With the COVID-19 pandemic creating a public health response not seen in our lifetime, the Christian Reformed Church has made some unprecedented decisions to minimize health risks for employees, especially in its Grand Rapids, Mich., office and the Burlington, Ont., office.
COVID-19 security monitoring teams are in place for domestic and international staff. Those teams have issued guidelines and restrictions that are in effect until May 31. Decisions are fluid as the world situation changes rapidly.
All staff in the U.S. and Canada will be working remotely whenever possible. In Burlington, about 20% of the 75 employees will continue to work in the office, according to Terry Veldboom, director of finance and operations, Canada. In Grand Rapids, Michelle De Bie, director of human resources, estimated that by March 17, 75% of staff will be working remotely.
Staff are asked to avoid any gatherings of more than 10 people, opting instead for virtual meetings. They are also encouraged not to attend any external meetings, including classis meetings, conferences and training events up until May 31. CRCNA-hosted events, in the buildings or elsewhere, must be either virtual-only or postponed.
Employees are asked to avoid or minimize use of public transportation of any sort, including for commuting. Cross-border travel, including between the U.S. and Canada, is discouraged. Domestic staff must also avoid personal travel, including not booking any new tickets and cancelling planned travel. Employees who travel internationally for any reason must self-isolate for 14 days afterward.
International staff are also restricted from traveling. International tickets are only available in an emergency. Staff and volunteers placed internationally should remain in their host country until the conclusion of their terms.
Building facilities are also off-limits for meetings except for employees. Reservations for outside groups will be canceled. Visitors to the buildings will be asked to postpone their visit to another time.