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FAQs Regarding Training: For NIH Staff and Administrative Officers

Is there anything I need to know about bringing high school or college students on board for fall 2020?
The current ban on the appointment of student IRTAs and Special Volunteers expires on August 15, 2020 and this new policy take effect on August 16.

  • Student IRTA/CRTAs and Special Volunteers who are in high school or college may be appointed ONLY if they are able to complete all of their work remotely. Remote activities that may be appropriate for student IRTA/CRTAs or Special Volunteers include assisting in literature reviews, on-line research, data analysis that can be completed remotely, and coding. 
  • Student IRTA/CRTAs and Special volunteers who are in graduate or professional school may be considered for on-campus work if there is a clear safety plan in place and if approved by the OITE.
  • No high school or college students should be appointed to perform on-campus work in an IRP office or lab using other mechanisms (contractor, FTE) until further notice.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On-boarding of postbacs, graduate students, and postdocs will continue according to prior guidance (see below).

Please direct questions to Sharon Milgram at Sharon.milgram@nih.gov.

What about incoming trainees? Are we bringing them on-board? What do I need to know?
On-boarding guidance depends on the type of trainee you wish to on-board.

  • We allow the remote on-boarding of postbac, predoc and postdoc IRTAs and CRTAs. However, before asking a trainee to move at this time, you should offer the trainee a delayed start date.  Trainees who are on-boarded remotely have the same telework flexibilities as other trainees at this time. When trainees are remotely on-boarded the Administrative Officer should email OITE@nih.gov so that the new trainee can be oriented and provided with access to NIH resources for trainees.

  • No summer interns (or summer Special Volunteers) may be on-boarded in 2020 as the NIH SIP has been cancelled. We also are not allowing the on-boarding of student IRTAs or Special Volunteers at this time and through August 15, 2020. Transitions of current trainees to Special Volunteer status may be allowed; reach out to the NIH OITE for specific guidance.

  • For Predoc or Postdoc Visiting Fellows,

    • If a new trainee (non-FTE) in the Visiting Program is currently overseas, remote on-boarding is NOT an option. The Division of International Services (DIS) will review the trainee's program and automatically push back the start date to at least May 11, 2020. DIS will re-evaluate this date at the end of April to determine if further push-backs are needed. DIS will continue to re-evaluate every 30-days until travel restrictions are lifted and the Department of State resumes routine visa processing.  
    • If a new trainee (non-FTE) in the Visiting program is in the US, DIS will allow remote on-boarding and telework. However, we strongly recommend that all new trainees be offered a delayed start date before they move to this area. 
      • When trainees are remotely on-boarded, the Administrative Officer should request they refrain from reporting to NIH campus and email DIS (dis@mail.nih.gov with the subject line: “Remote Check-In”) to report their arrival to the U.S. (or to NIH for those already in the US).  DIS will provide further instructions.
      • Please also email OITE@nih.gov so that the new trainee can be oriented and provided with access to NIH resources for trainees.
    • New trainees may not begin their fellowships until they arrive in the US.

Is there a good way to reach DIS?
DIS has advised that all inquiries be sent to them via their general inbox DIS@mail.nih.gov or by phone at 301-496-6166. From there they will assess which immigration specialist is most appropriate to respond. With the changing immigration procedures they have communicated this is the best way to manage requests while on telework.

Do we have any new information on badging?

The following information was sent out by DPSAC on Wednesday, July 29th.

Due to a recent increase in requests for enrollment and badge issuance appointments, the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) will open daily via appointment scheduling, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM in Building 31, Room 1B03.

The Clinical Center South Lobby location (Room 1C52) will be open daily via appointment for high risk customers, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Walk-ins will not be allowed as DPSAC continues to take steps to increase capacity to minimize wait times and to help prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of exposure to its staff members as well as individuals who need to visit a DPSAC office.

Availability of daily appointments will begin August 3 at these two locations. Also, staff will be available to respond to phone inquiries and email during work hours. The DPSAC email is orspersonnelsecurity@mail.nih.gov and the help desk phone number is 301-402-9755.

Badging Services at Other Locations

Badging services remain suspended at Fisher's Lane and Medical Center Drive ('Shady Grove'). Badging services at Ft. Detrick, Baltimore, Research Triangle Park, and Rocky Mountain Laboratories continue under normal operations.

Patient Badging Services

 
All patient badging services will remain suspended indefinitely. Patients and authorized family and caregivers are encouraged to enter through the Cedar Lane patient entrance for processing and visitor ID issuance.

The following locations will remain open and are ready to assist NIH personnel:

DPSAC Implementation of Mandatory Safety Precautions:

  •  DPSAC urges visitors to be mindful of the guidance that has been posted on reducing the spread of COVID-19 and to kindly not visit a DPSAC office if they are sick, have a fever or are displaying any symptoms of a respiratory infection.
  • DPSAC is also encouraging NIH staff to call (301-402-9755) or email DPSAC (orspersonnelsecurity@mail.nih.gov) for general inquiries or badge status requests as opposed to visiting a DPSAC office. DPSAC encourages the community to visit a DPSAC office only if they require an in-person service such as enrollment or badge issuance.
  • Individuals are required to sanitize their hands prior to entering the DPSAC office and prior to completing their enrollment, fingerprinting or badge issuance.
  • Individuals entering the DPSAC office will be required to stagger themselves and maintain a distance from other individuals. DPSAC staff will be onsite to coordinate appropriate distancing between customers.

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

My traineee doesn'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.

Can my trainees 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.  They can  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 when prompted. Please advise them to contact the NIH IT Service Desk if they need assistance.

How will trainees without an NIH computer and 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. Your trainees should follow these directions.

How can my trainees 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

How can my trainees access the NIH Library?
Your trainees 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 them to https://www.nihlibrary.nih.gov/signin/main. They should then select “NIH – National Institutes of Health” under Agency PIV Card/Credentials Log In and enter the latter to access NIH Library resources.

Some of my trainees are asking about extending their time here at the NIH to compensate for their telework during the coronavirus outbreak. Does the NIH have a policy?
Please direct your trainees to the website on extensions.

Are trainee 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. 

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