COVID-19 Response, MEMOs

MANDATORY STAFF COVID‑19 TESTING AND ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS

NOTE: The Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center (CTC) in Galt and all 34 adult institutions are the only ones covered by the new testing guidelines. The PCR test will continue to be used at all other CDCR and CCHCS work locations.

As California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) adjust to the demands of the COVID-19 disease, a decision was made to move to a platform of Point-of-Care (POC) rapid antigen testing for unvaccinated, partially-vaccinated, and specified booster-eligible but unboosted staff. The term “staff” herein pertains to CDCR/CCHCS and California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA) civil service employees, registry providers, and contract workers.

Transitioning to POC rapid antigen testing provides the Department the ability to intervene quickly as staff who test positive are notified of the result and the need to leave CDCR/CCHCS grounds immediately. POC rapid antigen tests provide results in approximately fifteen (15) minutes rather than forty-eight (48) hours and are only available via nasal testing.

CDCR/CCHCS/CalPIA civil service employees with an accommodation request for an alternate method of COVID-19 testing on the basis of a sincerely-held religious belief or due to qualifying medical reason(s) shall immediately submit a request for a religious or reasonable medical accommodation. The Department shall engage in the interactive process to ensure a timely and appropriate determination of religious or reasonable medical accommodation.

a. Religious Accommodation Requests for Civil Service Employees
CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA civil service employees who wish to submit an accommodation request due to a sincerely-held religious belief shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Coordinator. Religious accommodation requests for alternate COVID-19 testing may be submitted by staff in writing via a CDCR Form 2273, Request for Religious Accommodation, indicating the individual’s sincerely-held religious belief that precludes them from completing a nasal COVID-19 rapid antigen test.


b. Reasonable Medical Accommodation Requests for Civil Service Employees
CDCR/CCHCS/CalPIA civil service employees who wish to submit a request for a reasonable medical accommodation due to a qualifying medical, mental health, or developmental condition shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Return-to-Work Coordinator (RTWC). CCHCS civil service employees may submit a request by contacting the CCHCS Disability Management Unit.

All CDCR/CCHCS/CalPIA requests require a CDCR Form 855, Request for Reasonable Accommodation and a healthcare provider’s written verification indicating limitations or restrictions from completing a nasal COVID-19 rapid antigen test and duration of the limitations or restrictions.

CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA civil service employees with a pending or approved request for a religious accommodation or reasonable medical accommodation shall continue to report to work, obtain saliva testing twice-weekly with at least 48-72-hours between each test (for staff assigned in healthcare settings) or once-weekly (for all other staff).

ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS FOR REGISTRY PROVIDERS AND CONTRACT WORKERS
Registry providers and contract workers with an accommodation request for an alternate method of COVID-19 testing shall submit their request as follows:

a. Religious Accommodation Requests for Registry Providers and Contract Workers
Requests for religious accommodation from registry providers and contract workers shall
follow the same process as civil service employees, as previously outlined. Additionally, for
CCHCS registry providers and contract workers, once a determination on the religious
accommodation request is made, Hiring Authorities (HA) shall notify the CCHCS Direct Care
Contracts Section (DCCS), the provider/contractor, and the network contractor (if applicable).

b. Reasonable Medical Accommodation Requests for Registry Providers and Contract Workers
CDCR contract workers shall direct requests for reasonable medical accommodations to their respective contractor/employer.

CCHCS registry providers and contract workers’ requests for reasonable medical accommodation shall be submitted to their vendor/contractor/network contractor, along with the required signed medical statement. Upon determination by their vendor/contractor/network contractor, denials and/or approvals (with corresponding signed medical statements) shall be forwarded to the CCHCS DCCS Helpdesk. Upon receipt of the approval or denial by the vendor/contractor/network contractor, DCCS shall forward to the HA at the location(s) the provider/contractor renders services.

Registry providers and contract workers with a pending or approved request for a religious or reasonable medical accommodation for an alternate method of COVID-19 testing shall continue to report to work, obtain saliva testing twice-weekly with at least 48-72-hours between each test (for staff assigned in health care settings) or once-weekly (for all other staff).

HIRING AUTHORITY RESPONSIBILITIES
The Hiring Authority (HA) shall email the Employee Health Program (EHP) a list of CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA staff with a pending, approved, or denied request for a religious or reasonable medical accommodation. EHP shall notify the vendor to ensure saliva testing is made available for CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA staff who have a pending or approved request for religious accommodation or reasonable medical accommodation.

If the religious or reasonable medical accommodation is denied, CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA staff will have 14 calendar days to become compliant with nasal COVID-19 rapid antigen test. CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA staff with a pending request for a religious or reasonable medical accommodation shall not be removed from their assigned posts or positions, and no disciplinary action shall be issued unless the request is denied and staff still refuse to comply within the compliance timeframe specified when they were notified of the denial.

CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA civil service employees who do not comply with mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and have neither requested nor been provided a religious or reasonable medical accommodation shall be subject to corrective or disciplinary action in accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 15, section 3392, Employee Discipline, and the Department Operations Manual Chapter 3, Article 22, Employee Discipline.

Registry providers and contract workers who do not comply with the mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and have neither requested nor been provided a religious or reasonable medical accommodation shall be subject to assignment termination. Non-compliance by registry providers and contract workers shall be reported to the vendor/contractor/network contractor following established method(s) of communication.

If you have any questions or concerns, inquiries shall be directed as follows:

  • For religious accommodation-related questions, contact the local Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator.
  • For reasonable medical accommodation-related questions, contact the Return to Work Coordinator for civil service employees, or appropriate vendor/contractor/network contractor for registry providers and contract workers.
  • For progressive discipline-related questions, contact the assigned Employee Relations Officer or Health Care Employee Relations Officer.
  • For COVID-19 testing questions, and any other COVID-19-related questions, contact the Employee Health Program.