COVID-19 AEO Associate Resources

AEO is committed to keeping our PEOPLE, our most important asset, safe and healthy, both mentally and physically. This resource page is designed to address the constantly evolving situations caused by the health pandemic and provide you with the latest guidance.

 When the onset of COVID-19 changed all of our lives, AEO’s long-standing commitment to the health and well-being of our associates and customers became even more apparent.  We implemented best-in-class health and safety measures across our operations based on the direct advice of medical experts and guidelines from governmental agencies such as the CDC and Health Canada.

 NOTE: The resources and information on this page are not meant to be exhaustive and associates should continue to refer to and abide by all AEO policies and procedures. If you have any further questions or concerns about AEO’s response to COVID-10, safety procedures, benefits options, or your specific situation, please contact your supervisor or HR Business Partner (“HRBP”).

Recent Updates

This page has been updated as of  September 14, 2021 with updates:

  • Exposure Control Plans

In addition, effective August 4, 2021 even if you are vaccinated, you MUST wear a mask in our stores, offices and distribution centers.

Delta Variant FAQ

What is the Delta variant?

Like all viruses, the COVID-19 virus changes and mutates as it spreads through a population and makes errors in copying its genetic code. Usually these errors are harmful to the virus or do not have an impact, but sometimes a mutation arises that gives the virus an advantage, like making it more contagious. Health officials then classify strains of the virus with distinct groupings of mutations as “variants.” Delta is a variant of the original COVID-19 virus that is spreading around the world. It appears to be more transmissible and more contagious than previous strains and is now the dominant strain in the United States.

Click here for additional information from the CDC on the COVID-19 variants.

 

How does it spread?

It spreads in the same manner as the original COVID-19 virus. It can spread through the air, through droplets and, less commonly, on surfaces.

 

How can I protect myself from the Delta variant?

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated. All of the vaccines in the US are effective against the Delta variant and greatly reduce the chance that you will contract or die from COVID-19. It is also important to continue washing and sanitizing your hands. Moreover, you can always choose to wear a mask—particularly if you are with people who are not vaccinated or COVID-19 cases are on the rise in your area. CDC Guidance on daily activities and going out during the pandemic is here. If you are fully vaccinated, refer to the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals here.

 

Can I still get COVID-19 if I am vaccinated?

Yes. You can still get COVID-19 if you are vaccinated but the chance is greatly decreased. Vaccines are not (and will likely never be) 100% effective. They have been a tremendous influence on decreasing the incidence of COVID-19 and dramatically reduce death rates from COVID-19. Some of the things that increase your risk of getting COVID-19 are being in crowded spaces, being indoors with poor ventilation, and spending time with unvaccinated people. Your best protection in these cases are wearing masks, keeping distance and opening windows to help with flow. We will need to see exactly how the vaccines hold up as time goes on, but it is reasonable to expect that immunity decreases somewhat as time from vaccination is further away. Boosters or additional vaccines may be recommended in the future.

 

Are people who are not vaccinated more at risk for getting COVID-19 and the Delta variant?

Yes! As the Delta variant spreads more efficiently in groups of unvaccinated people or communities with large amounts of unvaccinated people are more at risk.

 

Are my unvaccinated children at risk for the Delta variant?

Anyone who is not vaccinated is at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and the Delta variant. To help mitigate the risk, children who are not vaccinated can wear masks (especially indoors) and while travelling. Be aware of what is going on in your local community and adjust accordingly. The good news is that kids are still much less likely to have serious complications from COVID-19. If you have a child who is higher risk for complications from COVID-19 be extra careful and maintain stricter precautions.

COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Note: the answers to these FAQS are based on publicly-available information provided by federal, state, and local health agencies as of August 2, 2021. The information below is not intended to be medical advice and AEO encourages all associates to consult with their medical providers about any specific questions about their situation. Furthermore, there are additional questions related to cost and availability of the vaccine that we simply don’t have answers to yet. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update these FAQs as additional information becomes available to AEO.  

Will AEO require me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. AEO encourages all associates to get the vaccine if they are able, but will not require associates to get the vaccine as a condition of employment.

I’m fully vaccinated. What now?  

If you are fully vaccinated, you should follow the CDC guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals:

  • Effective August 4, 2021, even if you are vaccinated, you MUST wear a mask in our stores, offices and distribution centers.
  • Wear a mask indoors is advised if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission
  • Wear a mask if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

I’m fully vaccinated, but had close contact with a COVID-19+ individual. Do I need to quarantine?

