COVID-19 frequently asked questions for WSDOT employees

Updated: 11 a.m., August 18, 2021

For the most up to date information on what’s happening within our state please visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.

Return to office buildings

Will we still be able to begin returning to offices as planned on Aug. 16?

No. Given the changes from the vaccine mandate we have paused our plans to return to office buildings until further notice. Anyone notified that they’d be returning to an office starting Aug.16 should now plan to remain teleworking until we have time to evaluate and gather further details. Safety remains our top priority and with the mandate, executives decided we needed to take a step back, see what additional guidance we get from State Human Resources and make sure we are doing all we can to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus.  

Since all employees are presumed to be vaccinated by Oct. 18, will anyone who wants to return to the office be able to work in office starting Oct. 18?

The date of a return to the office is unknown at this time. State and agency leaders are still evaluating and developing guidance on this topic. We’ll share more details as they become available.

Vaccines

Vaccine mandate requirements

Are WSDOT employees required to get vaccinated?

Yes, on Monday, Aug. 9, Gov. Inslee announced that state government workers, and consultants and contractors working for state agencies, must show proof of being fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 (which means getting your last shot by Oct. 4). There are a few exemptions (see below) but the vast majority of state workers are now mandated to get the vaccine. See Governor's Proclamation 21-14 (PDF 206KB) and Proclamation 21-14-1 (PDF 268KB).

What about contractors/consultants who work in our offices/job sites?

Vaccination by Oct. 18 is required as a condition of employment for consultants, contractors and businesses who do business on state property (including worksites and buildings that are managed by state agencies) based on duration and interaction with staff. This includes consultants and contractors on existing projects.

Examples of those not included in the mandate are:

  • Contractors delivering supplies by truck to a construction site where they remain physically distanced from others on the site
  • Contractor briefly dropping off water bottles to one on-site location
  • Trash/refuse collectors
  • Driver for a contracted shipping/delivery service briefly entering a site to pick up/deliver parcels.

The Construction and Consultant offices have notified contractors and consultants about this requirement and will share updates as available.

More industry-specific details are available on Gov. Inslee's FAQ page: www.governor.wa.gov/VaccineMandateFAQ#Additional%20Resources

Does this requirement apply to consultant personnel delivering supplies or delivering work on existing WSDOT contracts? What about our volunteer programs, such as Adopt-a-Highway or the Free Coffee Program?

It depends. The vaccine requirement includes most contractors, volunteers and other positions that have any on-site presence in a workplace setting – but it also depends on the duration and interaction they would have on WSDOT job sites and with WSDOT staff. (See question above for some examples of situations that will not fall under the mandate requirement.)

The Construction and Consultant offices have notified contractors and consultants about this requirement and will share updates as available.

More industry-specific details are available on Gov. Inslee's FAQ page: www.governor.wa.gov/VaccineMandateFAQ#Additional%20Resources

What happens if I don't get vaccinated?

All employees must be fully vaccinated (meaning it's been at least two weeks since their last shot) and share verification information with their agency by Oct. 18 as a condition of continued employment. Essentially this means employees must receive their last shot by Oct. 4 to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Employees who refuse will be subject to non-disciplinary dismissal from employment for failing to meet the qualifications of the job.

Employees granted a reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons may not be subject to non-disciplinary dismissal. There may be continued or additional safety requirements for employees who are granted accommodations. (See exemption/accommodation section for more details).

Any post-dismissal dispute over a dismissal action would follow any applicable collective bargaining agreement, civil service rules, and/or agency policy and procedure.

We were told vaccines weren't required, why is that changing?

This is a change from previous state government policy, and it's based on the science and increasing risk our public health partners have shared. This step was not anticipated earlier, but we've had to adjust to new information and circumstances.

Due to the ongoing risk and danger of new, stronger variants, state leaders determined this is needed to protect our staff as well as the state as a whole. Ultimately, increasing the number of people vaccinated is the best way to defeat COVID-19 and its ongoing risk, including mutations that can occur every time it is spread to someone else. Within WSDOT we still have staff out sick or quarantining to this day and recently the numbers have been increasing, so the pandemic remains a very real and serious health threat.

Why is WSDOT now requiring vaccinations?

Under the Governor's order, this is a requirement and condition of employment for all state employees. It is not WSDOT-specific. We are implementing this policy along with every other state agency.

