Keeping our members and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge to us all. We want all of our members, friends, and neighbors to know that we are thinking of you and wishing you well. We appreciate all you are doing to take care of yourselves and your communities during these uncertain times. Our chair, Jeanie Alderson, summed up our feelings in this letter she wrote during the early weeks of the pandemic.

As a staff, we are extremely grateful to be able to continue our work right now. We appreciate the technology that allows us to safely connect with our members. You inspire us with your continued dedication to fulfilling our mission to protect Montana’s greatest assets for generations to come.

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty (and the duration) of this public health crisis, safety is our top priority. Here are some of the steps we are taking to ensure that our members and staff remain as safe and healthy as possible:

General Policies:

  • All staff persons are working from home as much as possible.
  • If a staff person has any reason to believe that they may have come into contact with COVID-19, or is feeling ill, they must stay home.
  • In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, staff and members are encouraged to:
    • Wash their hands frequently with soap, for 20 seconds each time
    • Try their best to not touch their faces
    • Don’t hug or shake hands.
    • Cough and sneeze into their elbows.

Home on the Range (HOTR – Northern Plains office) Policies:

  • The office is closed to the public with the exception of scheduled appointments with guests, which follow stringent safety protocols.
  • Exterior doors have signs that indicate our building is still closed except by appointment. Unannounced visitors will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Two touchless thermometers are provided at each exterior door. Staff and guests are required to log their temperatures and sanitize hands upon entry to HOTR.
  • All staff, and anyone else who enters the building, are required to wear masks everywhere in HOTR, with exceptions allowed for when staff are alone or working at their own desk, safely distanced from others.
  • Conference rooms, bathrooms, kitchen and copy room have limited occupancy.
  • Wipe down shared surfaces, keyboards and other office equipment after using them.
  • In order to encourage social distancing, when at the office with other people, there are marked counter-clockwise arrows on the floor to route traffic, as well as markers six feet back from each cubicle space, as well as in front of our main corridor greeting desks.
  • Hand sanitizer has been distributed around the building.
  • Whenever possible, staff will schedule their time in the office in advance to help others plan their time to avoid congestion.

Meetings and Events:

  • One-on-one appointments are encouraged to meet remotely. Small gatherings are allowed in-person under the following conditions:
    • They should be capped at a total of three people
    • They should be held outdoors, following safe social-distancing practices
    • Masks are required
  • Larger group meetings should be held via phone, Zoom, or some other remote technology. Large, in-person events are either postponed or re-designed into a virtual setting.

Travel:

  • In the instance that travel is warranted, staff are to maintain CDC-recommended practices.
  • Staff must travel alone, not with other staff or members in their car.
  • Staff must do a sanitizing wipe-down of the steering wheel, radio buttons, key, door handle, and gear shift when they return to HOTR.
  • Whenever possible, staff will not use the same vehicle within seven days of its last use.