reported case among CAES residents, we wanted to remind you to be aware not just of symptoms you may be exhibiting but also of symptoms exhibited by others – family members’ and roommates’ symptoms also trigger action on the Decision and Action Tree.

Remember, the symptoms are:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Trigger 1 in the Decision and Action Tree is to be initiated if you have close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone who is exhibiting symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19. If this occurs, the Decision and Action Tree directs you to:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days and conduct daily monitoring for symptoms (see tracking log at www.eiph.idaho.gov).
  • If exposure is ongoing (e.g. family member in the same household) contact your Associate Director to establish a self-isolation period. Your Associate Director will notify CAES COO that a CAES resident is in self-isolation.
  • If you develop symptoms, refer to Trigger #2.
  • If you test positive, refer to Trigger #3.

Check the CAES COVID page for COVID-19 resources, including FAQS, helpful links, and previous guidance. If you have any concerns or questions, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

CAES Update 29. Sent September 18, 2020

CAES residents,

With the second-highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Idaho this week, Bonneville County is considered a virus hot spot, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. 157 cases had been reported in Bonneville County as of this morning; Ada County reported the most, 222.

There are no updates to the CAES COVID facility policies this week, but we wanted to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility in ensuring the safety of the CAES community and our community in general. Please wear a mask in public, not just in the CAES facility. Avoid large gatherings. Maintain social distancing whether you are at the CAES facility, grocery store, or gas station.

Researchers who are back in the laboratories at CAES, please continue to work from home as much as possible and continue to follow the CAES COVID facility policies, which are attached and can be found here.

The policies are in place to minimize the risk of exposure for all of us. Nearly 200,000 Americans have died from the virus despite lockdowns and restrictions on large gatherings. The virus can cause significant long-term health problems even in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Check the CAES COVID page for COVID-19 resources, including the CAES Decision and Action Tree, FAQS, helpful links, and previous guidance. If you have any concerns or questions, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

CAES Update 28. Sent September 10, 2020
CAES residents,

There are no updates this week. The number of COVID-19 cases in Bonneville County eclipsed 2,000 this week, however, and much of eastern Idaho remains in the Moderate Risk category, according to Eastern Idaho Public Health. As a result, we urge you to remain diligent in combatting the virus and minimizing your risk of contracting it.

Researchers, please continue to work from home as much as possible and follow all CAES COVID facility policies when in the CAES facility. Those policies are attached and available on the CAES COVID web page), along with the Decision and Action Tree, FAQs, previous CAES guidance, and other helpful links.

Please contact your Associate Director with any questions or concerns.

CAES Update 27. Sent September 3, 2020

CAES residents,

As you know, CAES has been ramping up operations in the facility in preparation for welcoming back telecommuters in early October – enabling brief access for CAES residents who need it and restoring laboratory access to researchers with an approved project plan.

This morning, those plans changed. As has been mentioned, CAES has been following INL direction throughout the pandemic per the CAES Steering Committee. INL announced this morning that, based on the continued conditions of COVID-19 cases in the region and the number of cases at INL, telecommuting would be extended until Jan. 4, 2021. CAES will follow suit.

This does not impact your ability to access the CAES facility if you need to retrieve office materials or conduct rare, one-time essential meetings using their work computer due to home internet shortcomings. Remember to contact your Associate Director to arrange a brief visit. This also does not impact researchers with approved project plans. The operations team will continue to work to restore laboratory access to those who need it.

We realize this is not welcome news to everyone, but it is the most effective way to reduce the risk to those whose work requires lab access. We are doing all we can to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to those who are in the facility (including shutting off the water fountains; the no-touch water-filling stations remain operable).

The Post Register recently reported that 12 counties and five metropolitan areas in Idaho were highlighted as “red zones” for high risk of COVID-19 spread by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. These high-risk areas include Bonneville, Jefferson, and Bingham counties, as well as the cities of Idaho Falls and Blackfoot. This is particularly concerning as schools reopen and Labor Day weekend approaches. Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) noted that the recent surge of cases began right after the Fourth of July weekend (the last big holiday). Please be vigilant during Labor Day weekend: Wear face coverings in public and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from those not in your immediate family. Please take care of yourselves and each other. Help slow the spread.

Also, even if your access to the CAES facility has been restored, please continue to work from home as much as possible and continue to abide by the CAES COVID facility policies, which are attached and can be found here.

Check the CAES COVID page for additional COVID-19 resources, including the CAES Decision and Action Tree, FAQS, helpful links, and previous guidance. If you have any concerns or questions, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.


CAES Update 26. Sent August 27, 2020:

CAES residents,

There are no updates this week. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow throughout the state and in Bonneville County, but the plan to welcome back telecommuters in early October remains in place. More information on that plan will be available soon, although it could change at any time given the fluidity of the situation. Please remain flexible when planning your work schedule. Meanwhile, please contact your Associate Director if you need brief access to the CAES facility. Those who had not completed the required online training prior to this week should have received an email from system@litmos.com on Monday with instructions on how to complete it. Please contact Project Administrator Kim Jeffery if you have questions or concerns about the training.

All researchers and staff who access CAES agree to abide by the CAES COVID facility policies (attached and available here) and self-certify that they will address the screening questions and follow the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

Please keep in mind that the CAES COVID facility policies may differ from those in place at your home institution. You should also abide by your home institution’s policies. Links to the universities’ COVID sites can be found on the CAES COVID web page (scroll to the bottom of the page), along with FAQs, previous CAES guidance, and other helpful links.

CAES Update 25. Sent August 21, 2020:

CAES residents,

COVID continues to impact our ability to work within the CAES building.  Following protocols in place across INL, CAES telecommuters will work from home until at least October while the following people can access the CAES building:

  • lab-based researchers and staff working on approved projects
  • facility staff and subcontractors working on the building
  • telecommuters who need brief access (an hour or less) to retrieve office materials or conduct rare, one-time essential meetings using their work computer due to home internet shortcomings.

The process for one-time access is outlined below and can be found here.

The requestor will provide the following information in an email to your CAES Associate Director each time access is requested.

Name:

Purpose of Visit-Scope:

Date of Access:

Approximate time and duration of visit:

To enable timely access, you will need to complete necessary CAES COVID training (less than 30 minutes). Within a few days, you will receive an email from system@litmos.com with a link to log in and complete the training.

