Member Alerts

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Workplace Safety Practices:

IMPORTANT: The workplace safety practices and other references linked below should be referenced as the current source of information related to Foth’s COVID-19 safety practices.

NOTE: Items with an * need Foth network access.

Member Voluntary Attestation of COVID Vaccination.  Members wishing to voluntarily attest to being fully vaccinated can do so by completing the attestation in Dayforce.  Go to Dayforce > Forms > Acknowledgements > Voluntary Attestation of COVID Vaccination (read the attestation carefully and then click Submit).

Field Safety: Job Hazard Analysis COVID-19 (for field work)* (Word doc)


CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker
CDC Spread Risk vs Foth Office Locations (updated 10/8/21)

Foth Business Travel Advisory

Reviewed 10/11/2021

The COVID-19 outbreak in the United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Again plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.

If you have business travel planned, please contact your RCM for further discussion.


Below are the most recent COVID-19 member alert messages:

October 11, 2021

Reopening Update, General Reminders, and Federal Mandate Information

Here’s an update on our full reopening, a few general reminders, and information on the status of the Federal vaccination mandates and related requirements.

Reopening Update

The Delta variant case counts aren’t trending down nearly fast enough to anticipate reopening offices this year (see map below), so we still don’t have a planned reopening date.  And last week for similar reasons, the Foth Steering Group (FSG) concluded that we shouldn’t host any Foth-sponsored, in-person holiday parties, retirement parties, or other work-sponsored social events for 2021 (or early 2022).

Small, business- and client-related meetings, dinners, etc. are fine to continue, being mindful of the need to plan for and follow our workplace safety practices.  This includes all members (and visitors) wearing face coverings when indoors (with the exception of our practice of removing face coverings when in a conference room after all have attested to having been fully vaccinated and comfortable with the removal).  Likewise, all unvaccinated individuals are to maintain social distancing, both indoors and outdoors.  Please remember that our indoor practices apply to vehicles when traveling with others for business and work-related events.  Maintaining compliance with our practices helps to mitigate close contact exposure, thereby supporting business continuity.

Did You Know?

Since our Member Wellness Survey was launched on May 17, 2020, there have been over 30,000 survey responses.  Thanks for your diligence in completing our survey (or equivalent as required by our clients/suppliers) each day you are working somewhere other than your home.  Please be reminded that visitors to Foth are also required to complete a visitor attestation upon entry to a local office.

Federal Vaccination/Testing Mandates

As you know, President Biden announced two mandates on September 9.  The first requires full vaccination for employees of covered federal contractors by December 8, with limited exceptions for those legally entitled to an accommodation.  The second, still under development by OSHA, will require all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workforce is either fully vaccinated or tested weekly before entering the workplace.

Our reopening team, in coordination with Client Relationship Management, Risk Management, and Organizational Development team members, is working to determine if Foth will be obligated under the federal contractor mandate.  While the order exempts certain contracts (e.g., grants), there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether some of our clients will be considered federal contractors, thereby requiring them to obligate us to the mandate as a sub-contractor.  We will be providing instruction soon to client leaders, supply chain management, and others to be on alert for vaccination-requirement language being added to contracts, purchase orders, and related contract-like instruments.

We have already been notified of a handful of clients who are requiring visitors to their offices/worksites to be fully vaccinated, and in some cases, without an option to test.  Since some of these requirements carry an earlier effective date, we are working with the impacted client teams to comply accordingly.

We recognize the requirement to vaccinate is a controversial topic.  While Foth has encouraged vaccinations, we had no intention of requiring vaccination or weekly testing prior to the mandates or client requirements.  However, unless otherwise exempted, we will need to comply with the rules imposed.  We will be as timely as possible in providing notice as we become aware of our obligations.

As always, thank you for ongoing support of our Workplace Safety Practices and staying attentive to this and previous Member Alerts.

Wishing you all good health,

Travis McGrath


Friday, September 10, 2021

President Biden’s “Path Out Of The Pandemic” and Workplace Safety Practices Reminders

By now, I presume most of you are aware of President Biden’s announcement from yesterday.  In unveiling his plan, entitled “Path Out Of The Pandemic”,  he communicated, among other things, the following:

  • An Executive Order will be issued requiring all Executive Branch employees at the federal level to be vaccinated, with no option for testing, and also requiring any private company with federal contracts to have their employees vaccinated – again with no option for testing.
  • The Department of Labor/OSHA has been ordered to write an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring all private companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on a weekly basis.

