November 12, 2021
Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Dear Governor Scott,
I am writing with very serious concerns expressed to me by the members of the VSEA about the implementation of the return to state offices that began on November 1, 2021. I request a meeting with you and your administration as soon as possible to discuss this issue.
According to the information shared by Commissioner Mike Piecak, at this week’s media update; there has been a 42% increase in the number of COVID cases over the past 7 days. This is increase, according to your Administration is attributed to Halloween activities. As we approach the holiday season, the likelihood of further spread of COVID is concerning. VSEA believes that returning as many state employees as possible to an already successful model of excellent performance with teleworking is a clear mitigation strategy that you should employ.
We must protect the State’s most valuable resource, our state workers.
Our members are reporting disparate treatment among employees with similar circumstances, sometimes in the same division in the same department. They are reporting the lack of a clear protocol regarding the response to COVID-19 by management.
While it is a positive development that nearly 90% of state employees are vaccinated, I am interested in knowing if the Administration is tracking the spread of COVID-19 among state employees?
Is the Administration tracking the decisions that managers are making regarding requests for teleworking or for time to go get tested when they have been made aware of exposure to COVID-19 at their worksite? Are parents and grandparents who are raising their children being allowed to telework when their kids are told to quarantine?
While it is the policy that unvaccinated members of the public are supposed to wear masks in state offices, how is the Administration enforcing this requirement? Since vaccinated Vermonters can spread COVID-19, why aren’t all members of the public being required to wear masks in state buildings?
State employees have proven they are able to carry out their duties safely from home. I call upon your Administration to slow the spread of this deadly virus and immediately reinstate the telework status for as many state employees as possible. This will maximize the safety of state employees and the Vermonters they serve and this will allow for sufficient time for our children to be vaccinated.
Aimee Bertrand Towne