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New COVID-19 Guidance

Published February 28, 2022

Dear Shipbuilders,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated COVID-19 guidance Friday designed to help communities assess their local COVID-19 risk and appropriate prevention steps. The new community levels are determined by the number of hospital admissions, hospital beds in use and COVID-19 cases in an area.

Based on this new guide of measurement, Hampton Roads has transitioned to the lowest community level. As a result, Newport News Shipbuilding is updating its mask and meeting policies:

NNS Mask Policy – Effective March 1:

  • Masks are no longer required on NNS property, including indoor and outdoor settings. This applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Masks are still required, however, at the clinic.
  • People can choose to wear a mask based on their individual comfort level.
  • Per Navy regulation, masks must still be worn on commissioned Navy ships. We will continue to monitor the Navy’s mask guidance and communicate updates accordingly.

NNS Meeting and Social Gathering Policies – Effective March 1:

  • Teams may host in-person meetings as long as the meeting location’s capacity guidelines are followed. Attendees and the presenter do not need to wear a mask or social distance. That said, social distancing and use of WebEx meetings played a key role in reducing our in-yard transmissions. Social distancing and opting for virtual meetings are encouraged when feasible to keep our COVID-19 cases low.
  • Gatherings such as ERG, retirement and team recognition events can be held indoors. Food and drink can now be shared, including pizza, cake, doughnuts and potluck or buffet-style meals.

Regardless of our community level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) still requires NNS to track and report all COVID-19 cases. To monitor NNS’ cases, COVID-19 testing will continue at the NNS Testing Center (Old Apprentice School Gym, Bldg. 601) and employees must still call the COVID Hotline at 1-844-243-8749 if they have COVID-19 symptoms, come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, or test positive for the virus.

In addition to tracking cases, NNS will continue to track the percentage of vaccinated employees. All NNS and leased employees are encouraged to provide proof of vaccination unless they were vaccinated through NNS at the HII Family Health Center, at an in-yard event or at the NNS Testing Center. Employees should email their vaccination documentation to [email protected] and include their name and PERNR. Please note that while NNS strongly encourages full vaccination, it is not a condition of employment at this time.

We recognize that cases are low and policies are therefore relaxing. Despite these changes, COVID-19 is still a threat to the shipyard and our community. If we should see an increase in cases or a shift in our community transmission level, our policies will be assessed and revised as necessary.

As a reminder, vaccinations, masks, social distancing and regular cleaning help slow the spread of COVID-19 as well as other transmissible illnesses such as flu and colds. These COVID-19 policy changes are welcome news, and we ask that you continue to make health-conscious decisions and protect yourself and others. Our continued vigilance will keep our COVID-19 cases low.

Respectfully,
NNS COVID-19 Crisis Action Group