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NIST Visitor, Associate and Contractor Protocols for Mitigating COVID-19 Exposure on NIST Campuses


NIST is committed to protecting the health and safety of our staff and others coming onto our campuses by implementing measures consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mitigate COVID-19 exposure. To that end, any NIST staff member who sponsors associates, visitors or contractors who will be performing work in NIST workspaces on either NIST campus is required to provide the following information to them in advance of the visit. Further, while visitors, associates and contractors are on campus, the sponsor must ensure they comply with the requirements in place to mitigate COVID-19 exposure.

Contractors working under their own safety plans and performing work in areas controlled by them on the NIST campus must work with their contracting officer’s representative (COR) to ensure their safety plan includes adequate COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Further, they must abide by NIST requirements when in NIST-controlled workspaces.

Prior to Campus Arrival

Any individual coming onto campus must conduct a personal health screening by reviewing the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire. This self-screening must be performed every day an individual wants to access a NIST campus. Anyone who does not meet all the screening criteria should immediately contact their sponsor and may not attempt to access the campus.

Access to Campus for Unbadged Associates, Contractors and Visitors

Follow instructions for access to campus provided by your sponsor. 

  • If the Visitor Center is open, obtain a paper “Visitor” badge, but do not put it on. Proceed to the security officer at the gate and display the paper badge and your photo ID. If wearing a cloth face covering or mask, briefly remove it while the officer is inspecting the badge and ID. Proceed when waved through.
  • If the Visitor Center is not open, your name will be on a list of approved visitors at the front gate. Proceed to the security officer at the gate and display your photo ID. If wearing a cloth face covering or mask, briefly remove it while the officer is inspecting the ID. Proceed when waved through.

While on Campus

Sponsor Instruction

Visitors and contractors are not expected to know all NIST requirements to mitigate COVID-19 exposure. Therefore, sponsors are required to provide location-specific instruction for the workspaces to be visited or used and traversed, including common areas. Sponsors must ensure that associates will follow all applicable NIST requirements when working at NIST.

Cloth Face Coverings or Masks

The current requirements for wearing cloth face coverings or masks on campus can be found on our Campus Status page

An individual who cannot tolerate wearing a secure cloth face covering or mask, e.g., for medical reasons, must notify their sponsor in advance. Please see CDC guidance for safe use of face coverings.

Please note:

  1. When face coverings or masks are required, NIST recommends the use of a 3-ply mask or on a voluntary basis use of a KN95 or N95 mask for optimum protection.
  2. NIST does not permit use of face coverings or masks (including respirators) that have exhalation valves as these defeat the purpose by allowing unfiltered air to be released. Do not use masks with exhalation valves. 
  3. Gaiters are acceptable provided they have two or more layers of material.

Personal Hygiene

While on campus, individuals are required to:

  • Refrain from physical greetings such as handshakes and hugs;
  • Cough or sneeze into the arm, shoulder or tissue, and away from others;
  • Keep hands clean by regularly washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipe; and
  • As directed by the sponsor, disinfect surfaces and items touched using disinfectant supplies provided by NIST.


Individuals on campus must comply with the directions on signs.

Food and Drink

Cafeterias will not be open. Water fountains will be available; however, NIST is recommending the filling of water bottles, when practical, rather than drinking directly from the fountain.

Created June 24, 2020, Updated August 18, 2022