NGC staff could return to work by mid-June

MISSION – Although a specific date has not been determined, employees at Nixyaawii Governance Center (NGC) should expect to be back at work in the building by mid-June, according to Ted Wright, Executive Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).

An NGC Re-opening Plan was submitted May 28 to the CTUIR COVID-19 Incident Command Team (ICT), but was expected to take “several days of review,” according to a written statement from Wright to the CUJ.

Upon approval by the ICT, the Tribes’ Management Team, which is made up of mostly department directors, will meet to “work out every aspect of re-opening so that all assignments are well understood, vulnerable employee and client safety is ensured to the maximum extent possible, and work can continue with a variety of important safeguards in place,” Wright said.

“This will, however, not be business as usual.”

Wright said the processes for accessing services will be different than before the coronavirus pandemic so social distancing can be maintained. For example, meeting with staff will be by appointment only. Tribal members and others will be asked to conduct business by distance as much as possible, but staff will be available for in-person services if other means are not available.

People who must do business at NGC will be scanned for elevated temperatures, provided masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed, Wright said. Training will be provided on the use of PPE, which must be worn while in the building.

Clients and visitors will also be accompanied to a conference room for their meeting, but only after they have been screened and are wearing PPE, Wright emphasized. At the end of their meeting, the client or visitor will be escorted by staff to exit at the door they entered.

Wright said employees, too, will be required to wear masks in all spaces except their offices. If they have a meeting in the building, masks will be required.

“All these measures are to continue maintaining the successful fight against the spread of COVID-19 on the Reservation,” Wright said in his statement to the CUJ.