SOP COVID-19 based on CDC Guidance on Returning to Work


The spread of COVID-19 is impacting employers across the country. For workforces not able to work remotely, employers are asking how they should address workers who exhibit symptoms or have a confirmed case of the disease.

With the number of positive cases on the rise, most frequent questions asked are:

  1. What steps should employers take if one of their workers has COVID-19?
  2. When should they be allowed to return to work?

Skilled Workforce aligns with the prudent timelines guidance the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined for different scenarios.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, Skilled Workforce will adhere to only use the guidance described by the CDC to determine risk of COVID-19 infection. Skilled Workforce will also coordinate with State and Local Health officials (when and if needed) so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses.

Skilled Workforce will not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and will ensure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


I. Educate

Skilled Workforce strongly recommends its employees to:

  • Follow internal policies and procedures related to illness, cleaning/disinfecting and work meetings and travel.
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands.
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance(approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

II. Reduce Transmission Among Employees

Skilled Workforce will encourage sick employees to stay home:

  • Employees who have symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Sick employees should follow CDC Recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.

III. Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work

  • See OSHA COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employers including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
  • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk of serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

IV. Separate Sick Employees

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.

V. Maintain Healthy Business Operations

Skilled Workforce designated workplace coordinators responsible for COVID-19 issues, reporting and impact in the workplace are listed below for the regions we conduct operations.

These local managers have the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions. They are the main point of contacts when it relates to communicating/notifying clients, employees return to work after quarantine, employee testing etc.

Skilled Workforce will implement flexible sick leave and supportive practices/policies amid COVID-19 by:

  • Maintaining flexible policies that allow employees to stay home for sick family members or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving pay advances to reasonably accommodate dire circumstances (case-by-case basis).
  • Connect employees to employee’s assistance program (EAP) resources and community resources as needed.

VI. Return to work criteria with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Skilled Workforce will use the test-based strategy recommended by the CDC (if tests are available) as the preferred method for determining when employee may return to work:

  1. Test based strategy | Suspected COVID-19 | Exclude from work until the following occurs:
  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens).

If tests are not available, the non-test-based strategy may be used for determining when employee may return to work:

2. Non-Test based strategy | Suspected COVID-19| Exclude from work until the following occurs:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution off ever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

For employees with confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms should be excluded from work until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

VII. Return to Work Practices and Work Restrictions

Suspected COVID-19 and recovered/confirmed COVID-19 employee should:

  • Wear a facemask for source control at all times until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer
  • Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients (e.g. transplant, hematology-oncology) until 14 days after illness onset
  • Self-monitor for symptoms, and seek re-evaluation from occupational health if respiratory symptoms recur or worsen

VIII. Assess Essential Functions

With the evolving nature of COVID-19 pandemic flow of information and regulatory changes, Skilled Workforce is staying nimble to respond to changes affecting the workplace and its business landscape. We are prepared to change our business practices to maintain critical operations going amid COVID-19.