March 17, 2020
As the world, US, and individual states, including Virginia, deal with the novel Coronavirus pandemic and the rapidly expanding number of Americans testing positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, communities such as Wintergreen are faced with both direct and indirect challenges. The direct challenges many of you have heard or read about –
- Social distancing (at least six feet)
- Thorough hand washing
- Avoiding large gatherings
- Self-quarantining should you think you have the virus (or come in contact with someone who has tested positive)
However, for communities like Wintergreen which rely on their own maintenance and first-responder staffs, the indirect challenges are just as significant —
- With Governor Northam announcing Virginia schools will close for at least two weeks, many of our WPOA staff with school-age children are now faced with deciding how best to handle this challenge.
- The majority of WPOA’s volunteer ambulance drivers are in the age group that is most at risk
- We are under a state of emergency and at any point the State can require the Wintergreen Police Department, Wintergreen Rescue Squad, and/or Wintergreen Fire Department to support regional needs.
- If one of our fire/rescue employees tests positive, it could trigger an entire shift of our fire/rescue staff into quarantine.
- To help protect our volunteers, WPOA roads and landscaping employees might need to serve as drivers to support our public safety operations.
While WPOA continues to deal with this national emergency you, as members, must realize it is not business as usual. WPOA will continue to do its jobs as best as it can. WPOA will also try its best to remain on top of all news and recommendations related to the virus. Given the uneven and often confusing response at the federal level it is important to pay attention to state and local guidance. State and local response will also be gauged to numbers we’re seeing in our area as opposed to the more general federal numbers.
To that end, Jay Roberts, Executive Director of WPOA, Curtis Sheets, Deputy Director Chief of the Wintergreen Fire and Rescue, and the rest of the senior management team will be talking daily and meeting regularly. Chief Sheets and Director Roberts have a goal to send an update out to the community via Alert Wintergreen each week that provides a WPOA operational update and a public safety operational update. The public safety update will include what the Center for Disease Control and/or Virginia Department of Health are saying, along with any necessary links.
While we, as a community, continue to address this unprecedented emergency please remember that the landscape is changing rapidly and WPOA will do its best to address the community’s needs. With your help and understanding we can get through this. Thank you.
President, WPOA Board of Directors