If I only telework, do I still need to get a vaccine?

Yes, this requirement applies to all state employees, regardless of job setting.

Can I opt to wear a mask and/or get tested regularly and not get vaccinated?

No. While there may be accommodations for those who qualify for a specific exemption, general staff cannot opt out from the vaccination requirement by simply wearing a mask. Testing in lieu of vaccination is not an option.

I have already contracted and recovered from COVID and am not vaccinated; will my previous illness exempt me from the vaccination requirement? Can I show proof of antibodies to be exempt from the vaccine requirement?

No. There is no vaccine exemption for those who have previously had COVID or who have antibodies. However, employees in this situation may qualify for a medical accommodation if it is not yet safe for them to receive the vaccine by Oct. 4, 2021, to meet the Oct. 18, 2021 deadline to be fully vaccinated. Please see next question as additional reference.

What if an unvaccinated employee recently contracted COVID-19 and medical providers recommend waiting 90 days before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? Would they still have to meet the Oct. 18, 2021, deadline?

If an individual is advised by their medical provider that they should not get the vaccine within a particular timeframe — and following that recommendation would cause the individual to miss the Oct. 18, 2021, deadline — the individual must seek a medial exemption and accommodation, or they would be separated from employment. If a medical accommodation is granted, the employee would need to become fully vaccinated as soon as the waiting period ends.

Doesn't this violate the federal HIPAA law? How can you require me to get vaccinated or share my status?

HIPAA applies to health care providers who need your permission before sharing their records about your treatment. It does not apply to employers and does not prevent employers from requiring vaccinations and proof of vaccination.

Exemptions/accommodations

What exemptions are there to the vaccine requirement?

There are two exemptions: 1) a medical condition (PDF 160KB); or 2) sincere religious beliefs, practices or observances (PDF 136KB) that prevent you from getting the vaccine.

Exemptions are not automatic and will be reviewed and approved as appropriate.

There are no personal or philosophical belief exemptions under this policy.

I believe that I have one of the allowed exemptions, how do I apply for an accommodation?

Medical or religious exemptions and accommodations will be evaluated in the following manner:

Once an exemption is requested you can expect an interactive process to determine whether the circumstances qualify under the exemption requirements. Then, if the exemption is approved, you will engage in another interactive process about whether an effective reasonable accommodation exists to allow you to perform the essential functions of your job.

Will there be penalties for employees who apply for one or both of these exemptions?

There is no penalty for applying for an exemption, but requesting one does not automatically mean it will be approved.

If I need to request a reassignment due to my vaccination exemption and accommodation decisions, how do I do that?

You’ll want to use the Reasonable Accommodation Reassignment form (PDF 408KB) to provide HR with details on your work background and acceptable geographic areas, which will allow HR to begin a reassignment evaluation of any eligible vacant positions. (More details and options are discussed at the top of the form). Submitting the form does not automatically guarantee a reassignment is possible, it begins the evaluation process. You must first submit an exemption/accommodation request before requesting a reassignment.

Vaccine/side effects concerns

I have concerns about the vaccine and/or don't think it's safe, what do I do?

Please speak with your personal health care provider about vaccines and your health. They are the health and science experts who can help sort fact from myths about vaccines. You can also turn to trusted sources such as the state Department of Health or federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.

Can I share my concerns or vaccine information with co-workers?

Please remember that the use of state resources is governed by state law and agency policy. State resources must be used for your official state duties and activities. Please refer to WSDOT Executive Orders 1004.03 (PDF 315KB) Ethics in Public Service and 1021.02 (PDF 292KB) Employee Use of Electronic Communication Systems for WSDOT policies related to permitted use of state resources. Prohibited use of state resources includes, but is not limited to:

  • No personal use of email distribution lists;
  • No promotion of personal political beliefs or religious affiliations.

For additional guidance:

Are we allowed to attend protests about this decision or other vaccine issues?

For all topics, any political or protest activities need to take place on an employee's own time. Walking off the job during scheduled work, for example, will become a disciplinary matter.

What if employees who are vaccinated have side effects?

Like other routine vaccines, the Center for Disease Control indicates that side effects may be experienced, which are normal signs the body is building protection. Employees who need to take leave due to side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine may use accrued leave in accordance with agency policy or applicable collective bargaining agreement or may request shared leave.

