Dear Alliance supporters,
I would like to give you an update on what we’re doing about the coronavirus. As you probably know, the town and county are canceling big events and recommending ‘social distancing’.
This is a real challenge for our work, because the core of community organizing, and of democracy in general, is people gathering together, showing up at public meetings, and speaking up in public for our community and ecosystem. None of this can happen when people can’t gather.
However, it’s clear from public health experts that we all need to take this pandemic very seriously and make decisions that prioritize social responsibility. Coronavirus is already in Sheridan, and we expect to hear of confirmed cases in Teton County any day. While we probably can’t prevent its arrival, as a community we can slow its spread and “flatten the curve” through social distancing – and thus decrease the impact on healthcare providers and our most vulnerable neighbors. Our staff and board wholeheartedly support following these public health recommendations.
As a result:
- We are no longer encouraging anyone to show up at public meetings. There are many important meetings next week: the town and county discussing conservation funding, the airport board meeting about scenic helicopter tours, and the Forest Service open house about Snow King. We hope all those leaders will postpone decisions until a later date when the public can show up and speak up – but in the meantime, we are prioritizing public health and discouraging turnout. Instead, please watch town and county meetings online, make your voice heard with email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) and make sure you submit comments about Snow King online by March 31.
- We are either making our March 31 state legislature briefing a Facebook Live presentation or canceling, depending on what our state legislator panelists prefer (stay tuned).
- We are shifting all board and committee meetings to be video or phone meetings
- As of today, we are a “remote optional” office, meaning that staff can choose whether to work from home. As soon as there is a reported case of COVID-19 in Teton County, we will be “remote mandatory.” Please email or call me if you need anything
- We’re washing our hands a lot.
We also recognize that the nature of our work is fairly easy to make “remote,” and we’re thinking about our friends and neighbors who aren’t so fortunate or privileged. We’re thinking about our friends who run or work for businesses hit hard by the drop in travel and tourism; our friends who work in healthcare or grocery stores who can’t stop showing up; and especially the people who don’t have homes or sanitation or healthcare to rely on (this hit home hard for me when reading the update from Neighbors Together, the soup kitchen where I used to work in Brooklyn). Please do what you can to support those who don’t have the resources we do.
Please be in touch with any questions, concerns, or ideas. We look forward to getting together again in person – hopefully soon!
Skye Schell – Executive Director