All researchers and staff who access CAES will agree to abide by the CAES COVID facility policies (attached and available here) and self-certify that they will:

  • Check your temperature prior to entering and do not enter if your temperature is 100.4° F or higher
  • Avoid the facility if you have any of the following symptoms: Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of Breath, Fatigue, Muscle or Body Aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore Throat, Congestion or Runny Nose, Nausea, Vomiting, or Diarrhea
  • Address the screening questions
  • Abide by the CAES Decision and Action Tree – please note this is a new version
  • Always wear a face covering while in the facility except to eat, drink, or perform other short-term activities that require them to be removed. If you need a face covering, email either CAES Research Laboratory Manager Rocklan McDowell or Chief Safety Officer Kristi Moser McIntire and they will leave one for you at the CAES front door
  • Stay at least 6 feet from other individuals
  • Prevent piggybacking (do not allow someone else in the facility under your card access)
  • Not bring family members, visitors, or colleagues into the facility

Please keep in mind that the CAES COVID facility policies may differ from those in place at your home institution. You should also abide by your home institution’s policies. Links to the universities can be found on the CAES COVID web page (scroll to the bottom of the page), along with FAQs, previous CAES guidance, and other helpful links.

If you need to access the CAES facility or have any questions about the CAES COVID facility policies, please contact your Associate Director:

CAES Associate Directors (AD):

CAES BSU AD Dave Estrada           daveestrada@boisestate.edu

CAES INL AD Noel Bakhtian          noel.bakhtian@inl.gov

CAES ISU AD Dave Rodgers          rodgdavi@isu.edu

CAES UI AD John Russell                jtrussell@uidaho.edu

CAES Update 24. Sent August 7, 2020:

CAES residents,

As the number of cases continues to rise in eastern Idaho, we wanted to remind you to monitor yourself for symptoms and to abide by the CAES COVID-19 Decision and Action Tree and the attached CAES COVID facility policies.

  • If you have a cough, shortness of breath, or a temperature of 100.4?F or greater, or have two or more of the following symptoms: chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, you should avoid the CAES facility and refer to Trigger #2 in the Decision and Action Tree.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, avoid the CAES facility and refer to Trigger #3.
  • If you live with or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for the virus, avoid the CAES facility and refer to Trigger #1.
  • If you plan to travel to an international or domestic location with substantial community spread or states where case rates are higher than in Idaho, refer to Trigger #4.

There are no updates this week to the CAES COVID facility policies. We continue to plan for the return of telecommuters in early October, but this remains a dynamic and fluid situation, and those plans could change at any time. These policies and access restrictions are in place to protect the CAES community and our community in general, particularly those who cannot conduct their research without access to the laboratories at CAES.

We strongly encourage you to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public places, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often.

For the most recent CAES COVID-19 guidance, visit the CAES COVID web page. Send any CAES-specific questions or concerns to CAESCovid@gmail.com or talk with your Associate Director.

CAES Update 23. Sent July 30, 2020:

CAES residents,

Based on the conditions of COVID-19 cases in the region, the decision has been made to extend telecommuting until at least Oct. 1. This extension applies to CAES residents who are currently telecommuting.

We are also extending current restrictions on CAES-sponsored travel and visitors until Oct. 1.

It’s quite possible, however, this date may be extended even further.

Keeping a portion of the workforce telecommuting reduces the risk to CAES residents whose work requires them to be at the facility.

We will keep monitoring the situation closely and communicate often. We will strive to give two weeks of notice to CAES residents before asking them to return to work on-site.

Please keep in mind that this is still a very fluid and uncertain situation. Please know that all of our decisions are shaped by care and concern for each of you, with your safety as the first priority.

We realize you would like to have long-term clarity, but unfortunately, the current situation doesn’t allow for long-term clarity yet. We will continue to work closely with the Executive Board and Steering Committee to give you confidence that we are making decisions to keep you safe while moving CAES forward.

We strongly encourage you to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public places, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often.

For the most recent CAES COVID-19 guidance, visit the CAES COVID facility policies page. Send any CAES-specific questions or concerns to CAESCovid@gmail.com or talk with your Associate Director.

CAES Update 22. Sent July 24, 2020:

CAES residents,

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing across our community. It is important that we all remain diligent to protect ourselves and each other. There are two updates to the attached CAES COVID facility policies document this week, and a couple of noteworthy events we wanted to make sure you were aware of:

  • Idaho Gov. Brad Little said Thursday the state had fallen short of the benchmarks required to move forward out of Stage 4 in the Idaho Rebounds plan.
  • Eastern Idaho Public Health moved Bonneville County into the moderate risk category.
    • Social gatherings and events, both public and private, of more than 150 are prohibited.
    • Every person in Bonneville County is required to wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth when in a public place and other nonhousehold members are present and physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
    • More information can be found here.

The changes to the policies document pertain to Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Whenever possible, personal protective equipment should be assigned to each researcher for their personal use to avoid spreading communicable diseases.
  • Multiuser personal protective equipment must be cleaned and disinfected prior to reissuance per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

Please continue to follow the CAES COVID facility policies, which are attached and can be found at the CAES COVID-19 page along with all previous guidance, FAQs, and other resources.

If you have a CAES-specific questions or concerns, reply to this email, contact your Associate Director, or email CAESCovid@gmail.com.

CAES Update 21. Sent July 16, 2020:

CAES residents,

The plan for welcoming back telecommuters has been postponed until at least early September as the number of COVID-19 cases has grown significantly in east Idaho and throughout the state in recent weeks. This mirrors INL guidance, which we have been following throughout the pandemic, along with guidance from ISU, the state, and your home institution.

No one at CAES has tested positive for COVID-19, and we will continue to welcome back researchers with an approved project plan in a phased approach, but please keep in mind that the situation remains dynamic and changes to that approach could occur at any time. For researchers whose access to the CAES facility has been restored, we urge you to work from home as much as possible to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and to continue to follow the CAES COVID facility policies. Remember to refer to the CAES Decision and Action Tree if you live with or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, if you have symptoms or test positive, or if you plan to travel to an international or domestic location with substantial community spread or states where case rates are higher than Idaho. Temperature checks are still required upon entry to the CAES facility, with entry prohibited to anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4?F or higher. There are now temperature check stations at both entrances. However, we encourage you to use the main entrance once construction begins on the new TEM next week. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming construction activity and its impacts.

If you are feeling distressed about COVID-19 and anxious about your health or the health of your family, speak to your Associate Director for guidance. You can also check the CAES COVID webpage for the most recent guidance, helpful links, and answers to frequently asked questions. Send any CAES-specific questions or concerns you might have to CAESCovid@gmail.com.

