COVID-19 Response, Facial Coverings, FAQs, Testing, Testing, Vaccination

CDPH public health orders for institution/facility staff: COVID‑19 vaccination, booster, and testing

Frequently asked questions

Note: Unless otherwise specified, the requirements in this FAQ only apply to workers described in Question 1, and are based on the CDPH Order for State And Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement, hereby referred to as “CDPH Order.”

Applicability to staff

All CDCR/CCHCS civil service workers, registry providers, contractors, and volunteers who:

  • Are regularly assigned to provide health care or health care services to incarcerated people.
    • Work within skilled nursing facilities (SNF), intermediate care facilities, or the equivalent that are integrated into the correctional facility or areas where health care is provided.
    • Work at California Health Care Facility (CHCF), California Medical Facility (CMF), and regularly assigned to work in Central California Women’s Facility’s (CCWF) SNF.
    • Are regularly assigned to work in the areas, institutions, posts and locations specified in the August 23, 2021 and January 28, 2022, memoranda.

No, workers who are not subject to the CDPH Order are not required to be vaccinated/boosted.

Yes, workers who previously had COVID‑19 still need to get vaccinated and/or boosted if they are regularly assigned to work in the areas, institutions, posts and locations specified in the August 23, 2021 and January 28, 2022, memoranda, unless they have an approved religious or reasonable medical accommodation for the vaccine/booster.

  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated workers who previously had COVID-19 and received monoclonal antibody treatment shall wait 90 days prior to obtaining a vaccination.
    • Fully vaccinated workers who provide proof of COVID-19 infection may defer booster administration for up to 90 days from date of their first positive test or clinical diagnosis.
    • Workers as defined above shall not be subject to discipline or assignment termination. Workers who provide proof of COVID-19 infection shall be in compliance no later than 15 days after the expiration of their deferral.

Yes, workers who previously had COVID-19 need to get tested twice-weekly if they are subject to the CDPH Order and are unvaccinated, partially-vaccinated, or booster-eligible but unboosted. Workers should only test if 90 days have passed since they tested positive.

  • Yes, but only if booster-eligible and unboosted. Booster-eligible and unboosted workers shall test twice-weekly (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until boosted.
    • Fully vaccinated workers who are not yet eligible for a booster are only required to test when they become eligible for a booster and remain unboosted.
    • Workers who have been boosted are not required to test weekly. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.

Yes, if not fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated workers who are NOT regularly assigned in healthcare areas shall test at least once weekly until fully-vaccinated per the July 26, 2021, CDPH Order. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.  

The week begins Monday and ends on Sunday.

Individuals are considered fully- vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (e.g. Janssen).

  • Booster-eligible workers shall receive their booster dose by no later than March 1, 2022. Eligibility timeframes are outlined in Table A of the CDPH order.
  • Fully vaccinated workers not yet eligible for boosters shall be in compliance no later than 15 days after the recommended timeframe per Table A of the CDPH order.
  • Fully vaccinated workers who provide proof of COVID-19 infection may defer booster administration for up to 90 days from date of first positive test or clinical diagnosis. Such workers shall be in compliance no later than 15 days after the expiration of their deferral.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends boosters within specified timeframes; however, for purposes of compliance monitoring with the CDPH order, boosters are required pursuant to the timeframe specified in Table A of the CDPH order. Workers shall be held accountable based on the CDPH order timeframes, and no disciplinary action shall be pursued prior to the worker’s booster eligibility date as specified in Table A of the CDPH order.

  • Documentation of a previous diagnosis from a healthcare provider.
  • Documentation of confirmed laboratory results. If the test was obtained within CDCR/CCHCS, no further documentation is required.

Workers have a right to file a claim if they believe that they have suffered an injury or illness caused by work, including receiving a vaccination and/or booster for COVID-19. Claims will be processed utilizing existing Worker’s Compensation policies and protocols.

