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Jan 03

City Manager's Message Jan. 3: Winter Weather Delayed Opening & COVID Updates

Posted on January 3, 2022 at 7:08 PM by Dacia Walker

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had the chance to relax a little over the holidays and enjoy time with family and/or friends. I especially want to thank all of you who worked on the holidays themselves - it is truly a sacrifice for which we are all grateful.


As we enter the first work week of 2022, we have had very unusual weather indeed. The shift from unseasonably warm weather to snow in less than 24 hours is rare, but has brought with it some unique challenges — from today’s unexpected high winds and moderate flooding to the icy conditions expected late this evening and tomorrow morning. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure we keep as many cars off the road as possible in the early morning when icy conditions may be present, we have decided to have a delayed opening of city facilities tomorrow. All city facilities will officially open at 10 am. Essential personnel should report on schedule unless told otherwise by your department head and/or immediate supervisor. Other employees should report by 10 am unless other arrangements are made with your supervisor. Liberal leave is an option for those of you who may have need to stay home to care for children due to school closures and/or are concerned about your work commute, but - as always - this must be approved by your department head and/or immediate supervisor.


We also find that 2022 is bringing with it a surge of COVID cases, apparently driven by the Omicron variant which spreads much more efficiently and rapidly than prior variants. While news reports seem to suggest that Omicron does not have the same level of severity as previous strains, there continue to be deaths and serious impacts from COVID. Vaccinations and boosters are considered the most effective means of protection against severe illness and/or hospitalizations, as we continue to recommend that our workforce avail themselves of the opportunity to become boosted and/or vaccinated. Moreover, our doctors and hospital systems are once again under severe stress; and, it is clear that employers are having to face the very real prospect that large numbers of their workforce may be impacted by this variant.


Accordingly, I have decided to authorize as much teleworking as is practical, feasible and appropriate for departments while continuing to keep City facilities open.  We will evaluate the need for these expanded teleworking arrangements in two week increments. Each department head will make the decisions that are appropriate for their work units and you can expect to receive guidance from them and/or your immediate supervisor in the coming days. Additionally, I want to re-emphasize the need for us all to use masking and social distancing as much as possible. We should minimize large in-person meetings/functions when possible, substitute Zoom meetings when practical, physically distance by a minimum of 6 feet, maintain rules regarding two people in elevator spaces and wear masks in all public spaces. I understand that we are all tired of these rules and requirements. COVID has been with us for over two years, and each time we think the end is in sight, a new development prolongs the need for these precautions. However, these are the absolute best tools for us to keep a safe workforce, and that must be our top priority.


As I said back in the early fall when we announced our vaccination or testing requirements, we have the responsibility to ensure we take care of one another as fellow city team members and we must also ensure that we can continue to serve our residents. Without taking these proactive steps to protect one another, we can reasonably expect more of our co-workers to become sick and miss work, or worse suffer severe health effects. None of us wants that. I thus count on you all to continue to be diligent in following these requirements. Thank you!

— Mary


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