OPM launches plan to help feds find COVID-19 response work details

By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268 

The federal government has launched an effort to allow as many federal employees as possible to aid in agency efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office of Personnel Management published the "COVID-19 Surge Response Program" through USAJOBS on March 27. The website will allow federal agencies to post detail and temporary job opportunities for eligible federal employees to support COVID-19 efforts.

"The COVID-19 Surge Response Program will allow agencies to quickly realign their workforce so they can better accomplish their mission for the American people," Acting Director Michael Rigas said in a statement.

The surge response program is the latest in a series of efforts OPM has made to relax regulations and streamline agencies' ability to quickly hire and onboard needed employees in response to the coronavirus, which President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

In a memos sent to department heads, Rigas announced procedures for virtually onboarding employees, including foregoing fingerprinting and the issuing of physical access credentials like PIV cards while also considering remotely conducting oaths of office. Health officials have encouraged government agencies to cut down on workers' face-to-face interactions with each other and the general public.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.

Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.


  • innovation (Sergey Nivens/

    VA embraces procurement challenges at scale

    Steve Kelman applauds the Department of Veterans Affairs' ambitious attempt to move beyond one-off prize-based contests to combat veteran suicides more effectively.

  • big data AI health data

    Where did the ideas for shutdowns and social distancing come from?

    Steve Kelman offers another story about hero civil servants (and a good president).

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.