GPO Resumes Passport and Manufacturing Operations: Agency Rolls Out Plan for Working in the Era of COVID–19 and Beyond

JacksonU.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern has released GPOSAFE, a plan for returning to work. The plan outlines the agency’s strategy to ramp up productivity, including resuming passport and manufacturing production, while at the same time making changes necessary to protect GPO teammates. The plan offers a holistic approach to working in the era of COVID–19 and beyond.

“The coronavirus pandemic pushed GPO into perhaps the largest disruption to agency operations since the Civil War,” said GPO Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern. “The GPO we return to will look different from the GPO we left in March. GPOSAFE outlines our return to work but is also a concept that the agency will rely on well into the future. Telework-capable teammates will continue to telework for the foreseeable future and into 2021. We have done a great job working through this pandemic, and we will continue to provide Congress, the White House, and Federal agencies excellent customer services as we roll out GPOSAFE.”

GPOSAFE is intended to address the safety of GPO’s team members before they even leave home with increased telework, flexible scheduling, and split shifts to reserve production capacity in case of infection. GPOSAFE continues when team members come to work, with symptom screening at all entry points (including temperature monitoring), requirements for PPE, and social distancing measures in production, office, and common areas. The plan includes three steps to returning to work.

  • Step One — Focus on Production and Distribution: (July 6, 2020) Step one will focus on resuming GPO’s regular work in the agency’s production and distribution divisions, including the production of U.S. passports and other secure credentials. The agency will continue using two teams, working week on/week off in production areas, ensuring GPO has reserve capacity in the event that a teammate gets sick. The workplace will have signage and additional PPE requirements and procedures, ensuring the GPO workforce is safe. Telework-capable teammates will continue to telework. Aside from those in production or distribution, teammates will not return to GPO during step one.

  • Step Two — “Production Plus”: (est. Fall 2020) Environment allowing, step two will allow managing directors of business units that have primarily been teleworking the authority to initiate a limited physical presence in GPO’s spaces on an as-needed basis. Maximum telework will still be in place during this step. Before moving to step two, the agency will carefully consider local conditions and guidance from health authorities.

  • Step Three — New Operating Posture: (est. Winter/Spring 2021) Environment allowing, step three marks the beginning of GPO’s new operating posture where the agency integrates the most successful safety and workplace practices into normal operations. Before moving to step three, the agency will carefully consider local conditions and guidance from health authorities, as well as the availability of an effective vaccine or treatment.

On March 16, 2020, GPO Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern put the agency on Emergency Operational Status due to the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency personnel for GPO continued to produce the Congressional Record, calendars and other required documents. The agency also continued to produce the Federal Register every day with the latest executive orders and proposed rules.

View the full GPOSAFE plan here.

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