To all TPE members, leaders and friends,
All of us, including individuals, families, and community organizations like TPE, need to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic. TPE’s chapters host a significant number of community gatherings, including burns, work parties, field trips, and other educational events, as well as chapter and committee meetings. Much of our membership is also part of the over 60-year-old high risk population. As an organization we thus need to consider our response carefully.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to hold a specific TPE-related event is up to the organizer and/or the leadership of the local chapter. Based on the current CDC and state public health information, the staff and leadership of TPE make the following recommendations:
- Outdoor events such as burns, work parties and field trips appear to be low risk, as they are not in confined spaces and have relatively small numbers of people who can easily maintain the recommended 6-foot distance. We suggest that these events be continued wherever possible. During these difficult times of “social distancing” and isolation, safe ways for maintaining community contact and getting outdoors into nature are more important than ever. We also have a unique responsibility to continue our important work maintaining the health of the precious natural communities in our care.
- Indoor meetings, courses, workshops, etc. are significantly higher risk. The current recommendation is that all gatherings of more than 50 people should definitely be cancelled, postponed or moved online. This is a good recommendation for all indoor events and meetings in the near future.
- The TPE staff, Board and committees have had considerable experience using online meeting tools. We are working to expand that capability and make it more widely available to the chapters in the coming weeks. Please contact any member of the staff for further information or assistance.
As we are all aware, the situation is continuing to evolve rapidly. We will be monitoring the recommendations of public health officials and will notify our community quickly if anything changes significantly.
President and Acting Executive Director
March 16, 2020