  • Custody workers shall be notified of a post’s vaccination/booster requirement prior to bidding. The custody Master Assignment Roster or applicable bid sheet(s) will be marked with a “V” for all vaccination/booster-required posts. Vaccination/booster status will be verified by management.
    • All non-custody institution workers’ vaccination/booster status will be verified by management if required to work in a vaccination/booster-required post.

HAs can look up workers’ vaccination status on the COVID-19 Staff Vaccine Registry.

Applicability to incarcerated workers

Yes, if they are regularly assigned to work in the areas, institutions, posts and locations specified in the August 23, 2021 and January 28, 2022, memoranda.

Yes.

Yes, unless they have an approved religious or reasonable medical accommodation.

Yes, incarcerated workers shall wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines.

Yes, if they are assigned to areas/locations subject to the CDPH order and are:

  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated with a pending or approved accommodation.
    • Booster-eligible but unboosted. Fully vaccinated workers who are not yet eligible for a booster are only required to test when they become booster eligible but remain unboosted.

Testing frequency and intervals are subject to change at any time. For the most current testing requirements for the incarcerated, refer to the COVID-19 Interim Guidance.

Logistics

Workers may obtain no-cost COVID-19 vaccination/booster from CDCR/CCHCS vaccine clinics. Alternatively, workers may select another no-cost community clinic listed on the website myturn.ca.gov, or from their personal health care provider, and follow the process for submitting proof of vaccination/booster outlined in Attachment A of the January 28, 2022, memorandum.

No. If a worker prefers a particular vaccination brand, they should make arrangements to get that vaccination brand timely. Alternatively, workers may select a no-cost community clinic listed on the website myturn.ca.gov, or from their personal health care provider, and follow the process for submitting proof of vaccination/booster outlined in Attachment A of the January 28, 2022, memorandum. Deadlines will not be extended because a CDCR/CCHCS clinic did not offer the worker’s desired vaccine brand.

Workers may obtain no-cost COVID-19 testing from CDCR/CCHCS testing clinic(s) at their institution/facility. Alternatively, workers may select another no-cost community clinic listed on the California COVID-19 website or their personal health care provider and follow the process for submitting proof of testing outlined in Attachment B of the January 28, 2022, memorandum.

Procedure and KN95/N95 masks are readily available at each institution/facility and shall be provided to workers when requested.

Requests for religious and reasonable medical accommodation

Yes. To submit a request, follow the below process:

Religious Accommodations: CDCR and CCHCS civil service workers, registry providers, and contractors requesting for a religious accommodation shall notify their supervisor, manager, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Coordinator and/or HA. A request for religious accommodation may be submitted by the worker in writing via a CDCR Form 2273, Request for Religious Accommodation, or verbally to a supervisor, manager, or EEO Coordinator.

Reasonable Medical Accommodations: CDCR civil service workers shall notify their supervisor and Return-to-Work Coordinator of their request. CCHCS civil service workers may submit a request to the CCHCS Disability Management Unit. All CDCR/CCHCS requests require a CDCR Form 855, Request for Reasonable Accommodation, and a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the accommodation.

Yes, the worker shall be exempt from progressive discipline pending the HA’s determination on a request for accommodation.

While awaiting determination, workers shall continue reporting to work, wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines, and test twice weekly (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until fully-vaccinated or until boosted (if booster-eligible). Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status. Workers shall not to be placed on Administrative Time Off (ATO) or involuntary dock.

In general, workers shall continue reporting to work, wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines, and test twice weekly (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until fully-vaccinated/boosted. Fully-vaccinated workers are only required to test when they become eligible for a booster but remain unboosted. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.

If the accommodation request is denied:

  • The worker has 15 calendar days to initiate a vaccination/booster, or they shall be subject to progressive discipline on the 16th day.
    • Workers shall continue reporting to work, wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines, and test twice weekly (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until fully vaccinated/boosted. Fully vaccinated workers are only required to test when they become eligible for a booster but remain unboosted. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.
    • Workers shall not to be placed on ATO or involuntary dock.

