American Library Association Return to Office Policy

REVISED - April 2023

Effective January 9, 2023, and until/unless evolving CDC, building, city, or other guidelines indicate otherwise (in which case all ALA staff will be notified by email). These instructions are for those who will be working in ALA’s offices. Staff who will be working remotely unless otherwise requested should continue to request entrance on desired dates and complete the Airtable form when their requests have been confirmed. Procedures and protocols are as follows:

  • Wearing masks in all public areas is strongly recommended but not required.
  • Wellness forms are no longer required.
  • As a condition of employment, all employees of ALA must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they request an exemption for religious or medical reasons, per ALA Mandatory Vaccination policy.
  • Approval to come in is not needed if you have registered a regular schedule for days in the office. For all other days in the office, you no longer must request approval from Lorelle Swader, with a cc: on the request to Tracie Hall and your immediate supervisor. Staff are still being asked to complete the following “In Office” Staff AirTable form for entering the building: If your plans change prior to entering the office and you will no longer be coming in that day, please notify Lorelle Swader.
  • Please notify your supervisor to gain approval should you wish to work remotely on a day on which you are regularly scheduled to be in the office.
  • If you are sick, stay home and don’t gather with others from ALA.
  • If you have either tested positive for Covid-19 or been exposed to someone who has tested positive, you should notify ALA Human Resources immediately.  Based on the latest CDC recommendations we will be following these COVID-19 protective measures: 
    • If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, immediately isolate from others for 24 hours and wear a high-quality mask for 10 days.  Then, if you show no symptoms, have not had a fever for 24 hours with no use of medication, you can return to the office or gather with others from ALA (no test will be necessary).
    • If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate from others for 10 days and wear a high-quality mask for 10 days.  If you show no symptoms on Day 11 and have been fever-free for 24 hours without use of medication, you can return to the office or gather with others from ALA. (no test will be necessary). 
      • If after 10 days you continue to show symptoms, continue to isolate.  Once you show no symptoms and are fever-free for 24 hours without medication use, you can return to the office or gather with others (no test will be necessary).
  • Please follow current and updated guidelines issued by any building where ALA has offices.
  • Please familiarize yourself with the current CDC guidelines for preventing and mitigating exposure to Covid-19 at: How to Protect Yourself and Others | CDC
  • Please avoid using co-workers’ equipment or spaces and use provided disinfectant wipes as necessary on shared copiers, cafeteria surfaces, faucets etc. Leave your desk clear at the end of each day for cleaning. Sanitizer dispensers are available in high-traffic areas for your convenience.
  • Staff should continue to use proper judgment and use adequate social distancing in Conference/huddle/meeting rooms.
  • If you don’t feel well, please don’t come into the office!

Please address any questions regarding the information in this policy to Human Resources.



  1. Staff must monitor their own health daily in accordance with the following table to ensure the workplace remains as free of COVID-19 as possible. Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19. In addition:

Isolation Guidance:Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19

Work Status and Precautions

  • Employees are not allowed to work in the office until at least Day 11.
  • Day 0 is the day you tested positive for COVID-19 or developed COVID-19 symptoms.
  • During the isolation period, employees who are asymptomatic, or who have mild symptoms and would like to work remotely, are able to do so. Otherwise, the employee should take a sick day.
  • Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public.
  • Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask.
  • Do not travel.
  • Stay home and separate from others as much as possible.

Ending Isolation Return to Office

  • Employees may end isolation and return to work in the office on Day 11 if they had no symptoms, or their symptoms are improving, and they are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
  • If symptoms are not improving, employees should continue to isolate until symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
  • If you had symptoms and moderate illness (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) or severe illness (hospitalized or have a weakened immune system) you need to isolate through Day 11 and you may not return to the office until day 11 (or upon your doctor’s recommendation, if you have severe illness

Precautions Upon Return to Office

  • Employees should not return to work until they are asymptomatic and have quarantined for a minimum of 10 days.
  • Follow the CDC’s travel guidance.

