COVID-19 frequently asked questions for WSDOT employees

For the most up to date information on what's happening within our state please visit the state coronavirus website.

Return to office buildings

Who can return to offices and when?

In November 2021, offices and divisions were allowed to start bringing back some telework staff, though no more than 25 percent of previous occupancy. Some staff are already returning, and more are expected through December. In January we hope to have an update on further guidance. No one who is teleworking should report to a building without being notified to do so by their supervisor. Changes will be based on guidance from State Human Resources as well as ensuring we are doing all we can to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus

What precautions/protocols are required to return to offices?

As of Nov. 30, 2021, the following guidelines apply to return to facilities:

  • Employees must have prior permission to report to the office.
  • All employees reporting to buildings will complete the health screening tool via  ReadyOp prior to their arrival.
  • Temperature taking – prior to arrival at a facility, all employees must check their temperature for fever daily. Some facilities are equipped with temperature monitoring stations, but it's preferred that employees screen at home.
  • Employees are not required to wear masks inside or physically distance themselves as long as they're only working with other WSDOT staff, but they are still encouraged to do so.
  • Masks and physical distancing are required for WSDOT employees interacting with other people who are not agency employees while inside buildings.
  • Check the COVID 19 Information page under the Health & Safety tab on InsideDOT for the latest guidance.

Vaccines

Are WSDOT employees required to get vaccinated?

Yes, on Aug. 9, Gov. Inslee announced that state government workers, and consultants and contractors working for state agencies, had to show proof of being fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. New employees also must be vaccinated as condition of employment (more below). See Governor's Proclamation 21-14 (PDF 206KB) and Proclamation 21-14-1 (PDF 268KB).

What about contractors/consultants who work in our offices/job sites?

Vaccination is required as a condition of employment for consultants, contractors and businesses who do business on state property (including worksites and buildings that are managed by state agencies) based on duration and interaction with staff. This includes consultants and contractors on existing projects.

Examples of those not included in the mandate are:

  • Contractors delivering supplies by truck to a construction site where they remain physically distanced from others on the site
  • Contractor briefly dropping off water bottles to one on-site location
  • Trash/refuse collectors
  • Driver for a contracted shipping/delivery service briefly entering a site to pick up/deliver parcels.

The Construction and Consultant offices have notified contractors and consultants about this requirement and will share updates as available.
More industry-specific details are available on Gov. Inslee's FAQ page: www.governor.wa.gov/VaccineMandateFAQ#Additional%20Resources

Does this requirement apply to consultant personnel delivering supplies or delivering work on existing WSDOT contracts? What about our volunteer programs, such as Adopt-a-Highway or the Free Coffee Program?

It depends. The vaccine requirement includes most contractors, volunteers and other positions that have any on-site presence in a workplace setting – but it also depends on the duration and interaction they would have on WSDOT job sites and with WSDOT staff. (See question above for some examples of situations that will not fall under the mandate requirement.) Adopt-A-Highway groups have been notified that they must meet the vaccine mandate.

The Construction and Consultant offices have notified contractors and consultants about this requirement and will share updates as available.

More industry-specific details are available on Gov. Inslee's FAQ page: www.governor.wa.gov/VaccineMandateFAQ#Additional%20Resources

New employees/job postings

How does this affect our new hires?

The vaccination requirement applies to all employees, including new hires. Vaccination will be a condition of employment – not a condition of applying or interviewing for jobs with WSDOT.

Will WSDOT job postings require new employees to be vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccination will be a condition of employment – not a condition of applying or interviewing for jobs with WSDOT.

 

Work

Safety plan for buildings and field sites

We have developed and continue to update safety plans to ensure the wellbeing of employees and reduce the spread of COVID-19 at WSDOT work sites. This includes requirements for staff as well as cleaning and other protocols for buildings/work sites.

One of these measures is having all employees reporting to work sites in buildings or the field completing the health screening tool via ReadyOp prior to arrival. Filling out the health screening tool is not required for employees who are 100 percent teleworking.

Depending on site specifics, temperature checks, proper PPE, physical distancing and other steps are being taken to keep employees safe and reduce the spread of the virus.

