OPEA Update March 17, 2020 COVID-19

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As a response to the ongoing COVID- 19 situation, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) is making temporary changes to our operations. Gov. Kevin Stitt has declared a state of emergency but we know that many of our members continue to serve their fellow Oklahomans. Much of the work you do must continue as the health, safety and well-being of millions of Oklahomans depend on your work.  As you work, please remember to take the steps outlined at https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/resources-recommendations

·         Wash Your Hands Frequently

·         Avoid Touching Your Face

·         Avoid Sick People as Possible

·         Practice Social Distancing

If you have questions about COVID-19, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has a hotline at (877) 215-8336

We appreciate and value state employees and private sector employees who are working tirelessly to respond to the situation.

OPEA is taking steps also in response to the situation. Here are the actions we are currently taking at OPEA. Since this is an unprecedented situation, OPEA’s response may change. The health of our members, staff and fellow Oklahomans is the most important factor in considering the steps to take as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

As of March 17, 2020, OPEA is implementing the following procedures:

1.       All OPEA meetings at state agency work sites are cancelled until at least March 27th. We will reevaluate and work with state agencies after March 27th to see if meetings are appropriate.

2.       OPEA staff members are still available to assist members during this time, just not face-to-face.  Staff will be communicating with our members via phone, email and social media.

3.       The OPEA office will be physically closed to the public until at least March 27th. The office is “virtually open” as OKC staff members are currently at the office and are available by telephone (405) 524-6764 or email info@opea.org

4.       The OPEA Membership Representatives who cover all counties of the state are still a resource to our members.

·         Candice Steele candices@opea.org (405) 740-6799 is available to assist members from the following counties: Marshall, Bran, Choctaw, McCurtain, Pushmataha, Atoka, Johnston, Murray, Pontotoc, Coal, Pittsburg, Latimer, LeFlore, Haskell McIntosh, Hughes.

·         Eugene Blankenship geneb@opea.org (918) 851-6589 is available to assist members from the following counties: Seminole, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Muskogee, Sequoyah, Adair, Cherokee, Wagoner, Tulsa, Creek, Pawnee, Kay, Osage, Washington, Nowata, Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, Delaware

·         The OPEA OKC Office dixiej@opea.org  or tomd@opea.org (405) 524-6764 is available to assist members from the remaining counties.

5.       OPEA staff members working at the office are practicing recommended “Social Distancing” as they continue to work at the office. OPEA Executive Director has instructed staff to remain at home if they feel sick.

6.       OPEA has been in contact with state agency leaders to discuss the preventive measures they are considering to keep their staff and public safe while continuing to provide core services. Staff will continue this dialogue as the agencies continue their course of action.

7.       The capitol building is currently closed to the public and Tuesday morning at person at the Oklahoma senate has reportedly tested positive for the virus.  OPEA has been in contact with key legislators via email and telephone. It is possible that the remaining legislative action this session will focus on steps to minimize the effects of COVID-19 and passage of a Fiscal Year 2021 budget as required by the Oklahoma Constitution.

We ask all members to consult their agency’s human resources personnel if they have questions about their agency’s response to the situation.  The currently situation is unprecedented and we are all dealing with many “unknowns”. We are a resource to you but as the situations evolve, we will continue to communicate with agency leaders to get the word out on their policies. If you  have questions or concerns that you think OPEA need to know about please call the office at (405) 524-6764

Please take care of yourself, your family, friends and coworkers and your fellow Oklahomans as we work through this time.

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