Vaccine locations and timeline

Where can I get a vaccine?

It's never been easier to get a free shot at many pharmacies, grocery stores, and doctors' offices. Many do not even require an appointment. Use the state vaccine locator to find the best options near you and remember, the state provides leave time for your vaccination and travel to and from the location.

When do I need to get the vaccine to meet the Oct. 18 requirement?

That depends on which vaccine you receive, but you need to have your final dose by Oct. 4 to allow for the two weeks needed to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. See the chart below for dates to aware based on type of shot.

Covid-19 vaccination timelines for Oct. 18 deadline

Moderna

  • 2 doses, 28 days apart
  • First dose no later than: 9/6/21
  • Second dose: 10/4/21
  • Last date to complete series or single shot: 10/4/21
  • Date fully vaccinated (two weeks after last dose): 10/18/21

Pfizer

  • 2 doses, 21 days apart
  • First dose no later than: 9/13/21
  • Second dose: 10/4/21
  • Last date to complete series or single shot: 10/4/21
  • Date fully vaccinated (two weeks after last dose): 10/18/21

Janssen/J&J

  • Single dose
  • First dose no later than: 10/4/21
  • Last date to complete series or single shot: 10/4/21
  • Date fully vaccinated (two weeks after last dose): 10/18/21

Leave options

What kind of leave do I use for vaccines?

"Miscellaneous leave" time is available for all state workers for their travel time to and from a vaccine and their appointment. WSDOT employees can use the "Miscellaneous leave" option in DOTtime and enter "Not required" in the comments line. Please contact your Human Resource consultant if you have any questions.

How much miscellaneous leave time can I take to receive my shot?

It will vary depending on how far the employee needs to travel to receive a vaccine. Typically, it should not take more than few hours max; however, some employees, based on their job duty/type, may need to take a whole day off (e.g. some Ferries employees are relieved of their entire shift regardless of number of hours they need to take off from work).

Can I use miscellaneous leave for taking family members such as my children to get vaccinated or is it just for the employee?

No. The miscellaneous leave is only for the employee to receive a vaccination. If an employee needs to take time off to take a family member to get vaccinated, they will use their accrued leave (sick, vacation, or other available accrued leave).

If I need extra time off due to vaccine side effects, what type of leave do I use?

If an employee has an adverse reaction from the vaccine which causes them to take time off from work, the employee will use their accrued leave (sick, vacation, or other available accrued leave). Miscellaneous leave is only for the sole purpose of receiving a vaccine.

Vaccine validation

If I already validated my vaccine with the agency, will I now need to re-validate my vaccination status?
Yes. All vaccinated staff should use the Med+Proctor site to validate their vaccine information – even if they previously used the voluntarily system. With the mandate requirement, we need all employee vaccinaton information in one secure system.  Directions and the link to access Med+Proctor are available in a Sept. 8 all staff email from Jeff Pelton and on the InsideDOT page (requires sign in to WSDOT system). You will need your vaccine documentation in a jpeg format for easiest upload.

What if I lost my vaccine card?
If you've misplaced or lost your card, you can get official, verified proof of your COVID-19 vaccination online, via MyIR website. This is an official state pathway to access proof of vaccination in Washington state. To get your copy, visit MyIRMobile to sign up for free. If you already have a MyIR account set up, you're all set. *Please keep in mind that verification to your records through MyIR may not be immediate, and access is currently limited to English language only. For language assistance, or additional help getting your records, please call 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357) or contact by email at waiisrecords@doh.wa.gov.

Is the Med+Proctor system secure?
Part of the vetting process for this vendor was having our IT department review their security protocol and processes and ensure it meets all applicable requirements – this process includes making sure that Office of the Chief Information Officer, the state Office of Cyber Security and our own Cyber Security Office reviewed the system to ensure proper security. Med+Proctor has a history of working with secure medical records with higher education institutions across the country, which is one reason we identified them as our vendor of choice. We have also bargained this agreement with all of the unions and no concerns were expressed.