We are advising all employees who are sick to stay home and reminding healthy employees to practice good hygiene at work and at home to help slow the spread of any respiratory illness.

Speak with your supervisor or Safety Office about the safety plans or any questions. WSDOT employees also can access further information on the internal InsideDOT COVID-19 Information page.

Health and wellbeing

Staying healthy

We know employees have concerns about personal health and wellbeing. These are difficult times for all of us, and we want to ensure you are taking care of yourself, both physical and emotionally. We have resources available to help you, including:

Daily health screening tool via ReadyOp

Our daily health screening tool is sent via a program called ReadyOp. Each workday, employees who are going to work at a WSDOT building or other field site must fill out the form. Employees who continue to telework 100% of the time, do not have to fill out the health screening. Once the form is submitted and based on the responses, a Human Resources representative will reach out to the employee for next steps if there has been a change in their health. Employees who do not complete the daily screening will be denied access to WSDOT facilities, work sites and vehicles. If you're not receiving the health screening message through ReadyOp, you can sign up using this form: https://i5.readyop.com/contact/register/3. You can also reach out to your region/division Emergency Manager or agency Emergency Management Director John Himmel.

What can I do to reduce my risk to getting or spreading COVID-19?

  • When eligible (for everyone 18 and older - 6 months after Pfizer/Moderna and 2 months after Johnson & Johnson) get a vaccine booster.  Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.
  • Follow current agency, state, federal and local health jurisdiction guidance and directives about when and where to wear masks. There's also no harm in wearing a mask even when it's not required if you have additional risks or want extra peace of mind.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Consider adding the WA Notify app to your work and/or personal mobile phone to alert you if you've been near someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. App details are available on the Department of Health page.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home, do not report to the worksite. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – 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, vomiting or diarrhea – contact your health provider for advice on next steps. Contact your supervisor to notify them of any sick leave you may be taking, and quarantine based on conversations you've had with your health care provider. Please accurately fill out the health screening form via Ready Op. The CDC also has detailed information: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

What do I do if I've been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

Be sure to accurately fill out the health screening tool via ReadyOp.
Fully vaccinated employees with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID 19 are required to wear a mask while in an indoor work setting for 14 days and are not required to quarantine if  they meet the following criteria:

 

  • Are fully vaccinated (For 2-dose vaccine - had both doses, and at least two weeks have passed since the second dose. For single-dose vaccine – had single dose and at least two weeks have passed since the required dose.)
  • Have not had symptoms since current COVID-19 exposure.
  • Continue to watch for symptoms for 14 days after their exposure.

Employees who do not meet all the criteria listed above should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
It is recommended fully vaccinated employees who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, be tested 5-7 days after exposure in addition to wearing a mask as required above. If an employee chooses to get tested and provides proof of a negative test 5 or more days after exposure, they no longer need to wear a mask where allowed.

See CDC guidance on Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.

Note: This option does not apply to people who must quarantine based on a travel restriction. In that case, the agencies and employees must follow the quarantine requirements related to travel.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Stay home, do not report to the worksite. Notify your health care provider and follow their directions for care, which may include isolating yourself so you do not infect others. Visit the CDC website for more guidelines. If you are scheduled to go to work, fill out the health screening tool via and stay isolated until Human Resources contacts you. Please notify your supervisor if you are unable to work online or if you are taking sick leave.

How will I know if a co-worker has been exposed? Will that shut down my building/work site?

We are notifying employees upon confirmation of close contact with an individual exhibiting symptoms and/or directly exposed to a confirmed case. We are taking additional cleaning steps for any suspected or known cases. We also will follow local county health guidelines if any additional steps are recommended for vehicles, buildings or offices. Please continue to practice good hygiene as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Closure of an office or building will be determined by management, HR and safety on case-by-case basis.

How can I get more health information about COVID-19?

It's important to be sure you're getting facts and not rumors. Please consult trusted sources of information such as your personal health care provider, the state Coronavirus site, state Department of Health coronavirus page, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's coronavirus website or your local county health department.

What resources are available for higher-risk employees?

Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-46 (PDF 65KB), amending Proclamation 20-05, which prevents all employers, public or private, from failing to provide accommodation to high-risk employees.

The Centers for Disease Control has identified different groups of people who may be at greater risk for severe illness.

