COVID-19 frequently asked questions for WSDOT employees
Find answers to questions regarding COVID-19 and the WSDOT workplace
For the most up to date information on what's happening within our state please visit the state coronavirus website.
For the most up to date information visit the state coronavirus website.
Return to office buildings
Can employees return to offices?
WSDOT no longer has capacity limits at its buildings, but our strong commitment to telework and flexible work options remains in place.
As we further transition into our new normal, we are developing additional policies and options for office workers. This may include full-time telework, working full-time from the office or a hybrid mix of both. Although each individual decision will be up to the employee/supervisor, our goal is to have 30 to 40 percent of staff teleworking at any given time.
What precautions/protocols are required to return to offices?
- Employees interested in working at our buildings or worksites should contact their supervisor prior to returning to the office.
- All employees reporting to buildings will need to complete the health screening via ReadyOp every day prior to their arrival.
- All employees must check their temperature daily. Some facilities are equipped with temperature monitoring stations, but it is preferred that employees screen at home.
- In buildings, staff are encouraged to physically distance three to six feet in public spaces including conference and break rooms.
In most situations, masks are not required. Please be respectful of an individual’s choice to wear a mask or not. Below are the mask requirements:
- Employees are required to wear masks inside buildings when meeting with or near the public (anyone who was not subject to the state vaccine mandate and verification process).
- Employees who have been exposed to COVID-19, may return to a building/worksite if up to date on their vaccinations and wearing upgraded masks (N95, KN95, cloth face covering over a procedure mask) inside for 10 days.
- Once recovered from COVID-19, (no symptoms or symptoms are improving, and fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication) an employee returning to the office is required to wear an upgraded mask (N95, KN95, or cloth face covering over a procedure mask) inside for five days.
- Masks are optional outdoors or inside buildings when working or meeting with co-workers, other state employees or contractors and consultants (anyone subject to the vaccine mandate and verification process).
- Washington State Ferries and Amtrak Cascades workers will follow current public transit guidance from the CDC and TSA about mask requirements.
Check the COVID-19 information page under the Health & Safety tab on InsideDOT for the latest guidance.
Are visitors allowed to enter WSDOT buildings?
Some buildings, or parts of buildings, are open to the public but may require additional safety precautions. The agency's facility safety plan identifies general rules about visitors entering WSDOT facilities. This plan is a working document, available to WSDOT employees on the WSDOT intranet or through your supervisor or Safety Office. The plan is continuously updated to ensure compliance with COVID-19 requirements.
Are WSDOT employees required to get vaccinated?
Yes, on Aug. 9, 2021, Gov. Inslee announced that state government workers had to show proof of being fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, 2021. See Governor's Proclamation 21-14 (PDF 206KB) and Proclamation 21-14-1 (PDF 268KB).
What about contractors/consultants, curriers and volunteers who work in our buildings/worksites?
Proof of compliance with the 21-14.4 vaccination mandate is required for consultants, contractors and businesses who work on state property (including worksites and buildings that are managed by state agencies). Volunteers, including people who work with Adopt-a-Highway and the Free Coffee program are also required to follow the 21-14.4 vaccination mandate.
Others that spend a short period of time in our buildings or worksites and who have minimal interaction with staff are not subject to the 21-14.4 vaccine requirement. Examples include:
- Contractors delivering construction supplies to worksites
- Trash/refuse collectors
- Drivers/curriers for shipping services briefly entering a site to pick up/deliver parcels/supplies
More industry-specific details are available on Gov. Inslee's FAQ webpage.
How does the vaccination mandate affect our new hires?
The vaccination requirement applies to all employees, including new hires. Vaccination is a condition of employment – not a condition of applying or interviewing for jobs with WSDOT.
Health and wellbeing
What mental health services are available?
We know employees have concerns about personal health and wellbeing. These are difficult times and we want to ensure employees are taking care of themselves, both physical and emotionally. Resources available, including:
- The state's Employee Assistance Program, including counseling services
- The state Coronavirus mental and emotional wellbeing resources
- Our Coping During the Pandemic webpage, which has research-based tips and advice
- DOH Behavioral Health Resources
- Washington Listens (833-681-0211) provides support for those who need to talk
How do I access the daily health screening via ReadyOp?
Our daily health screening is sent by email or text via a program called ReadyOp. Each workday, employees who report to WSDOT buildings or worksites must fill out the form. Employees who telework, do not have to fill out the health screening. If there has been a change in your health, a human resources representative may reach out to you. Employees who do not complete the daily screening will be denied access to WSDOT buildings, worksites and vehicles. If you are not receiving the health screening text or email from ReadyOp, you can sign up by filling out a form. You can also reach out to your region/division Emergency Manager or agency Emergency Management Director John Himmel.
What can I do to reduce my risk of getting or spreading COVID-19?
- When eligible, get a vaccine booster. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns.
- Pfizer – It has been at least five months since completing a primary series and you are age 12+
- Moderna – It has been at least five months since completing a primary series and you are age 18+
- Johnson & Johnson – It has been at least two months since completing the primary vaccination and you are age 18+
- People 50+, or who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and booster or people with serious health conditions may be eligible for an additional booster. See the CDC guidelines for the latest details.