What if my legal name – on my vaccine card – doesn't match the name I use within WSDOT and that auto populated in the Med+Proctor validation form?
If it's a common nickname of your full name – like "Mike" instead of "Micheal" – there shouldn't be problem. If you go by a middle name or something that isn't a clear match to your legal name – such as "Annie" for "Elizabeth" – then you can change the auto populated name on the Med+Proctor form to match the one on your vaccine documentation.

I work for UMA or Mega Programs and don't see an option for me in the drop down menu, what do I do?
UMA and Mega Programs staff should select Northwest Region for this process, which is also how Human Resources staff is assigned to these workers.

If I email or upload my vaccine card to my work computer to enter it into Med+Proctor, how do I keep it private from a public records request?
Once you've uploaded the document into Med+Proctor you can delete it from your WSDOT device.

I got my email validation notification from Med+Proctor. Do I need to send that to HR or my supervisor to complete the process?
No. Once you get the email saying your information has been verified, you're done. (The notification email will come from: admin@reminders.medproctor.com).

Med+Proctor will provide HR with names of all validated employees.

Unemployment

If an employee leaves state service rather than get vaccinated by Oct. 18, will they receive unemployment?

It depends on each specific case and no employee should assume they will automatically qualify. The state Employment Security Department will examine a number of factors in these cases, including: when the employer adopted the requirement; whether the employee is otherwise eligible for benefits; the specific terms of the vaccine policy including allowable exemptions: and the reason why the employee did not comply with the vaccine requirement.

For example, if the employer offered religious or medical accommodations, but the employee does not qualify for an accommodation and does not comply with the vaccine requirement, an unemployment claim would likely be denied. However, some individuals may still qualify based on their own unique circumstances. ESD will evaluate each case on its own merit.

Retirement and the vaccine mandate

If an employee chooses to retire rather than get vaccinated, what sort of timeline do they have to follow?

This checklist provides a general timeline for those who plan to retire, although all the timeframes could be reduced and a number of items could be skipped for those looking to make a decision quickly. Given the amount of time before the deadline, employees may want to proceed with the items indicated for 3-12 months from retirement as soon as possible.

Please also consult the intranet Retirement page under "Human Resources" and "Benefits" for more details.

Please note: The first step for employees who wish to retire is doing the official retirement estimate.

If an employee has already completed this step, the rest of the process can move quite quickly, and the Department of Retirement Systems will prioritize the benefit estimate for the earliest retirement dates. Once that is complete, filling out the retirement application is quite quick. If a person plans to work at all in October, the retirement date would be Nov.1 and the employee will still be well within the three-month timeframe.

Will I miss the chance to retire if DRS can't process the paperwork in time for the Oct. 18 vaccine deadline?

No. DRS has confirmed that they would not deny someone the opportunity to retire based on their approach to prioritizing requests. DRS prioritizes requests for benefit estimates based on the pending retirement date, so requests for benefit estimates with a retirement date of either Oct. 1 or Nov. 1 will be completed prior to retirement dates in 2022.

In order to ensure your retirement process goes as smoothly as possible, remember that it is your responsibility to provide DRS with everything they need or request in a timely manner. In the event delays occur, you can still retire on your desired retirement date, but your retirement payments will be delayed pending the finalization of the retirement paperwork.

New employees/job postings

How does this affect our new hires whose first days are in the coming weeks, or current recruitments that have recently closed or will close soon?

The vaccination requirement applies to all employees, including new hires. They must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 to start work on or after that date, or to continue to keep working for WSDOT if they started earlier. Vaccination will be a condition of employment – not a condition of applying or interviewing for jobs with WSDOT.

Will WSDOT job postings require new employees to be vaccinated?

Yes. WSDOT HR is working with State HR to develop language for all new job postings. Regions and divisions do not need to work on this since the language will be provided as soon as possible for all new postings. Vaccination will be a condition of employment – not a condition of applying or interviewing for jobs with WSDOT.

Vaccine mandate background

On what legal grounds can this be imposed?

In response to the emerging COVID-19 threat, the Governor declared a state of emergency on February 29, 2020, using his broad emergency authority under RCW 43.06. More specifically, under RCW 43.06.220, after a state of emergency has been declared, the Governor may suspend statutes and prohibit any activity that he believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace. Under an emergency such as this, the Governor's paramount duty is to focus on the health and safety of our communities. This proclamation answers that obligation.

Which stakeholders were consulted in arriving at this decision? Was a testing option considered?