We are committed to exploring all options for employees at higher risk to exposure. If you meet one or more of these factors and have health concerns related to transitioning back to the field or office, you should talk to your supervisor. You might find it helpful to contact your local HR representative or Leave@wsdot.wa.gov.

Caregiver resources

What resources are available for parents and caregivers?

If you have concerns about returning to your worksite due to childcare constraints, caring for a household member who may be experiencing symptoms, and/or risking exposure to a household member who may be at greater risk for COVID-19 as outlined above, please work with your supervisor to discuss your options

Our HR leave team is standing by to assist those who need assistance in finding leave options. You can reach the team at 1-855-707-8100 (option 2) or at leave@wsdot.wa.gov.

We are committed to working with our employees to take advantage of all leave options during this difficult time. We encourage supervisors to continue to utilize telework options for employees to the extent possible as expected by the State Office of Financial Management and Governor's Office, while we navigate work and personal lives through the pandemic.

Many parents and caregivers are carrying the burden of school closures, hybrid school schedules and limited childcare availability while balancing a work schedule from home. In response, the state Department of Children, Youth & Families developed a resource guide with more information and the most recent versions are available on their website: www.dcyf.wa.gov/. If you have questions about the guide, please email DCYF at strengtheningfamilies@dcyf.wa.gov.

Additionally, you can always reach out for help through:

What if I need to stay home to care for a child whose school is closed and I don't have any sick or vacation leave left? Or if I need to work reduced hours?

Explore your leave options with your HR leave representatives at 1-855-707-8100 (option 2) and your supervisor. Options may include, teleworking for at least part of the day and using leave time for the rest or using leave without pay.

Telework resources

What if I want to continue teleworking even after we're allowed to return to buildings?

After pandemic telework mandates are completed lifted, the agency's goal is to have 30-40% of eligible staff telework on any given day. Telework will be supported to greatest extent possible whenever it is feasible.

If you wish to continue to telework after mandates are lifted, work with your supervisor to determine if your position is suitable. If so, you and your supervisor will decide on the frequency and expectations for in-office presence, work hour flexibility and locations.

What if I need to bring home additional WSDOT equipment (i.e. monitors, external drives, etc.)?

There are provisions for bringing home workstation technology and state-owned furniture if you're teleworking more than half-time in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Supervisors need to approve and track this equipment movement and status as part of accountability (please contact your IT Service Desk for details on computers and other equipment).

WSDOT employees should refer to the Telework page on the internal InsideDOT site for more details contained within the Telework Manual.

Facility and cleaning protocols

Are there guidelines about who is allowed to enter WSDOT buildings, and during what hours?

The agency's facility safety plan identifies general rules about staff and visitors entering WSDOT facilities. This plan is a working document, available to WSDOT employees on the WSDOT intranet or through your supervisor or Safety Office, that will continuously update to ensure compliance with any COVID-19 requirements and is intended for employees who must access WSDOT facilities.

Employees who are able to telework, should continue to follow telework procedures unless/until notified by their supervisor that they're eligible to return to offices.

Anyone accessing or working in a building – even just temporarily – must get prior permission from their supervisor and be sure to follow all entry requirements for their building. It is important that all employees take personal responsibility to protect themselves, their family, coworkers, and the public.

What are the guidelines for vehicle cleaning and disinfecting?

By employing regular cleaning and disinfecting practices after each use, we can effectively minimize the transmission of these diseases while using vehicles and equipment. Cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces with approved cleaners and disinfectants removes the vast majority of bacteria and viruses that cause COVID-19, flu, colds, and other seasonal illnesses reducing the probability of transmission. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected between each use and marked in the vehicle log so the next employee knows that it has been completed. The synopsis and the full procedures and guidelines (PDF 90KB), including a list of frequently touched areas, types of cleaners and a cleaning checklist, are also available online.

14 fish passage projects were completed in 2020

improving access to 54.2 miles of upstream habitat.

11,959 incidents responded to

by WSDOT’s incident Response teams during second quarter of 2021, 15% more than same quarter in 2020.

41 Pre-existing Funds Projects Advertised

during the eighth quarter of the 2019-2021 biennium.