IINE STATUS: 10/13/2020
IINE community – thank you for stepping up, being flexible and making public health a priority. Here is a quick update on our organization-wide response to COVID-19 (coronavirus):
First Steps in Returning to Onsite Work
In order to return to the office, you must have completed your Review of COVID-19 Return to Onsite Work Plan Acknowledgement form. Please send this form directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you arrive onsite for the first time since enacting Phase 1 of the Return to Onsite Work Plan, please see your office manager for a brief introduction to the office rules and regulations.
For all staff members, clients, and other visitors who are coming to the office, we are requiring that you fill out the contact tracing form located here prior to coming to the office on the day of your scheduled arrival. This is a change designed to facilitate more accurate contact tracing. The exceptions to this new rule are clients who need help filling out the contact tracing form due to language or technological barriers. Staff members can guide these clients through the form no more than 24 hours prior to their arrival at IINE.
Once arriving in the office, all staff members, clients, and visitors must first meet with the receptionist to sign in.
Jeff Thielman’s 04/29/20 Communication to staff:
Yesterday Governor Baker extended Massachusetts’ stay-at-home order for non-essential workers through Monday, May 18. We have yet to hear from Governor Sununu in New Hampshire, but, regardless of his decision, IINE will continue to keep all three of our offices closed to in-person services and will continue remote work through at least May 18.
As a human services provider, IINE is an essential business, but we can and are providing most of our services remotely. Yesterday’s email from Xan highlighting the program data makes it clear that, even remotely, our programs continue to have an impact on the health and well-being of our clients. I am amazed and impressed with the work everyone is doing from home!
The Directors and Executive Leadership Team meet for an hour each week to discuss multiple matters, including what a staged return to in-person work would look like at IINE. We continue to follow the advice of state leaders in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but all that we are reading tells us that social distancing restrictions and remote work will continue for an extended period.
Many of you may be wondering what a gradual return to work at IINE might look like. Our role as an essential business means that, under certain circumstances and in order to continue providing essential administrative or direct services, you or your colleagues may need to come to the office or travel in your community. However, the majority of our staff will continue their work from home. In the coming months, as more in-person work in our region resumes, some people may start working from the offices, but we may implement restrictions on the number of people that can be in an IINE office at any given time.
As it currently stands, anyone who believes they need to visit an IINE office or meet with someone for IINE business is required to gain approval from their Director, complete our Wufoo form, and observe our safety protocols. As a reminder, there are now masks and gloves available at each site, and we encourage anyone approved to meet others in-person to take advantage of this PPE. The Directors and Leadership team will be wearing masks whenever we are at the offices.
While the Leadership team is thinking through when and how staff will return onsite, we have also started a conversation around the protocols and equipment IINE will need to put in place for clients and other visitors. For our education programming, we will await guidance from both states on precautions we should take before permitting students in our classrooms.
The bottom line is that we are not going to transition everyone back to office-based work anytime soon, and we will not do so until we are able to meet all of the guidelines established by both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. My strong sense is that we are going to be working in the current format for much longer than May 18.
For those who have to come to our offices, effective immediately IINE will pay your parking or Uber/Lyft fees. We will limit this reimbursement for office-related travel to a two-times per week maximum per person. Permission to travel and work from the office remains subject to your Director’s approval, and a reimbursement form should be submitted within 45 days. Thank you in advance for practicing social distancing, good hand hygiene, and careful use of the supplied protective equipment. I am thankful to be part of a team that cares for their health and the health of their colleagues.
I also want to address anyone on the IINE team who is parenting or caring for family members during this crisis. For those of us with kids, this is a really rough time. Schools and daycares are closed, most camps appear to be closing this summer, and many of us are finding that remote instruction is not meeting our children’s needs and is difficult to monitor. Our kids have essentially lost one-third of a year of their schooling, they are missing their friends, and trying to keep them engaged and happy is itself a full-time job.
Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself, your children, and your family. We have asked each supervisor to be sensitive to the challenges parents and caregivers are facing, and that they allow anyone caring for loved ones a flexible work schedule. I have checked with several staff, and most are finding they have to work during nap times and after bedtime. Thank you for this extraordinary effort. I certainly appreciate the challenges of trying to take care of others while doing your job every day.
