BELLEFONTE — Centre County employees who traveled out of state during the Thanksgiving holiday must quarantine for 14 days or get a negative coronavirus test, the Board of Commissioners said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The commissioners had originally approved a COVID-19 personal travel policy at the July 30, 2020 meeting. At Tuesday’s meeting, which was held via Zoom, they revised that policy.
“Given the Governor’s new orders a week ago, we are proposing revisions to this policy so that we are in sync with the Governor’s orders,” said county administrator Margaret Gray. “Previously, it was required that if an employee was going to a state that had been identified by our Pennsylvania Department of Health as a state with a high incidence of COVID-19, then quarantine was necessary upon return. Of course, the Governor’s orders and the Department of Health orders have changed that … to require anyone leaving the state and coming back in needing to either have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the state or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.”
Commissioner Steve Dershem questioned the revisions to the the county’s policy.
“If somebody is on personal business and not county business, I’m not sure that we have the capability of enforcing anything beyond a suggestion,” Dershem said.
Chair of the Board of Commissioners, Michael Pipe, said that if county employees are taking vacations out of state, they need to adhere to the guidelines.
“If somebody is leaving the area, per the state, they need to quarantine for 14 days or get a test. We heard Dr. (Deborah) Birx over the weekend say that if you traveled over Thanksgiving, you should assume that you have been exposed and you should quarantine for the quarantine period. If somebody has, for personal reasons, traveled outside the area, they still need to do the quarantining as directed by the state … the state has said that this is what they’re mandating and we need to follow along with it,” Pipe said.
Pipe said that the revised policy is extremely enforceable.
“In terms of whether we can enforce it or not, I think we can,” Pipe said matter-of-factly.
According to Pipe, it’s important for the county to be “in align” with what the state government is doing.
In terms of discipline, there is none attached to the policy, Pipe said.
“If somebody would violate this, the way I’d approach it is we would discuss it at that point,” Pipe said, “and take it on a case-by-case basis.”
The policy revision passed unanimously.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:
— Tabled the recommendation of a contract award for the request for proposal for the Centre County Camera System.
— Approved a contract renewal with Kronos to provide software support, equipment support and educational services. The contract total is for $22,500.01 for the period of Jan. 24, 2021 through Jan. 23, 2022. The contract was moved to next week’s consent agenda.
— Approved submission of a budget revision/modification certification to revise the Centre County Bellefonte Borough Community Development Block Grant FFY 2019 contract allocations. This revision is comprised of a $16,665.14 reduction to the borough’s administration allocation, which will be reallocated to the Talleyrand Park Pedestrian Bridge Project. Bellefonte Borough Administration was budgeted at $20,200 less $16,665.14 provides an adjusted budget of $3,544.86. Talleyrand Park Pedestrian Bridge Project was budgeted at $92,083 increased by $16,665.14 provides an adjusted budget of $108,738.14. The item was moved to next week’s consent agenda.
The Board of Commissioners will meet again — via Zoom — at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8. It is the last scheduled virtual meeting before they return to the Willowbank Building on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
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