Screening News Weekly Wrap: April 24th, 2020

About 4 min

Screening News Weekly Wrap: April 24th, 2020

As the White House shares its plan to get the country back on its feet, people continue to come up with new and interesting ways to use teleconferencing to get the job done. Plus, find out why professional sports team owners may want to think twice before cutting staff. It’s all in our EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap.


Opening Up America Again

The plan for America post-COVID-19 is finally available. The White House recently published guidelines to help state and local officials get people back to work. There are three phases, but in order to get started, a state must first prove a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases over a 14-day period. They must also have hospitals back on their feet and out of crisis mode and have a robust testing program in place for both the virus and antibodies.

Once those conditions are met, states and regions can move into Phase One.

For employers that means:

  • Encourage employees to telework whenever possible
  • Return to work in phases
  • Close common areas where people congregate
  • Minimize non-essential travel
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for employees who are members of a vulnerable population

Some businesses, like gyms, restaurants and theaters can open with very strict social distancing protocols in place.

Every 14 days, each state or region will have to show that they meet all of the original criteria again. If any of the numbers go up at all, they cannot move on. If there are no rebound effects, Phase Two allows schools, youth activities and bars to reopen, and calls for “moderate” social distancing elsewhere. Phase Three steps down requirements yet again to allow everyone to return to normal operations.

Many states are going ahead with their own plans. Texas, Georgia, South Carolina are already opening businesses to the public. While others, like Pennsylvania, are going in the opposite direction extending stay-at-home orders. 

Sports Fans are Watching… and Judging

Turn on the TV or just look at your email and you will see a slew of companies trying to show their customers how they are making a difference. And people are paying attention – especially sports fans. Morning Consult conducted a poll of self-identified sports fans, and nearly 40% of them said they would be less likely to support a team if they laid people off during the COVID-19 crisis.

These fans are not only concerned with the fate of star players, they are worried about the salaried, hourly and even part-time staff that work hard to make the events happen. The poll shows a little goodwill goes a long way. More than 40% say they would support a team that commits to paying hourly and part-time workers for missed games. The number goes through the roof for teams whose executives take a pay cut to make it happen.

Athletes “Go” for the Gold

It’s pretty safe to say that a universal rule for our new working environment should be don’t take your video meeting into the bathroom. Now, even that is being flipped on its head.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is testing a pilot program that requires athletes to provide drug testing samples from home while on a teleconferencing call with an anti-doping agent.

Those of you familiar with drug testing know that some urine screens have to be observed. That means another person goes into the stall to make sure the sample is coming from you. This prevents a candidate from either bringing in a sample from someone else or filling the specimen jar with synthetic urine. Both are common methods for beating a drug test.

The new program sends collection kits to world-class athletes at home. The athlete fills out the required forms, calls a doping control officer on Zoom or FaceTime at a designated time, then leaves their laptop outside the bathroom door while they provide the sample. The office watches them go into the bathroom and times how long they are in there. Before COVID-19 officers would go to the athletes home and stand outside the door.

A new blood test is also available where the athlete pricks their arm, funnels droplets into a container, packages it up and sends it off to the lab.

The CEO of the USADA says even though the Olympics are delayed until 2021, they will still have other events this year and this program give athletes the chance to prove they have remained clean… even during the pandemic.

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