What we’re doing about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

  • March 25, 2020
  • |
  • Mike Harley

I’m writing to update you on EI’s plans for response to COVID-19, and to clarify our current position and how we intend to make decisions as this pandemic progresses.

Environmental Initiative is closely monitoring developments with COVID-19, and we are committed to placing the well-being, health and safety of people before other concerns. It is our intention to follow the direction, advisories and guidance of relevant public health officials and authorities, including the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health, including cancellation of travel, public events and meetings if recommended.

In accordance with Governor Walz’s  “stay at home” order that begins Saturday, March 28, and extends through April 10, we will be observing the following steps effective immediately, through at least May 10:

  1. The Environmental Initiative office will be closed to all staff from this Saturday morning and through April 10.
  2. All Environmental Initiative meetings or events will be canceled, rescheduled or take place virtually. In general, we are encouraging everyone to postpone or cancel planned activities as much as possible given the level of disruption caused by the virus and adaptation that is required.
  3. All Environmental Initiative staff will work remotely through May 10, at least.
  4. Our practice will be to use Zoom for meetings with external partners. Zoom is a virtual meeting software. You can create a free account at www.zoom.us 
  5. After April 10, if staff do need to come into the office or meet in-person for an unavoidable reason, they are encouraged to follow good hygiene practices and minimize time in the office and in-person interactions.

We will update this page with any changes to our policies and work to be transparent with our stakeholders in advance of any convenings or meetings with any changes to our position.

It is our goal to neither under-react by ignoring advice from public health officials nor to overreact by taking actions that are substantially more stringent what is currently advised. It is our goal to behave in a way that is responsible, cooperative with public health efforts, and most of all, based in consideration for the well-being, health and safety of our staff, board and partners.

We are frequently monitoring advisories and communications from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health and other sources. We recognize that the situation will continue to change and you should watch for updates.

We will reevaluate the situation on a daily basis, and will make adjustments as required. It is likely that EI will continue to take actions related to COVID-19 beyond the end of March including looking ahead through at least the end of May, and will develop contingency plans for any meetings or events of 10 or more people.

In addition, we do not want concerns about available PTO or workload to lead any employee to work when sick, make decisions contrary to our current COVID-19 guidance, or otherwise ignore the advice of public health officials. Our staff are encouraged to work with their supervisors and organizational leadership to resolve concerns about workload and personal time off related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

I hope that this is clear and that it feels appropriate to you. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about any of what I have shared. If you have concerns about our approach, decisions, or the changing situation, please reach out at mharley@environmental-initiative.org or 612-334-3388 ext. 8115