CAES Update 20. Sent July 10, 2020:

CAES residents,

There are only a few updates to the attached CAES COVID facility policies document this week:

  • The Harvard Global Health Institute has developed a map that displays COVID-19 risk levels for each county in the United States. Please refer to this map as you plan personal travel. If you are traveling internationally or to a U.S. location indicated as a hot spot (red and orange areas on the map), please speak with your Associate Director to discuss if a quarantine period upon return will be necessary.
  • As a reminder, personal travel restrictions have been lifted, but CAES residents need to use good personal judgment to avoid bringing illness into the community and the CAES facility. Avoid travel to locations with substantial community spread or states where case rates are higher than in Idaho.
  • CAES-sponsored travel restrictions remain in place at least until the end of August.
  • We will soon add a temperature-check station inside the west entrance to CAES.

Please continue to follow the CAES COVID facility policies in order to minimize the risk to yourself, your family, and our community in general. Remember to refer to the CAES Decision and Action Tree if you live with or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, if you have symptoms or test positive, or if you plan to travel to an international or domestic location with substantial community spread or states where case rates are higher than Idaho.

If you are feeling distressed about COVID-19 and anxious about your health or the health of your family, speak to your Associate Director for guidance. You can also check the CAES COVID webpage for the most recent guidance, helpful links, and answers to frequently asked questions. Send any CAES-specific questions or concerns you might have to CAESCovid@gmail.com.

Your health and safety are important to all of us. CAES will continue to communicate regularly with residents throughout the pandemic.

CAES Update 19. Sent July 2, 2020:

With the holiday weekend approaching, we wanted to remind you of the CAES COVID-related travel guidelines: Although personal travel restrictions have been lifted, you should use your judgment and avoid domestic or international locations with substantial community spread and locations where the case rate is higher than it is in Idaho. Consult with your Associate Director before traveling to such locations in order to determine whether a quarantine period will be necessary upon return.

We appreciate everyone’s adherence to the CAES COVID facility policies. They are in place to protect you, your family, and the community in general. No one associated with CAES has tested positive for the virus, and we remain on track for the mid-August return of those who are telecommuting. The situation remains dynamic, however, and the plan could change at any time. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, please remain diligent to protect ourselves and each other:

  • Please inform your Associate Director of any COVID-related concerns. The CAES Decision and Action Tree can be found here.
  • Continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often.
  • Anyone showing signs of respiratory illness or fever is asked to stay home until symptom-free.
  • Anyone who believes they have contracted COVID-19 or come into contact with someone with COVID-19 is encouraged to get in touch with their health care provider and follow their recommendations, contact their Associate Director, and isolate themselves for 14 days while monitoring their health.
  • It is recommended that you call your doctor before going to the physician’s office or clinic, to give them time to prepare and minimize the risk of spreading the virus when you arrive.
  • While cleaning crews have increased the frequency and intensity of their efforts, cleaning supplies are available in several locations throughout the CAES facility, including the four business areas and the kitchen areas (in the break room downstairs and the Snake River room upstairs). Speak with your Associate Director if you have questions about cleaning and disinfection supplies for your office area.
  • For the most recent CAES COVID-19 guidance, please visit the CAES COVID webpage.

Your health and safety are important to the CAES Associate Directors, and CAES will continue to communicate regularly with residents throughout the pandemic. If you are feeling distressed about COVID-19 and are anxious about your health or the health of your family, speak to your Associate Director for guidance. Send any CAES-specific questions or concerns you might have to CAEScovid@gmail.com.

CAES Update 18. Sent June 26, 2020:

CAES residents,

We continue to plan for your return to the CAES facility as quickly and safely as possible, following the guidelines in place at the state, INL, and ISU. In addition, you should always follow the policies in place at your home institution. The current plan calls for the early August return of those who are telecommuting, but the situation remains dynamic and the plan could change at any time, particularly given the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in east Idaho and throughout the state recently. Stay tuned for more information.

There is only one update to the attached CAES COVID facility policy: Training required before your access is restored to the CAES facility now consists of three requirements: completion of an online course, COVID-19 Training: Strategies for the Workplace, and two read-and-sign documents, CAES Guidelines and the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

For those whose access to the CAES facility has been restored, we strongly encourage you to:

  • Avoid sharing office equipment (computers, telephones, pens, etc.) whenever possible. If your role requires the use of these shared objects, please disinfect before AND after your use.
  • Sanitize the surfaces of shared-use appliances (refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, water coolers, etc.) before and after use, and consider using a paper towel to touch handles and surfaces rather than your bare hands.
  • Work from home as much as possible.

The health and safety of the CAES community is our priority. As mentioned, the number of cases in Idaho has risen substantially in recent weeks, and these facility policies are in place to minimize your exposure to the virus. Please continue to be diligent in following them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a coronavirus self-checker and a data tracker that may be helpful. Go here for the CAES COVID web page, which contains all previous guidance, helpful links to the local health district and CDC, the CAES Decision and Action Tree, and more.

CAES Update 17. Sent June 18, 2020:

CAES residents,

We’re continuing to ramp up our operations in the CAES facility. Researchers with an approved project plan have been provided information on how to set up their return to the facility, and many researchers returned this week, including several INL MaCS users. If there aren’t major changes, it’s likely that those who are telecommuting may be able to return in early August; stay tuned for more information. There still is no return date for visitors at this time.

Remember, you will be required to complete online COVID-related training and an in-person briefing with the CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire or Research Operations Lead Jana Pfeiffer before badge access to the CAES facility is restored. You will receive an email from system@litmos.com with details about the training a least a few days before you are scheduled to return, and at that time you must schedule your arrival time in advance (Kristi Moser-McIntire, (208) 821-6609 or Jana Pfeiffer, (208) 716-3136).

The weekly CAES COVID facility policy update is attached. It also can be found on the CAES COVID web page, along with other helpful links, FAQs, previous CAES guidance, and other COVID-19-related information.

The update contains just one policy change this week – the CAES Decision and Action Tree has been updated to remove the reporting requirement associated with secondary exposure to COVID-19, or close contact with a person who had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms. If you are secondarily exposed, you should self-monitor for symptoms. If symptoms arise, refer to Trigger #2 in the CAES Decision and Action Tree.

You also should refer to the Decision and Action Tree if:

  • CAES Resident/Visitor lives with or has had close contact with someone who has symptoms (temperature of 100.4?F or higher, cough, shortness of breath, or any two additional symptoms) or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • CAES Resident/Visitor has symptoms (temperature at self-check 100.4?F or higher, cough, shortness of breath, or any two additional symptoms).
  • CAES Resident/visitor tests positive for COVID-19.
  • CAES Resident/Visitor plans to travel to a domestic or international location with substantial community spread or states or countries where case rates are higher than Idaho.

