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Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures

Pandemic COVID-19 Continuity of Operations Plan for Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office

Created on March 2, 2020

George E. Schaefer, III, Clerk

Prepared: March 2, 2020

3


Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures INTRODUCTION The purpose of this Plan is to enable the Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office to respond to and mitigate the effects of a loss of workforce and, more specifically, loss of workforce due to pandemic COVID-19. The focus of continuity of operations planning for pandemic COVID-19 is effective and efficient human capital management to foster the continued performance of essential functions and services. This Plan might have applications beyond that of pandemic COVID-19 for other highly communicable diseases of public health consequence, or any other event that results in workforce reductions for extended periods of time. ASSUMPTIONS General Assumptions •

Susceptibility to pandemic COVID-19 will be universal, or nearly so, impacting Judicial Branch employees at the same rate as the general population. This means judges, clerks, and supervisors might be among those who are absent from work due to illness or family care needs.

Pre-event planning is critical to a prompt and effective response to pandemic COVID19, as its spread will be rapid, probably reoccurring (in multiple waves), and difficult to stop once it begins.

Workforce absenteeism may be as high as 40 percent at the height of a given pandemic wave for periods of about two weeks.

Additional resources that might be accessed through mutual aid agreements, contracts, and the emergency management system including state and federal resources may not be available for a widespread event.

Telecommunications connectivity might be limited.

Individuals that recover from a pandemic virus, with or without treatment, will likely have a significant degree of immunity and can serve in key positions.

To control the spread of disease, measures such as isolation, quarantine, and social distancing might be implemented which will impact the court’s ability to conduct business activities.

Schools, child care, and adult day care centers may be closed.

PLANNING AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has designated the following positions and teams to be responsible for planning and emergency management responsibilities in the event of a pandemic: Emergency Coordinating Officer: George E. Schaefer Prepared: March 2, 2020

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Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures Public Information Officer: Thomas A. Larson Chain of Command and Orders of Succession within Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office are: 1. George E. Schaefer, III, Clerk of Court 2. Thomas A. Larson, Chief Deputy Clerk 3. Crystal Porter, Supervising Deputy – Civil Division; Gerald Stokes, Supervising Deputy - LPF&J Division; Susie Lawson, Supervising Deputy – Criminal Division ASSESSMENT OF MISSION CRITICAL AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has reviewed its functions and has prioritized them as listed on Attachment 1. COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will disseminate information to staff, the public, bar, court support agencies, and others through the use of email, posting on the Clerk’s website, social media platforms and media outlets. The communication effort should take place in stages: (1) at the onset of a pandemic declaration; (2) during the ongoing pandemic event; and (3) the recovery after the event so that all relevant audiences are fully and accurately informed of changes to schedules, policies, and other necessary information. The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will provide information to staff on personal hygiene, social distancing, and other measures to limit disease transmission. The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will provide training to staff on proper use of Personal Protective Equipment, if provided. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT Cross-training Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has performed cross-training on all staff to ensure that any significant reductions in workforce for extended periods of time will have minimal effect. Alternate Work Arrangements To support social distancing and mitigate the spread of disease, employees may be permitted to perform duties at home or off-site. Teleworking and alternate work schedules are strategies Prepared: March 2, 2020

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Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures for continuing essential services in the event of pandemic COVID-19. Teleworking Listed below are the functions that might be performed off-site and their associated equipment and remote access requirements. Equipment requirements for the items listed below are a computer with VPN access to the OES network. Will require security approval from OES. Item number 3 below, in addition to a computer with VPN access, will also require a camera and a ZOOM account for video interviews. 1. Accepting e-filed civil cases 2. Accepting e-recorded land records 3. Conduct remote video probate appointments Alternate Work Schedules Alternate work schedules for staff are listed below. This might vary depending on event circumstances. OES systems are currently operating from 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and 1. Schedule A – 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM 2. Schedule B – 1:30 PM – 9:30 PM INFECTION CONTROL AND PROTECTION OF STAFF AND COURT VISITORS Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will implement the following strategies to support social distancing: 

Schedule hearings, where appropriate, via electronic means;

Allow electronic filing of documents, where appropriate;

Temporarily adopt a liberal continuance policy;

Continue jury cases if possible, and adopt jury management techniques that provide maximum social distancing;

Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. Meet via phone, internet, or some combination of the two;

Train employees on cough etiquette and proper hand washing techniques;

Implement alternate work schedules or other alternative work arrangements; and

Provide sanitation supplies so employees can clean frequently touched surfaces such as phones and computers, and be able to appropriately wash hands.

Prepared: March 2, 2020

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Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures IMPLEMENTATION This Plan might be implemented in part or in whole, by the Clerk or his designated representative and in conjunction with the Chief Judge, Sheriff, and City of Norfolk officials. Employees will be notified by multiple methods, primarily email. All staff cell phones and home computers are configured to receive email to their office email address. Additionally, information will be posted on the Clerk’s website and posted to media outlets.

Prepared: March 2, 2020

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Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures Attachment 1 PRIORITIZATION OF CATEGORY 1 FUNCTIONS (MISSION CRITICAL) Category 1 (Mission Critical) functions are those functions that must remain operational when the court is open. In the table below, prioritize the Category 1 functions. Priority

Mission Critical Function

1

Receive, receipt, and process criminal and civil matters

2

Receive and receipt land record transactions (includes the collection of applicable taxes and fees)

3

Receive and maintain elections materials

4

Collect Probate fees and taxes

5

Maintain, in conjunction with OES, all software systems

6

Secure and maintain court records

7

Secure all court funds

8

Process fund transfers to state and locality

9 10 11 12 13

Prepared: March 2, 2020

Attachment 1

Time Limitation (if applicable)


Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Pandemic Procedures PRIORITIZATION OF CATEGORY 2 FUNCTIONS (ESSENTIAL) Category 2 (Essential) functions are those functions next in priority to the Category 1 (Mission Critical) functions. Category 2 functions are those services that must be resumed as soon as the court has regained the necessary capacity. In the table below, prioritize the Category 2 functions. Priority

Essential Function

1

Docket Civil and Criminal matters

2

Assess costs and fines

3

Process collection accounts

4

Transmit notices to pay

5

Process Probate matters

6

Prepare statements and routine reports

7

Record, index and scan land record transactions

8

Process criminal and civil appeals

9

Receive and process other transaction such as: appointment of ministers, CWP, marriage licenses, notary qualifications, DD-214

10 11 12

Prepared: March 2, 2020

Attachment 1

Time Limitation (if applicable)

Profile for Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk's Office

Pandemic Procedure Book  

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Pandemic Procedure Book  

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