Windsor-Orange 2 COVID-19 update (3/17/20)

March 18, 2020

Town Leaders,

 

First, the Governor just announced that all childcare centers in the State (about 1,200) are to be closed.  Daycare may still be made available for parents employed in certain critical needs areas such as health care and first responders.  Dept. of Children and Families will provide more detail....soon.  Childcare facilities that provide services for these critically-employed parents are not to have more than 10 children in a room.  The legislature will be working on funding to support closed childcare facilities during their closure in order to keep this infrastructure in place when the pandemic has receded.

 

Second, on a call with the Director of Emergency Management today, she asked all municipalities and schools to track costs related to COVID-19 mitigation.  It is possible (likely?) that some costs will be re-reimbursable through FEMA.  The Director also said that the four things Emergency Management is most focused on at the moment are (1) health care call center constraints and handling call volume, (2) preparing for the coming surge in health care system usage, (3) ensuring continuity of emergency responder service across the state, (4) ensuring that grocery supply chains are in good shape (no shortage of food in state/nation, though re-stocking is slower than normal).

 

Third, I won't re-circulate what the Secretary of State issued today in terms of guidance on Open Meeting Law, which was consistent with the early draft of that document I sent you yesterday.  I understand that Massachusetts has pulled back to allowing meetings to comply with the OML even if they are 100% telephonic.  This is causing frustration across the State.  As I suggested to the Sharon select board, seek forgiveness, not permission.  But you didn't hear that from me.

 

Fourth, Here is a link to the AoE's document providing guidance for providing nutrition services during school closures.  I received this document last evening after yesterday's update.

 

Fifth, Here is a link to the executive summary of the VT Emergency Operation Center daily report.  There is a lot on this one-page graphic.  I can provide more detail beyond much of this.  Let me know if there are particular areas into which you would like to further drill.

 

Sixth, today I was in contact with the Department of Public Service.  We are working with electric utilities in the State to discontinue disconnections during the COVID-19 crisis.  For the immediate future, they will discontinue disconnections through the end of March and are working on a policy to continue that through the state of emergency.  Similarly, tomorrow we will be speaking with state officials in the housing sector regarding forbearance on eviction notices during the state of emergency.

 

Finally, on a call with all House Chairs this morning, we discussed how best to communicate with our communities.  The model of working through one community leader, preferably someone in emergency management, was acknowledged as the model that was working the best.  Consistency.  That said, please don't hesitate to send people my way who need connection to their state government.

 

Have a good evening,

 

Tim

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