One other bit of information is that the ice machine in the break room has been removed from service. This step was taken to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of the CAES community and the community in general. This is the priority of CAES Leadership, and all of the COVID-related policies currently in place were adopted with your health and safety in mind.

If you have any questions about this email or the CAES COVID facility policies, reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

CAES Update 16. Sent June 12, 2020:

CAES residents,

The CAES facility continues to reopen, with lab leads back and preparing their labs for researchers with an already-approved project plan for laboratory work to return next week.

We want to thank everyone who has returned for their questioning attitude, their careful approach to protecting the health and safety of the CAES community, and for bringing important issues to the attention of Jana Pfeiffer and Kristi Moser-Mcintire. You have helped maximize the efforts to protect everyone at CAES and throughout the community and we appreciate your efforts.

There are a few updates to the attached CAES COVID facility policy document (it can also be found on the CAES COVID-19 web page along with helpful links to the CDC, East Idaho Public Health District, FAQs, etc.). This week’s updates are directed toward both researchers who are in their labs and those who are set to return next week, and the fact that the state of Idaho enters Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan on Saturday.

Stage 4 permits gatherings of up to 50 people. The CAES Auditorium remains off-limits for external meetings, however, and access to the auditorium is restricted without prior approval from Anita Gianotto and/or Kristi Moser-McIntire. Attendance at in-person meetings in the CAES facility should continue to be limited to 10 people and should allow for appropriate social distancing – everyone should stay at least 6 feet apart. Use video or teleconferencing capabilities whenever possible to minimize exposure.

Please keep in mind that these policies – temperature checks, social distancing, face coverings, telecommuting, etc. – are in place to protect the health and safety of CAES residents and our community in general. There has been a recent uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in eastern Idaho and among health-care providers statewide, and we urge you to stay vigilant in helping prevent its spread.

Even if your access to the CAES facility has been restored, we continue to encourage you to work from home as much as possible. You should coordinate your schedule in a way that minimizes your time in the CAES facility and in the laboratory. While in the CAES facility, always practice social distancing – even in the labs. If there are others in your lab space, work to coordinate your schedule with them to minimize occupancy.

If you have any questions about this email, its attachments, or CAES’ approach to COVID-19, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

CAES Update 15. Sent June 4, 2020:

CAES residents,

Please see the attached documents for updates to the CAES COVID facility policies. One of the attachments lists five scenarios that would trigger action on your part to protect the safety and health of everyone at CAES and in the community. Please read the documents carefully.
The CAES facility continues to reopen gradually, with access granted today to all CAES lab leads for lab readiness review, and plans in the works to call back all researchers with an already-approved project plan for laboratory work soon. Here are some other developments:

  • Restrictions on personal travel have been lifted, but we urge you to use good judgment to avoid potentially bringing the illness into the CAES facility and the community. You should avoid travel to locations with substantial community spread (See Table 3 here) and to states where case rates are higher than in Idaho. If you plan to travel to one of those locations, consult with your Associate Director to discuss whether a quarantine period will be necessary upon your return. All CAES-sponsored travel remains on hold until further notice.
  • Your AD is your CAES point-of-contact on all COVID-related matters – communicate with your AD regarding symptoms, positive test, travel plans, etc. as outlined in the attached documents.
    • Boise State University AD Dave Estrada
    • Idaho National Laboratory AD Noël Bakhtian
    • Idaho State University AD Dave Rodgers
    • University of Idaho AD John Russell
    • University of Wyoming AD Katie Li-Oakey
  • Hand sanitizer, cleaning solutions, and towels have been stationed in all of the laboratories and at each microwave in the CAES common areas. Keep in mind that the hand sanitizer has a high concentration of alcohol, which can create toxic fumes when mixed with some cleaning or laboratory supplies. Please use caution!
  • Hand soap will be placed at the laboratory sinks, and steps are being taken to ensure there is a constant supply of hand soap at the CAES break areas and in the restrooms.
  • All CAES meeting rooms and the auditorium are closed for external meetings at least through the end of the month. The Snake River and Teton conference rooms are available for meetings to those who have been granted access to the CAES facility.
  • You are strongly encouraged to hold meetings via video- or tele-conference rather than in-person. If an in-person meeting is required, attendance should be limited and social distancing practiced.
  • The facility is accessible with a valid badge only, and your badge will not be valid until you are granted permission to return to work. Approval from your home institution is a pre-requisite for your return to work, as is the completion of the online training referred to in the attached document, which has been updated and posted on the CAES COVID web page along with all previous COVID-related guidance, FAQs, and other links to accurate COVID-related information.

As has been mentioned, this is a dynamic situation and our reopening plans could change at any time. We are working to reopen the facility as quickly and safely as possible, following the guidelines in place at the state, INL, and ISU. You should always follow the policies in place at your home institution. If you have any questions about this email or reopening plans, please reply to this email or contact your AD.

CAES Update 14. Sent May 29, 2020:

CAES residents,

Please see the attached document for an up-to-date list of CAES COVID facility policies as we continue to gradually reopen the CAES facility in line with stateINL, and ISU policies and guidelines. The situation remains dynamic and could change at any time, but we are on track to welcome back all lab leads by the end of next week, and work is underway to call back all researchers with an already-approved project plan for laboratory work by mid-June.

We continue to strongly encourage those who have been granted access to the CAES facility to telecommute as much as possible in order to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 at CAES and in the community, as is called for in Stage 3 of the state’s Idaho Rebounds Plan (which is set to begin Saturday). If you can work from home, please do so. As you will see in the attached document, everyone at CAES is expected to wear a face covering except when eating, drinking, performing a short-term activity that requires its removal, or working alone in a closed office. Everyone working in a cubicle is expected to wear a face covering. We realize the face coverings may be uncomfortable, but this measure is in place to protect the health and safety of CAES residents and the community in general. Again, if you can work from home, please do so.

For those who expect to be called back to the facility soon, remember that the first step in regaining access is to complete online COVID-related training. You will receive an email from system@litmos.com with details about the training a least a few days before you are scheduled to return. You also will receive an email from CAES COO Anita Gianotto approximately 48 hours before your scheduled return.

Those who have been granted access should continue to follow the policies in place at their home institution, while abiding by the CAES COVID facility policies in the attached document and on the CAES-COVID web page, where helpful links, FAQs, and all previous COVID-related correspondence can be found.

We will continue to update you weekly as conditions change; please contact your Associate Director or reply to this email with any questions or concerns about this process.

CAES Update 13. Sent May 21, 2020:

CAES residents,

Please see the attached document for an up-to-date list of CAES COVID facility policies (no changes since last week). As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, we want to emphasize a couple of important points:

  • Please notify your Associate Director if you plan to leave the state or travel to or stop in an Idaho county with widespread community transmission (Ada, Blaine, and Canyon counties), as this may require you to self-quarantine and reduce your readiness to return to the CAES facility. Remember, anyone returning from out-of-state travel is required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and anyone who travels to or stops in an Idaho county with widespread community transmission needs to seek permission from their Associate Director and CAES Chief Operations Officer Anita Gianotto before returning to the CAES facility.
  • If visitors stay at your house, follow State of Idaho guidelines and CAES COVID facility polices. Every situation is different, but the key is to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread at the CAES facility and within our communities. Therefore, it is assumed you know the visitors well enough to verify that they had no COVID-19 symptoms or exposure prior to the visit. After their departure, you should self-monitor for symptoms and adhere to all CAES COVID facility policies (see attached: face coverings, temperature checks, etc.). Refer to the Eastern Idaho Public Health District’s decision tree for additional guidance, and go here for all previous CAES correspondence related to the pandemic and for links to resources at the CDC, Eastern Idaho Public Health District, and Frequently Asked Questions.

As you know, access to the CAES facility remains restricted, with the facility re-opening in phases. Though the situation remains dynamic and could change at any time, we plan to enter the next phase soon. That phase calls for reopening the remaining CAES labs in a staggered approach, with all researchers back in their labs in early June. If this applies to you, the first step in regaining access to the CAES facility is to complete online COVID-related training. You will receive an email from system@litmos.com with details about the training a least a few days before you are scheduled to return.

Meanwhile, we continue to abide by the guidelines set by the stateINL, and ISU – restricting travel and strongly encouraging telecommuting, even for those whose access to the CAES facility has been restored. If you can work from home, you should do so. You should continue to follow the policies in place at your home institution.

We will continue to update you weekly as conditions change; please contact your Associate Director or reply to this email with any questions or concerns about this process.

CAES Update 12. Sent May 15, 2020:

CAES residents,

Please see the attached document for an updated list of CAES COVID facility policies. You can also go here for all previous CAES correspondence related to the pandemic and for links to resources at the CDC, Eastern Idaho Public Health District, etc.

We continue to ramp up operations at the CAES facility, but access remains restricted. As of May 14, all CAES residents in Tier 2 have been contacted regarding training.

Idaho Governor Brad Little announced Thursday that the state would proceed with Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan, which continues to strongly encourage telecommuting when possible. CAES COVID facility policies continue to call for that approach, even for those whose access to the CAES facility has been restored. If you can work from home, you should do so. Restrictions on non-essential travel remain in place through Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan, which is scheduled to end May 29 if there is no significant increase in cases and the state’s public health criteria continue to be met. Please see the attached document for more information regarding travel – before accessing the CAES facility, you must consult with your Associate Director if you have traveled to or through certain Idaho counties in the last 14 days, for example.

The state’s plan is re-evaluated every two weeks, and CAES COVID facility policies will continue to follow that approach, along with those of INL and ISU. You should continue to abide by the rules implemented at your home institution throughout this process.

We plan to continue to ramp up operations gradually, and you will be notified via email at least 48 hours before you are allowed to return, but this is a dynamic situation that could change at any time. Your patience and flexibility throughout this process is appreciated.

If you have any questions about this process or the policies, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

CAES Guidance 11. Sent May 11, 2020:

CAESers,

As we prepare to resume operations in the CAES facility, we wanted to provide you with additional information about what to expect. As Noël mentioned in the town hall meeting last week, the timeline for reopening is contingent on federal, state, INL, and university guidelines. So while you should start planning for your return, we ask for your patience as we navigate this process. If you have any questions, please reply to this email or contact your Associate Director.

Approximately two weeks before your scheduled return, you will receive an email from system@litmos.com with a link to online training that must be completed before badge access to the CAES facility is restored. The training consists of two requirements: an online course, COVID-19 Training: Strategies for the Workplace, and a read-and-sign document, CAES Guidelines, that will take approximately 30 minutes total to complete.

At least 48 hours before your scheduled return, you will receive an email from CAES COO Anita Gianotto. The email will let you know that you have met the requirements to return to the facility.

You also will receive an email from me each week with CAES Updates, a roundup of the guidelines in place at the CAES facility. That document is attached here.

Please keep in mind that this is a dynamic situation and that your return date could change at any time – even after you receive the email providing 48-hour notice. Your patience and flexibility throughout this process is appreciated.

Finally, even when your access to the CAES facility has been restored, CAES Leadership strongly encourages you to continue to telecommute as often as possible – when analyzing data, for example. If you can conduct your work at home, please do so.

I look forward to seeing you back at CAES! Again, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Associate Director.

CAES Guidance 10. Sent April 20, 2020:

CAES Residents,

I wanted to provide you an update on the CAES mail situation during the State of Idaho Stay at Home Order.

Any mail sent to CAES residents affiliated with a CAES university is being held at the U.S. Post Office. The CAES Administrator Donna Wuthrich picks up the U.S. Mail every 2-3 weeks. She will contact you if a piece of mail seems important (a bill, or parcel for example) and arrange for you to pick it up. You are welcome to contact Donna if you are expecting or missing an important letter. Donna made a pick-up last week and contacted those who had mail she deemed important.

If you are an INL employee, your mail is being held at Red Inc. until CAES returns to work, at which point your mail will be delivered to your mail stop.

There is no change to FedEx, UPS parcels as described below in first announcement.

If you have further questions please contact either Donna Wuthrich or Anita Gianotto. I will provide additional information if the situation changes.

 

CAES Guidance 9. Sent April 15, 2020:

CAESers,

Today, Idaho Governor Brad Little extended Idaho’s statewide “Stay Home” order until April 30. Little has also made it mandatory that all out-of-state travelers self-quarantine for 14 days.

CAES will continue to operate as we have been since late March, with access limited to key personnel. The leadership team is evaluating expert advice from the CDC, state of Idaho, and local health officials to guide our phased restart plans to make certain we keep our workforce safe and healthy.

We will update you to those plans in the near future.

For now, we will continue to evaluate the latest information and make decisions with the best interests of you and your families in mind.

Thank you for your continued support in working together to protect each other’s safety while also advancing the CAES mission.

