Return to On-Site Work

Planning for Increased On-Site Work

The response of NASA’s workforce to the challenges stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Across the agency, I have seen individuals and teams find new ways to keep the mission moving forward, support each other, balance work and family, and even dedicate their expertise and personal time to aid in the national response.

Now that operations have reached a steady cadence, a lot of folks are wondering about the when and how of returning to “normal.” As we plan how best to increase on-site work, please know that we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of the workforce.

NASA leadership has developed agencywide guidance that takes into account guidelines provided by the White House and the Offices of Personnel Management and Management and Budget, and calls for a controlled, methodical and flexible return to on-site work. The agency guidance has been condensed into a one-page NASA Framework for Return to On-Site Work, a mirror of the NASA Response Framework and incorporating the national criteria to move from Stage 4 down to 1.

Message from Administrator Bridenstine on Returning to On-Site Work

Transcript of the Ask the Administrator Agency Town Hall on Return to On-Site Work

FAQs on NASA's Approach to Return To On-Site Work

Guiding Principles

Principles Guiding the Agency's Approach to Increasing On-Site Work

  1. The health and safety of the NASA workforce is the agency’s top priority.
  2. Agency and center leaders are taking a risk-based, phased, and methodical approach.
  3. Center RTOW plans are focused on establishing the safest environment possible while transitioning gradually to accomplish the highest priority mission-critical tasks.
  4. Implementation will be based on work that absolutely must be done on-site.
  5. Those who can accomplish their work via telework are encouraged to continue doing so until further notice.


If you do not feel comfortable returning to work on-site or continuing to work on-site:

Civil Servants - talk to your supervisor about options to address your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can talk to your center safety director or safety manager. If that outcome is not satisfactory, you can directly contact NASA’s Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance at Headquarters. Every effort will be made to provide alternate work arrangements without reservation or reprisal.

Contractors - contact your contract manager to discuss options available to you.

Considerations for High-Risk/Vulnerable Populations

Framework for Return to On-Site Work (RTOW)

Alternative text - include a link to the PDF!

Increasing Workplace Safety

Each NASA center has established safety protocols to help limit the spread of COVID-19 on-site. These protocols may include:

The agency also formed a Clean Team Task Force that includes industrial hygiene professionals from multiple centers who are exploring various options for cleaning NASA facilities/workspaces. Included in their analyses are the safety and delivery methods of various cleaning agents, as well as ideal HVAC system settings for optimal air filtration

Leadership will be evaluating the agency's overall approach to work environments based on lessons learned from the pandemic and make changes, as appropriate, to better protect the health and safety of the workforce.

Agency Policy

NASA center leaders are informing their employees (civil servants and contractors) of all new protocols put in place to guard the health and safety of employees working on-site. This information is being shared through center director messages and signs are being posted throughout center facilities to remind employees of the new safety protocols.

Following these simple protocols is how we show our concern for the welfare of, and respect for, our coworkers - and protect the NASA mission.

Employees who fail to comply with these requirements may be subject to disciplinary action.

If you see an individual on-site who is not following safety requirements, alert a supervisor or manager in the facility.