Please know your supervisor will work with you to come up with a solution that supports your situation – whether you are parenting, taking care of aging parents, or supporting a partner. As a reminder, please reach out to Shayne if you have any questions about the additional time off options made available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
We all need to put our families first. Knowing I will not be home until late tonight because we have a Board meeting (by GoToMeeting), I took a good part of this morning to be with my family, including a 90-minute baseball workout with my 10-year-old son. In case you are wondering, I can hit pop flies with the best of them!
Every situation at home is different, but I hope each of you is finding ways to spend the quality time you need with your family.
Thank you for all you continue to do for our clients, and please keep taking care of yourselves.
Excerpted from Shayne’s 3/13/2020 Communication to active Interns:
As a result of this shift in our service delivery model, and until we we are able to resume our regular in-person programming, we will be suspending all voluntary engagements with IINE, including all internships and volunteer activities and commitments. We continue to be deeply grateful to you for contributing your time, expertise, and energy to improve the lives of the people we serve. Thank you for all that you do to make our services possible and your steadfast advocacy in the community.
If possible, IINE will aim to bring interns back for the remainder of the Spring term upon our return to in-person services. However, we understand that many interns may be returning home during this time, and that home itself may not be local. If you find yourself unable to conclude your internship when we return to in-person services, or if you have any questions in the coming weeks, please make sure you are communicating with Molly April, the Intern Programs Manager.
As soon as you read this email, please let your supervisor know where your current projects stand and then set up a temporary away message directing clients and other contacts to connect directly with your supervisor or the main office number. To set up automatic replies, please login via Office 365 (the web app), navigate to “Outlook”, click the gears icon at the top right, and then type in automatic replies in the search field. Unless approved and until further notice, you should not continue doing any additional work for the Institute during this time.
We hope to resume in-person services as soon as possible and we will be sure to continue communicating with the IINE community as the situation and our response evolves. For updated information on our services and the status of our offices, please consult the iine.org website. Additionally, Molly or I will be in touch with relevant updates to the intern program as decisions are made.
Thank you for all you do for our clients, please take care of yourself, and please stay tuned for further updates.
Excerpted from Shayne’s 3/13/2020 Communication to active Volunteers:
As a result of this shift in our service delivery model, and until we we are able to resume our regular in-person programming, we will be suspending all voluntary engagements with IINE, including all internships and volunteer activities and commitments. We continue to be deeply grateful to you and the many other community members that have given time, expertise, and energy to improve the lives of the people we serve. Thank you for all that you contribute to our services and your steadfast advocacy in the community. We hope that you will stay tuned and continue to support IINE and our clients during this period.
We hope to resume our in-person services in the coming weeks and we will be sure to continue communicating with the IINE community as the situation and our response evolves. For updated information on our services and the status of our offices, please consult the iine.org website.
Thank you for all you do for our clients, please take care of yourself, and please stay tuned for further updates.
Contextualizing COVID 19:
What is it? Where is it? How do we respond?
As the CDC and medical community identify additional cases of COVID 19 in the US, we will continue to share information with you about the virus, how IINE is preparing for it, and what you can and should do now to stay healthy and minimize your exposure. Please note that this email and the information contained within are not an exhaustive list of precautions or solutions, and that you should always consult a medical professional for assistance identifying and responding to your medical needs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020
This fact sheet explains what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, what its symptoms and severe complications are, how to protect yourself, what to do if you are sick, and what to do if you recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Available in English, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.
Per the CDC, symptoms of COVID 19 can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure.
The following are known symptoms:
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New – Loss of taste or smell
If you believe that you may have or have been exposed to COVID 19 you should contact a medical professional and isolate yourself.
You should avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever has passed and the other symptoms disappeared.
Similarly, if you are caring for or in contact with someone who is sick with COVID 19 or exhibiting symptoms of it, you should avoid contact with others.
If you are exposed to COVID 19, including caring for someone that may have COVID 19, you should not come by any IINE office or participate in any IINE in-person activity.
Please immediately notify Shayne Kinsella if you believe yourself to be infected or have been tested positive for COVID 19.
For a full list of countries and states with COVID 19 cases, please visit the CDC’s site:
And for a live tracker that captures total confirmed cases or active confirmed cases on a country or state basis, check out this interactive map by John Hopkins University:
Kossakovski, F. (March, 2020). One simple chart explains how social distancing saves lives, PBS Science.