No. HAs may not put workers out on unpaid leave without the workers’ agreement. HAs shall consider allowing workers to request and utilize their own leave only if this request can be approved without an undue burden on operations or costs (e.g. Will this cause mandatory overtime costs? Can health care services still be delivered?).

If the HA determines that the religious accommodation recommended by OCR will create an undue hardship for the Department, the HA shall specifically identify the reasons why the requested accommodation(s) creates an undue hardship for the Department and cannot be granted. The worker has a right under the Department’s EEO policy to file a discrimination complaint internally via OCR or externally via EEOC/ Department of Fair and Equal Housing (DFEH). This is a separate process from the religious accommodation process and the filing of a claim, whether internal or external, does not prevent consideration of progressive discipline once the HA determination for religious accommodation has been made.

No.

If upon the worker’s return to work, the worker is subjected to the CDPH Order:

  • Progressive discipline shall not be initiated immediately. Returning workers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or unboosted shall be informed of the vaccination clinic schedule and provided written instructions to comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, booster and testing requirements.
  • If unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or booster-eligible but unboosted, the returning worker shall obtain vaccine/booster dose within 15 calendar days and immediately undergo twice weekly COVID-19 testing (with at least 48-72 hours between each test) until fully-vaccinated/ boosted.
  • If not yet eligible for a vaccine booster, the returning worker shall obtain a booster dose no later than 15 calendar days after the recommended timeframe per Table A of the CDPH Order. Once booster-eligible, the returning worker shall immediately undergo twice-weekly COVID-19 testing (with at least 48-72 hours between each test) until boosted.
  • Workers have the option to submit a request for religious or reasonable medical accommodation for the vaccine/booster within 15 calendar days upon their return to work.
  • Workers shall wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.
  • Yes, progressive discipline shall be paused pending determination on an accommodation request, and will recommence if the request is denied and worker remains non-compliant.
    • Following the approval of an accommodation request, HAs have the ability to remove an LOI.

Non-compliance from civil service workers

  • Yes. Non-compliant civil service workers subject to the CDPH Order are subject to progressive discipline, up to and including adverse action in accordance with California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, section 3392, Employee Discipline and the Department Operations Manaual (DOM), Chapter 3, Article 22, Employee Discipline.
    • For registry providers, contractors and applicable retired annuitants, non-compliance may result in their employment/assignment ending.
  • For workers who have not initiated vaccination nor submitted an accommodation request by October 14, 2021, disciplinary process may commence on or after October 15, 2021.
  • For booster-eligible workers who remain unboosted and did not submit an accommodation request by March 1, 2022, disciplinary process may commence on or after March 2, 2022.
  • For fully-vaccinated workers not yet eligible for a booster, the disciplinary process may commence on the 16th day following the recommended timeframe for receiving the booster dose per Table A of the CDPH order if they remain unboosted.

Yes. CDCR and CCHCS workers shall not be subject to progressive discipline for the following reasons:

