The Department of Homeland Security’s new headquarters is opened during a ceremony at the St. Elizabeth’s campus in Washington on April 10, 2019. (DHS photo by Tara Molle)

Access Limited to DHS Campus for Next Month or More; Contractors Told to Expect Fever Checks

Revised access procedures to protect workers from contracting coronavirus are in place beginning today at the Department of Homeland Security’s St. Elizabeth campus and may be extended to other sites, Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa said in a Wednesday memo to the contractor community.

“People without proper credentials or documentation, people who may be ill, and/or people who may pose a risk to others will not be granted access,” Correa said.

Admission to work spaces will be limited to individuals who have been authorized access during the restricted access timeframe, with a government Personal Identity Verification (PIV), Common Access Card (CAC), or other documents allowing access.

Buildings, facilities, or work space closures may also occur without notice if they’ve experienced exposure related to COVID-19 or for other reasons.

And everyone entering a DHS facility or work space — including employees, contractors and visitors — is subject to screening procedures before being allowed to enter, including a temperature check to make sure that a person isn’t running a fever of more than 100.4ºF. Screening could also include “a series of questions to determine whether the person should be permitted to enter the facilities or work space.”

“Contractor and subcontractor employees who are denied access to DHS facilities or work spaces should notify their employer of the denial and the basis for it,” Correa said. “Companies doing business with DHS should take the appropriate action to keep the employees and their coworkers safe and healthy. The health, welfare, and safety of the DHS federal and contractor workforce is paramount during this unprecedented time. In addition, in the event a contractor or subcontractor employee is denied entry, it is requested that the company notify the appropriate Contracting Officer, or Contracting Officer’s Representative. If contract performance is anticipated to be affected due to the COVID-19 situation, please discuss the situation directly with the Contracting Officer immediately.”

Contractors and subcontractors should expect mitigation and containment strategies at facilities to last for at least the next month, and “as long as needed,” Correa added, “which could mean several months of screening and restricted access to DHS spaces.”

“DHS is instituting these procedures to ensure its critical functions continue while complying with public health mitigation and containment strategies to protect the health of all Americans,” she said.

Correa said in a memo earlier this month that contractors should watch the health of their employees and keep open lines of communication about contract changes needed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Correa added that “if contract performance is affected due to the COVID-19 situation, such as the need for alternate work locations, or travel or schedule changes, the contracting officer is the authority to discuss this with your company.”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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