Uncertain why you keep hearing the term “social distancing”?
Or why slowing the spread of Coronavirus is so important?
Social distancing entails so much more than observing the 6 ft distance with someone who may be sick. Consider reading this quick article on the importance of social distancing on PBS to learn more.
The best way to keep healthy is to observe good hygiene practices and avoid anyone that is already sick.
Remember to wash your hands whenever you use the restroom, regularly when you’re sick, after touching potentially dirty surfaces/devices, and prior to eating. Please also make sure you are cleaning your hands well (quality matters as much as consistency). Washing your hands regularly is necessary to help protect yourself, IINE staff, fellow volunteers, and our clients. For staff, interns, and volunteers, it is especially important to share and model effective practices with clients.
When washing your hands:
1) use soap and water,
2) scrub your hands well, ensuring you get between the fingers, under any rings, and around/under the fingernails (estimated to take 15-20 seconds),
3) dry your hands on a clean paper towel, taking care to use the paper towel to turn off the sink (when applicable).
Consider watching this helpful video from Children’s Hospital Colorado:
Regular use of hand sanitizer (e.g. Purell) is recommended.
When sneezing or coughing, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve. For a review of how to practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette (loosely termed “respiratory hygiene”), please review the CDC’s guidelines for coughing and sneezing: [cdc.gov]
The CDC has many resources available to individuals, and I encourage you to review these if you have questions. Of particular help are the following three links:
Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs): https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/tools-resources/educational-materials.html [cdc.gov]
Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of getting sick from COVID 19 [CDC].
For more information, please visit the CDC’s webpage addressing individuals at higher risk from COVID 19.
March 3, 2020 Communication:
The highlights of the first COVID 19 Allstaff email sent to IINE employees:
- Shared common symptoms of COVID 19
- Encouraged employees to take advantage of sick time
- Directed employees and interns that were sick to remain away from the office
- Reviewed good handwashing and best ways to cover coughs/sneezes
- Instructed employees to begin bringing home IINE laptop
- Established screening requirements for individuals that had travelled, or planned to travel, overseas, with special attention on areas of outbreak as identified by the CDC.
- Set forth policy for how to direct visitors or clients that might be exhibitting symptoms or had contact with someone infected with COVID 19.
March 10, 2020 Communication:
The highlights of the second COVID 19 Allstaff email sent to IINE employees:
- Updated employees and interns on purchases made to shore up hygiene products at all 3 sites:
- Disinfectant wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Reviewed signs posted at each IINE office entrance that directed visitors experiencing any common COVID 19 symptoms to call their IINE office, rather than appear there in person.
- Reiterated the importance of using sick time off when needed. Instructed anyone feeling sick to stay away from the office, and anyone who came down with something while at the office to leave immediately.
- Expanded travel screening to include any travel outside of MA. Standardization of screening process using 3 question systems; decisions to instruct staff to work remotely or take time off made on a case-by-case basis.
- Indicated that IINE was increasing bathroom and kitchen cleaning to 5x/week, up from 2x/week in Lowell and Manchester.
- Shared new posters for the entrances at each office that reflected CDC recommendations
- Introduced the Broad Institute video that would later be screened at each site. The panel addresses common questions about the virus, how the scientific and medical community are addressing and working to mitigate the outbreak, and what individuals should be doing in light of outbreaks in the US.
March 12 & 13, 2020 Communications:
The highlights of the third COVID 19 Allstaff email sent to IINE employees:
- With few exceptions, all IINE in-person services were suspended, effective Friday, March 13 through Friday, March 20.
- Unless granted approval for in-person or in-office work by Leadership Team or Managing Directors, employees were expected to work remotely starting Friday, March 13.
- Managing Directors scheduled meetings for their respective sites, identified and implemented work plans to cover essential services, and began representing their sites at daily meetings with Leadership Team.
- Employees continuing to work in-person or out of the office were reminded the importance of social distancing, good hygiene, and avoiding larger groups.
- Employees were instructed to bring home their IINE laptops in order to access VPN network when launched early the following week (March 16, 2020).