  • Have submitted a request for religious or reasonable medical accommodation to the vaccine/booster and are pending a determination of the request.
    • If progressive discipline is already in process and the worker submits an accommodation request, the process shall pause pending a determination on the request.
    • If the accommodation request is denied, the worker has 15 calendar days to initiate a vaccination/booster. If the worker still refuses to comply within this timeframe, HAs shall initiate or continue corrective or disciplinary action.
    • Have been provided an approved religious or reasonable medical accommodation to the vaccine/booster.
    • Worker has been continuously off-work from the time the CDPH order was issued until October 14, 2021 (for the vaccine) or March 1, 2022 (for the booster).
      • Upon returning to work, workers shall immediately be provided written instructions to comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, booster and testing requirements as follows.
  • If booster-eligible, obtain vaccine booster dose within 15 calendar days and immediately undergo twice-weekly COVID-19 testing (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until boosted.
  • If not yet eligible for a vaccine booster, obtain booster dose no later than 15 calendar days after the recommended timeframe per Table A of the CDPH order. Once booster-eligible, immediately undergo twice-weekly COVID-19 testing (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until boosted.
    • HAs shall initiate corrective or disciplinary action to workers who fail to comply with the instructions and timeframes outlined above.
    • Worker is fully vaccinated, has/had a proven COVID-19 infection, and deferred booster administration by up to 90 days. These workers shall be in compliance no later than 15 days after the expiration of their deferral, or they shall be subject to progressive discipline, up to and including adverse action.
  • Based on the appropriate timeframes as specified above, the first step is issuing an LOI to non-compliant workers. An LOI template is available upon request from the local Employee Relations Officer (ERO)/Health Care Employee Relations Officer (HCERO).
    • Workers who fail to comply with the LOI, on the next workday, after the seven calendar day compliance period has expired, shall be subject to disciplinary action for non-compliance.
    • The HA shall initiate and submit an electronic CDCR Form 989, Confidential Request for Internal Affairs Investigation/Notice of Direct Adverse Action, to the Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) within the Case Management System 4.0, consistent with CCR, Title 15, Section 3392, Employee Discipline, DOM, Chapter 3, Article 14, Internal Affairs Investigations, and DOM, Article 22, Employee Discipline. Standard language for the CDCR Form 989 has been developed to assist HAs and to expedite processing of these requests through the OIA Central Intake Unit process; please consult with the local EEO/HCERO.
    • When the CDCR Form 989 is submitted through the OIA’s Case Management System, the HA shall also provide written instruction to the worker to comply with the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine booster dose and/or twice-weekly testing requirements, within seven calendar days. A template for the written instruction is available upon request from the local EEO/HCERO.
    • To ensure consistency of application, for the first offense, the base penalty is at least a
      Level 3, resulting in a 5% salary reduction. Mitigating and aggravating factors shall be considered by the HA in accordance with policy.
      • Workers who fail to comply with the written instruction by the set time period, on the next work day (after the seven calendar day compliance period expires) shall be subject to further discipline for non-compliance. The same process outlined above shall be followed.
    • The HA will initiate a CDCR Form 989, or if an adverse action has not yet been served on the prior CDCR Form 989, contact OIA’s Central Intake Unit to add the new allegation(s) to the pending matter, and also provide a written instruction to the worker to comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccine booster dose and/or twice-weekly testing requirements within seven calendar days.
    • To ensure consistency of application, the base penalty will remain Level 3 but resulting penalties shall be adjusted in accordance with progressive discipline policies, in particular considering the number of repeated instances of misconduct. For example:
      • 1st offense: 5% salary reduction (example: 3 or 6 qualifying pay periods)
      • 2nd offense: 5% salary reduction for longer period of time than first (example: 9 or 12 qualifying pay periods)
      • 3rd offense: suspension without pay (example: 14‐24 or 25-36 qualifying work days)
      • 4th offense: subject to dismissal
      • Throughout the process, mitigating and aggravating factors shall be considered and applied in accordance with the employee discipline policy as outlined in DOM.

Yes, while the worker is pending corrective or disciplinary action, the worker should continue to report to work as scheduled. Additionally, workers shall wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines, and obtain twice-weekly COVID-19 testing (with at least 48-72 hours between each test), until compliant with the CDPH order. Workers shall not be removed from their assigned posts or positions.

Registry providers and contractors

Yes, if they are regularly assigned to work in the areas, institutions, posts and locations specified in the August 23, 2021 and January 28, 2022, memoranda. New and current registry/contract assignments and onboarding processes have been updated to reflect CDPH order requirements.