CAES Guidance 8. Sent March 27, 2020:

CAES Community,
The state of Idaho issued a statewide ‘Stay Home’ order for Idaho on Wednesday March 25, 2020.  As you already know, the CAES facility is closed effective March 27 at Noon. You might be wondering about mail and package deliveries. If you have questions or concerns regarding these details please email Anita.Gianotto@inl.gov  Below is the latest information to date:

  • FedEx and United Parcel Service: have informed CAES Leadership that deliveries are between the Vendor and the Recipient (i.e. You). Therefore, if you are anticipating a parcel during the CAES closure you need to make arrangements with your vendor for delivery to an address outside of the CAES facility. Both FedEx and United Parcel Service will hold the parcel for a short period of time and then will return to the vendor at a return shipping cost to you the recipient.
  • United State Postal Service (USPS): All normal USPS deliveries to CAES facility have been put on hold for 21 days or until otherwise noted.
  • INL Mail: All normal deliveries have been put on hold until otherwise noted.
  • INL ParcelWestone: Please contact Westone and arrange for a hold.

Thank you for your understanding. If you have any other questions please reach out to Anita via email or phone (208-681-1862).

CAES Guidance 7. Sent March 26, 2020:

The state of Idaho has issued a statewide ‘Stay Home’ order for Idaho. Because of that, the CAES leadership team is taking the following actions to ensure the safety of our CAES community and the Idaho Falls community at large:

  • CAES facility will be closed effective Friday, March 27 at noon until further notice (expected minimum of 21 days)
    • CAES residents will continue to telecommute. To the extent possible, all work to enable the CAES research, education, and innovation pillars is being handled remotely, via computer.
    • CAES residents will not have key card access to the CAES facility during this period.
    • Please take your appropriate office equipment (Lab notebook, books, paperwork, computer) as deemed by your home institution, to your alternate work location (e.g. your home).
    • CAES Residents should remove food from the CAES refrigerators. All food not removed by Thursday March 26, 2:00PM will be disposed of by ISU Housekeeping.
  • As of Thursday March 26, 8:00 AM, Lab Leads and R&D Project Principal Investigators are to implement the following:
    • Execute CAES Ramp-Down Checklist (See your Lab Lead for an electronic copy).
    • All R&D Projects will immediately transition to a Shut-Down Mode, to be completed by Friday, March 27, at noon.
    • Place all sensitive equipment in AVL in a Shut-Down Mode.
    • MaCS will transition all instruments to a Safe-Mode. CAES will aim to maintain instrument vacuum as long as possible to protect the state-of-the-art instruments. MaCS key personnel will be granted access to the facility for maintenance of instruments.
  • Only CAES Key Personnel will be allowed in the CAES Facility and only in case of an emergency or for MaCS instrument maintenance. 
    • The list of CAES Key Personnel was generated in cooperation with the Associate Directors, Chief Operations Officer, and Safety Officer. You may contact Anita Gianotto or Kristi Moser-McIntire to determine your status.
    • Any CAES Key Personnel 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 before returning to the CAES facility.
    • CAES Key Personnel must take their temperature before leaving home to perform CAES emergency actions. If CAES Key Personnel have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or if they are showing signs of other illness such as coughing and sneezing, they must stay at home for at least 24 hours (after no signs of a fever/illness without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
      • We recognize that some people may regularly have elevated temperature due to the use of certain medications, other medical conditions, or pregnancy. CAES Key Personnel that believe their elevated temperature is due to one of these conditions must contact their doctor for guidance prior to entering the CAES facility.
    • Stay home if sick: CAES Key Personnel who stay at home because of illness must contact their Associate Director. Anyone who is ill, is being tested for COVID-19, or has had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 must notify their Associate Director.

Previous CAES COVID-19 Guidance is available here for your convenience.

These are challenging times for everyone. It is more important than ever that we work together to protect each other’s safety while also maintaining the mission critical work our nation depends on.  Our primary concern is the health and safety of the CAES residents. We look forward to resuming the in-person collaborative research, education, and innovation for which we are known. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates to facility operations via the CAES listserv.

At its core, CAES exists to support the researchers, students, and faculty across the CAES entities. If you have any questions or concerns about the CAES Guidance issued today or throughout this pandemic, or need assistance with the transition, please contact your Associate Director:

CAES Guidance 6. Sent March 25:

CAESers,

As of today, March 25, no CAES residents have tested positive for COVID-19. We will communicate via this email list if/when a CAES resident tests positive and CAES Leadership is informed. If you exhibit symptoms of or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor or the Eastern Idaho Public Health District.

As part of our efforts to protect the health and safety of CAES residents, if you test positive for COVID-19, or if you suspect you might be positive for the virus, you also should notify your Associate Director, who will then inform the appropriate CAES Leadership members.

Notification will help focus cleaning efforts at the CAES facility and allow us to notify any coworkers who might be exposed so that they can get tested or self-quarantine. The medical privacy of an employee who reports a positive test or the potential for one will be protected. When we provide coworkers with notice of potential exposure, we will not identify the employee who tested positive and will not provide any information or clues that could be used to identify that employee – job title, department, work location, for example. Also, if a positive test does emerge among a CAES resident, we ask you to avoid speculating about the identity or discussing it with others. You and your coworkers are entitled to privacy in regard to your medical information, and our efforts at keeping you informed do not supersede anyone’s right to medical privacy.

If CAES Leadership is made aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 linked to a CAES resident or recent visitor to the CAES facility, the following actions will be taken:

  1. Management will identify individuals who have had close personal contact with the affected CAES Resident.
  2. In keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, those individuals will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days.
  3. A disinfecting crew will be activated to clean associated surface contact areas and public areas.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, the health and safety of CAES residents and the communities we live in remains the primary concern of CAES Leadership. If you have any questions or concerns about the CAES guidance issued today or throughout this pandemic, please contact your Associate Director:

Boise State University Associate Director Dave Estrada can be reached at daveestrada@boisestate.edu or (208) 426-5693

Idaho State University Associate Director Dave Rodgers can be reached at rodgdavi@isu.edu or (208) 282-1157

University of Idaho Associate Director John Russell can be reached at jtrussell@uidaho.edu or (208) 533-8164

University of Wyoming Associate Director Katie Li-Oakey can be reached at dli1@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-3592

INL Associate Director Noel Bakhtian can be reached at noel@inl.gov or (208) 526-9676

CAES Guidance 5. Sent March 25:

Everyone,
As Idaho Governor Brad Little announced this afternoon, the state of Idaho has imposed a stay-at-home order for all counties in the state for the next 21 days, subject to change by order of the governor. CAES Leadership has planned for this and is in the process of implementing reduced operations for the CAES facility that ensure the safety and security of all CAES facility residents. Once we have clarity on the specifics of the governor’s order and its impact on CAES and its residents, we will be sending more detailed information and instructions to all residents through this email list.
If you exhibit symptoms of or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor or the Eastern Idaho Public Health District.

