Health & Safety

NASA’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides voluntary, confidential, short-term, and free mental health and wellness support to employees. Learn more at:

What If I Become Ill?

If you have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, or test positive for COVID-19:

  1. Stay or return home
    and immediately call your health care provider to determine the safest way to access care.
  2. Do not go to your center occupational health clinic. They are not set up to isolate patients.
  3. Follow your health care provider’s recommendations about care and recovery.
  4. If you have been on a NASA worksite at any time in the previous 14 days, notify your supervisor so that the contact tracing process can be performed
  5. Once you are symptom free, notify your supervisor. Your supervisor will consult with the center medical staff to determine when it’s safe for you to return to work.


  1. Notify your center medical clinic of the positive test. They will advise you on steps required to trace the employee’s whereabouts and potential contacts during the potentially-infective period.
  2. To the extent possible, and except in discussions with medical personnel, refrain from using the employee’s name when notifying other employees.
  3. The center medical clinic also can assist the supervisor in assessing any onsite actions required to ensure the workplace is safe for other employees/contractors.
  4. Once your employee is told by their health care provider they are no longer ill, or is symptom free, contact your center medical clinic to assess the employee’s duty status.

High-Risk/ Vulnerable People

High-risk/vulnerable populations, as defined by the CDC, may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe symptoms. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals:

  • aged 65 and over -or-
  • who have underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease (asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) -or-
  • who are on immune-lowering medications for chronic disease or cancer chemotherapy.

Any employee who fits into one or more of the above categories, or has health factors not mentioned here but which may place them at higher risk, should engage their supervisor to determine if it would be appropriate to continue teleworking or whether you may require some other workplace modification until National Phase 3/NASA Stage 1 is reached. Please note, much is unknown about the risk of this virus to women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Employees with these conditions are not required to stay home, but should be aware these conditions are shown to place them at higher risk from COVID-19 outcomes and must make a personal risk decision with regards to on-site work versus telework in the early stages of the plan.

Managing Stress

Prevention Measures: Protect Yourself and Those You Care About

Practice Social Distancing

Learn more.

Wash Your Hands Often

Learn more.

Cover Coughs & Sneezes

Learn more.

Wear a Face Covering

Learn more.

Clean and Disinfect

Learn more.

Monitor Your Health

Learn more.

More CDC Information

How to...

☑ Make ☑ Wear ☑ Wash

...cloth face coverings.

Face Coverings

face covering

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in community settings, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and common areas, including lobbies, elevators, kitchens, and cafeterias at your place of work. This is to protect people around you, in case you are infected but do not have symptoms. Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.

Masks/face coverings with vents (exhalation valves) negate the protection masks/face coverings are intended to provide and are not acceptable face coverings in NASA facilities.

N95 Respirator

An N95 mask or N95 respirator is a particulate-filtering face piece respirator that meets the N95 standard of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health air filtration rating, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles. At NASA centers, here are some examples of personnel who should be using N95 respirators:

  • Medical personnel working at the NASA occupational health clinics
  • Center-designated first responders while responding to an emergency, such as security, paramedics and fire technicians
  • Personnel working in confined working conditions performing critical/essential work when distancing is not possible
  • Clean rooms and controls room
  • Those where the intent is to protect the user from others (astronauts)

Surgical Masks

Surgical masks prevent the spread of bacteria and airborne illnesses. At NASA centers, health care professionals should use surgical masks.

Cloth Face Coverings

Simple cloth face coverings help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Social Distancing

Information provided by the CDC.

face covering

Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

What is social distancing?

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Why practice social distancing?

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. Social distancing helps limit opportunities to come in contact with contaminated surfaces and infected people outside the home.