NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News Shipbuilding has announced schedule shift changes in response to 44 cases being reported in the past two days.
On Wednesday, Newport News Shipbuilding reported a rise of 14 new COVID-19 cases in a day.
On Monday, 30 cases were also reported, a record-high for the shipyard.
Jennifer Boykin, President of Newport News Shipbuilding released a statement saying:
At the beginning of the pandemic, we made a lot of changes in a relatively short period of time as we, like the rest of the world, learned more about the virus and ways to slow the spread. We’ve since learned that COVID-19 will likely be with us until a vaccine changes the spread. This is the hard reality we are all dealing with.
The only way to totally stop exposure to the virus in the shipyard would be to close our doors for the foreseeable future. With that comes unemployment for 25,000 shipbuilders, a delay in Navy ship production, and the potential loss of future work. The ramifications of doing something so extreme will impact our community and our nation longer than this virus ever could. My responsibility is to balance how to keep the business operational while doing all we can to slow the spread of the virus.
While there is no one solution that is best for everyone, our operations will appropriately evolve as we learn more about the virus. And, I will continue to share new facts as we learn more about the cases across our shipyard, giving you as much information as possible for your personal decision making. Since transitioning to a two-shift operational schedule, we heard from many of you directly and through USW Local 8888 President Charles Spivey, about the pros and cons of the shift change. We assessed the return to three shifts, while also adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
To this end, we will return to a three-shift schedule effective at 10 p.m. on August 16, and parking will remain open. Supervisors will notify all employees by August 3 of shift assignments. If you do not receive guidance by August 4, please contact your supervisor.
The new shift schedule will follow:
• 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (first shift)
• 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (second shift)
• 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (third shift)
The shift schedule is designed to provide one-hour gaps for cleaning and to spread the workforce during shift change.
The shipyard says they will continue to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, wearing a mask, and continual cleaning across all three shifts.
There are now 53 cases reported in South Yard, 100 in Mid-Yard, 145 in North Yard and 42 reported in Off-Yard Offices.