Short on time? Here’s an overview:
Public sector entities wish to avoid what has plagued many businesses and schools: reopening, followed by virus outbreaks, forcing reclosures. The repeated disruption is costly for all concerned and increases fear and mistrust. These challenges provide a clear picture of the required protections that can provide a more comprehensive and safer return-to-work that is unlikely to be upended by a fresh outbreak.
In 2020, it was necessary to curtail -- or even shut down -- some public-sector facilities. But these shutdowns must not be in place forever. They jeopardize the crucial missions of agencies and justice systems, imperil public safety and trust, and cause financial waste and hardship.
To fully reopen, what is needed is a comprehensive, reliable approach that can rapidly, significantly, and securely mitigate the coronavirus threat.
DMVs can’t operate as normal, preventing many new drivers from obtaining new licenses. Delays in issuing building permits hobble development, worsening the housing crisis in many areas. Unemployment agencies, compelled to send their workers home, have not only been overwhelmed and unable to meet the demand, leaving out-of-work citizens financially strapped, but their heavier-than-normal workloads and outdated systems have made them vulnerable to cyberthieves, potentially wasting billions of dollars in aid.
Similar cybersecurity issues plague many of the thousands of government employees who suddenly found themselves working from home in 2020, adding impetus to the widespread desire of agency officials to bring their workers back.
But the challenges of bringing workers back, while the virus continues to cost lives, and only a fraction of the population is vaccinated, remain problematic. Testing and digital health passports that prove vaccination status represent a critical aspect of most return-to-work approaches. But testing poses its own set of challenges – costly at about $200 per, hard to find, hard to get without a referral, often requiring use of public transportation, and above all, suffering from delays in receiving results that can exceed the dormancy period of the virus, rending them all but moot. False positives, such as those experienced by the NFL, create distrust and disruption.