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The following are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) from pandemic coordinators regarding contact tracing, quarantine, and travel. This document will be updated as new information or new questions are received. For more detailed guidance, please review the USDA Workplace Safety Plan (PDF, 568 KB). Please also check the FAQs from the Safer Federal Workforce which includes information about the topics included here, along with others.

  1. Is there guidance on quarantine practices after travel to high-risk areas. What are the obligations of travelers to self-quarantine?

USDA employees should adhere strictly to CDC guidelines before, during, and after travel, regardless of whether the travel is personal or for official business. If quarantine is required because of official travel or workplace exposure, agencies will provide weather and safety leave, or other administrative leave. If quarantine is required because of personal travel, and the employee is otherwise expected to be present onsite, the employee may take personal leave while quarantining. Please refer to the Safer Federal Workforce for more information on quarantine and travel.

  1. If an employee tests positive for COVID, what are their obligations to report this to their managers and/or self-isolate?

Any individual with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 will be advised to isolate by their supervisor, pursuant to CDC guidelines, and in compliance with local laws/regulations. Personnel who have had a close contact (as defined by the CDC) with someone who has COVID-19 should follow CDC and local guidance for quarantine. Employees who remain on enhanced telework status may choose to voluntarily disclose their positive COVID-19 result to their supervisor. Employees who have physically returned to their duty station must report a subsequent positive test result to their supervisor. All positive COVID-19 cases reported must be entered into the Department’s Sharepoint Tracker tool which is accessible by employees.

  1. Are employees obligated to notify managers of travel to COVID high-risk areas in advance?

Employees who perform mission critical work that cannot be performed remotely must factor quarantine requirements into their leave requests for personal travel. Please refer to USDA Workplace Safety Plan (PDF, 568 KB) for more detail about travel and quarantine.