CAES Guidance 4. Sent March 24:

CAESers,

Nearly half of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Idaho are in Blaine County, and Eastern Idaho Public Health District is aware of positive COVD-19 cases in other areas of the state that are related to recent travel to Blaine County. As a result, if you have traveled to or through Blaine County in the past two weeks, you are asked to shelter in place for 14 days from the day you returned, to notify CAES Chief Operations Officer Anita Gianotto or CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire, and to call the Eastern Idaho Public Health District’s COVID-19 Hotline at (208) 522-0310 for further instruction.
In an effort to keep everyone informed we wanted to point you to a couple of web sites with accurate information on the state of the pandemic in Idaho and in Bonneville County:

CAES Guidance 3. Sent March 16:

CAESers,

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly encouraging social distancing and discouraging gatherings of 50 or more people, most CAES residents will begin telecommuting on Wednesday, March 18.

Everyone at the CAES facility will be telecommuting unless they are engaged in research that requires access to the CAES facility or there is a critical need to access their office (e.g. security concerns, computing resources). Consult your Associate Director with questions about your status. In addition, all CAES residents will continue to abide by the policies implemented by their home institutions. Be sure to check your home institution policies and to work with your home institution as you prepare to telecommute.

The move to telecommuting mirrors actions taken at the five CAES entities: All CAES universities have announced the transition to online classes, curbing face-to-face interaction in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and associated disease (COVID-19), and INL announced earlier today that employees would transition to telecommuting if able to on Tuesday, March 17.

If your work falls into the above criteria for remaining in the building, you are expected to adhere to the following guidelines in the CAES facility:

  • Social distancing to reduce person-to-person contact: Limit in-person meetings when possible and instead practice social distancing – using video/teleconferencing and maintaining at least six feet of space between individuals. Access has been blocked to the CAES Auditorium, Teton Room and Snake River Room (except in case of emergency) to align with social distancing guidelines recommended by CDC.
  • Visitors: Remember no visitors are permitted in CAES as of Monday March 16, 2020. MaCS Users follow MaCS guidelines as established in March 13, 2020 email.
  • Laboratory and work space cleaning: While ISU is increasing the monitoring and cleaning of common areas in the CAES facility, you are responsible for cleaning your laboratory space and individual work space.

For previous CAES guidance intended to complement policies put in place by your home institution, please see emails sent March 4 and 13 by CAES Chief Operations Officer Anita Gianotto and CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire.

Regards,

Anita Gianotto CAES Chief Operations Officer and Kristi Moser-McIntire CAES Safety Officer

 


CAES Supplemental Guidance. Sent March 16, 2020:

CAESers,

To supplement the CAES guidance emails we have distributed recently (March 4 and March 13) that were intended to complement the policies implemented by your home institution regarding COVID-19, here is an update on the proactive measures being taken at each of the five CAES entities:

  • Idaho National Laboratory announced this morning that most INL employees, including most at CAES, will transition to telecommuting starting Tuesday, March 17. As a result, you may see INL employees at CAES leaving the facility today with computers, monitors, printers, and other office equipment. INL Director Mark Peters said in a note to employees that the decision is intended to maintain a safe work environment for those who don’t have the option of telecommuting.
  • Boise State University announced Friday it will deliver all courses remotely through the end of the semester, the end of the semester, beginning today (March 16). The campus remains open so that research and “most other functions” can continue. The university has also suspended all events “where proper social distancing cannot be assured” until at least April 15, when a reassessment is planned.
  • Idaho State University has extended its spring break to two weeks, starting today. Classes will resume March 30 using “distance-based instruction,” although all campus locations will remain open and accessible.
  • University of Idaho announced Friday it will transition from face-to-face instruction to online only after spring break ends March 23, regardless of location. All university locations, buildings, laboratories, and classrooms will remain open for the duration of the change in course delivery, for which no end date has been identified.
  • University of Wyoming has also announced plans to transition to online classes only after its spring break ends on March 30, although its campus remains open.

If you do not feel comfortable working in the CAES facility at any time, please consult your home institution about alternative work arrangements. As usual, if you have questions, please contact Kristi or Anita.

Regards,

Anita Gianotto

 


CAES Guidance 2. Sent March 13:
UPDATE: Please read entire email.

CAESers,
Aiming to protect the health and safety of CAES residents, CAES Leadership has decided to limit facility access to only CAES residents. Visitors will be approved on a case-by-case basis. Visitors are allowed inside the CAES facility with approval of CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire and/or CAES Chief Operations Officer Anita Gianotto. Please recognize these approvals will be granted only under extenuating circumstances. This change takes effect at 10 am on Monday, March 16.

Making the CAES facility accessible only by CAES badge reflects our proactive approach to contending with the coronavirus and associated disease (COVID-19). It reflects updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Travel Health Noticesindicating sustained community spread of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 is now occurring globally, and comes a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. We had previously restricted CAES access to those who had traveled from and through CDC Level 2 and 3 countries, but as of March 12 all countries including the U.S. are classified as at least a Level 2.

CAES Leadership encourages you to conduct meetings via video/teleconference. CAES IT Technician Hyrum Wray can help arrange video/teleconferencing, if not available through your home institution; please give him as much advance notice as possible.

To further demonstrate the proactive approach we are taking to protect your health and safety, CAES Leadership has cancelled all CAES-sponsored domestic travel scheduled for March, all CAES tours, and all CAES-hosted or CAES-sponsored events (any events held in the CAES facility and events sponsored by CAES elsewhere) until further notice. Contact CAES Communications Lead Matt Evans at (208) 520-4763 with concerns or questions. In addition, Idaho State University is closely monitoring and regularly disinfecting common areas and shared surfaces at CAES – break room, rest rooms, auditorium, conference rooms, door handles, light switches, and handrails. To bolster these efforts, we recommend that you regularly and rigorously clean your laboratory space, focusing on touchpoints such as doors, drawers, and keypads. See Kristi Moser-McIntire for guidance. You are also responsible for cleaning your individual workspace as often as you feel is necessary. Here is a video with office-cleaning tips. CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations can be found later in this email.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to learn about COVID-19 through reliable sources – the local public health agencyCDC(WHO), and your doctor.

