The USPS has recently issued a statement on their website regarding the current Coronavirus situation. They emphasize that they are currently following all strategies and measures by the CDC and also public health departments. The guidance is being shared be USPS employees “via stand-up talks, employee news articles, messages on bulletin boards, videos and an intranet site within USPS workplaces.”
This statement is on the heels of another memo sent out last Friday, according to the Federal News Network, that outlines guidelines for supervisors and managers as it relates to mitigating the current threat. The full memo can be found on their website.
General Guidelines from the memo include:
- “Allow liberal sick leave usage for employees who are sick”
- “An FMLA packet should be generated for any employee who uses leave in conjunction with COVID-19”
- “Provide surgical masks to any employee who requests one, which can be ordered through eBuy Plus”
- “Only advise other employees, if asked, than an employee has been cleared to return to work”
On the other hand, the guidelines suggest NOT to:
- “Ask employees to stay at home without HR Review”
- “Share specific health information about any employee, including an employee who is suspected or who has been confirmed to have COVID-19”
- “Make medical decisions”
Postal employees have also shared concerns about the licking of envelopes and transmission of COVID-19 from packages from those who have been quarantined. According to the USPS statement released today, this is low risk. Their full statement is below.
‘According to The World Health Organization, “the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.” And according to the CDC, “in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.”
News12 in Westchester, New York reported that 2 White Plains USPS employees have been confirmed as positive for COVID-19, while one is recovering at home and the other in a hospital. The link to the full article can be found here. It’s unclear how the virus might have been contracted.
This is an ever-changing situation, so please be on the lookout for additional guidance from the USPS and its leadership staff.
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