APRIL 27, 2020
Good morning IINE colleagues,
I hope you all had a great weekend and were able to enjoy the warm weather. Thank you to everyone that was able to participate in our Allstaff live Check-in on Friday; it was good to see so many of you, your families, and your pets!
This is one of my longer email updates and all of it is important. Notably, I’m asking each employee to 1) complete a form around emergency coverage and 2) review and acknowledge IINE’s PPE policy. To make reading this email and following up on certain items a little easier, I’ve marked things that require your action in red.
Emergency Coverage Planning:
In the era of COVID-19, the importance of creating and maintaining emergency coverage plans for IINE positions has become even more relevant. We are asking each employee to think through his/her regular responsibilities over a typical work week (or those things that come up regularly over a several week period), and identify who else would be able to complete those activities in his/her absence. Employee responses will be included in a spreadsheet available to Directors to help direct coverage during any unplanned absences.
Please note that these coverage plans assume that an employee will not be able to contact the office during an emergency absence, or provide additional direction or training to supervisors or peers. The responsibilities that should be included are those things that must be handled on a more regular basis. Do not include longer term projects and goals.
Please note that, while the form prompts you for “primary coverage” and “supplemental coverage”, it is not significant how you order the coverage. For many of us, “primary” will help us think through who knows our position and how to perform its functions best (likely supervisors, others in the role, or others who have been in the role), but for others there may be no single person who knows most of the role. Each section/coverage is one piece of the larger coverage plan, so as long as you can detail who would be able to do each of the key parts of your role, you should not worry about designating one colleague as particularly important or relevant.
We’re asking each of you to complete the form no later than next Thursday, April 30, so that Directors can review them by Friday, May 1. I’m sorry to add one more thing to your to-do lists, but I promise this will be worthwhile should you or someone you’re supporting become sick and need to take an emergency absence in the near future!
Action Required: By Thursday, April 30 at 3:00PM, please complete the Emergency Coverage Plan form: https://iine.wufoo.com/forms/wr3xniy0w0q1qk/
Policy Regarding Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE):
IINE strongly encourages employees who need to operate in public spaces (where they will be interacting with others such as clients, donors, or other staff), to wear equipment designed to mitigate their exposure to infectious diseases like COVID-19. In an effort to make PPE accessible to all employees and standardize the quality of that equipment, IINE will be making disposable masks and gloves available at each of its offices. Lowell and Boston already have equipment available, and we’ve been working to secure some in New Hampshire (we hope to have it available starting next week). Following your Director’s approval to travel or meet on behalf of IINE, you should consider coordinating with your Office Manager to pick up a small supply of the PPE.
Please note that IINE cannot, and does not, guarantee that PPE will fully prevent exposure to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and that IINE emphasizes that any PPE protection is only as good as the individual’s understanding of how to properly don, wear, remove, and dispose of that same PPE. As all masks and gloves provided by IINE will be disposable, the most important thing to understand is that, immediately following their usage, you should safely discard used PPE (see instructions and video below).
To make certain that everyone is following the same guidelines and to control for quality, IINE will not permit homemade masks (or gloves, for those that might have some real crafting talent) to be worn in place of the supplied PPE. Once PPE is available at each of our sites, IINE will view wearing homemade masks the same as opting not to use PPE. Additionally, in line with our existing policies and to make sure we can keep the supply available for those who need them, we’re asking only those employees who will be working in public spaces to take masks. IINE-supplied masks should not be used for anything but IINE work.
Once you know you’ll need PPE, please coordinate a time to retrieve it with your site’s Office Manager – they can share when they’re next in your office and make a plan to bring the supplies to the curb when you arrive. If you anticipate having any trouble stopping by the office to pick up masks and/or gloves, please let me know.
I’m generalizing the information below, to make it meaningful beyond the equipment IINE will provide, but please be certain you learn and apply any special instructions related to other products.
Donning the mask:
Start by washing your hands. When putting on a mask, make sure there are no holes or tears. If it has an interior and exterior (if the side facing you matters), or if the mask contains a metal bridge for your nose, make sure to align and shape it to fit snug to your cheeks. Ensure the mask covers your chin.
