A memo regarding congressional operations and the coronavirus threat sent to all House offices by the House Administration Committee on Friday signals the House is seriously preparing for scenarios where staff may have to telework “in light of the unique and unusual circumstances presented by the coronavirus.”
The memo obtained by Fox News indicates House offices may allocate unused funds to purchase telework equipment, such as computers and additional phones. On March 9, the House will set up a special center to prepare the infrastructure for telework scenarios.
“This will provide the opportunity for staff to receive technical assistance they may need to be prepared to work remotely,” the memo states. “Training will also be provided on how to remotely connect and access your office data and resources.
“All of these measures will help House offices improve their emergency preparedness in general and we urge offices to take advantage of the types of assistance highlighted below,” the memo continued.
The announcement comes as Washington lawmakers who attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual policy conference were warned by the organization Wednesday that a group of attendees had potentially been in contact with a person from New York who had contracted coronavirus.
More than 18,000 people from across the United States attended the conference, including Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Nearly two dozen Democrats also attended, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
In its email, AIPAC said no attendee of the conference has tested positive for the virus. A letter from the HAC to lawmakers said that the Office of Attending Physician at the Capitol has advised that being at the conference only constituted as an “indirect exposure” to coronavirus.
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.