In accordance with CDC guidance, you do not need to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated. You should get tested 3-5 days after exposure to a known or suspected COVID-19 case and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result. Even if you receive a negative result, you’ll continue to wear a mask while at AEO!

How many vaccine options are there?

As of August 2021, there are three vaccines that are authorized and recommended for use in the United States: the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (“Pfizer vaccine”), the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (“Moderna vaccine”), and the Janssen-Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (“J&J Vaccine”).

However, as of March 1, 2021, other vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax were in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States.

On August 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, also known as Comiranty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.  It continues to be available under Emergency Use Authorization for individuals who are 12-15 years old.

Canada has authorized four COVID-19 vaccines: PfizerModernaJ&J and AstraZeneca.

Will I need a booster shot?

Possibly. On August 20, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in the fall of 2021. This plan is currently being reviewed by the FDA and CDC

Pfizer and Moderna Recipients

If a booster shot is recommended by the FDA and CDC, the plan is to provide a booster shot starting 8 months after you received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. This plan is being reviewed by the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. More information to come!

J&J Recipients

Because the J&J vaccine was approved 70 days after Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved, the CDC and FDA are still collecting data about a booster for the J&J vaccine. Hang tight!

More information about a potential booster is available here.

What’s going on with the J&J vaccine?

On April 25, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommended that use of the J&J vaccine resume, after a pause was announced on April 13, 2021. The CDC determined that the J&J’s vaccines known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risk.

The pause allowed the agencies review data and make an assessment related to a rare adverse event following vaccinations— blood clots with low platelets. The pause allowed CDC to communicate with healthcare providers and re-emphasize the importance of reporting severe events in people who have received this vaccine, as well as how to report such events. The pause also gave experts time to carefully review all available data and conduct a risk-benefit analysis around the use of this vaccine. In reviewing the data, the CDC determined that out of 8 millions+ doses of the J&J vaccine, there were 15 reports of women who got the J&J vaccine who later developed a blood clot condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. These 15 women were between the ages of 18 and 59 years old.

 

What do I need to know if I’ve received or am planning to receive the J&J vaccine?

Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of blood clots with low platelets after receiving the J&J vaccine, and that this risk has not been seen with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

If you are planning to or have already you’ve received the J&J vaccine, medical experts advise that it is very unlikely that you have an adverse event. However, you should contact your health care provider if you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath.

If you would like to report any side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, please check out the CDC’s V-safe program here.

 

How can I make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

United States

Individuals 12 years and older in the United States are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule an appointment, click here!

Canada

Individuals 12 years and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. To schedule a vaccine appointment, click here!

 

Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live COVID-19 virus?

No. There are two types of COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States and Canada: mRNA and viral vector vaccines.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA or “mRNA” vaccine. mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus. Instead, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein— in this case just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. You can read more from the CDC about how the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work here.

The J&J vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. The vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The J&J vaccine uses a harmless adenovirus as its viral vector. You can read more from the CDC about how the COVID-19 viral vector vaccines work here.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada is also a viral vector vaccine.

 

I’m nervous about taking the COVID-19 vaccine because it seems like the vaccines were developed so quickly. What process was used to ensure the vaccines’ safety? 

As of August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years or older. This vaccine is now also known as “Comiranty.” Note , the Pfizer vaccine continues to be available under Emergency Use Authorization for individuals who are 12-15 years old.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”)—the federal agency tasked with ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs—issued an Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in February 2021. This means that the COVID-19 vaccines have met a rigorous set of criteria and have been proven to be effective based on data by the vaccine manufacturers and large clinical trials. The federal government has determined that the vaccine is safe and recommends their use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you’d like more information about EUA, watch the Food and Drug Administration’s explanatory video and/or review the FDA’s infographic about the path of a COVID-19 vaccine from research to EUA. THE CDC has also published guidance about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

 

Is there a difference between the Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J vaccines?

The Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines are authorized and recommended by the FDA to protect against COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines, but the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have different ingredients, need to be stored at different temperatures, and the second dose is given at different time intervals. The Pfizer vaccine is given in 2 shots, at least 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is given in 2 shots, at least 28 days apart.

The J&J vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that contains a piece of the harmless adenovirus type 26 virus. It is given in 1 shot.

Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older, but the Moderna and J&J vaccines are only authorized for individuals who are at least 18 years old.

They have very similar efficacy, side effects, and safety profile.

For more information, please visit the FDA’s fact sheet for each vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J.

 

Why do I need two shots for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines?

Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require 2 shots to give you the most protection against COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is given in 2 shots, at least 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is given in 2 shots, at least 28 days apart.

 

Can I get multiple types of vaccines?

No, the vaccines are NOT interchangeable. If your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose must also be the Pfizer vaccine. Similarly, if your first dose is the Moderna vaccine, your second dose must also be the Moderna vaccine. If you get the J&J vaccine, you should not get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine unless you are directed to do so by a medical provider or public health agency.

 

I have allergies that prevent me from taking certain vaccines. What’s in the COVID-19 vaccines?

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. For a full list of ingredients, please visit the FDA’s fact sheet for each vaccine: PfizerModerna; or J&J. The CDC has also published guidance about the COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions.

In general, unless you are allergic to a specific ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines or had an allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine, you can likely be vaccinated safely. AEO encourages you to discuss your options with your health care providers.

 

Can I take a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m already pregnant or breastfeeding?

The FDA has explained that the vaccine has not been determined to be unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals based on available information. The COVID-19 vaccine trials did not deliberately include pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, however some vaccine trial participants inadvertently became pregnant and received the vaccine. The CDC has published vaccination considerations for individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ovia Health has also published guidance for pregnant people, as well as guidance for parents. AEO encourages you to speak with your health care provider.

 

I have a medical condition. How will I know if I can take the vaccine?

The CDC has published general vaccination considerations for individuals with certain underlying medical conditions.

Depending on your underlying medical condition, your health care provider may explain that it may be even more important to get the vaccine as you could be at risk for a more severe case if you contract COVID-19.

We encourage you to speak with your health care provider about your specific circumstances before taking the vaccine.

 

I already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?

According to medical experts, yes. Because there’s still a risk that you can get re-infected with COVID-19, you are still encouraged to get the vaccine even if you have already recovered from COVID-19.

 

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

According to the FDA, the most commonly reported side effects for the Pfizer vaccine are: pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever.

The side effects most commonly reported for the Moderna vaccine are: pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever. During the drug trials, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

The most commonly reported side effects for the J&J vaccine are: pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects occurred within 1-2 days following vaccination and were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1-2 days.

The CDC has published information about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine and tips for dealing with side effects here. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of blood clots with low platelets after receiving the J&J vaccine. More information about the J&J vaccine is available here.

The CDC has published information about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine and tips for dealing with side effects here.

Can I still get COVID-19 after I receive a vaccine?

It is possible. You have approximately 50% immunity about a week or two after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The immunity increases to approximately 94% to 95% in the weeks after receiving the second dose.

With respect to the J&J vaccine, it is approximately 67% effective in preventing moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 disease occurring at least 14 days after vaccination and 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe/critical disease at least 28 days after vaccination.

 

Do I still need to wear a mask at work after I am fully vaccinated?

Effective August 4, 2021, even if you are vaccinated, you MUST wear a mask in our stores, offices and distribution centers. While it’s disappointing to go backwards, there is too much uncertainty around the variants of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on both unvaccinated AND vaccinated individuals to take chances with our health right now.

All associates must continue to follow all other health and safety protocols, including completing the Working Well questionnaire via the app or paper form.

What does FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine mean?

FDA approval means that after receiving additional data over an extended period of time, the FDA has confirmed that the vaccine remains safe and effective. The vaccine was previously being produced and distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). During a public health emergency, such as with the Covid-19 pandemic, this type of authorization allowed for large amounts of the vaccine to be produced and distributed to the public during the testing phase. However, before granting the EUA the FDA determined that, based on the data available, the vaccine was safe and effective.  The Pfizer vaccine will continue to be authorized for emergency use for children ages 12 to 15 while Pfizer collects the necessary data required for full approval.

What about Moderna and J&J?

Moderna applied for FDA approval in June, one month after Pfizer. J&J has not yet submitted its application for FDA approval, but is expected to do so soon. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines continue to be available under EUA.

Where can I get more information about the vaccines?

