The Sibley County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, March 17, held a special meeting to approve a resolution declaring a State of Emergency in the county.
This action came just four days after President Donald Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime State of Emergency.
According to the State of Emergency resolution approved by the county board, the request to declare a State of Emergency was made by the Sibley County Department of Emergency Management.
The resolution also states that “the necessary resources to aid, to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic will exceed those resources available within Sibley County and additional resources will be needed from the state and federal assistance and sources.”
“This is not a panic response, but a calculated one. We know that as we plan for this event and expend time and resources, Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) may open up funding that could reimburse our cost. Without a declaration of emergency locally, we could miss our opportunity to supplement our funding,” County Administrator John Glisczinski said in a statement to the Independent on Monday, March 16.
Employee Sick Time
The county board also approved a request to allow Sibley County employees to utilize hours within their catastrophic sick bank balance.
“As the policy is currently written, these hours are only available if the employee experiences the catastrophic event,” Glisczinski said. “My proposal is to make these hours available to cover care of family members as well.”
An employee would be allowed to draw on their catastrophic sick bank hours if:
• An employee has an immediate family member affected as a result when a school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency, and their presence is required to provide care for the family member; or
• An employee is experiencing symptoms consistent with the public health emergency, or is caring for an immediate family member experiencing symptoms; and
• Employee is within the time period the county administrator has declared this policy to be active; and
• Employee has exhausted all of his/her accumulated Personal Time Off (PTO) or utilized 120 hours of PTO due to the existing public health emergency; and
• Employees requesting catastrophic sick bank hours shall be required by their supervisor to provide to Human Resources competent written evidence of the need for their absence.
County Building Access
Signs have been placed at county building access points asking people to consider postponing their visit if they can. It also asks visitors to wash their hands in the restroom immediately upon entering.
Visits to the jail have been postponed until further notice, sheriff and jail staff are the only ones allowed in the jail, and movement within the jail is restricted to only those personnel needed in that area.
Supervised visits in the service center have been canceled until further notice.
Social distancing for client appointments is being accommodated by setting up the Sibley Room as an interview area. No public will be allowed beyond the secured doors of the Service Center building.
By court order, court cases are now being heard by priority. Check with Court Administration for court cases pending to see when they meet the schedule.
Sibley County Day Activity Center (DAC) closed effective Wednesday, March 18.
Sibley County libraries are closed until further notice.