  • Religious Accommodation:
    • For CDCR, requests shall be submitted in accordance with the process outlined above.
    • For CCHCS, requests shall be submitted to their supervisor and EEO coordinator via the CDCR 2273, Request for Religious Accommodation. Once a determination on the religious accommodation request is made, HAs shall notify the Direct Care Contracts Section (DCCS), the provider/contractor, and the network contractor (if applicable).
  • Reasonable Medical Accommodation
    • For CDCR, requests shall be processed in accordance with the underlying contract between CDCR and the contractor.For CDCR volunteers, requests shall be submitted to the Community Resources Manager following the same process as civil service workers.
    • For CCHCS, requests shall be submitted to their vendor/contractor/network contractor, along with a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the accommodation (but the statement shall not describe the underlying health condition or disability) and the probable duration of an individual’s inability to receive any COVID-19 vaccine (or if the duration is unknown or permanent, so indicate). Upon determination by their vendor/contractor/network contractor, denials and/or approvals (with corresponding signed medical statements) shall be emailed to the Direct Care Contracts Section (DCCS). Upon receipt of the approval or denial by the vendor/contractor/network contractor, DCCS shall forward to HAs at the location(s) the provider/contractor renders services.
  • Non-compliance with the CDPH Order shall be reported to the vendor/contractor/network contractor or Community Partnerships Unit (CPU) for volunteers. HAs shall report non-compliance prior to the deadlines to ensure services are provided and appropriate working levels are maintained. For registry providers, HAs shall report non-compliance to the network contractor via StafferLink. For all other health care contractors, HAs shall report non-compliance to DCCS; DCCS will notify the vendor/contractor/network contractor of the contractor’s non-compliance.
    • Assignments shall not be terminated due to non-compliance with the CDPH order prior to the CDPH deadlines of October 14, 2021 (for the vaccine) and March 1, 2022 (for the booster).
    • All unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or booster-eligible but unboosted registry providers, contractors, and volunteers shall wear the appropriate mask at all times based on current masking guidelines, and test twice weekly (with at least 48-72 hours between each test) until they are compliant with the CDPH order. Note: During a COVID-19 outbreak, all workers may be subject to more frequent and regular intervals of COVID-19 testing regardless of vaccination status.

Facility planning, construction and management division project FAQS

Yes.

No. Individuals employed by these entities are not considered “workers” at CDCR prisons.

Face covering requirements for staff

Masking requirements are subject to change at any time; current guidelines are posted on the COVID-19 response page.

No. Staff working at or visiting Headquarters, Regional, and Field Office locations shall follow current non-institutional masking guidelines.

Compliance with CDCR/CCHCS masking requirements is considered an essential function of all classifications and is mandatory. Workers with a religious or reasonable accommodation request to masking shall follow the process outlined above.

No. For consistency purposes, it is important to use the procedure masks provided by CDCR/CCHCS. Also, it is more difficult to tell when dark-colored procedure masks get soiled and should be discarded.

Summary of CDPH orders and resources

  • Summary of July 26, 2021 Order: Specified facilities, such as State and Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers, shall verify vaccine status of all workers, and unvaccinated or partially vaccinated workers shall test once weekly, or twice weekly if regularly assigned to provide health care or health care services to incarcerated people.
  • CDCR/CCHCS Implementation Plans:
  • Resources:
  • Summary of August 19, 2021 Order: All paid and unpaid individuals regularly assigned to provide health care or health care services to incarcerated people shall show evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 by October 14, 2021, unless they qualify for an accommodation based on a sincerely-held religious belief or qualifying medical reason(s).
  • Summary of December 22, 2021 Order: Booster-eligible workers covered by the August 19, 2021 CDPH Order shall be boosted by February 1, 2022, later extended to March 1, 2022.
  • Summary of February 22, 2022 Order: Fully vaccinated workers who provide proof of COVID-19 infection after completion of their primary series may defer booster administration for up to 90 days from date of first positive test or clinical diagnosis.
  • CDCR/CCHCS Implementation Plan:
  • Resources: