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Updated COVID-19 Policy Bulletins & Agreements

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As a result of updates to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance, the FAA has revised the COVID-19-related Human Resources Policy Manual (HRPM) Policy Bulletins (PBs). On Nov. 8, 2022, NATCA and the FAA reached several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), regarding these revisions. These changes are summarized in the COVID-19 Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance Quick Reference Guide.

The MOUs and some of the significant changes to existing protocols include:

MOU regarding PB 120, Reducing Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 When Entering Any Facility, dated September 1, 2022, and the COVID-19 Daily Wellness Check, dated Oct. 21, 2022 | PB 120

  • PB 120 and the COVID-19 Daily Wellness Check no longer differentiate between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated.
  • BUEs in operational facilities who are ineligible to telework shall be granted up to three (3) days of excused absence if experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms and seeking/awaiting test results.
  • Telework eligible BUEs shall be permitted to telework up to three (3) days if experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms and are seeking/awaiting test results.

MOU regarding PB 124, Time Used for Obtaining a COVID-19 Vaccination dated Sept. 1, 2022 | PB 124

  • The MOU and PB 124 continue to provide up to four (4) hours of excused absence for obtaining COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • If a request for excused absence is denied, the Agency will provide a date by which the request shall be granted. The approved date shall not be more than seven (7) days from the requested date.

MOU regarding PB 126, Returning to the Workplace After Identifying a Case of COVID-19 and Close Contacts, dated Sept. 1, 2022 | PB 126 

  • The protocols for confirmed positive employees returning to the workplace have significantly changed to reflect CDC and Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance and no longer differentiate between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 positive BUEs may return to the workplace under the following circumstances:
  • Confirmed, asymptomatic: Five (5) full days after the initial positive test if they have developed no symptoms. BUEs must wear a high-quality, tight-fitting mask (e.g., surgical mask, N95) for ten (10) days after testing positive.
  • Confirmed, mild symptoms (symptoms may include fever or loss of taste or smell): At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improving symptoms); and five (5) full days have passed since the initial positive test or symptoms first appeared. BUEs must wear a high-quality, tight-fitting mask or respirator for ten (10) days after testing positive or after symptoms first appeared (whichever is earliest).
  • For an overview of all protocols, including those for moderate, severe, and presumed positives, click here.
  • Confirmed positive employees will be provided with the Confirmed COVID-19 Positive Acknowledgement Form
  • Close contacts will be provided with the Close Contact Acknowledgement Form.
  • Close contacts must wear a high-quality, tight-fitting mask (e.g., surgical mask, N95) for ten (10) days from their most recent close contact exposure, continue reporting to duty unless symptoms of COVID-19 develop, and test five (5) full days after exposure or the first duty day if return is within ten (10) days after exposure.

MOU regarding PB 132, COVID-19 Testing Program, dated Sept. 1, 2022 | PB 132

  • The PB 132 MOU and PB 132 govern a COVID-19 testing program for FAA employees, including NATCA BUEs, designated as close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 positive and who have no COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • BUEs subject to testing under PB 132 shall be provided with COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and shall be afforded duty time and a private space to complete their COVID-19 tests.
  • BUEs who telework and are subject to the testing will, if possible, test at home, and will do so on duty time on a scheduled telework day.
  • BUEs who test positive shall be placed on excused absence for the remainder of their shift.
  • Positive tests shall be handled in accordance with PB 126, Returning to the Workplace After Identifying a Case of COVID-19 and Close Contacts, and the Parties’ Nov. 8, 2022 MOU regarding PB #126.
  • The Parties at the local level shall jointly determine the appropriate location to be designated as a testing space.

MOU regarding the use of face masks while in Agency buildings and in physical worksites. This MOU supersedes the Parties’ March 4, 2022 Agreement on Face Coverings.

  • BUEs who are identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual are required to wear a high-quality mask (e.g., surgical mask, N95) for ten (10) days. 

The masking and testing requirements contained in the new policies are applicable to any confirmed positive or close contact that is identified on or after Nov. 9, 2022. The isolation periods required in PB 126 also begin with confirmed positives identified on or after Nov. 9, 2022. To address employees who were identified within the 10-14 days prior to implementation of the changes, upon request, a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee identified within 10 days prior to Nov. 9, 2022, is not prohibited from returning to duty provided they meet the requirements of PB 126 and adhere to the masking requirements. Employees on excused absence due to close contacts identified prior to Nov. 9, 2022, may be recalled, and are expected to adhere to the masking and testing requirements.

Members with questions should contact their regional leadership or email [email protected] for assistance.

In Solidarity,

The National Executive Board

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