- Follow current agency, state, federal and local health jurisdiction guidance and directives about when and where to wear masks.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Consider adding the WA Notify app to your mobile phone to alert you if you have been near someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. App details are available on the Department of Health webpage.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Stay home, do not report to the office or worksite. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea – contact your health provider regarding next steps. Contact your supervisor to request sick leave if needed. Also, accurately fill out the health screening via ReadyOp.
The CDC has additional information.
What if I have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19?
Fully vaccinated employees with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID 19 are required to wear upgraded masks (N95, KN95 or a cloth face covering over a procedure mask) while working in WSDOT buildings for 10 days and are not required to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:
- Have accurately filled out their ReadyOp health screening.
- Are fully vaccinated (For two-dose vaccines - Have completed their primary series of an approved vaccine and recommended booster(s) or completed the primary series within the last five months. For single-dose vaccine – Completed the primary series within the last two months.)
- Have not had symptoms since the COVID-19 exposure.
- Continue to watch for symptoms for 10 days after their exposure.
Employees, who do not meet all the criteria listed above, should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 as listed in the WSDOT Roadmap to Recovery Plan.
It is recommended fully vaccinated employees, who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, be tested five to seven days after exposure.
The CDC guidance on Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People has additional information.
Note: This option does not apply to people who must quarantine based on a travel restriction. In that case, agencies and employees must follow the quarantine requirements related to travel.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Do not return to work for at least five days after a positive test or symptom onset.
- You can return to work after five full days if you have not had symptoms or your symptoms are improving, and you are fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication.
- If you continue to have a fever or other symptoms have not improved after five days of isolation, continue isolating until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.
- When returning to work, you must wear an upgraded mask (N95, KN95, cloth face covering over a procedure mask), for five additional days.
- If symptoms get worse or new symptoms occur, you should isolate until a medical professional, or a negative test confirms symptoms are not related to COVID-19 or the isolation period ends as described above.
- If you are severely ill or immunocompromised, call a medical professional, notify your supervisor and isolate in accordance with the DOH Isolation and Quarantine Calculator.
How will I know if a co-worker has been exposed? Will that shut down my building/worksite?
We are notifying employees upon confirmation of a close contact with an individual exhibiting symptoms and/or directly exposed to a confirmed case. We also will follow local county health guidelines if any additional steps are recommended for vehicles, buildings or offices. Closure of an office or building will be determined by management, HR and safety on a case-by-case basis.
How can I get more health information about COVID-19?
It is important to get facts, not rumors. Please consult trusted sources of information such as your personal health care provider, the state’s coronavirus website, the state’s Department of Health coronavirus webpage, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's coronavirus website or your local county health department.
What resources are available for higher-risk employees?
Gov. Inslee issued Proclamation 20-46 (PDF 65KB), amending Proclamation 20-05, which prevents all employers, public or private, from failing to provide accommodations to high-risk employees. The Centers for Disease Control has identified groups who may be at greater risk for severe illness.
We are committed to exploring options for employees at higher risk for severe illness. If you meet one or more of the Centers for Disease Control’s risk groups and have concerns related to transitioning back to the field or office, talk to your supervisor, local HR representative or Leave@wsdot.wa.gov.
What resources are available for parents and caregivers?
If you have concerns about returning to your building or worksite due to childcare constraints, caring for a household member, and/or risking exposure to a household member who may be at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, please work with your supervisor to discuss your options.
Our HR leave team can also assist with leave options. They can be reached at 855-707-8100 (option two) or at email@example.com.
We are encouraging supervisors to utilize telework options for employees to the extent possible. This is expected by the State Office of Financial Management and Governor's Office.
Many parents and caregivers are dealing with school closures, hybrid school schedules and limited childcare availability while balancing a work schedule from home. In response, the state Department of Children, Youth & Families developed a resource guide. If you have questions about the guide, please email DCYF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I need to stay home to care for a child and I do not have sick or vacation leave? Or if I need to work reduced hours?
Contact your HR leave representatives at 855-707-8100 (option two) and/or your supervisor to explore options, which may include teleworking, leave time and or leave without pay.
What if I want to continue teleworking?
The agency's goal is to have 30 to 40 percent of eligible staff telework every day. If you wish to continue teleworking, talk with your supervisor.
What if I need to bring home additional WSDOT equipment (i.e., monitors, external drives, etc.)?
There are provisions for bringing home workstation technology and state-owned furniture if you are teleworking more than 50 percent of the time in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Supervisors need to approve and track this equipment. (Contact your IT Service Desk for details on computers and other equipment.)
WSDOT employees should refer to the Telework page on the internal InsideDOT site for more details contained within the Telework Manual.
What are the guidelines for vehicle cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces with approved products remove most bacteria and viruses that cause COVID-19, flu, colds, and other illnesses. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected between each use and marked in the vehicle log, so the next employee knows that it has been completed. The synopsis and full procedures and guidelines (PDF 90KB), including a list of frequently touched areas, types of cleaners and a cleaning checklist, are available online.