WWOA Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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April 8, 2020

 

Dear WWOA members and colleagues,

Concerns over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have continued to grow and we are taking this opportunity to encourage continued caution while avoiding panic. We believe it is important to stay abreast of current, relevant and accurate information from reputable sources, as well as maintaining common sense hygiene practices…which we as trained professionals in the water/wastewater industry routinely follow in our professional and personal lives.

Guidance in the Scheduling of Meetings/Events
As a result of continuous monitoring of the evolving situation with the coronavirus, the WWOA Board of Directors has updated WWOA guidelines with regard to WWOA association-wide and WWOA regional meetings/events. These guidelines have been developed in accordance with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, restrictions set down by the Governor of the State of Wisconsin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other reputable sources.

At this time, the WWOA Board of Directors advises cancelling all in-person meetings, trainings and events through June 30, 2020. The WWOA leadership will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation based on what new developments occur and make decisions regarding future events scheduled after June 30th based on all information available. Unless the COVID-19 situation changes drastically in the next several weeks, an update to this guidance taking into account mid to late summer event planning can be expected to be published in early May. In all instances, WWOA is committed to taking the necessary steps to the extent possible to provide a safe experience for participants of our events.

Ways You Can Help
During this challenging time, we encourage our members and colleagues to come to the aid of healthcare personnel as well as in support of wastewater facilities wherever and however this is possible. Two opportunities that we would like to share with you include:

      - To our wastewater facilities, if have extra N95 masks that you are in a position to release, please consider donating them to your local healthcare facilities to help with the current shortage.

      - WRWA is compiling a pool of certified water and wastewater operators who might be available to provide emergency on-site assistance to other systems in the event of a staffing shortage occurring as a result of COVID-19. If an operator is available for this effort their name, certifications and certification levels along with contact information, can be sent by email to cgroh@wrwa.org. For further details, you may read the program overview and appeal for volunteers by clicking here.

Continuing Education, Licensing and Certification
We understand that there are concerns regarding earning of CECs and certification maintenance and how this has been affected by the cononavirus situation. The WDNR continues to be the best source to contact for information about certification credits and maintenance, and we recommend you reach out to them directly with your questions. In the meantime, we want to highlight the section on the WDNR website that lists online training opportunities, as webinars and other virtual opportunities for earning credits do currently exist and may be of interest to you. The link to the list of online offerings is https://dnr.wi.gov/regulations/opcert/training.html. In addition, this link also contains important information from the WDNR about the status of certification and licensing and any actions the WDNR is taking in this regard.

WDNR Update re May 6th Exams: The exams previously scheduled on May 6, 2020 have been cancelled, for ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, drinking water, wastewater, septage, landfill and incineration as well as ch. NR 146, Wis. Adm. Code, licensed well drillers and pump installers. Credit will be issued to applications that have been processed and non-processed checks will be returned. Exams have been scheduled to be held statewide on August 5, 2020, in 6 locations and individuals will need to reapply for that exam period and location.

As the impact of coronavirus evolves, we at WWOA will continue to share updates and resources related to the current situation. While we as an organization are committed to keeping the information on our website and in our communications as up to date as possible, we encourage you to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and Wisconsin Department of Health Services websites, and other reputable resources, for more detailed information. To this end, we have included a list of reliable resources below.

Thank you for your support of WWOA and our profession during this challenging period. If you have any questions, please contact us at customercare@wwoa.org.

Sincerely,
WWOA Board of Directors

  
Recommended Resources

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Recommendations for Mass Gatherings/Other Large Communities

World Health Organization

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Travel.State.Gov

U.S. Travel Association

Water Environment Federation (WEF) Resources

DSPS PPE Training Modules

Wisconsin DNR Online Training

Individual WWOA members’ organizations/institutions/facilities, who are also sharing regular updates and guidance with their employees and other contacts

  

UPDATED: April 8, 2020