March 22, 2021

Listen to the Monday Briefing

COVID-19 Update

AstraZeneca Vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford provided strong protection against Covid-19 in a large clinical trial in the United States, completely preventing the worst outcomes from the disease while causing no serious side effects, according to results announced on Monday…The findings, announced in a news release from AstraZeneca, may help shore up global confidence in the vaccine, which was shaken this month when more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, temporarily suspended the use of the shot over concerns about possible rare side effects. Source:

If AstraZeneca receives authorization from the FDA, it is unlikely that the U.S. will use it widely. This is because the vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have reached such a high quantity of doses that we are projected to have enough for our nation's adults. This is, however, great news for global vaccine efforts.

Vaccines in New York

As of this morning, 25.7% of New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose. New York also released numbers claiming that they have administered 7,150,352 total doses, with 12.4% of New Yorkers completing their full vaccine series. You can take a look at the data by region on the Vaccine Tracker website:

Last week we discussed Senate Bill S2588, the action recently signed into law that requires public and private employers to provide paid leave for employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The law will remain in effect from the date of signing (March 12, 2021) until December 31, 2022, when it will automatically be repealed.

The law states that employers must provide employees with “sufficient time” (up to four hours per injection) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Time off under this law must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay.

There are some questions with this bill that are still unanswered, such as:
  • Can employers ask for proof of vaccination and/or what proof may be required?
  • Can employees use this paid leave for recovery from any side effects?
  • Can employers direct when an employee schedules a vaccine appointment?
  • Is there any requirement to apply this retroactively to employees who have already received the vaccine?
All libraries should be prepared to address requests for leave and provide paid leave immediately.

The state may issue guidance or frequently asked questions (FAQs). Absent any guidance or FAQs from the state, employers who have concerns or questions about the administration of this leave should consider the spirit of the law, which is to encourage employees to get vaccinated; as such, decisions related to the allowance of leave should be approached with great flexibility. In the interim, employers may also continue to rely on current guidance regarding vaccination, such as EEOC guidance, or should consult with their legal counsel.


Quarantine of Domestic Travel

On March 11, 2021, New York announced that "domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1st. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread - wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings."

While quarantine restrictions are being lifted on domestic travel, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Regardless of quarantine status, all individuals exposed to COVID-19 or returning from travel must:
  • Continue daily symptom monitoring through day 14;
  • Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through day 14 (even if fully vaccinated); and
  • Immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.
Employees returning from domestic travel before April 1 will still be required to quarantine or test out based on the existing travel advisory requirements which apply upon return from travel to a non-contiguous state (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Vermont) with two exceptions:
  1. The traveler is fully vaccinated within three months of receiving the final dose of the vaccine and remains asymptomatic; or
  2. The traveler is asymptomatic and has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past three months and has since recovered. The three-month period begins either on the date of symptom onset or the first positive diagnostic test if the individual remains asymptomatic.
Those who are required to quarantine may also test out of the longer quarantine requirement under the current rules. The essential worker exception currently remains unchanged. The latest travel guidance may be found here.

Source: NY Travel Advisory Updates; Governor Cuomo Announces Quarantine for Domestic Travel Will No Longer Be Required Starting April 1st; COVID-19 Travel Advisory

Trustee Workshops

Developing Library Policies Follow-Up

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Developing Library Policies Trustee Workshop. We had 46 Trustees and Directors ask questions and listen to Suzanne, and I discuss policy development. The recording, as well as the Owwl Docs page, can be found by visiting Trustee Education. You can also go directly to the page by clicking here.

Future Trustee Workshops

Volunteer Handbook

In late 2019 we released a sample Volunteer Handbook for libraries to use to separate employee and volunteer activities to maintain compliance with the Department of Labor. Since those projects were most likely postponed because of the pandemic, here is a slightly updated version of the handbook for you to use - Volunteer Handbook 2021.03.20.docx

NYLINE Announcement for Reopening Libraries

Later today, DLD and PULISDO (Public Library Systems) will be releasing a statement about libraries reopening across the state. It will mainly focus on the survey conducted in February showing the operations level for libraries across the state. I do not believe there will be any action associated with this press release; however, it will most likely announce a timeline when libraries should be open the minimum number of hours to comply with Minimum Standards. Should anything critical be mentioned in the press release, I will let you know.
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