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*** The Office of Personnel Management put out a fact sheet aimed at answering commonly asked questions after publishing a plan to reopen federal facilities. Agencies were encouraged to continue extending all possible paid leave options and flexible work schedules to federal workers who had dependents and children to care for while school facilities remained closed. The fact sheet also encouraged agencies to consider granting alternative arrangements like telework or personal leave before requiring such employees to report back to working in the office.

*** The Army made its first awards for ventilator prototypes that can help treat coronavirus patients in rugged and rural environments. Spiro Devices and AirMid Critical Care Products won $100,000 for innovative emergency ventilator designs that include a breathing bag-based solution and a bellows-based technology, respectively, to help regulate airflow. The Army announced the winners April 23.

The awards are part of the Army’s ongoing effort, called the xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge, to produce 10,000 ventilators suitable for field operation in eight weeks. The contest is ongoing and uses other transaction authorities, an acquisition mechanism that can help speed prototype production. The Army first put out the call out April 5. A panel of judges culled through entries from 150 entities and started reviewing pitches April 13. The contest is ongoing.

Posted on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:18 AM


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