FORT KNOX, Ky. — As Fort Knox employees return to on-post offices or start planning to do so in the coming weeks, they’ll encounter several new policies and procedures designed to ease transitions and keep them safe.Coming back means adjusting to the new work environment — planning for reconnecting computers to the network, addressing health concerns, and adjusting to a culture of social distance, facial coverings and virtual events.The first step, according to officials, involves supervisors filling in and signing a document called the “Clearing Personnel To Return To The Workplace During The Coronavirus Pandemic” form for each employee.“There’s no Privacy Act involvement on it. It’s just a basic screening of a person just like we ask somebody when they come on post,” said Joel Tiotuico, plans officer for the Fort Knox Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “There’s nothing really personal. Department of the Army is requiring all personnel coming back to the workplace to be asked those questions.”Tiotuico said supervisors are responsible for asking the questions listed on the form, and then keeping a record on file. The 15 questions include whether an employee has traveled from a high-risk area in the past 14 days, been in close contact with somebody who might be COVID-19 positive, or suspects they may have the virus.If an employee is determined to either have the virus or is suspected of having it, employees would then be expected to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, said Tiotuico.“We’re trying to keep people from going back to the workplace who could be carriers,” said Tiotuico. “Supervisors could be conducting these screenings over the phone because the employees do not sign the forms; the supervisor does.”Health officials and senior leaders alike have emphasized that employees who do return to work are expected to practice safe distancing among fellow employees and, if impossible to do so, must wear facial coverings.“We’re trying to keep people from going back to the workplace who could be [COVID-19] carriers.” ~ Joel Tiotuico, plans office, Fort Knox Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and SecuritySupervisors have been issuing coverings to employees in preparation for their return.Officials have called for adherence to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — including regular sanitization of work spaces and hands, and issuance of hand sanitizer, personal protection equipment and gloves as needed.An area that has received focused attention is the Fort Knox network. Officials at the Network Enterprise Center have been busy preparing for computer issues as employees return.Richard Jackson, chief of Business and Cybersecurity Division, Fort Knox Network Enterprise Center, said for most employees, their return should be seamless; they just plug their computers back into the network and they should work. If they don’t —“We’re offering initially a 15-day grace period as systems are brought back online to become compliant with patches, updates and so forth,” said Jackson. “We actively scan systems. We’ve been actively scanning systems connected to VPN, and we’ve been able to patch most of the systems connected to VPN.”The systems network officials are expecting to need the 15-day grace period are those that have not been actively connected over the past few months.“Our backend processes are well established, well honed,” said Jackson. “I would say in 99% of the cases, you’ll plug in and the systems will get the updates they’ll need, and everything will be fine.”Jackson said a visual reminder in the computers will alert users there is a problem. A yellow banner will appear for 15 days notifying them that the computer needs to be updated. If the banner turns red, only admins will have authority to log in and rectify the issue.In the past, systems that have gone stale, as Jackson calls them, were removed from the network and would require a reimaging to get them back online. Because of COVID-19 and the majority, stale systems will qualify for the 15-day grace period.To date, as many as 1,100 systems are considered stale at Fort Knox.Jackson said though the number sounds large, the issue should be resolved quickly.“Based on the fact that we haven’t been deleting these stale machines, it’s likely that they’ll just plug back in and everything will be fine,” said Jackson. “We’ll work with organizations’ information management officers to get any problems cleared up quickly.”Jackson said their main goal is to ensure that employees return to their office environments with relative ease.“We’re here to help and support,” said Jackson. “In these trying times, we want to do our best to make this as least an impact on the user community as possible.“We’re going to do everything we can to make that transition back to the workforce smooth.”