The state engaged with labor organizations, local governments and private healthcare and received communications from various associations representing segments of private healthcare settings. These engagements revealed differing viewpoints and perspectives. Many organizations expressed an interest in implementation of a "vaccination or test" approach. The state considered this feedback in great depth and deemed that approach infeasible in state government and across our health systems. The state and some private entities have used a "vaccination or test" system in various congregate care settings and many recognized it to have not stopped the threat to our communities and places of work, as outbreaks have persisted. The cost and administrative process to sustain or expand this model long-term is significant. Ultimately, the state made the tough decision to proceed with a mandate for the healthcare workforce and the state-employee workforce.

Why can't we simply continue using our safety precautions such as physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing. I thought those were working, so why is this mandate needed?

The threat of COVID-19 is evolving as new, more easily transmitted and aggressive variants become prevalent in our state. The Delta variant has changed the game for all of us as it is much more contagious than previous versions of COVID-19.

Despite our safety precautions, we continue to see staff exposed, sickened and even die from COVID-19 – both at WSDOT and  at other state agencies. And we are seeing increases in staff cases as the Delta variant spreads. Current practices were determined to simply not be enough anymore.

The vaccine is the single most effective resource to combat spread and prevent illness and death. The state of Washington has a duty to our employees to provide a safe work environment free of known hazards and to reduce risk to the public we serve. This safety measure is equally important to fight the spread of COVID-19 generally and statewide, because it will help to protect the communities in which we live and interact before, during and after our work shifts.

Work

Safety plan for buildings and field sites
We have developed and continue to update safety plans to ensure the wellbeing of employees and reduce the spread of COVID-19 at WSDOT work sites. This includes requirements for staff as well as cleaning and other protocols for buildings/work sites.

One of these measures is having all employees reporting to work sites in buildings or the field completing the health screening tool via ReadyOp prior to arrival. Fill out the health screening tool is not required for employees who are 100 percent teleworking.

Depending on site specifics, temperature checks, proper PPE, physical distancing and other steps are being taken to keep employees safe and reduce the spread of the virus. We are advising all employees who are sick to stay home and reminding healthy employees to practice good hygiene at work and at home to help slow the spread of any respiratory illness.

Speak with your supervisor or Safety Office about the safety plans or any questions. WSDOT employees also can access further information on the internal COVID-19 Information page.

Health and wellbeing

Staying healthy
We know employees have concerns about personal health and wellbeing. These are difficult times for all of us, and we want to ensure you are taking care of yourself, both physical and emotionally. We have resources available to help you, including:

Daily health screening tool via ReadyOp

Our daily health screening tool is sent via a program called ReadyOp. Each workday, employees who are going to work at a WSDOT building or other field site must fill out the form. Employees who continue to telework no longer have to fill out the health screening. Once the form is submitted and based on the responses, a Human Resources representative will reach out to the employee for next steps if there has been a change in their health. Employees who do not complete the daily screening will be denied access to WSDOT facilities, work sites and vehicles. If you’re not receiving the health screening message through ReadyOp, you can sign up using this form: https://i5.readyop.com/contact/register/3. 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 to getting or spreading COVID-19?

  • Get vaccinated. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.
  • Follow current agency, state, federal and local health jurisdiction guidance and directives about when and where to wear masks. There’s also no harm in wearing a mask even when it’s not required if you have additional risks or want extra peace of mind.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Consider adding the WA Notify app to your work and/or personal mobile phone to alert you if you’ve been near someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. App details are available on the Department of Health page.

What should I do if I feel sick?
Stay home, do not report to the 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 for advice on next steps. Contact your supervisor to notify them of any sick leave you may be taking, and quarantine based on conversations you’ve had with your health care provider. Please accurately fill out the health screening form via Ready Op. The CDC also has detailed information: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

What do I do if I've been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19?
Stay home, do not report to the worksite. Follow directions from your health care provider, including self-quarantine. The CDC website has more information about quarantine to help prevent the spread of disease. Be sure to accurately fill out the health screening tool via ReadyOp. Human Resources will contact you with further instructions and types of leave available. Please notify your supervisor if you are unable to work online or report to work in person.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
Stay home, do not report to the worksite. Notify your health care provider and follow their directions for care, which may include isolating yourself so you do not infect others. Visit the CDC website for more guidelines. If you are scheduled to go to work, fill out the health screening tool via and stay isolated until Human Resources contacts you. Please notify your supervisor if you are unable to work online or if you are taking sick leave.