The FDA has published FAQs (PfizerModernaJ&J) and fact sheets (PfizerModernaJ&J) for each vaccine. The CDC has also published guidance and FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccines. AEO also encourages you to speak with your primary care physician about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has also published information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Cleaning and Hygiene

  • A comprehensive cleaning protocol has been developed for all corporate offices, stores and distribution centers. Please refer to your COVID-19 playbook, training guides or contact your HRBP for questions.
  • Remember to continue to practice preventive measures that minimize the spread of illness, such as COVID-19:
    • The best way to prevent bacteria/virus transmission is by washing hands with soap and water frequently, for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
    • Get into the habit of washing your hands every time you come into the office or home.
    • Sanitize surfaces that come in contact with hands on a daily basis.
    • Keep your hands away from your face, and the “T-zone” of eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
    • If you are exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms, stay at home.

Exposure Control Plans

Guidance on Testing

There are many situations in which an associate may need/want to get tested for COVID-19; including, but not limited to:

  1. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  2. Upon learning that you have been exposed to someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
  3. After traveling to a city or state that is experiencing high levels of infection

Please follow the steps outlined here or here (Spanish) to access a COVID-19 test.

Benefits and Well-Being Resources

AEO offers a number of benefits and mental well-being resources to its associates:

Flimp, our benefits communication vendor, has created a video and digital postcard to better understand COVID-19.

Medically Enrolled Benefits

Paid Time Off and Leave

Financial Support

Preparing For Work

All associates must self-assess and take a proactive, common-sense approach.  If you develop flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you are instructed to contact your medical provider, are advised to quarantine or to isolate, do not report to work and contact your manager or supervisor immediately.

 

A message to our associates from Dr. Joshua Schwarzbaum, AEO Medical Consultant:

Travel

  • Corporate associates are asked to limit all domestic travel to necessary matters only. If you have a question regarding planned or future business travel, please discuss with your manager.
  • All international business travel should be scheduled only as necessary and must be approved by a member of the Executive Leadership Team and Global Asset Protection. All international travel that is related to the normal course of business and does not impact business continuity is currently restricted. For the time being, we encourage all associates to utilize alternate methods of communication, such as video conferencing, instead of booking international travel.
  • If you have a question regarding planned or future business travel, please discuss with your manager. Additionally, if you are unsure about a planned or future meeting with an international vendor or business partner, please consult with your manager.
  • Any non-vaccinated associate that has traveled to and returned from domestic or International areas deemed high risk for COVID-19 (for work or personal reasons) should inform their supervisor and follow the test out procedures or self-quarantine by working remotely for 10 daysfrom the date of their return or as directed by state-specific guidelines.
  • For those who have started to travel for business, please note that we are continuing to comply with local requirements on both sides of your trip.  If you have any specific questions about upcoming travel, please feel free to reach out to our Global Asset Protection team at aetravelsafe@ae.com

Testing Requirements For Non-Vaccinated Travelers

NOTE: In accordance with CDC guidance, you do not need these testing requirements if at least 2 weeks have passed since your second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or your J&J Vaccine.

In accordance with state guidance, associates traveling domestically are no longer required to quarantine after traveling out-of-state unless they begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms. Associates should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms after domestic travel.

If an associate travels internationally or experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 after traveling domestically, the associate must quarantine for at least 10 days or go through the test-out procedure.

If an associate wishes to test out of the 10-day quarantine, the associate must:

  • Quarantine for at least 3 days upon their arrival to their home state
  • Receive a negative COVID-19 test result on or after day 4 of quarantine, and be symptom-free to exit quarantine.

If an associate chooses to take advantage of the test-out procedure, a PCR test is referred but rapid antigen tests are acceptable. For more information about COVID-19 testing, please visit the website of your state or territorial health department.

For information on testing options offered through AEO’s medical insurance, including details on ordering an at-home testing kit, click here.

Full-vaccinated Associate Travel Guidance
Associates who are fully vaccinated, do not need to quarantine after travel domestically and internationally.

  • Fully vaccinated associates do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it.
  • Fully vaccinated associates do not need to self-quarantine upon their return unless they begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated associates should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer

FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions, including general examples. If you have a more specific question not found below, please contact your supervisor or HRBP.

Can associates be informed when positive tests are identified? If I know that there have been positive tests, I would feel more inclined to take it upon myself to be tested if I experience symptoms that could otherwise be identified as cold/flu.

