COVID-19 Team Update: Vaccination Mandate and Operational Status

Banner showing COVID-19 virus

Earlier this week, Secretary Bunch announced that the Smithsonian will require all employees (federal and trust), affiliated staff (including volunteers, interns, and fellows), and contractors to be vaccinated, except in limited circumstances where a person is legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Implementing the Vaccine Mandate

The Smithsonian is still finalizing the reporting procedures and requirements for this mandate. More information will be made available next week.

For those who still need to get vaccinated, the deadline to become fully vaccinated is November 22, 2021, which shall include the necessary two-week period after your last dose. Those two weeks, when combined with the three- to four-week waiting period between the two-dose vaccine series, means that full vaccination could take as long as six weeks. Please book an appointment to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible!

Current Operations and Enhanced Telework

A couple weeks ago, the Smithsonian reached a major milestone – all museums have reopened to the public. As we continue to navigate the vaccine mandate and the monitor community case rates, we remain operating under enhanced telework – all work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely. Units are allowed to operate with a maximum of 50% of staff on site at any given time.

Extension of COVID-19 Administrative Leave

We are extending the Temporary COVID-19 Administrative Leave program that affords employees up to 8 hours (or one shift) per pay period of administrative leave to help employees manage dependent care and/or who are unable to work due to complications from COVID-19. This benefit will now be available through February 28, 2022.

As we move closer to a fully vaccinated work force, please continue to follow our other safety mitigations including completing daily health screenings, staying home if you are sick (even just mildly so), mandatory face covering indoors for staff and visitors (regardless of vaccination status), social distancing, reporting positive COVID cases, and supporting contact tracing procedures.

Thank you for your continued attention to Smithsonian safety measures and COVID-related policies.

Stay safe, be well, and get vaccinated!
COVID-19 Response Team

Posted: 17 September 2021
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni is primarily responsible for "other duties as assigned" in the Office of Communications and External Affairs. She has been with the Smithsonian since 2006 and plans to be interred in the Smithson crypt.

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