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NRAO Coronavirus COVID-19 Response > news > NRAO/GBO update - Mon Jun 1st

NRAO/GBO update - Mon Jun 1st

This is week twelve in Infectious Disease Operating Status (IDOS). The North American NRAO/GBO instruments are all operational. IT systems are supporting us well. This is the last week in IDOS – we will be returning to normal status in North America at the end of this week.  In Chile, the Office of Chilean affairs and our NRAO ISMs in the JAO will remain in IDOS for the time being (note: this has changed since my all-hands discussion). The Joint ALMA Observatory has begun planning to bring ALMA online in coming months. In the next hour you will receive a note from HR confirming the timecodes we’ll be using in normal operations across all sites/observatories. 

There are no active reports of NRAO or GBO staff receiving medical care for COVID-19. Please contact Jody Bolyard jbolyard@nrao.edu) or me if you need more information regarding the disease.  Across the nation, people are carefully watching the number of new cases emerging in major cities. In general, the infection rates in the places NRAO/GBO facilities are located are quite low. The situation in Chile (Santiago) remains serious, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends and colleagues down there.

Thank you for attending the all-hands presentation on May 20/21st. A copy of the North American version of the talk has been posted for download. 

Karen O’Neil gave a similar presentation in GB on May 20th. Since the meeting, NRAO and GBO management have continued to prepare for our return to normal status, and you should all be hearing from your supervisors and department heads about training on new procedures in the workplace, accessing our facilities, and so on. As I said in the all-hands, your patience is appreciated… we’re trying to bring online a lot of new approaches to keep everybody safe, and inevitably there will be problems that will take time to address. People with concerns about the return to full operation – please talk to your supervisor, or (depending on the issue) one of the points of contact in all-hands pdf (slide 28). This kind of dialog is critical to us being successful in our return to full operations.  

Another point I mentioned in the all-hands bears repeating – this is a plan, with assumptions supporting it. If those assumptions fail (e.g. if there is a major second wave of infection in the US in the fall, and schools do not open, or open then close later) – we will modify the plan. I mentioned that a return to IDOS remains a possibility, depending on how things go. I can’t tell you exactly what is going to happen over the next six months, but I can confirm we’re watching the situation closely, we have tools and resources to support a range of solutions, and we are committed to getting the Observatories and all of you past this crisis.  

I would like to end this message talking about a different topic – another problem we are struggling with in this country. Recent race-related incidents in Minnesota, Georgia, New York and now riots in several cities remind us that as individuals, our attitudes and actions have the ability to affect many lives, and that even in the middle of a new crisis, deeper problems remain. It would be a mistake to think this issue does not touch all of us - we have staff members, family, students, friends and neighbors who are impacted daily and throughout their lives by similar attitudes and incidents, and they need our support. Everyone involved deserves to be heard and respected. The incidents eventually pass (like the events in Charlottesville a few years ago), but unless we learn from them and seek real change, more can be expected, and we will find ourselves no closer to real progress or equality. Throughout AUI and the Observatories, our values, policies and actions support equity and the rights of every individual, and while we have made great strides in recent years, we are not perfect and still have room for improvement. As we move into new ways of working together, let us take this opportunity to commit to building a workplace and a community that rejects racism and all forms of discrimination. The Employee Diversity Group is working to develop a series of educational courses that will help us explore ways in which each of us can contribute to building that better future. Look for more information in the coming weeks. 

Any staff member with questions, concerns or comments please contact your supervisor, Department Head, Site Director, or me. The website containing all our COVID support information is:  https://info.nrao.edu/covid-19 

My next update will be June 10th.  

Tony Beasley