As you might suspect, as of this moment, we know essentially nothing about whether these elements will actually ‘stick’, and if they do, what the compliance and reporting requirements will entail.  Based on what has been communicated, we expect the details to unfold over the coming weeks.  We’ll share more information as soon as we can.

In the meantime, please continue to follow our COVID Workplace Safety Practices.  With that in mind, here are a few reminders:

  • All members and visitors in an indoor workplace must wear face coverings in “public spaces” if the workplace is in a county listed by the CDC as an area of Substantial or High transmission.
    • “Public spaces” include everywhere except a member’s personal workspace.  However, to support collaboration, if attending a meeting in-person in a conference room (not an individual’s office), and all in-person attendees (members and visitors) have been fully vaccinated and have completed Foth’s vaccination attestation, face coverings are optional. 
      • Meeting attendees should enter the meeting wearing face coverings.  The meeting facilitator can then ask if everyone has completed their attestation to being fully vaccinated, and if so, if all are comfortable removing face coverings. If anyone has either not completed their attestation and/or is not comfortable removing face coverings, all are to keep their face covering on.
    • The CDC county-by-county breakdown can be found hereCurrently, and as noted on the table linked on our Member Alerts site, all Foth local offices remain in areas of High transmission, with the exception of Novato (which has moved to “Moderate”) and Newport (which has moved to “Low”).
  • Our wellness survey must be completed each day you will be working somewhere other than your home.  Members working at client/supplier sites that have a different daily survey should complete that survey, and not Foth’s, for days in those workplaces.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, even if you believe the symptoms to be allergies or a cold, please do not enter the workplace.
  • Non-vaccinated members and visitors must maintain social distancing when in the workplace (indoors or outdoors).   If you are organizing a larger (more than 20 person) on-site meeting and planning space to accommodate the need for social distancing, please contact Nicole Gear.  If you provide her with your participant list, she can inform you how many of the Foth participants have completed the attestation (but not the specific names), so that you can plan your meeting space accordingly.
  • When working at a client/supplier site, it remains allowable to flex to the practices of that workplace, even if those practices are less stringent than Foth’s, as long as they comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing of non-vaccinated individuals.
  • If at any time a member does not feel safe in the workplace due to their personal health concerns or those of their household members, they should discuss their concerns with their RCM.
  • While vaccination remains encouraged, all members should respect the choices of others.

Finally, as I mentioned during our August Information Meeting, until conditions improve, we are not planning any fall or holiday parties, nor can we establish our full reopening date.  We continue to monitor conditions that would enable a full reopening, including looking for “green” spreading risk in the areas of Foth’s local offices.  As you can see (below), conditions need to improve significantly for us to fully reopen.

Thank you for your continued attentiveness to this and other Member Alerts, and for your commitment to following our Workplace Safety Practices.

Travis McGrath


Friday, August 6, 2021

Delay of Full Office Reopening, and Amended Workplace Safety Practices Effective Monday, August 9

Hello Foth members,

We continue to monitor the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants. Of immediate concern to public health is the Delta variant, which is a much more aggressive and transmissible mutation of the original COVID-19 virus. It is important for us to take necessary steps to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

As many of you are aware, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated their guidance for fully-vaccinated individuals.  Specifically, the CDC guidance for fully-vaccinated individuals includes the following:

  • You should wear a mask indoors if you are in public, in an area of Substantial or High virus transmission rates.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States, but you should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.

 

What does this mean for Foth?

Unfortunately, the recent jump in Delta COVID case counts and hospitalizations means we need to delay our full office reopening that was originally targeted for September 13.  Our COVID reopening team will continue to monitor our reopening triggers for satisfactory conditions and will provide members with at least 30 days’ notice of the reestablished targeted reopening date.

Additionally, effective Monday, August 9, our Workplace Safety Practices is amended as follows.

  • All members and visitors in an indoor workplace must wear face coverings in “public spaces” if the workplace is in a county listed by the CDC as an area of Substantial or High transmission.
    • “Public spaces” include everywhere except a member’s personal workspace.  However, to support collaboration, if attending a meeting in-person in a conference room (not an individual’s office), and all in-person attendees have been fully vaccinated and have completed Foth’s vaccination attestation, face coverings are optional. 
    • The CDC county-by-county breakdown can be found here.  A snapshot of the current CDC map is shown below.  The CDC map defines spreading risk a little differently from the Globalepidemics.org map I’ve been showing all along.  However, for a given color (e.g., red), the two maps reflect roughly comparable spreading risk.
    • Currently, all Foth local offices are in areas of Substantial (orange) or High (red) transmission rates.  Our COVID response team will monitor the CDC transmission map and provide weekly updates (via Member Alerts) on the status of Foth local offices.  Members who are traveling should monitor the CDC transmission map specific to the location(s) of travel.

