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June 09, 2020

Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Horn Holds Bipartisan Teleconference on NASA’s Status of Returning to On-Site Work and Operations Under the COVID-19 Crisis

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday afternoon, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a bipartisan teleconference with Mr. James (Jim) Morhard, Deputy Administrator at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Mr. Steve Jurczyk, Associate Administrator at NASA; and Dr. J.D. Polk, Chief Health and Medical Officer at NASA to discuss NASA’s current operating status and the management of the agency’s facilities and workforce amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, including the planning and preliminary implementation of return to work efforts and ongoing activities to protect the health and safety of NASA employees. Currently, all of NASA’s Centers are at either Stage 3 (mandatory telework, with onsite work limited to mission-essential and approved mission-critical activities) or Stage 4 (under mandatory telework and remain closed except to mission-essential personnel) of NASA’s Return to On-Site Work Framework. 

“Managing NASA’s workforce of over 16,000 civil servants located at Centers and facilities across the country during the COVID crisis is no small challenge, but preparation is part of NASA’s DNA,” said Chairwoman Kendra Horn (D-OK) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. “While most of the agency continues to work remotely, NASA is planning the transition to onsite work. NASA’s workforce is a critical national asset; ensuring the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic is paramount.” 

The NASA officials discussed with Subcommittee Members how they are planning to increase onsite work presence at NASA Centers and facilities in a safe and controlled manner that is regionally focused and how NASA’s Return to On-Site Work Framework will be used to guide the transition.  

 “NASA has shown positive steps with the agency’s Framework for the Return to On-site Work, which outlines a phased approach and criteria that need to be met before returning employees to on-site work under each phase,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “Having a plan is important, because it appears that we will continue to face the threats of COVID-19 for some time to come.  We need to be vigilant in ensuring that we are doing everything we can to maintain the safety of the workforce as on-site work resumes.”