I: Purpose

To establish the protocol to be used in the event of a pandemic. If there is a pandemic the library may be required to operate on limited staffing or take unique measures to help slow the spread of the illness including but not limited to service restrictions, limited hours of operation, or possible closure by order of local public health officials or other governmental authority. Recovery from a pandemic may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or other physical crises. It is important to ensure that core business activities of the library can be maintained for several weeks or more with limited staff and reduced hours due to a pandemic.

II: Definitions

Pandemic Plan A pandemic plan differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. With an emergency preparedness policy, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building or begin rebuilding, almost immediately after the event or crisis (such as after a fire or storm, or if there is a utility outage). Recovery from a pandemic may be slow and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for an extended period of time.

Pandemic A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. (World Health Organization https://www.who.int)

Appropriate Staffing Level For the purposes of this policy, Appropriate Staffing Level refers to the minimum number of staff necessary to provide service safely and efficiently, as determined by the Library Director or his/her designee.

III: Library Closure

Public Health Mandate

The Howell Carnegie District Library will close due to pandemic in the event of a mandate, order or recommendation for closure issued by public health or government officials on the local, county, or state level.

Discretionary Service Level Changes

At the discretion of the Library Director, the Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily in the event that there is not sufficient staff to maintain appropriate staffing levels or if unable to maintain adequate social distancing for health and safety.

In the event of closure or reduction in operating hours, the Library Director or designee will maintain communication with staff and the Library Board of Trustees.

IV: Staffing

Minimum staffing level for a temporary period of time is defined as five healthy employees available to be present at the library during all open hours with a maximum 8-hour workday and 40-hour workweek per full-time employee, and no more than 33-hour workweek per part-time employee.  In addition, the library staff and/or cleaning company must be available for daily cleaning. An inability to maintain this temporary minimal level or a necessity to maintain this temporary minimal level for more than two consecutive days will result in reduced hours or closing the library.

In providing service safely and efficiently, the following actions may be taken at the discretion of the Library Director or designee.

  • Increased health/safety measures for staff (e.g., wearing of gloves, wiping down work areas, etc.);
  • Restricted access to areas in the library (e.g., closing floors or unmonitored areas for safety);
  • Removal of toys, stuffed animals and manipulatives etc. from Youth Services;
  • Social distancing practices in public areas;
  • Reduction of open hours;
  • Cancellation of all programs, special events, and meeting room reservations;
  • Reallocation of employee responsibilities and shift/schedule changes to provide coverage during open hours;
  • Closure of the library.

If the Library is open, employees are expected to report to work on time as scheduled, excluding any excused absences following the established procedure.

If the Library is closed to the public or hours reduced, healthy employees may still be expected to report to work or be assigned work-at-home tasks to be completed in their compensated hours. When appropriate, work tools (e.g., laptops, supplies, etc.) will be assigned to employees by the Library Director or designee for work-at-home assignments.

If the library building closes, employees shall be compensated for their regularly scheduled hours per the Library Director’s discretion and budget allowing.

V: Communication

In the event of closure necessitated by pandemic, effective communication about any reduction in services or open hours must be announced in a timely manner. Library staff should follow the normal procedure used for any unexpected closure/program cancellation.

VI: Prioritization of Services

Priority will be given to the following essential services:

  • Information services for the public, both in-person and online;
  • Payroll;
  • Accounts Payable;
  • Facility Maintenance.

In the case of reduced staffing or reduced hours of operation, the Library Director or designee will prioritize service-related tasks and assign the daily work plan to staff.

Approved May 2020