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COVID-19 Impacts to EXPRESS

From: Giunta, Joseph A Jr SES USARMY ACC (USA)
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 6:51 PM

Subject: COVID-19 Impacts to EXPRESS (UNCLASSIFIED)

EXPRESS Industry Partners,

In our efforts to keep you informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I am providing this update. Over the past several days, industry has posed many questions concerning the impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can understand, the situation is fluid and rapidly changing. Consequently, I have an urgent information tasker for you to help us, explained further below.

Normally, the EXPRESS program does not provide for regular or recurring telework for work performed on-site within a government facility. However, a Newsblast issued on 16 July 2019 provided guidance that telework is allowed under extenuating circumstances and must be approved by the Contracting Officer (KO) on a case by case basis. I have determined that the COVID-19 pandemic falls within the definition and intent of an extenuating circumstance, and am authorizing KOs to make such approvals as appropriate.

Last week, we requested our EXPRESS Contracting Officer Representatives (CORs) to perform a drill to assess which contractual tasks on active task orders could be successfully performed from an alternate duty location. We ask that you perform a similar internal assessment of your active task orders to help the COR identify support contractor employees and those tasks that can be accomplished from an alternate duty location or via telework. For each task order, please develop a list of contractor personnel by name and task. Identify the personnel who can perform contractual duties from an alternate duty station or via telework and those who cannot due to the physical nature of the work (e.g. guard, mechanic, inspector, etc.). We are not authorizing the use of off-site rates to accomplish alternate duty location work. In addition, please evaluate the technology capabilities or needs per task in order to accomplish the work from an alternate duty station or via telework and address concerns and needs, e.g. laptops, email, and access to secure websites. I’m requesting that you submit your list(s) to the respective COR no later than close of business 18 March 2020. That information is essential to our process for approving alternate duty station or telework.

The COR will review and validate the lists and provide them to the KO. In the event of a shutdown of government facilities where contractual duties can no longer be performed on-site, the KO may issue a stop work order for specified tasks that cannot be fulfilled through remote work or from an alternate duty location. Important: Only personal or company issued equipment that is approved to access the government network infrastructure is permitted, examples include using VPN or a corporate network. If a support contractor is unable to use authorized devices or equipment to access the government network, telework shall not be authorized. We are working closely with our Mission Partners as well in order to ensure we have the best information to make informed decisions in support of the mission.

As of 16 March 2020, the CDC has issued a Travel Health Notice (THN) Level 2 Alert (Practice Enhanced Precautions) for the Global COVID-19 Outbreak. Based on current DoD policy, and policy of the serviced Command/Organization, any USG or contractor employees who travel OCONUS may not be allowed to come back into USG facilities for 14 days after their return to the U.S. See the current DoD policy below, issued by OUSD(P&R), 11 Mar 2020:

"DoD strongly recommends that DoD civilian employees, contractor personnel, and family members who travel to, through, and from countries with a CDC THN for COVID-19 follow this DoD guidance, which is more stringent than the CDC guidance. DoD Components should restrict DoD workplace access for 14 days for DoD civilian employees and contractor personnel whose travel includes THN Level 2 and Level 3 locations. If these civilian employees and contractor personnel feel feverish or develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, they should notify their supervisor or chain of command” and “maximize telework options."

Therefore, contractors shall report through their management to the COR any contractor employee returning from OCONUS travel. That employee may be denied entrance to USG facilities for 14 days. In addition, any contractor employee who is exposed to an individual who has a positive case of the COVID-19 shall report through their management chain to the COR as that may prohibit the contractor employee from entering USG facilities for 14-days. Contractor employees with a household member who is in quarantine shall report through their management channel to the COR. That contractor employee may be prohibited from entering government facilities for 14 days. All of these instances must be reported as soon as possible to the COR, providing all the facts (travel and/or exposure) of the circumstance. If the contractor employee(s) can perform their contractual duties remotely via teleworking, the KO will work closely with the COR and will either approve or deny the request.

Questions have also been submitted concerning the extension of RFQs. At this time, the Army's mission continues. ACC-RSA and its mission partners are engaging in extraordinary operational practices to ensure mission readiness. Extension for proposal/quote submissions will be evaluated by our mission partners in concert with our KOs based on the mission and environmental dynamics. Address any specific concerns regarding proposal/quote submission timelines relative to a solicited requirement with the KO.

Working closely with our Mission Partners, the Government Team is committed to keeping you informed as we monitor and work through the rapidly changing environment. I encourage you to stay in close communication with your Government CORs and the ACC-RSA team. I truly appreciate your assistance and responsive action to this request.

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