Update from Director Anne Precythe on COVID-19 Testing and Gradual Reopening

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June 12, 2020

Hello, Team MODOC!

As I think you all know, we are testing staff and offenders for COVID-19 at all of our prisons and the Transition Center. Southeast, South Central, Algoa and Chillicothe Correctional Centers recently completed testing. Thank you to these teams for making this process run smoothly! We truly appreciate everyone who is getting tested, organizing the process and conducting the testing.

SECC did a great job of containing the small outbreak they experienced, and the testing revealed only a handful of new positives; more than half of those affected have recovered. SCCC, ACC and CCC had ZERO positive cases! I continue to hear from so many about how remarkable this statistic is.

The department's success in containing the spread of this virus can be attributed to all of you and your diligence. You have taken the pandemic seriously, and you have stayed the course. Your hard work has helped to protect the health of your teammates and offenders, and it may have even saved lives.

Members of the executive team and I were tested on Tuesday, June 9, and all of us tested negative. Other Central Office staff will be tested in June and July. We will keep you posted if there are any positive cases among office staff on the daily update.

Lifting Restrictions 

I want to talk briefly about re-opening plans at the institutions. As sentinel test results come in, we will use them to guide our decisions about returning to some version of normal operations at sites where sentinel testing has been completed. At sites with positive cases, like SECC, we will stay on the same course.

At sites with no COVID-19 cases — like SCCC, ACC and CCC — we will gradually resume some offender programming (within safety parameters), start allowing volunteers to return (with screenings), and slowly lift visiting suspensions — with new requirements such as limited numbers of visitors, mandatory face covers, screenings at the door, contact restrictions and adherence to social distancing guidelines. The new requirements are all recommendations from visiting room staff and offender councils. We appreciate the thought they put into finding safer ways to visit during this time. Central Office staff also will resume site visits. As your site completes testing, you will hear from your administrative team about next steps. Stay tuned.

You should all be very proud of the job we have done together as a team maneuvering through this pandemic. Great job, everyone!


On a different topic, it is evaluation and upward feedback time! Team MODOC is leading the state, with more than 43% of the evaluations already done! Supervisors, if you haven’t already, please take a few moments to complete your evaluations and help your staff grow. Evaluations must be completed in June. All staff, please complete upward feedback; it helps all supervisors get better! I have learned a lot through upward feedback and have used that information to make changes. I hope your supervisors find it helpful too.

I have said it numerous times to numerous people, but I feel compelled to say it again: I am so proud to be a part of this department, to get to know so many of you and to work with you. You have done a remarkable job, and I appreciate you. I spoke with the Governor recently, and he praised the work that all of you do. He is very proud of you.

I do have one more request. Please find someone at your work location who is doing a great job and let them know it. Positive appreciation is a powerful tool. If you see a great job being done, please say so! You will make their day.

Please keep up the great work, please take care of each other and please stay safe.

Anne L. Precythe