If you do not feel comfortable working in the CAES facility at any time, please consult your home institution about alternative work arrangements.

Out of respect for the CAES community of collaborators, CAES Leadership also is implementing the following safety guidelines at CAES until further notice (guidelines that have been updated since the initial 3/4/20 guidelines are based on the CDC’s recommendations for exposure risk management).

  • CAES Residents

o   Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath) must avoid the facility and find an alternative work location until they have been symptom-free for 14 days.

  • CAES Visitors, including meeting attendees, new hires and visiting researchers

o   Visitors (non-CAES-residents) are only allowed inside the facility if approved by Kristi Moser-McIntire and/or Anita Gianotto, or their delegate.

o   Visitors include new hires, visiting researchers, students, colleagues, industry partners, INL or university collaborators, and family (i.e. any individual without a CAES badge).

o   Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 is expected to avoid the facility until symptom-free for 14 days.

o   As host, you are responsible for asking visitors before their arrival whether the approved visitor and/or a household member of the approved visitor has traveled outside of Idaho recently. If so, they should be instructed to avoid the facility until 14 days has elapsed since their return.

o   See attached Appendix for a letter you can send to approved visitors prior to their arrival.

o   In the CAES Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS), no out-of-town users are allowed until further notice. MaCS staff will proceed with their experiments. In-town users of MaCS should contact the lab’s staff for guidance and must be approved prior to their arrival at CAES.

Here is a list of online resources for information on the virus in Idaho:

  • The state of Idaho has developed a web sitewith information on COVID-19’s status in the state.
  • All of the CAES universities have posted extensive information about COVID-19 online, including contact information, guidance on when to stay home, how to protect yourself, and frequently asked questions:

o   Boise State University

o   Idaho State University

o   University of Idaho

o   University of Wyoming

o   INL – see March 10, March 12 iNotes

Here are some basic guidelines for protecting yourself from COVID-19 and preventing its spread, from the World Health Organization:

  1. Clean your hands regularly with alcohol-based hand rub or wash them thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice).
  2. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant – CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfection can be found here. For disinfection, the CDC says, diluted bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing either five tablespoons per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons per quart of water.
  3. Educate yourself about coronavirus using reliable sources, i.e., local or national public health agency, the WHOor CDCwebsite, or your local health professional.
  4. Avoid traveling if you have a fever or cough.
  5. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a closed rubbish bin and clean your hands.
  6. If you are over age 60 with certain underlying medical issues, e.g., respiratory condition, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you should take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
  7. If you feel sick, stay at home and contact your doctor. It is also recommended that you eat and sleep separately from your family and use different utensils and cutlery if you are not feeling well.
  8. If you develop shortness of breath, call your doctor and seek care immediately.
  9. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your workplace, school or place of worship.

We are here to help if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind Regards,

CAES Associate Directors Noël Bakhtian, Dave Estrada, Katie Li-Oakey, Dave Rodgers, and John Russell

Kristi Moser-McIntire, CAES Safety Officer and Anita K. Gianotto, CAES Chief Operations Officer

 


CAES Guidance 1. Sent March 4, 2020:

CAESers,

As we monitor developments related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), CAES Leadership is taking a proactive approach to protect the health and safety of CAES residents and visitors. While you should follow the requirements set by your home institution, the guidelines below apply to CAES and CAES-hosted events and are intended to complement those implemented by your home institution. We encourage you to learn about COVID-19 through reliable sources – the local public health agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) website, or your doctor. This is a dynamic situation, so we will be notifying you periodically with updates.  As always, we urge you to stay home if you are not feeling well.

CAES Facility Guidance
Out of respect for the CAES community of collaborators, CAES Leadership is implementing the following safety guidelines at CAES until further notice:

  • CAES Residents
    You are instructed to avoid the facility for 14 days after returning from a CDC Level 2 or 3 country or traveling through an airport in one of those countries.The CDC’s current Level 2 and 3 countries are China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan. The list changes frequently, so please monitor the CDC website for a complete list. If you are in this category, please work with your home institution to arrange for an alternative work location during the 14-day period.
  • CAES Visitors, including visiting researchers
    If you are hosting any visitor at CAES, please ensure that your guest has not traveled through a CDC Level 2 or 3 country for at least 14 days prior to the visit.This includes visiting researchers, domestic or international visitors, students, colleagues, industry partners, INL or university collaborators, and family. (See attached appendix for a letter you can send to visitors.)

For those who have traveled from or through a CDC Level 2 or 3 country since February 17, please abide by the guidelines above and immediately contact CAES Safety Officer Kristi Moser-McIntire, Chief Operating Officer Anita Gianotto, and your Associate Director.

CAES Events/Tours

CAES-hosted events (in the CAES facility and off-site) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis until further notice. The host should consult with Kristi Moser-McIntire and/or Anita Gianotto about any CAES-hosted event or tour. Hosts of approved events and tours should take the following steps to ensure the health and safety of attendees and CAES residents:

  • Determine whether the meeting is mission critical or could be held via video/teleconference.
  • Request that any attendee who has returned from a CDC Level 2 or 3 country at least 14 days prior to the visit, or traveled through an airport in one of those countries during that timeframe, excuse themselves from the meeting and participate via teleconference.(See attached appendix for a letter you can send to visitors.)
  • Any attendee who has cold or flu-like symptoms should be encouraged to excuse themselves from the meeting and join via teleconference.
  • Remind attendees to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, before/after eating, and after toilet use.
  • Remind attendees that their health and safety is the priority and they are welcome to participate via video/teleconference if they feel uncomfortable.
  • Provide Kristi Moser-McIntire and Anita Gianotto a list of attendees by close of business the day of event/tour.

Guidance for protection against COVID-19

The WHO recommends the following basic guidelines for protection:

  1. Clean your hands regularly with alcohol-based hand rub or wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant.
  3. Educate yourself about COVID-19 using reliable sources, i.e., local or national public health agency, the WHOor CDC website, or your local health professional.
  4. Avoid traveling if you have a fever or cough.
  5. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a closed rubbish bin and clean your hands.
  6. If you are over 60 with certain underlying medical issues, e.g., respiratory condition, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you should take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas, or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
  7. If you feel sick, stay at home and contact your doctor. It is also recommended that you eat and sleep separately from your family and use different utensils and cutlery if you are not feeling well.
  8. If you develop shortness of breath, call your doctor and seek care immediately.
  9. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your workplace, school or place of worship.

Kind Regards,

Kristi Moser-McIntire, CAES Safety Officer

Anita K. Gianotto, CAES Chief Operation Officer