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.
Safe Start Washington Reopening Plan
On May 22, Spokane County moved to Phase 2 of the Safe Start Plan. Since that time, cases have dramatically increased in the Spokane area. Mayor Nadine Woodward has stressed the need to continue to adhere to practices to keep people healthy, including social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks.
To combat rising numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, the state of Washington continues to make changes to guidance within the Safe Start Plan. The latest changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, with new rules effective July 30. A memo from July 28 provides more details. Counties currently aren’t allowed to move into the next phase. Reopening City Hall and other facilities to the public is expected in Phase 3.
COVID-19 in the Workplace
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. (7/10/2020).
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.
School Closures – What does the Fall look like?
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on June 11 outlining the state’s plan to work to re-open schools for in-person instruction in the fall for the 2020-2021 school year. Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, meanwhile, unveiled the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 Planning Guide authorized under the proclamation.
Employees are encouraged to notify their supervisor or HR Analyst if they would like to explore accommodations to support their work-life balance while kids are out of school/child care. The City is supporting a number of flexible working arrangements to allow employees to be productive, and reduce the need for using accrued leave. And, if you need some tips for homeschooling, here is good information from our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
HR Guidance for Employees:
- Overview HR Employee Guidance
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (info below as of 4/2/2020)
- Mask Requirements & Guidance in City Facilities (6/2/2020)
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)
Physical & Mental Health Resources
- Ways to connect to tele-health services (4/3/2020)
- Premera is offering tele-health services through June 30
- Kaiser Permanente also offers these services
- City employees will have their cost shares for COVID-19 testing and treatment waived from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, under both health plans. (Announced 6/2020)
- 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:
- 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:
Very few employees ultimately requested child care assistance from the City. As a result, the City will not be creating a child care option in City Hall. If you are looking for child care options, this child care information service provides a great way to connect to services.
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.