  • Vaccinated members in the workplace who have been in close contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to notify their RCM of the exposure and get tested 3-5 days after exposure.  Quarantine will not be required before or after testing unless experiencing symptoms or test result is positive for COVID-19.  Our member wellness survey has been updated accordingly.
  • Vaccinated members in the workplace will be required to get tested 3-5 days after their return from international travel.  Quarantine will not be required before or after testing unless experiencing symptoms or test result is positive for COVID-19.  Our member wellness survey has been updated accordingly.
  • Vaccinated visitors to a Foth local office who have been in close contact in the past 14 days with an individual testing positive for COVID-19, will be required to affirm, via our visitor survey, that they have been tested 3-5 days after exposure.
  • Vaccinated visitors to a Foth local office, who have returned from international travel in the past 14 days, must affirm, via our visitor survey, that they have been tested 3-5 days after their return, and that the test was negative.

 

While our other Workplace Safety Practices will remain, here are a few notable reminders:

  • Our wellness survey must be completed each day you will be working somewhere other than your home.  (Note:  the wellness survey and visitor survey have been updated to reflect appropriate changes.)
    • Members working at client/supplier sites that have a different daily survey should complete that survey, and not Foth’s, for days in those workplaces.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, even if you believe the symptoms to be allergies or a cold, please do not enter the workplace.
  • Non-vaccinated members and visitors must maintain social distancing when in the workplace (indoors or outdoors).
  • When working at a client/supplier site, it remains allowable to flex to the practices of that workplace, even if those practices are less stringent than Foth’s, as long as they comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing of non-vaccinated individuals.
  • If at any time a member does not feel safe in the workplace due to their personal health concerns or those of their household members, they should discuss their concerns with their RCM.
  • While vaccination is encouraged, all members should respect the choices of others.

Thank you for your ongoing attentiveness to this and other Member Alerts, and your enduring commitment to health and safety.

Travis McGrath


Friday, July 9, 2021

Why Our Daily Wellness Survey Still Matters

Things have started to feel more “normal” lately.  With the CDC recommending a relaxing of COVID safety practices for those who are vaccinated, and news indicating those who are previously infected could be similarly protected, most of us are enjoying some re-found freedom.

However, we’re not out of the woods yet, as recent developments illustrate:

  1. Experts estimate that the current dominant COVID strain, the Delta variant, is 40% to 80% more transmissible than1 (and one report said twice as transmissible as) the original COVID strain.
  2. Some observations indicate that protection from reinfection by vaccines and prior infection might start to wane after about six months.  For example, for the month of June, Israel’s health ministry observed that vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64%.  This dip in effectiveness (relative to earlier trial data) was mostly due to infections in people who had been vaccinated in January and February, and infections were mostly caused by the Delta variant2.  And while recent data from Israel and Britain indicate that vaccines might remain around 95% effective against severe disease, that’s still a 1-in-20 chance of getting seriously ill if exposed – even after vaccination.
  3. Vaccination rates remain low in some locations3, including at least one state where Foth has offices.  Case counts in these and some other areas have been climbing again recently, which increases the risk of any particular person (unvaccinated or vaccinated) getting infected and sick, and provides more opportunity for the virus to mutate into new strains.

For these reasons, and to support Foth’s contact-tracing capability, it remains vitally important for members to continue to monitor for COVID symptoms, and either affirm you’re symptom-free before entering Foth’s and clients’ workplaces, or stay home if you have symptomsPlease continue our practice of completing Foth’s member wellness survey each day before entering a Foth office.  And if your office uses an access card for entry, please swipe your card to enter (i.e., don’t “draft” behind someone else).  If you’re working at a client site and the client has a corresponding requirement, please continue to meet that requirement.

Thank you for your continued adherence to our important workplace safety practices!

Travis McGrath

       

  1. For example, see <https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/560797-what-is-the-covid-19-delta-variant-should-we-be-concerned>
  2. From <https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/pfizer-ask-fda-authorize-booster-dose-covid-vaccine-delta-variant-spreads-2021-07-08/>
  3. For example, see <https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/08/health/undervaccinated-clusters-covid-risk/index.html>

Click here to view more COVID-19 member alert messages.