January 11, 2021

State of the State Notes

At 11:30 AM this morning, Governor Cuomo delivered his State of the State address. He was realistic in his assessment of New York being in a state of dismay, but optimistic about what the future holds. During his talk, he gave an overview of a multi-part plan that will be delivered in a series of press conferences in the coming days. The outline included the following initiatives:
  1. Defeat COVID
  2. Vaccinate New York
  3. Manage Short-Term Economic Crisis
  4. Invest in the Future
  5. Transition to Green Energy
  6. Understand the Long-Term Effects of COVID
  7. Address Systemic Injustices
These priorities he has on deck for New York are ambitious; especially since they need to happen simultaneously. I will be working on ways to weave these topics into library priorities as we move into advocacy season.

The State Budget, due on April 1, was brought up in the context that New York faces a $15 billion deficit this year. Several scenarios were mentioned that could raise state revenue, but the truth that he laid out was that even if taxes were increased for all New Yorkers (wealthy and otherwise), Cannabis was legalized, state-sponsored sports betting was allowed, and other programs initiated, we would still have a shortfall of billions of dollars. The solution, a state bailout from the federal government. With a new President, Senate, and the current House of Representatives, there is an optimistic chance of this happening. This will be the biggest determining factor in the State Budget for libraries in the coming year.

I will of course keep an eye on all of this as it progresses and keep you posted.

Vaccine Info from Governor's Update

Starting on Monday [today], New York State will begin scheduling vaccinations for "Phase 1b" groups—the next category of people eligible for the vaccine. This group includes: People aged 75 and up; education workers (pre-K through 12 teachers and education workers, licensed and registered child care providers, and school-bus drivers); first responders (local police, State Police, Sheriff's Office employees, professional and volunteer firefighters); EMS workers (including professional and volunteer paramedics and EMTs); public transit workers (airline and airport employees, passenger railroad employees, subway and mass transit employees, ferry employees, Port Authority employees, and public bus drivers); and public safety workers. About 3.2 million additional New Yorkers will now be eligible.

The state is also broadening the locations where eligible individuals can receive the vaccine as well as the qualified professionals who can now administer the vaccine.

New York will continue to schedule vaccine appointments as the phases continue with the hope that the federal government will be able to provide additional doses in the coming months.

Update to COVID-related Policies and Procedures

Because of the fluid nature of COVID-19 (how it is transmitted, how long the incubation period is, quarantining and testing requirements, etc), we have updated the policies that were part of the original Reopening Toolkit. These policies have been written into procedure. This was designed to give Directors more authority, as assigned by the Board of Trustees, to update practices related to COVID-19 as information from the CDC and NYS Department of Health changes. Directors would be able to keep their library compliance with government mandates and guidance without having to wait for the next Board meeting.

Click here to view the updated toolkit with the new procedures and an updated Daily Health Screening form.

Additionally, we have drafted language your Board could use to make a motion to remove the previously adopted policies and transition to procedural-based strategy when addressing COVID-19 in the library:

The Board of Trustees moves to update the library's strategy in responding to COVID-19 by removing the following policies and transitioning them to internal procedures.
  • Contact Tracing Policy
  • Employee Health Screening Policy
  • Personal Protective Equipment Policy
Furthermore, the Board of Trustees moves to task the library Director to develop and implement said procedures that meet the criteria and mandates as outlined by NY Forward to operate safely and legally and in accordance with all Executive Orders, Federal, State, and Local laws as they relate to COVID-19. The Director will be responsible for adjusting those procedures as needed to keep the library in compliance with all of the preceding authorities.

Emergency Contacts for Delivery

We would like to compile a list of primary and, if applicable to your library, secondary contacts for Delivery in case of an emergency after hours. This list would only be used in case of an emergency and by the Deputy Director and Drivers; it will not be widely distributed.

Please click here to access and complete this form.

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Repeat

As libraries are working through processing the new/updated information regarding COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave, we thought it would be helpful to resend the information provided last week:

This law aims to "guarantee job protection and financial compensation in the event they, or their minor dependent child, are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation." The key phrase here is "a mandatory or precautionary order."

If you read the FAQ, all libraries would be subject to uphold this leave: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/covid-19-paid-leave-guidance-employers

Additional information is available on the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/COVID19

Click through the slides under the Paid Sick Leave heading to see if/how much leave your library is required to give.

It is important that you know what type of library you are as you assess and apply this information. Likewise, some libraries have special agreements/contracts with their municipalities. If this is the case, you should consult with your municipality to see how the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law applies to your library.

Additional information can be found here: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/covid-19-paid-leave-guidance-employers

and here: https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/factsheets/pdfs/covid-sick-leave-employers.pdf

System Meeting on Friday, January 15, 2021

The Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals with Disabilities

COVID-19 has altered all of our lives but for individuals with disabilities, the challenges and constant change can be even greater. Join Erin DiCesare, Director, Learning & Organizational Development and Courtney Liggett, Principal from the Mary Cariola Center, to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with disabilities and their families. This awareness can help our libraries continue to meet the needs of all of our library users and provide exceptional service.

Mary Cariola Center serves hundreds of children and young adults each year through academic, residential, and community outreach programs. Mary Cariola’s highly skilled staff is unparalleled in their commitment to working with youth with disabilities and includes some of the finest special education teachers, therapists, nurses, and social workers in New York.

Click here to register to receive the GoToMeeting information.

This Briefing Has Been Sent To…

Directors, PLSHQ Staff, and the PLS Board President. As always, feel free to share this with your board if that would be helpful.
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