JUNEAU, AK – The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) has been closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as more and more cases are being reported around the country. While there have been no confirmed cases in Alaska and there is a very low risk to Alaskans of contracting the virus, as an employer with more than 200 employees throughout Southeast Alaska, Tlingit & Haida has implemented several measures in the workplace to provide a safe and secure environment for employees, citizens, clients and contractors, and to reduce the risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Tlingit & Haida’s number one priority is the safety of our tribal citizens and staff,” shared President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson. “Even if the coronavirus has not arrived in our communities, as individuals and employers, we must all do our part to limit its spread. Now is the time to prepare and simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Action taken now will help protect our employees and Tribe. Tlingit & Haida will take all necessary and appropriate steps as we continue to monitor the situation.”
The following measures have been taken:
Healthy & Safety Awareness Posters:
Health & Safety Awareness posters will be placed in all building locations to remind employees and visitors to cover their mouth when coughing, wash their hands, stay home if sick, practice social distancing when necessary, and wipe down surfaces on a regular basis.
Suspension of Elders Program Activities:
All Elders program activities have been temporarily suspended through March to protect the health of our Elders.
Out-of-State Travel Ban for Employees:
All travel out-of-state has been banned for employees until further notice.
Alternative arrangements for face-to-face meetings will be encouraged where possible. In the event in-person meetings must take place, seating will be encouraged so that meeting participants are a minimum of one meter apart.
All departments that administer client support services have been authorized to provide leniency to clients for mandatory case management meetings.
Employee Leave and Teleworking:
Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are instructed to stay at home and self-isolate to reduce exposure to clients and other employees until they are free of fever (100.4°F or greater) and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
Employees who have developed even a mild cough or low-grade fever (99.14°F or more) will be encouraged to stay home or work from home.
Regular teleworking will be encouraged across the organization as needed to help keep the Tribe operating and employees safe.
Contingency Preparedness and Business Continuity Plans:
Contingency preparedness and business continuity plans are being developed through the Tribe’s Executive Team and Safety Committee to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the communities where the Tribe has offices and minimize interruptions to client services.
Tlingit & Haida is monitoring all communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities.