Information about Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) is evolving rapidly. We want to make sure our City employees have up-to-date information. This page is designed to aggregate the information that City employees need to know, while we work to reduce the spread of this disease in our community and continue to provide critical public services.
This site is in addition to frequent communication that will be provided via email. Additionally, you will find all the emailed information here as well.
What City Employees Need to Know
There is significant information on COVID-19 virus, its symptoms, and spread in our nation and in the world available on the web sites of the Spokane Regional Health District, the Washington State Department of Health and the CDC.
Information included here is more directly related to our employees, who are critical if we are to maintain the public services that our citizens rely on.
“Healthy Washington” Reopening Plan (1/5/2021)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Jan. 5 announced a new “Healthy Washington” reopening plan that is under way. The state has been divided into eight regions, and regions will have to achieve certain metrics to move toward greater reopening. Each region will start at Phase 1—which essentially includes the same restrictions as today with a few minor changes—and automatically progress to the next phase based on the metrics. Indoor dining remains prohibited in Phase 1.
The new metrics include a 10% decreasing trend in case rates; a 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospital administration rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%. Here is additional information on the new plan. (1/11/2021)
What the Current Restrictions Mean for City Employees (11/16/2020)
COVID restrictions do impact us at work at the City.
- Employees who have the ability to telework and have been doing so will be asked to continue the practice, provided the employee can establish a good home work environment that is safe and healthful. All staff who have moved back into the workplace should reevaluate with their supervisor the need to be physically present in the office.
- Employees who may suffer detrimental impacts by being mandated to telework (ex: reduced hours due to partial ability to telework) will be allowed to work in City facilities, as needed, provided they abide by all implemented safety protocols (mask-wearing, social distancing, regular sanitization of work spaces and equipment) and have collaborated with their leadership on a schedule that best mitigates virus transmission risk and aligns with the relevant agreements and City policies.
- Meetings should be conducted virtually using IT-approved meeting tools wherever possible. Meetings with co-workers that must be held in-person must comply with 25% occupancy requirements.
- All city gym/fitness facilities will be closed until further notice.
Purchasing has PPE, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies available for departments. Please contact Thea Prince to acquire supplies.
Vaccine Distribution (updated 1/7/2021)
The first two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved, and vaccine has begun to be distributed within the state. Information on the vaccine and its distribution in Washington is found on the DOH web site. In Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health District has convened a vaccine task force to help roll out vaccines in our community, following guidelines provided by the state Department of Health and the CDC. DOH released an estimated vaccine phases timeline the first week of January. More people will become eligible for vaccines over time.
The first City employees to be eligible for vaccines include our first responders. They began receiving vaccines the week of Jan. 4.
In-Person Learning – Employee Support
Spokane Public Schools and other local districts Spokane County school districts now are working to bring students in all grades back for in-person learning. The Spokane Regional Health District is supportive of the methodical phasing in of secondary schools for in-person learning. The City is supporting flexible work arrangements for parents of school-aged kids. If you are interested in such an option, please talk to your supervisor or Human Resources. If you are looking for child care options, this child care information service provides a great way to connect to services.
COVID-19 in the Workplace (updated 1/11/2021)
As cases have continued to increase in the Spokane community, employees have had many questions on how we will manage COVID-19 in the workplace. Here are updated FAQs for our employees. (1/11/2021)
Face Coverings are required to be worn in public in the state of Washington. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces. Businesses are required to enforce the mask rule in their establishments, starting July 6. Wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent models suggest that the incidence of COVID-19 cases can be reduced if the majority of the population are wearing masks.
City of Spokane updated Mask Guidance is now available. (11/18/2020)
HR Guidance for Employees:
- Overview HR Employee Guidance
- Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) Program (8/18/2020)
Physical & Mental Health Resources
- Ways to connect to tele-health services (updated 12/7/2020)
- Premera Tele-health services available through Dec. 31, 2021
- Kaiser Tele-health services are ongoing
- City employees will have their cost shares for COVID-19 testing and treatment waived from Jan. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, under both health plans. (Updated 12/2020)
- The CARES 2020 Act made additional over-the-counter medical supplies eligible under medical flexible spending accounts. See the list.
- Take part in 10-minute mindfulness exercises that will help you focus, release tension, and reset for improved wellbeing. (4/20/2020)
- Access Employee Assistance Program (EAP) materials at EAPHelpLink code: CITSPO. Employees can call for assistance at 1-800-999-1077.
- VIDEO: When & How to Get Tested for COVID-19 (4/13/2020)
- VIDEO: Flattening the Curve: That Graph Explained (4/10/2020)
- How to Change/Recover Your Password Remotely: A Self-Service Solution (5/15/2020)
- Technology Guidance from IT for Telecommuting and Virtual Meetings
- How to Use OWA, OneDrive, VPN, & Web Ex (updated 3/25/2020)
- How to use Skype
- Links to Access City Business Systems (when not at work or connected via VPN)
- User Guide for Cisco Jabber Softphones (4/7/2020)
- How to Set Up Your Home Office (3/27/2020)
- Special Edition of The City Voice HR newsletter focusing on Working from Home (4/8/2020)
- The City needs to track who is telecommuting. The below guides provide instructions on how to add this information in PeopleSoft (HRMIS).
City Directives & Policy Information:
- Mayor’s 2021 Preliminary Budget overview (10/14/2020)
- Budgetary Considerations and Direction
- Procurement of Items needed for COVID-19 Response (updated 3/19/20)
- Take Home Vehicles Directive (3/19/2020)
- Mayor’s Amended Emergency Declaration (3/23/2020)
- Council’s Resolution to Ratify Amended Declaration (3/23/2020)
- Mayor’s Emergency Declaration
- Council’s Resolution to Ratify the Emergency Declaration
Open Public Meetings Act Guidance:
Resources for Victims of Fraud:
A number of fraudulent unemployment claims have been made using our employees’ names and social security numbers. Employees will not have to have repay fraudulent claims, but they may get a letter that says they do.
Here is info to help:
- Watch out for Fraud – Keep yourself & your info safe! (5/12/2020)
- EAP Plan Guidance on Identity Theft & Fraud (5/15/2020)
- Identity theft protection program info & rates – ID Shield (5/15/2020)
- Repayment information (6/30/2020)
Tips for Staying Healthy
The Spokane Regional Health District encourages people to take the following steps to stay healthy:
- Stay home when you are sick. Staying home when ill prevents the spread of infections to others.
- Use good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene in all community settings, including homes, childcare facilities, schools, workplaces and other places where people gather. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and put the used tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60-95% alcohol) if you can’t wash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
- Have contingency plans for your family during school closures. Ask your employer about working from home, not only to prepare for school closures, but also to prevent possible exposure.
- Support each other, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality, and including individuals who have become ill. Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick.
- Do you have travel plans? Take time to read the CDC’s guidance on travel (available on SRHD.org) to see how your plans may be affected.