If an associate were to test positive, we will proceed with our contact tracing procedure. You will be notified if the Company is informed that you may have been in “close contact” with the COVID-19 positive associate. In general, this means, if you were in close contact and less than 6 feet apart for a cumulative amount of time of 15 minutes or longer during any 24-hour period with the associate 2 days prior to the individual’s first symptoms and up until their last day worked. However, the definition of close contact may vary in accordance with state/provincial and local law.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

In accordance with CDC guidance, “quarantine” is for people who may have been in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. These individuals should quarantine for 10 days from the last date of close contact or exposure to see if they begin having symptoms.  This helps prevent the spread that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.

Currently, “close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual, unmasked, for at least 15 minutes in a 24 hour period. “Exposure” includes intimate family contact or contact with the respiratory droplets of an individual who is known to have tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to be COVID-19 positive based on their symptoms.

“Isolation” is for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.  These individuals should not come in contact with other people for 10 days from symptom onset or their test date.  The current CDC recommendation is to isolate for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and at least 24-hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or month after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

If you have been told to quarantine or are isolating after having tested positive for COVID-19, please contact your supervisor or HRBP.

I think I may have worked with someone who tested positive. Will the Company share their name so I can confirm if I am at risk?

We will not share the name of the associate who tested positive for COVID-19 due to privacy laws but will follow our contact tracing procedures. The HR team will contact anyone who has been identified as having been in close contact with an associate who tests positive. In general, this means, if you were in close contact and less than 6 feet apart for a cumulative amount of time of 15 minutes or longer during any 24-hour period with the associate 2 days prior to the individual’s first symptoms and up until their last day worked. However, the definition of close contact may vary in accordance with state/provincial and local law. If you or anyone from your team starts exhibiting symptoms, please self-quarantine and contact your supervisor and HRBP during your self-quarantine.

For those who come in close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, what does the definition of a “10 day self-quarantine from all daily activities” mean?

Quarantine is used to keep someone who has been in close contact with an individual who tested positive for  COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

Following exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive, how long will it take for my COVID-19 test to be positive if I have contracted the virus?

The amount of time to become positive depends on the test and the person.  There is not a clear cut number of days that you need to wait to see if you are positive.  Most people will test positive a week after being exposed, but there are certainly cases that are longer.  The closer you are tested to the date of the possible exposure, the less likely the test will be positive (even if you contracted COVID-19).

Who should I inform that I may have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

Please follow our internal reporting procedures and contact your supervisor and HRBP. Note, however, you do not need to report exposure to COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated (i.e. at least two weeks have passed since your single-shot vaccine or two weeks have passed since your second dose) and have not experienced any symptoms.

If you, or someone who resides in your home, is diagnosed with COVID-19 please call 1-877-322-0236 to report the diagnosis to the Global Asset Protection team.

We are currently following the CDC guidelines that if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are currently exhibiting symptoms, you should first inform your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and exposure. Your healthcare provider can then advise on proper medical care and appropriate next steps, including anyone to inform of your potential exposure. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are exhibiting signs and symptoms, you can find additional CDC recommendations here.

If you are not experiencing signs and symptoms of illness, we are taking guidance from the CDC that you continue to practice social-distancing and monitor for any future symptoms of COVID-19. If you may have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 but are not exhibiting symptoms, please follow the CDC instructions on how to protect yourself and your family here.

 

I’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and need to quarantine. Is there a way I can shorten the 10-day quarantine period?

Yes. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine. However, you should get tested 3-5 days after exposure to a known or suspected COVID-19 case.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you can shorten the quarantine period if you go the first 7 days without any symptoms and between days 5-7 you take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result. However, the quarantine cannot end earlier than day 7 if you are quarantining based on exposure due to a COVID-19 individual.

In order to take advantage of these shorter quarantine options you must still follow the criteria below:

  • You must not have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms during the shortened quarantine period.
  • You must continue to monitor themselves for symptoms for the remainder of the 10-day self-quarantine period.
  • You must strictly adhere to mitigation strategies after exiting self-quarantine – g., mask use, social distancing, avoiding crowds, etc.

A co-worker has a persistent cough and/or is exhibiting signs of a respiratory illness.  Will AEO ask this associate to go home as a precautionary measure?

Yes. AEO has consistently said (not only this year, but during previous cold and flu seasons) that associates who are sick (whether it be from a common cold, flu, or other virus) should stay home and return to work only when they are not contagious and are feeling better.

Consistent with this approach, the CDC advises employees “who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness . . . to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).”

If I am asked to go home because I am exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory illness, will I be required to produce a doctor’s note before coming back to work?

Any associate that is sick (whether it be from a common cold, flu, or other virus) should stay home and only return to work only when they are not contagious and are feeling better. A doctor’s note is not needed.

If you have received a positive COVID-19 test result and have remained out of work for at least 10 days, a doctor’s note is required to return to the workplace.

What is AEO doing to disinfect and clean the workplace?

AEO has taken a number of steps to ensure our facilities are being thoroughly cleaned. This includes increased cleaning of touchpoints, hard surfaces, cafés, kitchens and restrooms throughout the day and nightly.  Additional hand-sanitizers, disinfectant spray and masks are also being provided for use by associates.

We are asking all associates to make sure they are maintaining high-standards of hygiene, including washing hands and properly cleaning.   We are also continuing to evaluate and develop additional cleaning protocols.

Who is at higher risk for COVID-19?

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Older adults
  • Smokers
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
    • Obesity
    • An immune compromised state
    • Chronic Kidney Disease

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease. More information from the CDC can be found here.

I’ve been working from home because of COVID-19. Is there any guidance on what types of expenses can be reimbursed?

Yes, the Work From Home Support Policy outlines what type of expenses are reimbursable for associates who are working from home because of COVID-19. If you have any additional questions, please contact your supervisor or HRBP.

I need to take time away from work for reasons related to COVID-19. Who should I contact?

Depending on your work location, you may be eligible for paid sick leave. Please contact your HRBP or Benefits (corploa@ae.com) to discuss your situation.

 

Can I still get COVID-19 if I am vaccinated?

Yes. You can still get COVID-19 if you are vaccinated but the chance is greatly decreased. Vaccines are not (and will likely never be) 100% effective. They have been a tremendous influence on decreasing the incidence of COVID-19 and dramatically reduce death rates from COVID-19. Some of the things that increase your risk of getting COVID-19 are being in crowded spaces, being indoors with poor ventilation, and spending time with unvaccinated people. Your best protection in these cases are wearing masks, keeping distance and opening windows to help with flow. We will need to see exactly how the vaccines hold up as time goes on, but it is reasonable to expect that immunity decreases somewhat as time from vaccination is further away. Boosters or additional vaccines may be recommended in the future.

 

Are there benefits to wearing a mask?

Wearing a mask can decrease your chance of getting or spreading COVID-19, as well as a host of other diseases. We saw much fewer cases of flu this year and that is likely due to a combination of masking, social distancing, and frequently washing hands. It is helpful to understand your risks (your medical conditions, vaccination status, community spread of COVID-19, travel plans etc.) and make decisions accordingly.

 

Are there resources about vaccines and kids ?

Click here to access “Vaccinated Parents, Unvaccinated kids”, published June 10, 2021 in the HUB at Johns Hopkins University, by Keri Althoff, Johns Hopkins epidemiologist and mother of three.

Click here to access “The benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccines for kids”, published July 2, 2021 in the HUB at Johns Hopkins University, by Katie Pierce.

Additional Resources

We encourage associates to take a common-sense approach to proactive measures. As always during cold and flu season, if you develop flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please do not go to the office and work from home until the symptoms are gone.  In light of the coronavirus outbreak, Global Asset Protection presents the following resources for our associates.

World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): WHO’s pages and resources on the virus, primarily for the public and health professionals.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) 2019 Novel Coronavirus: CDC’s pages and resources on the virus, primarily geared to a U.S. audience, including resources geared toward businesses, travel, health professionals, laboratories, and the public.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019: Guidance from the CDC designed to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including nCoV, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

OSAC Travel Tips: Coronavirus: The U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) offers tips to stay healthy when travelling abroad.

2019 Novel Coronavirus Hazardous Information Training Sheet (HITS): Developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, this HITS provides information on the evolving Coronavirus and tips for workforce protection and readiness.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Map and Information: Presents a heat map of worldwide infections and the latest statistics of confirmed cases, fatalities, and recoveries.

Human Resources Support

  • Field Associates: For any additional questions, email a member of your HR Team at FieldHRCommunication@ae.com or call +1-724-779-5200 or +1-844-230-2855 (toll free). To best support you, please be sure to provide your employee ID with your inquiry.
  • Corporate Associates: For any additional questions, contact your designated HRBP or email HRQuestion@ae.com.
  • Distribution Center Associates: For additional questions, contact a member of your local HR team.

Canada Associates

COVID19 & Temporary Layoff Resources

Health & Benefits Resources

Temporary Layoff Resources- French