MAYOR DANIEL RIVERA STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
City of Lawrence-Adoption of Governor Baker’s Executive Branch Restrictions
On March 10, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and offered new guidance for Executive Branch employees in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As of today, March 11th, Mayor Rivera has adopted Governor Bakers directives for City of Lawrence employees. This guidance goes into effect immediately and will be revisited in 30 days or sooner as circumstances dictate.
The full details are as follows:
- Lawrence city government remains fully operational and prepared to serve residents and the business community.
- At this time, members of the Lawrence Board of Health and Lawrence Public Schools are in contact with the Department of Public Health in order to stay up to date on information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Conferences, seminars and other discretionary gatherings, scheduled and hosted by the City of Lawrence involving external parties, are to be held virtually or cancelled. Regular internal business shall continue, including but not limited to mandated public hearings and board meetings. Meeting organizers are strongly encouraged to utilize alternatives like conference calls, WebEx and other group communication tools. Yesterday I signed an executive order allowing for Remote Participation (as allowed by Massachusetts General Laws) by members of City boards and commissions, including the Lawrence City Council.
- Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Paris has shared updates with parents and community members as information becomes available and will be posting updates on the district’s website https://www.lawrence.k12.ma.us/.
- In keeping with the recommendations of state and local public health officials to limit non-essential public gatherings, all LPS after-school and community events are cancelled until further notice. This includes athletics and extra-curricular activities. Please note this applies to LPS-related programming only. External organizations which use LPS buildings will make their own programming determinations and communicate accordingly.
- Starting tomorrow (Friday, March 13) there will be no LPS field trips until further notice. This does not apply to off-site daily enrichment programming, which continues as scheduled at this time.
- The schools continue to conduct ongoing, building-wide sanitizing process of every school. Custodial staff are also taking additional steps to do frequent cleaning of hard high-touch surfaces, closely monitoring soap supplies and adding dispensers where needed. We continue to work on acquiring greater supplies of hand sanitizer, and will distribute inventory as available. City School buses are cleaned similarly on a daily and weekly rotating basis.
- While no closures or other impacts on the school day are currently recommended by health officials, we have planning in place should that become necessary. The impacted school community would be notified immediately, followed by district-wide communication.
- LPS will continue to communicate directly with families through phone calls, social media, the district website and backpack letters.
- All work-related travel, both foreign and domestic, is to be discontinued until further notice. City employees are also strongly encouraged to avoid any personal international travel.
- Additionally, City of Lawrence employees should not attend external work-related conferences, seminars or events. Alternatively, City of Lawrence employees are encouraged to participate remotely.
- City of Lawrence employees feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should not come into work. Information available to date regarding COVID-19 indicates that the highest risk population includes older adults and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions. Employees in this risk group are encouraged to talk with their supervisors to review possible alternative work assignments. We will work on a process to support employees after their accrued leave has expired to insure that every employee is covered in the event that State or Federal government measures do not cover our employees.
- These actions complement additional precautions that have been undertaken in recent days. Health officials continue to emphasize the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – as with the flu – is frequent, thorough handwashing; coughing and sneezing into the crook of the elbow; staying home when sick; and limiting contact with people who are ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control, common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People with any of these symptoms should stay home from school, and are encouraged to call their healthcare provider (before visiting) and closely follow their guidance. Lawrence General Hospital has also established a COVID-19 online and phone screening resource.
- For additional updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19), including preventative measures, please visit the City of Lawrence Alert Center Coronavirus (COVID-19) website at https://www.cityoflawrence.com/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Coronavirus-Update-19
- The Baker administration also issued updated guidance to members of the public. This guidance is posted on the Department of Public Health’s website, www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus. In an effort to ensure you have good situational awareness and early guidance from DPH, all stakeholders and the general public are encouraged to visit the DPH website as updates and guidance changes frequently.
- Regarding continuity planning, employers and organizations in Greater Lawrence should consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illnesses and lower the potential impact of COVID-19 in workplaces in the event of an outbreak by taking steps to:
- Reduce transmission among staff
- Protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications
- Maintain business operations
- Minimize adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains