IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION: The User Program Office wants to ensure that resident staff are aware of Argonne’s new multi-layered safety protocols that will take effect on January10. Anyone who is fully vaccinated AND was removed from the screening program requirement due to vaccination status will be added BACK into the program effective January 10th. Please read the following carefully:
December 21, 2021
TO: All Employees
FROM: Kimberly C. Sawyer, Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations
and Chief Operations Officer
SUBJECT: Planning for Our Reentry
Argonne is preparing to move out of limited operations. Our reentry plan and updated COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan are under review by the U.S. Department of Energy, and we had planned to announce a mid-January date for lifting site access restrictions. Instead, we are placing that decision on hold until early February.
We’ve considered many factors: high transmission rates in our region, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the likelihood of a post-holiday spike in cases, and the variable uptake on booster shots. We have balanced all this with our commitment to your safety.
We must do this right, rather than right now.
Our multi-layered safety protocols will help.
- Our screening program is expanding, effective Monday, January 10. Whether vaccinated or not, any employee, Collaborative Access Team operations staff member, or contractor who regularly accesses the site and comes in close contact with other workers must participate in once-a-week COVID-19 testing. We will contact affected individuals the week of January 3.
- Diagnostic tests are available to all on-site employees, Collaborative Access Team operations staff, and contractors upon request. Follow these instructions to request a test.
Of course, our existing precautions, including face coverings, social distancing, and occupancy limits, remain in force. They are essential for minimizing close contacts in the rare cases when people are infectious while on-site.
During this extremely high transmission period, if someone in your household has COVID-19, please work with your supervisor to telecommute if possible.
Please get a booster vaccine if you’re eligible and have not already done so. Vaccines remain the most effective way to avoid serious illness. Booster shots are widely available at local grocery stores and pharmacies. HEW will resume providing boosters in January.
I want to thank you for your patience and support in this process. We are eager to welcome the full Argonne community back to campus, but only when the data supports that decision. For now, enjoy the upcoming holidays and suspension of operations. I will have more to share in the new year.