How will I know if a co-worker has been exposed? Will that shut down my building/work site?
We are notifying employees upon confirmation of close contact with an individual exhibiting symptoms and/or directly exposed to a confirmed case. We are taking additional cleaning steps for any suspected or known cases. We also will follow local county health guidelines if any additional steps are recommended for vehicles, buildings or offices. Please continue to practice good hygiene as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Closure of an office or building will be determined by management, HR and safety on case-by-case basis.

How can I get more health information about COVID-19?
It’s important to be sure you’re getting facts and not rumors. Please consult trusted sources of information such as your personal health care provider, the state Coronavirus sitestate Department of Health coronavirus pagethe Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s coronavirus website or your local county health department.

What resources are available for higher-risk employees?
Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-46 (PDF 65KB), amending Proclamation 20-05, which prevents all employers, public or private, from failing to provide accommodation to high-risk employees.

The Centers for Disease Control has identified different groups of people who may be at greater risk for severe illness.

We are committed to exploring all options for employees at higher risk to exposure. If you meet one or more of these factors and have health concerns related to transitioning back to the field or office, you should talk to your supervisor. You might find it helpful to contact your local HR representative or Leave@wsdot.wa.gov.

Caregiver resources

What resources are available for parents and caregivers?
If you have concerns about returning to your worksite due to childcare constraints, caring for a household member who may be experiencing symptoms, and/or risking exposure to a household member who may be at greater risk for COVID-19 as outlined above, please work with your supervisor to discuss your options

Our HR leave team is standing by to assist those who need assistance in finding leave options. You can reach the team at 1-855-707-8100 (option 2) or at leave@wsdot.wa.gov.

We are committed to working with our employees to take advantage of all leave options during this difficult time. We encourage supervisors to continue to utilize telework options for employees to the extent possible as expected by the State Office of Financial Management and Governor’s Office, while we navigate work and personal lives through the pandemic.

Many parents and caregivers are carrying the burden of 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 with more information and the most recent versions are available on their website: www.dcyf.wa.gov/. If you have questions about the guide, please email DCYF at strengtheningfamilies@dcyf.wa.gov.

Additionally, you can always reach out for help through:

What if I need to stay home to care for a child whose school is closed and I don’t have any sick or vacation leave left? Or if I need to work reduced hours?
Explore your leave options with your HR leave representatives at 1-855-707-8100 (option 2) and your supervisor. Options may include, teleworking for at least part of the day and using leave time for the rest or using leave without pay.

Telework Resources

What if I want to continue teleworking even after we’re allowed to return to buildings?

After pandemic telework mandates are completed lifted, the agency’s goal is to have 30-40% of eligible staff telework on any given day. Telework will be supported to greatest extent possible whenever it is feasible.

If you wish to continue to telework after mandates are lifted, work with your supervisor to determine if your position is suitable. If so, you and your supervisor will decide on the frequency and expectations for in-office presence, work hour flexibility and locations.

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’re teleworking more than half-time in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Supervisors need to approve and track this equipment movement and status as part of accountability (please contact your IT Service Desk for details on computers and other equipment).

WSDOT employees should refer to the Telework page on the internal site for more details contained within the Telework Manual.

If our desk phones are forwarded via EX500, is there a way to change or turn this off?
Please contact your IT Service Desk or follow the directions below.

From your work landline phone:
The Avaya gray phone at your desk will have 2 new buttons added: an EC500 button and an Extend Call button. Do not place your phone on Send Calls or it will bypass the cell and go to straight to your work voicemail.

  • Activate EC500 - From your desk phone press the EC500 button to have calls ring simultaneously to your cell phone. A triangle or light indicator will illuminate on the button label to show the feature is turned on.
  • Deactivate EC500 - From your desk phone press EC500 to have calls only go to your desk phone. A triangle or light indicator will no longer illuminate on the button label to show the feature is turned off.
  • Extend call - While on a desk phone call, press Extend Call on your desk phone to extend the call to your cell. Your cell phone will ring and you can take the call.
  • Taking a call back – If you have received a call on your cell phone through EC500 and you want to take the call back on your desk phone - pickup up the handset, press the active line on your phone, once you have established the connection with the caller hang up your cell phone.

