Amtrak Enlists GWU for COVID-19 Response Advice

Written by Andrew Corselli

Amtrak has engaged the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH) in an effort to provide ongoing technical expertise and guidance to enhance Amtrak’s coronavirus pandemic response.

Amtrak “has studied and aimed to make improvements to its travel experience—from beginning to end. The research will supplement Amtrak’s efforts to deliver a new standard of travel that includes enhanced cleaning protocols, contactless amenities, social distancing on board and in stations, required face coverings and sophisticated air filtration.”

As part of this ongoing partnership, the GW Milken Institute SPH team will advise Amtrak in the following areas:

  • Reviewing safe work practices, return-to-work plans, and guidance for employees, managers and facility operators.
  • Monitoring the epidemic using regional and national data sources to anticipate and respond to geographic transmission trends.
  • Implementing workplace and operational practices that exceed the latest public health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.
  • Reviewing and recommending disinfection, sanitization and decontamination practices in trains, stations and facilities.
  • Providing timely and evidence-based advice to promote a safe work culture for employees and travel experience for customers.

“Amtrak’s commitment to maintain a workplace that promotes rigorous health and safety measures is impressive,” said Melissa J. Perry, ScD, MHS, Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at GW Milken Institute SPH. “We look forward to sharing knowledge and data to help Amtrak navigate this ever-changing environment as a result of the widespread coronavirus.”

“To continue providing service across 46 states, we need to be aware of the impact of the coronavirus as well as best practices, regional disparities and evolving guidance from health officials,” said Steve Predmore, Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Safety Officer. “The extensive expertise within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health will augment our internal health and safety team as we continue to make decisions to protect customers and our employees who serve them. The GW Milken Institute SPH team will be a key addition to Amtrak’s Public Health and Safety Advisory Committee.”

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