This should go without saying, but put the mask on in a controlled environment. You should not begin donning the mask when you’re in the presence of someone or something else that presents an exposure risk, but rather from the safety of a space you know and trust to be free of the virus.
Wearing the mask:
Do not touch and regularly adjust the mask once you have it settled.
If the masks gets damp or damaged, remove yourself from any exposure risks and replace it immediately.
Removing and discarding the mask:
Start by washing your hands. Then remove the mask by carefully taking the elastic pieces from around the ears, taking care not to touch the front of the mask (which is most likely to be contaminated). Dispose of the mask and then wash your hands once more. Here’s a quick video to the same effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OABvzu9e-hw
Finally, please review these processes once more, as well as additional information on how to secure and remove other types of mask, by reading this quick article from the San Francisco Department of Public Health: https://www.sfcdcp.org/communicable-disease/healthy-habits/how-to-put-on-and-remove-a-face-mask/
Now let’s talk about gloves. The same challenges and parallel safety processes exist around disposable gloves, and you need to be careful to avoid unintentional exposure.
Donning the glove(s):
Start by washing your hands. Make sure you dry them well. When putting on the gloves, make sure there are no holes or tears.
Don’t wear gloves that don’t fit you.
This should go without saying, but put the gloves on in a controlled environment. You should not begin putting on the gloves when you’re in the presence of someone or something else that presents an exposure risk, but rather from the safety of a space you know and trust to be free of the virus.
Wearing the glove(s):
Don’t touch anything you don’t have to – gloves are pointless if you are going to interact with objects that you will touch shortly after removing the gloves.
If the gloves become damaged, or if liquid somehow enters a glove, remove yourself from any exposure risks, wash your hands, and replace the gloves immediately.
Removing and discarding the glove(s):
Please review this CDC tutorial around how to safely remove a set of gloves:https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/poster-how-to-remove-gloves.pdf
And remember not to be one of those people that wears gloves around from place to place – they’re meant for a singular interaction. Wearing them constantly is the same as using your hands, except they don’t have the added benefit of getting washed regularly. If you wear the same pair of gloves for an extended period, everything you touched while in the gloves carries an exposure risk.
As you likely noticed, many of the steps to safely using PPE revolve around washing your hands. Practicing good hand hygiene continues to be the best way to protect yourself and those around you. For a reminder on how best to wash your hands, please check out the resources we’ve gathered on team.iine.org.
Action Required: To maximize our PPE’s effectiveness and ensure everyone understands the message, I’m asking everyone to review the policy and resources above and respond to this email (just to me please) with the following confirmation: “I understand and agree to abide by IINE’s PPE policy. I have read the materials provided around PPE’s safe use and understand that, should I utilize the provided PPE for my IINE work, I will be expected to follow those precautions and instructions.”
Some other COVID-19 Resources:
These certainly aren’t required, but you may find them helpful or informative:
Some quick COVID-19 myths tackled by The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/11/can-a-face-mask-protect-me-from-coronavirus-covid-19-myths-busted
Another article on how to properly equip, use, and dispose of masks: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-put-on-wear-take-off-face-mask-cloth-covering
How to make your own PPE (again, IINE is providing PPE for work use, so this is intended for your edification and use outside of work):
Upcoming VPN and Remote Desktop Down Period for Updates:
Please be advised that VPN and Remote Desktop access will be unavailable from 8:00AM to 8:30AM on Friday, May 15th. Service will resume at 8:30AM.
Timecards and ADP Entries:
Please remember that timecards were due this past Friday, April 24. Monday, April 20, 2020 was a holiday and should be coded as “Holiday” in ADP. Employees with 20+ hours get paid for any hours they were scheduled to work on holidays. If you are a non-exempt staff member that worked on the holiday, please send your supervisor, me, and Leona an email so we can confirm the hours worked and arrange for added pay. Remember that working holidays requires pre-approval from a supervisor.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions. And have a great week!
Shayne Kinsella | Director of Human Resources and Operations | International Institute of New England
2 Boylston Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02116 | Tel (617) 695-0965