To establish the protocol that will be used in the event of a pandemic. If there is a serious infectious disease outbreak, the library must plan for staff being unable to report to work. The library may be required to operate on limited staffing or take measures to help slow the spread of the outbreak, including service restrictions, limited hours of operation, limiting or cancelling library programming and outreach or enacting other social distancing measures. Other public health measures may include possible closure either by order of state/local public health officials or the Library Board of Trustees with recommendation by the Library Director. Recovery from a pandemic may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or other crises. It is important to ensure that the core business activities of the library can be maintained for several weeks or more with limited staff and reduced hours due to a pandemic.
BACKGROUND & DEFINITIONS
The term “pandemic” means, an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. (merriam-webster online)https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pandemic
A pandemic plan differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. An emergency preparedness policy assumes that staff will return to the building, or begin rebuilding, almost immediately after the event or crisis (such as fire, storm, or utility shortage). A pandemic plan prepares for infectious disease outbreaks, where recovery may be slow and limited staff, services, hours, or possible closure may be necessary for several weeks or more.
Public Health Mandate
The Harris-Elmore Public Library (HEPL) and the Genoa Branch Library (GBL) will close due to a pandemic event if a mandate order or recommendation for closure is issued by public health government officials on the local, county, or state level. In the event of state/local official mandated closure and library employees are sent home, those employees shall be compensated for their regularly scheduled hours during the entirety of closure.
Discretionary Service Level Changes
At the discretion of the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees, the library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily in the event that there is not sufficient staff to maintain basic library service levels or if unable to maintain adequate social distancing measures for health and safety.
In the event of library closure due to the discretion of the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees, healthy employees should report to work between the hours of 9am-5pm (even night staff) and work within the library comparable hours of what they normally would be scheduled, but possibly within a different time frame. The Library Director and Branch Manager will assign special projects for employees to complete at the library while closed to the public. The library may offer the public no contact curb-side service during public closure in an effort to maintain a semblance of public library service.
Special care will be taken to protect employees and the public during this type of closure by providing employees gloves and disinfecting library materials and surfaces with regularity.
SCHOOL CLOSURE BECAUSE OF AN EPIDEMIC
In the event that the Genoa Area Local School District or Woodmore Local School District is closed due to pandemic illness, the Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch Library will remain open, unless one of the aforementioned requirements for closing is also met. However, all library programs, special events, and meeting room reservations will be canceled and hours may be reduced on any day in which Genoa Area Local School District and Woodmore Local School Districts are closed due to pandemic illness.
MINIMUM STAFFING LEVEL
Minimum staffing level for a temporary period of time is defined as two healthy employees available to be present at both Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch Library during all open hours. An inability to maintain this temporary minimal level or a necessity to maintain this temporary minimal level for more than five consecutive days will result in reduced hours, reduced or eliminated services, or library closure.
The absence of healthy library staff will determine the ability to carry out services and maintain open hours. At the Library Director’s discretion, this may include:
Cancelling programs, special events, and meeting room reservations.
Reassigning employee duties and shifts.
Reducing open hours if the number of employees falls below minimum levels.
Closing the library for one or more days.
If the Library is open, employees are expected to report to work on time as scheduled, excluding any excused absences following the Harris-Elmore Public Library Personnel Manual.
In the event of closure necessitated by pandemic, effective communication about any reduction in services, open hours, or closure must be announced in a timely manner. Library staff should follow the Library’s Non-scheduled or Emergency Closing Policy.
The Harris-Elmore Public Library Personnel Manual outlines employee sick leave, vacation, and unpaid leave policies; these policies shall be followed in the event of a pandemic outbreak that results in discretionary closure by the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees.
RESPONSIBILITY OF LIBRARY OPERATIONS
If, for any reason, the Library Director is unable or unavailable to perform the responsibilities and decisions outlined in this policy, administrative authority for this policy and all library operations shall follow the Chain of Command Policy.
Full library services will be restored as conditions permit. Public programs and meeting room use will resume when recommended by health authorities.
If libraries have been closed for the pandemic, infrastructure will be evaluated and additional cleaning may be necessitated before re-opening.
Staffing needs will be evaluated and a return to full staffing will be instituted as soon as possible, depending on staff health and building conditions.