The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sent a memo to Federal agency heads on March 3 with “preliminary guidance” to prepare the Federal workforce for the “potential impacts” of the COVID-19 coronavirus, including an emphasis on telework and Federal mission resilience.

Among other steps, OPM said “departments and agencies must incorporate telework in their continuity of operations plans (COOP),” and instructed that COOP plans be reviewed “to ensure telework has been fully incorporated and that as many employees as possible have been identified as telework employees in the plan, and are telework capable.”

The memo cites guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “that the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low at this time,” but adds, “Federal agencies should review their plans and continue their preparation since this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.”

The memo from OPM Director Dale Cabaniss said OPM’s guidance is coordinated with numerous Federal entities including CDC, the National Security Council, Office of Management and Budget, State Department, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, General Services Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Federal Protective Service.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.