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.

 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 October 23, 2020 to include:

  • How to prepare for work
  • Guidance on COVID-19 testing
  • FAQs

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.

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 to access a COVID-19 test.

Travel

  • Any associate that has travelled to and returned from domestic or International areas deemed high risk for COVID-19 (for work or personal reasons) should inform their supervisor and self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of their return or as directed by state-specific guidelines.
  • The CDC has issued guidance regarding populations that are considered “higher risk.” In keeping with our approach to follow the recommendations of experts, associates with underlying medical conditions or who are over the age of 60 should avoid large social events, limit mass transit, and should not travel by plane.  Please visit the CDC’S website and review our FAQs for up-to-date information on those populations that are considered higher risk  

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 14 days 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.

“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.  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 “14 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.

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.

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.

I was told those at higher risk should avoid travel on commercial airlines. Who is at higher risk?

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.

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.

Temporary Employment & Educational Resources

If you have been furloughed, we encourage you to take advantage of temporary employment opportunities.

  • AEO Distribution Centers are hiring! Head to aeo.jobs to search for open positions.
  • The National Retail Federation has compiled a list of temporary job opportunities to support retail workers impacted by COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) has partnered with Codeacademy to offer 60 days of Codeacademy Pro free to all furloughed retail workers. This online learning platform teaches in-demand technical skills like web development (CSS and HTML coding), mobile development and data science skills (SQL).

Canada Associates