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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions From NIH Trainees regarding consequences of the coronavirus outbreak


Questions related to telework and access

IMPORTANT NOTE: How you will access NIH resources depends on your telework situation. Four different situations are possible:

  • You have an NIH computer, a PIV card, and VPN. (This is the easy one; you are already set!)
  • You have an NIH computer and a PIV card, but do not have VPN. See questions 1 and 7.
  • You have only a personal computer,  but you have an NIH email account. See questions 3 and 5.
  • You have only a personal computer and your ID badge #; you do not yet have an NIH email account. See question 4.
  1. Can I access the NIH Coronavirus Intranet page without VPN?
  2. What paperwork should trainees who want to telework complete?
  3. I don't have an NIH-issued laptop; is telework still possible?
  4. I was on-boarded online and do not yet have my ID badge. How can I get an NIH email account?
  5. How will trainees without an NIH computer or VPN access NIH email to get information from the NIH?
  6. How can I get help from CIT?
  7. If I can access my NIH email account, can I create an Account on the OITE webpage and register for NIH Only events?
  8. Can a trainee without VPN access Office 365?
  9. How can I access the NIH Library?
  10. Can I access "NIH Only" videocasts remotely without VPN?

Other Questions


Is the coronavirus pandemic going to have any effects on my student loans?

Will the NIH extend my time here to compensate for the fact that I could not be in the lab during the coronavirus outbreak? Does the NIH have a policy?

Will my FAES insurance cover Covid-19 testing and telemedicine visits?

What effects will the coronavirus outbreak have on trainee on-boarding? 

My appointment is ending. What actions must I take to leave the NIH?

As a trainee am I eligible for the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) call for civilian deployments related to the on-going COVID-19 response?

 



1. Can I access the NIH Coronavirus Intranet page without VPN?

NIH trainees and staff who have PIV cards can now access the 
NIH Coronavirus Intranet page without having to connect to VPN.  Just select the COVID-19 Guidance for NIH Staff badge listed under Federal Resources on the public NIH Coronavirus webpage, and log in with your NIH PIV card credentials (user name and password) when prompted. Contact the NIH IT Service Desk if you need assistance.

2. What paperwork should trainees who want to telework complete?
Trainees are encouraged to telework. No paperwork is required.

3. I don't have an NIH-issued laptop; is telework still possible?
Yes, trainees can complete literature reviews, watch current or archived seminars, participate in IC- and OITE-sponsored career workshops, etc. All trainees will continue to receive their stipend during this period.

4. I was on-boarded online and do not yet have my ID badge. How can I get an NIH email account?
Please follow these steps:

  • Get your NIH ID Badge # (but not badge) from your AO [after the AO has entered you into the Fellowship Payment System (FPS) and the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) systems].
  • Complete the required computer security training: the "NIH Information Security Awareness" course and the "Securing Remote Computing" course.
  • Request that your AO contact CIT to create an NIH email account for you and put you in touch with CIT to activate the account.

5. How will trainees without an NIH computer or VPN access NIH email to get information from the NIH?

CIT has provided a secure process that allows trainees to access NIH email (and other Office 365 apps) from their personal computers. Please follow these directions.

6. How can I get help from CIT?
301-496-4357 (6-Help) (local)
866-319-4357 (toll free)
301-496-8294 (TTY)
NIH Service Desk Website Web: http://itservicedesk.nih.gov

If you need help accessing your NIH email using Microsoft Authenticator, when you make your request, either via the online service desk or by phone, be certain to include the fact that you need help with MS Authenticator registration.

7. If I can access my NIH email account, can I create an Account on the OITE webpage and register for NIH Only events?
Directions for creating an "NIH Trainee/Fellow" account on the OITE website are posted here. You can create such an account AFTER you have access to your NIH email account. This access is required because the email confirming your account creation and allowing you to activate your account will be sent to your NIH email address.

You will need an "NIH Trainee/Fellow" account to do things including making a career services appointment and registering for events like Postbac Poster Day and the GPP Symposium.

8. Can a trainee without VPN access Office 365?
Yes, IF you have a PIV card.

NIH has enabled secure, direct access to the following Microsoft Office 365 services:

  • Your NIH email and calendar using Microsoft Outlook;
  • Your files stored on OneDrive;
  • SharePoint Online websites;
  • Skype; and
  • Teams.

This means you no longer need to connect to VPN before accessing these Microsoft Office 365 services.  Please DO NOT connect to VPN simply to check your email in order to preserve VPN services for people who need them to connect to IT resources that are running on the NIH campus. Here's how:

On your NIH computer, you should find that all your Microsoft Office 365 services work normally as long as you have an Internet connection at your remote location and your PIV card.  All NIH-managed mobile devices should also function normally.

If you are prompted to log in when you attempt to use a Microsoft application or service on either your computer or mobile device, just follow these simple steps:

  • Enter or select your NIH username + @nih.gov, e.g., username@nih.gov.
  • You’ll be re-directed to an NIH login screen.
  • On a computer, click on the link to Sign in using an X.509 certificate. On a mobile device, enter your username and password.
  • Select your PIV certificate and click OK.
  • Enter your PIN and click OK.
  • If you’re prompted to stay signed in, select the “Don’t show this again” checkbox, then click on the Yes button.

If you need help, please contact your local IT staff or the NIH IT Service Desk.

9. How can I access the NIH Library?
You can access NIH Library resources by going to https://www.nihlibrary.nih.gov/agency/nih and clicking on “Log In” located in the upper right of the webpage.  This will reroute you to https://www.nihlibrary.nih.gov/signin/main. Then, select “NIH – National Institutes of Health” under Agency PIV Card/Credentials Log In and enter the latter to access NIH Library resources.

10. Can I access "NIH Only" videocasts remotely without VPN?
Unfortunately not. "NIH Only" videocasts are available only from an NIH computer in an NIH office or via VPN.


 

Is the coronavirus pandemic going to have any effects on my student loans?
On March 27, 2020, the president signed the CARES Act into law, which, among other things, provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers.

Your payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020.

To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. Read more on the Federal Student Aid webpage Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents

Will the NIH extend my time here to compensate for the fact that I could not be in the lab during the coronavirus outbreak? Does the NIH have a policy?
Please visit the webpage on extensions.My appointment is ending. What actions must I take to leave the NIH?

Will my FAES insurance cover Covid-19 testing and telemedicine visits?
FAES has explained Covid-19 coverage in two recent emails.

What effects will the coronavirus outbreak have on trainee on-boarding?
Read the on-boarding guidance for AOs. Note that no summer interns will be on-boarded for 2020.

My appointment is ending. What actions must I take to leave the NIH?

Here is the official guidance: Trainees do not have to return to the area to terminate if they are remote. They can mail things back and wrap up. Each IC should have a system in place for covering shipping costs. If they have things in the lab that they want, and they wish to come in, that should be approved at the IC level. If they have things in lab that they want and do not feel safe coming in, someone should take responsibility for shipping it to them when it is safe to do so.

In other words, do not go back to your lab to clean up your bench. Ask your AO to help you arrange to ship any NIH property in your possession back to the NIH. Arrange a ZOOM celebration to say good-bye to your NIH colleagues.

As a trainee am I eligible for the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) call for civilian deployments related to the on-going COVID-19 response? The short answer is NO. This is because as non-FTEs, they may not be covered by HHS for tort claims if an issue arises – and DOJ has come down strong recently on not defending non-FTEs. For Visiting Fellows, this is even more complicated with the visa prohibition of patient contact activity and non-fellowship activities.