From your cell phone:
We suggest adding these numbers to your cell phone. Keep in mind that when calling people at HQ, ELG, Aviation, Mottman, MatsLab, and Chandler Court from your cell phone, the display seen will be your work number rather than your cell number.

  • Remotely Turn EC500 ON – Dial 360-709-8071 It will beep and disconnect.
  • Remotely Turn EC500 OFF – Dial 360-709-8072 It will beep and disconnect.

If you are calling another region or you want to call long distance and have your work number to show up, call 360-709-8023 from your cell phone and this will take an idle line on your work phone to call out on. People will see your work number and not your cell number. You can use 4 digit, 9, or 88 depending on the call you would like to make.

Can I get reimbursed for using my personal cell phone for work?

Under Secretary's Executive Order 1105 Use of Mobile Communication Devices, WSDOT may provide a stipend for use of an employee-owned mobile communication device for work in some cases. Please work with your supervisor and see the Mobile Communication Device Request form (PDF 154KB).

Facility and cleaning protocols

Are there guidelines about who is allowed to enter WSDOT buildings, and during what hours?
The agency’s facility safety plan identifies general rules about staff and 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, that will continuously update to ensure compliance with any COVID-19 requirements and is intended for employees who must access WSDOT facilities.

Employees who are able to telework, should continue to follow telework procedures.

Anyone accessing or working in a building – even just temporarily – must get prior permission from their supervisor and be sure to follow all entry requirements for their building. It is important that all employees take personal responsibility to protect themselves, their family, coworkers, and the public.

What are the guidelines for vehicle cleaning and disinfecting?
By employing regular cleaning and disinfecting practices after each use, we can effectively minimize the transmission of these diseases while using vehicles and equipment. Cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces with approved cleaners and disinfectants removes the vast majority of bacteria and viruses that cause COVID-19, flu, colds, and other seasonal illnesses reducing the probability of transmission. 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 the full procedures and guidelines (PDF 90KB), including a list of frequently touched areas, types of cleaners and a cleaning checklist, are also available online.

Records and electronic signatures

How do I manage agency records when I am using my personal computer/cell to conduct WSDOT business?
If you are using a personal device with Citrix or Remote Desktop Gateway to conduct your work, all agency records should be created and stored within the agency’s programs. There should not be any agency records on personal devices. Please review SEO 1105 Use of Mobile Communication Devices.

Is my personal computer/cell subject to public disclosure if I conduct WSDOT business on them?
Every record that is made or received by an agency employee in connection with official agency business is a public record and subject to public disclosure, unless there is a specific exemption that prevents its disclosure. If an agency employee creates a work-related document or email on their own personal computer or sends a work-related text message from their own personal cell phone, it is a public record and must be retained as a public record in accordance with the appropriate records retention schedule. Such records should be promptly saved to and retained on WSDOT’s system rather than a personal device.

However, if you retain work related records on personal devices, they are subject to public disclosure requests. If an employee receives a PDR for information that exists on their personal devices they must provide the record to the PDR office to comply with the request. Per direction from the State Supreme Court, we require employees who are producing records from their personal device to sign a declaration we give them to attest that they have done a thorough search and have produced all responsive records.

Are Skype/Microsoft Teams text messages/shared documents retained and are they subject to public disclosure?
Skype messages are not retained. MS Teams files are saved in the Cloud and thus subject to Public Disclosure. The policy for MS Teams chats changed, effective June 25, 2021, and those are now deleted after 30 days.

How long should COVID-19 screening records be retained?
Please visit Using Records Retention Schedules: How Long Do COVID-19 Pandemic Records Need to Be Kept? (PDF 250KB)

What are the retention requirements for records relating to the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The State Records Manager has recently developed a COVID-19 record retention advice sheet (PDF 250KB) detailing what types of records should be retained for 6 years as part of our emergency/disaster response/recovery response.

What is the requirement for use of electronic signatures during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A new executive order for electronic signatures for the agency is currently in the works. In the meantime, here is a link to a document that outlines the Use of Electronic Signatures During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF 184KB). WSDOT employees can find information our employee intranet by searching for "Electronic Signature Usage" for the page.