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NAPS’ Fight Against COVID-19
By Brian J. Wagner
At the time of this writing in late March, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is challenging the U.S. Postal Service and its dedicated employees, NAPS members, their families and the entire United States. We understand this pandemic is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, NAPS encourages everyone to be safe, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and protocols and seek medical attention if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
You may be wondering how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting NAPS Headquarters’ operations and communications, including planning for our 2020 National Convention, Aug. 17-21, at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX (continuous convention updates available by clicking here). Here’s the scoop!
First, in an abundance of caution and in accordance with CDC guidelines, we closed NAPS Headquarters’ 4th floor office from March 19 to April 6. Before closing, NAPS took the lead early to reach out to branches and members regarding this pandemic. On March 16, NAPS Headquarters issued a newsbreak recommending that, over the next eight weeks and per CDC guidelines, local and state branches cancel or postpone branch meetings, area training and state conventions and reschedule at a later date.
This precautionary measure was intended to protect NAPS members and their families from the spread of COVID-19. We were pleased that board members, branches and members answered the call and followed NAPS’ recommendation.
After closing the NAPS office, the resident officers and staff worked remotely from our homes, handling the business of NAPS. We had full access to our emails, safely received the mail, ensured NAPS phones were forwarded, picked up voicemails, paid invoices and posted information and updates on NAPS’ Facebook page and website. It definitely was a team effort by all and continues to be.
NAPS Headquarters coordinated its efforts to ensure the continuity of NAPS operations and proper communications were established with our Executive Board while working remotely. We followed up with a national NAPS letter from the resident officers to members on March 30. The message was one of understanding, reassurance, thanks and appreciation to NAPS members on the front line for their dedication and commitment in keeping the mail moving during this pandemic. The full letter is posted on our NAPS website.
Second, NAPS was in daily contact, including weekends, if necessary, with USPS officials regarding COVID-19 issues. We received updates on USPS employees, including NAPS members, safety supplies, postal operations, policy changes and more, to name just a few.
In addition, NAPS received and forwarded USPS stand-up talks on COVID-19 protocol, operations and temporary policy changes and more to Executive Board members and respective members. Our goal was to keep members regularly informed through various resources and modes of communication as to how the pandemic was impacting the USPS, postal employees, NAPS members and the American public.
Third, as America continues to follow the new norm of “social distancing” to help reduce or prevent the spread of COVID-19, with most states having implemented “shelter-in-place” protocols and retail and food venues either closed or providing only drive-through service, we knew members may have questions regarding the status of our 2020 National Convention.
To protect the safety and health of NAPS members, the 2020 NAPS National Convention in Grapevine, TX, has been postponed to August 2021. NAPS Headquarters will provide updates via our messaging through our Executive Board, NAPS’ website, and Facebook.
Please be safe and continue following CDC guidelines and social distancing. Through the support of one another, together, we will get through this COVID-19 pandemic as a NAPS family, stronger than ever. What is on me right now is providing you with a timely ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: brown butter almond brittle.