DHS remote employees return to office

Health officials say the phased approach began at the start of the summer.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - This week, hundreds of state employees are making their return back to the office. The Department of Health Services says it first began a phased approach for remote workers at the beginning of the summer.

Wisconsin DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says as students returned to the classroom, it made it easier for more parents to return to work in-person.

“What we are doing to keep people safe in the workplace is that same that we’re asking of any other employer to do,” said Timberlake. “We have been living with COVID for a year and a half now and we know what it takes to keep ourselves safe.”

Employees are required to wear masks at all state facilities. Workers are also required to log either their vaccination status or follow a testing requirement.

In addition, Timberlake adds that changes have been made to inside spaces and employee schedules to allow for fewer shared workspaces to overlap.

“We have done quite a lot to increase the distance between people who don’t have private offices,” said Timberlake. “We know that it is possible to operate a workplace safely, even in the midst of the pandemic.”

Out of the 6,100 DHS workers employed at 15 facilities across the state, around 4,000 continued to work physically 24/7 at seven DHS facilities during the entirety of the pandemic.

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