The Department of State has been monitoring local conditions in the D.C.-metro area during the Coronavirus pandemic, with the expectation of entering Phase I of Diplomacy Strong today.
Diplomacy Strong is a three phase, conditions-based approach to reopen department facilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance will provide details on how State facilities should be opened domestically and abroad.
Phase I primarily focuses on telework no longer being mandatory, though, the Department is still strongly encouraging the maximum use of telework opportunities. Phase 1 allows for up to 40 percent of the workforce to be onsite and says this can happen with alternating teams coming into worksites. The guidance also says that face coverings “should be worn” whenever possible under the first phase.
“Our goal is to maintain a safe workplace while advancing American diplomacy,” the spokesperson said. “While Department employees have continued to work during the pandemic, the Diplomacy Strong program focuses on safely returning our workforce to Department facilities as conditions permit.”
To move to the next phase, Diplomacy Strong requires 14 days of “downward trends” and “acceptable medical infrastructure.”
Federal agencies were given guidance back in March by the Office of Management and Budget on realigning the workforce and resources to slow the spread of COVID-19. The guidance in place urged utilizing maximum telework where possible.