The highlights of the COVID 19 Allstaff email sent to IINE interns:
- With the shift in service delivery, all internships were suspended, effective Friday, March 13 and pending return to in-person services or a favorable review of IINE’s capacities. If possible, IINE will aim to bring interns back for the remainder of the Spring term upon our return to in-person services. Interns that choose to conclude their internship early should contact Molly April.
The highlights of the COVID 19 Allstaff email sent to IINE volunteers:
- All volunteer engagements were suspended, effective Friday, March 13 and pending return to in-person services or a favorable review of IINE’s capacity.
March 16, 2020 Communications:
- All IINE employees required to work from home.
- With few exceptions, all person-to-person meetings, classes, activities suspended or adapted to phone or video activities.
- Starting March 17, 2020 all employees must complete this questionnaire before visiting an IINE office, meeting in-person with another IINE staff member, or meeting in-person with a client (or clients).
You must contact Director of Human Resources and Operations, Shayne Kinsella (email@example.com), before visiting any IINE office or participating in any IINE in-person activity if you’ve travelled outside of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or a neighboring state. I’ve been asking the following questions of community members that are returning from a trip to help gauge their exposure risk:
- Have you displayed any known symptoms?
- Did you come into contact with anyone exhibiting any known symptoms?
- Do you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to COVID 19?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you should not come by any IINE office or participate in any in-person IINE activity.
Local Resources for staff
If you need local resources for clients, or if you yourself want an update on how your community is navigating COVID 19, please consider checking with your city or town’s public health hotlines and websites:
Regardless of where you find yourself, anyone in Massachusetts can dial 2-1-1 for public health help and information.
Similarly, anyone in New Hampshire can dial 2-1-1 (or 866-444-4211) for public health help and information.
IINE Posters & Flyers
World Health Organization (WHO), 2020
This is a five-minute introductory video in English about the novel coronavirus. Captions are available in English, Arabic, French, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian. To access multi-lingual versions, create a free OpenWHO account. These videos are embedded in 3-hour long self-paced e-learning courses that may also be completed in each language listed above.
A panel of experts discussed the coronavirus, what the medical and scientific community are doing to address and contain the outbreak, and how individuals can respond and keep themselves safe.
Washington State Department of Health, 2015
This poster provides a basic pictorial explanation of how to wash your hands. Available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Cambodian, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Nepalese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
King County, WA Health Department, 2008
This poster provides steps for correctly washing your hands and preventing the spread of germs. It is available in Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Nepali, Oromo, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrigna, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
City of Austin, TX, 2020
This poster provides four steps for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping yourself healthy. It is available in Arabic, Burmese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Check out this piece by the Business Insider for more data and visual representations of COVID 19s impact.
Some of the more telling graphs, at least from Shayne’s perspective, are the following:
- COVID-19 Death Rate by Age
- COVID-19 Compared to Other Common Conditions
- Possible Spread of COVID-19 with and without Protective Measures
Live Updates from the Experts
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC provides resources and updates on COVID-19 in English, Chinese, and Spanish, including How COVID-19 Spreads (English, Spanish, Chinese), Symptoms (English, Spanish, Chinese), Prevention & Treatment (English, Spanish, Chinese), and Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (English, Spanish).
Resources from other Communities (translations available)
The resources gathered here, while helpful because of the wide variety of translations available, include information specific to the communities that designed and published them. If sharing these flyers and fact sheets, or using it personally, be sure to recognize where contact information and instructions likely differ for where you live.
Ministry of Health, Ontario, Canada, 2020
The Ministry of Health in Ontario, Canada has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves, and what to do if they think they have contracted the virus. Note that these materials include contact information for Canadian health services and would require modifications before sharing with clients in the U.S. We include them here to serve as a starting point for those developing their own translated materials. Available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), Korean, Nishnaabemwin (Eastern Ojibwe), Oji-Cree, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Swampy Cree, Tagalog, Tamil, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
Washington State Department of Health, 2020
This fact sheet outlines the novel coronavirus, how it spreads, how severe it is, the symptoms of the virus, who is at risk of the virus, how people can protect themselves, and how the novel coronavirus is treated. Available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.
San Francisco Department of Public Health, 2020
This fact sheet provides tips to protect community health and prepare for potential illness. Note that these materials include contact information for San Francisco health services and would require modifications before sharing with clients in other locations. Available in English, Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish.