As you may know, FPAC has issued updated guidance regarding COVID-19 staffing at all USDA facilities. The guidance calls for staffing in facilities at 25% of normal employee presence. Understandably, NASCOE has received significant feedback from our membership on how this new guidance will impact our ability to meet customer demand. NASCOE has contacted USDA leadership about our concerns. As with previous COVID-19 decisions, we have learned this will likely be implemented across the entire federal government.
The safety of our members will always be NASCOE’s number one priority. Recent safety measures and office protocols implemented by county office employees has contributed to decreased COVID-19 cases. We believe county office decisions regarding safe staffing levels should be made locally based on sound science and established criteria.
Please know that our work with USDA is focused on identifying any opportunity to keep our offices staffed with appropriate safety measures, which will allow our employees to service production agriculture. In the meanwhile, NASCOE is working to resolve concerns about deficient supplies of laptops and low internet access available for telework. The support and feedback you provide to NASCOE during this challenging time is greatly appreciated.