By Spooner Memorial Library
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, and with updated Centers for Disease Control recommendations, the library board, director, and team are beginning their “exit strategy” from COVID practices to move forward.
At their May 26th board meeting, the board discussed at length the Director’s recommendations for moving forward.
These stated, “In March 2020, we sought out advice from Washburn County Public Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Instruction, and specific library related entities on how to best navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This has not changed over a year later and continues to guide us in our reopening plan.
“We are aware of CDC’s statement allowing vaccinated individuals to gather unmasked. We will not be asking patrons if they are or are not vaccinated, thus we will continue to require 100% mask compliance at this time.
“However, we have a plan in place to start moving towards normalcy. One plan is to adjust our mask requirement when St. Francis de Sales school is out as students use the library almost daily. Beginning June 7, the library will adjust the mask requirement to the following: Monday-Wednesday will require 100% mask compliance in ages 5+ and Thursday-Saturday will not require 100% mask compliance.
“This change allows library patrons who are unable to be vaccinated an opportunity to still safely use the library at the beginning of the week. Once Washburn County reaches a 70% vaccinated rate, the library will no longer require 100% mask compliance as the County has approached herd immunity rates. We may make this change prior to the 70% mark if deemed appropriate by public health.
“The library will continue to host programs outside if possible or with limited seating inside. We will be opening more computer stations. More seating has already opened up. We appreciate your patience and respect as we navigate COVID-19 together.”
The board voted unanimously to approve this update to the pandemic policy and will evaluate it once more at the June 22nd board meeting.
Masks will be required by everyone age 5+ on Monday-Wednesday. If a patron cannot or refuses to wear a mask those days, we will provide curbside service while the patron waits outside. (Curbside service is available Monday-Saturday.)
We will continue to have masks and hand sanitizer in our entrance as it is still the recommendation of CDC for people without their vaccinations to wear masks, but masks are not required at the end of the week. Staff will continue to wear masks (to lead by example). All six adult computer stations are open, and two spaced computer stations are open in the children’s wing.
We have a mixture of spaced tables and community tables in our sitting areas on both the adult and children’s sides. Children’s toys will be taken out of storage and set back up on the children’s wing with the understanding that we will not be able to clean them all between uses.
Returned items and items in delivery from other libraries will no longer be quarantined after a follow-up study confirming the extremely rare chance of COVID spread amongst library materials.
In the same way that we went into the pandemic with careful thought and consideration for the community, we will continue to do so with our exit strategy. No matter where our patrons stand on issues, such as masks and safety concerns, we hear you. We know we cannot make everyone happy, but we can definitely listen to the voices of the community and to science as we have been.
It is time to move forward in the best way we can. So, yes we are open!