If you were exposed to COVID-19

Work Status – Exposure Only

  • In accordance with current CDC guidance, employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 should isolate immediately and monitor for symptoms. Employees who are not experiencing symptoms and have not had a fever for 24 hours with no use of medication are not required to quarantine and may work in the office with precautions.

Monitor for Symptoms

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and follow the guidance below pertaining to employees who are sick and suspect they have COVID-19. Consult with your health care provider as you deem necessary.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, you may return to the office
  • If you test positive, contact HR as soon as possible and continue to follow the isolation guidance and isolate for at least ten days and do not return to the office until you have a negative test and have received clearance from HR.

Precautions for those who do not develop symptoms and those who test negative for COVID-19

  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days
  • Follow CDC guidance for travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk

If you are sick and suspect you have COVID-19

Work Status

  • Isolate and get tested immediately.
  • If you test positive, continue isolation, contact your manager and HR, and follow the isolation guidance above. Consult with your health care provider as you deem necessary.
  • If you test negative, you may end isolation and work in the office with precautions. If your symptoms worsen, you should stay home and consult with Human Resources.

Precautions for those who do not develop symptoms or who test negative for COVID-19

  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days
  • Follow CDC guidance for travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at high risk
  1. If you experience any exposure or positive test result, you must notify Human Resources as soon as possible. 
  2. If you were required to stay home (or go home) under the above table, you become eligible to return to the office as described in the table.
  3. After receiving relevant information, we will take prompt and appropriate action(s) to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. We reserve the right to exclude from the office any person with a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 if a determination is made that the restriction is in the best interest of the organization, the welfare of the person and/or the welfare of others within the workplace. We also reserve the right to require employees to work from home depending on the circumstances.
  4. In addition, where we receive information about an employee who is positive for COVID-19, we will take appropriate action to trace that employee’s contact with other employees, including requesting information from the employee about recent contacts, and such employee must cooperate with these efforts. We may notify other employees who had contact with the COVID-19 positive employee but will not disclose the identity of the infected employee as part of this contact tracing process.
  5. Our decisions regarding excluding individuals who have COVID-19 from the workplace will be based on current and informed judgments in reliance on the latest federal, state and local guidance, the risks of transmitting COVID-19 to others, the symptoms and special circumstances of each individual who has COVID-19, any requirement by law to exclude individuals with COVID-19, and a careful weighing of the identified risks and the available alternatives for responding to an employee’s becoming ill with COVID-19.
  6. Information and resources on COVID-19 are available at the CDC.



Approved visitors must provide proof of vaccination and attest to having no known COVID-19 exposures or positive test in the 14 days preceding their visit via a form provided by HR. Visitors who qualify for entry are not required to wear a mask but may do so if they wish.  All visitors must be informed of this requirement before arrival, so please make arrangements with your visitors ahead of time.

Discrimination and Retaliation Prohibited

We strictly prohibit and will not tolerate any retaliation or discrimination against any individual based on the individual having contracted COVID-19 or reporting potential exposure to COVID-19.

Any individual who believes that he or she has been wrongfully retaliated against or discriminated against for having contracted COVID-19, reporting a potential exposure to COVID-19, exercising any rights under this Policy, or for any other reason must immediately notify Human Resources.


COVID-19-related diagnosis information, responses to questions about potential symptoms before returning to the office, information regarding an employee’s body temperature, or other medical information reported to us is treated as confidential information. We are committed to complying with all applicable federal, state, and local laws that protect the privacy of persons who have undergone screening for, have been diagnosed with, or have been exposed to COVID-19. Efforts will be made to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to maintain the privacy of individuals who have or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Coordination of Leave

To the extent possible, leave taken under this policy will be coordinated with our FMLA policy, equivalent state leave policy, paid time off and/or sick leave policy. To the extent possible, where multiple policies apply the leave may run concurrently under some or all relevant policies.


DISCLAIMER:  This Policy is subject to change as the COVID-19 environment changes over time.