AFNWC Return to Full Mission Capability

Given the absolutely critical nature of our role in providing nuclear capabilities to the warfighter, AFNWC is committed to maintaining full mission support despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  To date, we’ve kept all key efforts on track and in line with the Air Force’s nuclear deterrence priorities.  We expect to continue using telework to the maximum extent possible but, as AFNWC members return to their work sites, it will be necessary for them to wear personal protective equipment and follow cleaning protocols for their workspaces, as required by the local installation.

COVID-19 Information and Resources

For base-specific information at your AFNWC location, please visit the sites below (see www.af.mil for locations not listed below):

AFNWC Minimum Cleaning Protocols
 
Common Areas (access doors, restroom door handles, conference rooms, snack bars, break rooms/areas, common executive offices, etc.)
Assign personnel to ensure these areas (touch points) are wiped down at the beginning and end of the duty day, and at least twice more during the duty day.  
 
Community Stations (SIPR “cafes,” etc.)
Personnel should wipe down all touch points to include chairs, desks, screens, keyboards, safe fronts, handles and dials before and after each use or change of personnel.
 
Individual Cubicles/Offices
Individuals are responsible for wiping down their own cubicles/offices, to include chairs, desks, screens, keyboards, drawer fronts, handles and other touch points at the beginning and end of their duty day.
 
Notes:
  1. “Wiping down” is defined as using approved disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray and disposable towel.
  2. None of these protocols preclude individuals from wiping down common areas as frequently as they believe is necessary.
  3. If any areas have accumulated dirt or dust, remove the dirt and dust first before wiping them down; however, do not blow or otherwise disperse the dirt and dust into the air.
 

AFNWC Frequently Asked Questions

Note: If your question is not currently addressed here, please contact your local human resources experts, local legal office, or your supervisor for guidance and/or more information.

Q. If the COVID-19 risk is declared minimal and the state governor has terminated any “stay-at-home” directives, can a supervisor order an employee into the regular/on-site workplace if the employee does not feel safe?
A. Yes, if ordered into the AFNWC regular/on-site workplace, the employee should report to the workplace.  If an employee has self-identified as a high-risk (vulnerable) person for contracting COVID-19 or has a family member at high risk, they can make a request to their supervisor to remain in a telework status.  The supervisor will evaluate the situation and determine how to best balance mission capability with the employee’s telework request.
 
Q. Is a phased return to the workplace appropriate? Should vulnerable personnel be permitted to telework longer?  Who is vulnerable and how is that determined?
A. In accordance with the President’s “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again” and CDC guidance, employers with vulnerable populations should evaluate maximization of telework for eligible workers, consistent with any requirements for return to full mission capability.  At AFNWC, telework should be maximized to the extent practicable and consistent with mission requirements for eligible workers.  This would include particular evaluation of populations the CDC has identified as being at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 (CDC High Risk Populations) and CDC-identified special populations, including pregnant women (CDC Special Populations).
 
Q. What telework posture is appropriate after AFNWC units/directorates end maximum telework?
A. As noted in OMB’s guidance, M-20-13, Updated Guidance on Telework Flexibilities in Response to Coronavirus, AFNWC unit/directorate heads have the flexibility to develop appropriate protocols for their operations.  As conditions change, directors and supervisors should revisit telework policies and agreements in order to meet mission requirements consistent with the AFNWC commander's intent.  Currently, that intent is to maintain maximum use of telework except where not feasible.
 
Q. For AFNWC localities where schools are closed, and if otherwise consistent with mission requirements, should telework flexibilities continue to be utilized for employees with school-aged children?
A. Yes.  The AFNWC units/directorates are encouraged to review the full spectrum of available workplace flexibility, including telework and Flexible Work Schedules (FWS), to support employees with children and other dependent care obligations, if child and dependent care facilities remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Q.  What should an AFNWC unit do if the return of federal employees to their duty station conflicts with ordinances put in place by local or state authorities?
A. As the decision of an AFNWC unit/directorate leader to return to full mission capability depends heavily on consultation with, and guidance from, local health officials, such conflicts should be infrequent.  However, the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), in consultation with the Department of Justice, has determined that none of the orders issued to date restrict the ability of federal employees and contractors from any travel necessary to perform official functions.  Federal employees and contractors should continue to carry appropriate federal identification (such as a CAC or PIV card, or agency-issued letter of authorization) when traveling to carry out federal business and report to appropriate supervisors if there has been a travel issue with local law enforcement.  
 
Q.  If an AFNWC employee who returned to the on-site workplace exhibits signs of illness, may an AFNWC supervisor order the employee to take leave or telework?  If ordered to take leave, will the employee be paid during the absence? 
A. AFNWC employees who exhibit signs of illness should leave work immediately.  AFNWC supervisors should remind the employee of his or her leave options, such as requesting sick leave, annual leave, or emergency leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), if available to the employee.  If the employee has no leave available, supervisors are authorized to approve requests for advanced leave, or leave without pay, in certain circumstances. When these leave options are not practical, and when the employee is covered by a telework agreement, a viable alternative is for the employee to work from home pursuant to a telework arrangement properly approved by the employee’s supervisor.  When an employee opts not to take leave or to telework voluntarily, a supervisor may find it appropriate to enforce the employee’s use of leave. Telework may also be compelled by activating the unit/directorate continuity of operations plan (COOP), if telework is a component of such a plan.  There may also be evacuation authority available through coordination with installation commanders. 
 
