Message from Director Anne Precythe on COVID-19 Response

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April 17, 2020

Hello, Team MODOC! 

Well, we have another week behind us, and I am still just as proud of each of you. I hope you received your face cover and are wearing it. Thank you to Missouri Vocational Enterprises for working through Easter weekend to get these manufactured and distributed so quickly!

I would like to share with you a couple of updates from Governor Parson:

First, the statewide stay-at-home order remains in place until May 3. Work procedures will remain the same until further notice. The good news is we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel BECAUSE of how well we all have followed social distancing and cleanliness protocols. Until we know we are out of the woods, the Department of Corrections will continue to refine and implement precautionary measures to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Second, the Governor wants everyone in the state to understand the gradual plan for recovery and the four key pillars that will help get us back to normal. 1. As a state, we will expand testing to gain a better understanding of the spread of this virus and to identify people who are positive for COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms. 2. We will increase personal protective equipment reserves statewide. 3. We will monitor hospital capacity in order to meet the needs of patients requiring hospitalization. 4. Using data, we will improve our ability to predict the spread of the virus and identify areas that are likely to be affected by outbreaks.

I must say I am immensely proud of our executive team and those who support them. They have worked so hard for the department and all of the state, leading statewide initiatives and challenging leaders to make sure the state government’s response to this health crisis is the best it can be for the people of Missouri. They have worked long hours and weekends to stay ahead of this pandemic. Your division directors are committed to their teams, and they make sure we think through all aspects of every issue before coming to a final decision. I say this a lot, and it is true: At the root of every decision, is YOU.

As we continue to work on prevention and preparation, Deputy Director Matt Sturm, DAI Director Jeff Norman and I have spent time discussing a possible shave order in the institutions. Although no offenders currently in our facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, we must be prepared for staff to use personal protective equipment if it’s needed. Conducting a fit test for an N95 mask and ensuring its correct use will require the face to be clean shaven, aside from a mustache. There is no mandate at this point, but I am asking all staff who work in a confined setting, for your safety, to consider shaving now. All locations also will have shaving products on site for anyone who needs to shave immediately while on duty.

This is just one small example of the many sacrifices our team members make while working in a prison. It is truly a unique job, and we are so fortunate for the thousands of you who step into the role and do it so well.

Stay the course, Team MODOC! We will get through this together!

Anne L. Precythe