I wanted to draw your attention to the message below from USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky. USDA continues to provide guidance as the COVID-19 situation evolvesand is changing the visitor and food service polices in Department facilities beginning Monday, March 16. Please take a few minutes to read all of the information.
The general takeaway from the Deputy Secretary’s message is we should look to postpone or cancel face-to-facemeetings with external stakeholders because of new visitor screening policies. These meetings should be done virtually if they can’t be postponed or canceled.
The new guidance also encourages limiting even internal in-person meetings to no more than very fewpeople or doing them virtually. Even if all of the employees are in the same building, try to do the meeting by phone, Skype, or other virtual mechanism if you can.
As a reminder, please take your computer equipment and anything you would need to telework home withyou every night in case the situation changes after you left for the day. It’s also important to do that because this Wednesday, March 18, APHIS will be participating in USDA’s Telework Capacity Testing.
This is testing that USDA is doing throughout the week with each Mission Area to test our telework capacityon a large scale. These tests will help ensure everyone can connect to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and work from alternate locations. It will also help USDA determine the quality of the user experience remotely and look at how the Customer Service HelpDesk handles technical assistance to users. We will have more details and information for you on this capacity testing either Monday or Tuesday.
I know this is a challenging time and a very-fast changing situation, with new information almost hourly. Please keep anopen line of communication with your supervisor, and email our MRP Covid-19 Virus email box if you have questions. Most importantly, please continue to do all you can to keep you and your familysafe and healthy.
Thank you for all you do every day for APHIS and the American people.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.