Q. Can AFNWC units require the use of face coverings by employees, where appropriate?
A. The AFNWC units/directorates may require employees to follow certain safety procedures, such as using a face covering, in order to help ensure the health and safety of the employee and their co-workers.  Consistent with the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, and any local installation or unit requirements, agencies are to strive to create workspaces where appropriate social distance can be maintained.  AFNWC employees are free to wear appropriate face coverings (as defined by installation or unit requirements) at all times within the workplace.
 
Q. What options are available for AFNWC civilian personnel with children whose schools are closed and they run out of annual leave?
A. The AFNWC civilian personnel may telework when a child or dependent requiring supervision is present at the alternative worksite.  DoD granted a temporary waiver until December 31, 2020, to allow employees to telework in this situation, and encouraged DoD components to make similar adjustments to their policies. Where an employee is teleworking and providing care for a child or dependent during duty hours, the employee must account for this time using appropriate leave, as approved by his or her supervisor.  For example, an employee who feeds and supervises a young child multiple times during the day will need to take leave for those time periods or, if on a flexible work schedule, adjust his or her hours to make up the time.  DoD guidance encourages supervisors to extend telework flexibility more broadly to accommodate state and local responses to the outbreak, including school closures.  For more information, contact your local human resources experts.
 
Q. What new leave provisions may be available to assist AFNWC employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?
A.  The FFCRA authorizes employees paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  Its provisions apply from 1 April 2020 through 31 December 2020.  Full-time covered AFNWC employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave (EPSL); part-time employees are entitled to up to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.  The FFCRA also permits covered employees to take up to 12 weeks of expanded FMLA leave (10 of which are paid at a partial pay rate), when an eligible employee is unable to telework because of a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons and no other suitable person is available to care the for the son/daughter.  For more information and detailed requirements, contact your local human resources experts.
 
Q. An AFNWC employee just returned from a COVID-19-affected area and the AFNWC supervisor does not want the employee to come into the office until the employee does not present a safety risk.  What can the supervisor do?
A. The AFNWC supervisors should consult with local civilian personnel and installation public health experts to gain the most current and accurate advice on such matters.  Supervisors should then identify whether the employee is a telework program participant and, if so, offer the employee the option to telework. If the employee is not a normal telework program participant, then the supervisor should review the COOP to determine if its provisions provide for telework by employees.  If COOP provisions lack adequate telework requirements, they should be revised and implemented as required.  The AFNWC units/directorates may also consider using weather and safety leave (see below), administrative leave, or other leave flexibility (paid or unpaid).  The AFNWC units/directorates may also combine telework and leave flexibility, if the employee may perform some duties at a telework location.
 
Q. If an AFNWC supervisor instructs AFNWC employees to telework due to the COVID-19, how is employee’s time and attendance recorded?
A. "Situational Telework" (TS) is the type of telework to be coded for time and attendance purposes.
 
Q. Can an AFNWC unit/directorate mandate an AFNWC employee to telework due to COVID-19 concerns, if the employee is not on a telework agreement?
A. Yes, if the AFNWC employee is not a current telework program participant, then the AFNWC supervisor should ensure the unit’s COOP is activated and use the telework portions of the plan.  If the COOP provisions lack adequate telework requirements, then they should be revised and implemented as required.
 
Q. If AFNWC employees mandated to be on telework do not have access to the work they need to complete via teleworking (e.g., because their duties also include working with classified information and systems), how should they report time and attendance for the actual telework time, as well as the time when there is no available access to their usual work activities?
A. Hours spent actually teleworking would be coded as Situational Telework (TS) for the hours or days worked.  If AFNWC employees are unable to complete any further duties via telework, the weather and safety leave may be appropriate.  The AFNWC employees should check with their supervisor to ensure there are, in fact, no other matters the employee can complete while teleworking during that pay period.
 
Q. Do supervisors have the authority to direct telework for an asymptomatic employee?
A. Yes, they do have the authority, pursuant to a determination under 5 CFR 630.1605 that the employee is prevented from safely traveling to or performing work at the on-site workplace.
 
Q. Can employees change their telework location without prior approval of their supervisor?
A. No, an employee's telework site must be approved by his or her supervisor prior to working.  It must be the same site indicated in the approved telework agreement.  The site may be changed on a situational basis in an emergency; however, the employee must get advance approval from the supervisor.
 
Q. Are AFNWC civilians restricted from personal travel?
A. No, AFNWC civilian employees are not restricted from personal travel but may incur a self-isolation period before returning to the on-site workplace.  Any such isolation period will depend on specific installation or state requirements.  Since AFNWC members support an important mission that is critical to the defense of the United States, employees must exercise appropriate measures to ensure this mission is not placed at improper risk.  Employees have a positive responsibility to judge whether certain actions and locations are high risk and make appropriate decisions, in coordination with their supervisory chain.  Proposed personal travel actions should be rejected if they do not survive an appropriate cost-versus-benefit analysis.  Individuals must also weigh voluntarily placing themselves at greater risk against their responsibility to the mission.

Q. Can a supervisor deny leave to a civilian who is traveling outside the local commuting area?
A. Depending on the type of leave, a supervisor can deny or cancel leave to a civilian who is traveling outside the local commuting area based on mission requirements.  A supervisor may not deny personal leave conducted at the expense of the individual solely because an employee is traveling outside of the local commuting area or to a CDC-designated Level-2 or greater area.  However, the civilian may incur a self-isolation period (or other restriction) before returning to the on-site workplace, depending on local installation or state requirements.