COVID-19 Policy and Forms

TO: All City of Boston Employees
FROM: Justin Sterritt, Chief of Administration and Finance
SUBJECT: Update to Return to Work Guidelines Related to COVID-19
Testing or Symptoms and Temporary Modifications to City of
Boston Attendance Policy
DATE: January 10, 2022


Prior to physically reporting to work for any work shift, employees should self-monitor for
symptoms of COVID-19 utilizing the City of Boston COVID-19 Employee Self-Monitoring
Checklist. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100.4° F or greater), cough, shortness of
breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or
smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Employees should remain home and immediately notify both: (1) their health care
provider; and (2) their manager or HR Director/Personnel Officer if they are:
● Experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
● Test positive for COVID-19;
● Have been notified that they are a close contact of a person who tested positive
for COVID-19; or
● Believe they may be a close contact of a person who tested positive for
COVID-19.


The department will provide guidance in these cases about whether the employee can
remain in the workplace after consulting with the Boston Public Health Commission
through the City’s public health nursing team.

Return to Work Guidelines
Employees must notify their managers, HR Directors or Personnel Officers
immediately in any of the above scenarios because, in all cases, departments must
submit a case report to the City’s Public Health Nurse. The Public Health Nurse will
provide direction on the employee’s return to work, assist with workplace contact
tracing, and notification of any workplace close contacts. Employees will receive
return to work guidance from their HR Director or Personnel Officer or the City’s
public health nursing team, based on the following protocols.


1. Employees who experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19
Whether fully vaccinated or not, all employees who are experiencing symptoms
consistent with COVID-19:
● Are not allowed to report to work and, if already in the workplace, should be
sent home immediately.
● Must get tested and remain out of work until a result is received.
○ If the test is negative they should remain out of work until they are free of
fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, without the use of
fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough
suppressants).
○ If the test is positive they must follow the Return to Work guidelines for
“Employees who have a laboratory-confirmed test for COVID-19” in Section 2
below.
● All employees must fill out the Employee Certification of Return to Work Following
COVID-19 Testing or Symptoms and submit it to their HR Director or Personnel
Officer prior to returning to work.


2. Employees who have a positive laboratory test for COVID-19
Employees with a positive laboratory test for COVID-19 cannot return to work until they
have completed their isolation based on the guidance below. To discuss the circumstances
of their case, employees should reach out to their primary care physician.


a. When fully vaccinated employees with a positive laboratory test can return to
work.
Employees must self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days after the first positive test, if
asymptomatic and fully vaccinated.
Isolation can be discontinued after 5 days and once they have:
● Been without fever for 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medications);
and,
● Experienced improvement in other symptoms.
● A negative rapid antigen test taken on or after day 5
● Following the 5-day isolation period, individuals must consistently wear a
well-fitting mask for 5 additional days when around others (until 10 days after
the first positive test date).


b. When an unvaccinated employee with a positive laboratory test can return to
work.
Employees must self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days after a first positive test, if
asymptomatic and unvaccinated.
Isolation can be discontinued after 7 days and once they have:
● Been without fever for 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medications);
and,
● Experienced improvement in other symptoms.
● A negative rapid antigen test taken on or after day 5
● Following the 7-day isolation period, individuals must consistently wear a
well-fitting mask for 3 additional days when around others (until 10 days after
the first positive test date).


Whether or not the employee is symptomatic and/or fully vaccinated, isolation
restrictions are removed when they have completed their isolation based on this guidance.
Employees must fill out the Employee Certification of Return to Work Following COVID-19
Testing or Symptoms and submit it to their HR Director/ Personnel Officers prior to
returning to work.

3. Employees who were identified by health authorities as a close contact of
someone that is positive with COVID-19 (whether a household member or not)


a. “Close contact” must be confirmed by public health authorities.
Employees must report to their HR Director/Personnel Officer if they believe that
they may have been in “close contact” with a person who is confirmed positive for
COVID-19. Departmental HR Directors/Personnel Officers will seek guidance from
the City Workforce & Operation (CW&O) team and, in turn, from the City’s public
health nursing staff who will work closely with the BPHC to determine if the
definition for a close contact has been met.
Close contacts are persons who were within 6 feet of the confirmed positive case for
15 minutes over the course of 24 hours, regardless of whether masks were worn,
within 2 days of the administration of the positive test or the onset of symptoms in
the confirmed case, whichever came first.


b. When employees who have not been fully vaccinated can return to work:
● Employees who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as close
contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual by the COB public health
nursing staff or their medical provider can return to the workplace if they:
○ have quarantined for at least 7 days from the date of the close contact
if the close contact was not a household member or, if the close
contact was a household member, have quarantined for at least 7 days
from the date the positive household member meets the
public health criteria for ending isolation;
○ are tested on day 5 of their quarantine period or later using a
laboratory confirmed test (e.g., polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) or a
rapid antigen test to detect the presence of the virus;
○ obtain a negative test result; and
○ monitor themselves closely for symptoms for the full 10 days after the
date of the close contact.
● Employees who develop symptoms should isolate, contact their health care
provider and be re-tested, then follow the instructions in Section 1 above.
● Employees must fill out the Employee Certification of Return to Work
Following COVID-19 Testing or Symptoms and submit it to their HR Director/
Personnel Officers prior to returning to work.


c. When employees who have been fully vaccinated can return to work:
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated with no COVID-19-like symptoms do not need
to quarantine following an exposure to an individual with suspected or confirmed
COVID-19. Individuals should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from
the date of their last close contact with someone with COVID-19. Individuals should
get tested at least 5 days after exposure to confirm COVID-19 status. Fully vaccinated
people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10
days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, the employee should
follow the protocol outlined in Section 1 above.

Temporary Modifications to the City of Boston Attendance Policy
The following temporary policy modifications continue to be observed for employees who
are absent due to symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and who provide medical
documentation:
● Employees with insufficient sick leave and/or who have exhausted their
supplemental leave will be permitted to use other leaves of absence such as personal,
vacation and floating holidays with less than the forty-eight (48) hours notice;
● Consecutive absences covered by a doctor’s note will be treated as one (1) instance;
and
● Employees who have exhausted all leaves and fall into a sick no pay status may
not be subject to discipline.
All other provisions of the City’s Attendance Policy remain in full effect and employees
continue to be required to follow call-in procedures.


Falsification of documentation shall be grounds for discipline, up to and including
termination.

These modifications are temporary in nature and will remain in force and effect until the
City deems them no longer necessary or further updates are required. If you have
questions, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]