Meeting Notes/20200313

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Emergency Board Meeting


Board Members: Kye (ED), Flip (HR), Valerie (Dir Admin), Drew (Dir Edu), RD (Dir Ops), Eric (Dir Fac). ATXHS Members: Billy Nelson MD. Not present: Rob Ristroph (Treasurer)


  • Emergency board meeting was initiated due to the COVID pandemic.
  • Attempts were made to include every board member in this meeting. Rob Ristroph was not in attendance, multiple attempts were made via phone, text, Slack and email to have full attendance. RR did not attend in-person meeting Weds 3/11 where letter and options were discussed.

  • Kye: Both UT and AISD announced closures today, and we said we would close if they closed. Watched Hammerspace's[1] lead in Kansas City and Eliot School in Boston[2]. Right now, AISD is closed. Actively following City of Austin [[3]] and Johns Hopkins numbers [[4]] . We have all read this data article on Medium which explains how 2 weeks without symptoms masks actual number of people infected. South Korea super-spreader is particularly intense. Half of South Korea's infected come down to one person. [[5]] A lot of tech companies putting in place work from home orders. [[6]] What's happening in Italy is awful. Two weeks would give us a chance to see how this affects Austin hospitals.
  • Discussion:
    • Kye: At this point we don't know how fast this will spread or what the life of this virus will be. Maybe Austin can get ahead of the virus, has hit Seattle and the east coast. We said we'd close when schools closed, knowing they wouldn't do that without careful consideration. A lot of corporations are working from home. Would like to hear public health perspective on this.
    • Billy: I'm not an epidemiologist, I'm a doctor, but I am following these developments closely. It's not a matter of "if" we close, it's a matter of "when." Closing earlier has the potential to result in less time being closed if everyone works hard now to stop the spread. Closing the doors for two weeks is the responsible thing to do. I realize that for some members this is more than an inconvenience; it might affect their ability to earn money. But I think we do our members and our community no favors by thinking of ATXHS as being exempt from disease transmission and social responsibility. As an aside, there are confirmed cases in Austin beyond what has been reported in the media, and this will likely increase by 10-20x in under a week. The ethical path forward is to honor social distancing whenever possible and temporarily close elective social gathering spaces. Unfortunately ATXHS is a prime example of this.
    • Drew: The city is taking this very seriously. I'm in conversation with Dr. Escott, the Travis County Interim Medical Director. We are not an essential business like a grocery store or a pharmacy. We could face fines or shutdown if we are shown to be a site of transmission.
    • Board members concerned for those who hang out a lot at the space, and members with project deadlines. Two board members are ill, two have family members who are ill.
    • Eric & Kye: We need to give people some time to finish up projects and gather materials. We can also agree to meet people to pick up materials they need. Can we give people through tomorrow afternoon?
    • Group agrees this will work.
  • Motion to lock doors of ATXHS for two weeks, following the lead of AISD and UT, as we said we would in the email that went out earlier this week.

VOTE: All present: Aye.

  • Kye, Flip: Been working on another letter in case we need to close, can Drew look at it from public health perspective?
  • NEXT STEPS: Edit and send letter to members. Include tl;dr. Talk to Rob. Lock doors. Monitor City of Austin updates. Meet people to pick up projects. Announce temp closure. Clean out fridge, sanitize as many surfaces as possible, give keys to board so we can meet people to pick up projects. If this extends further, form reopen committee to think about how to phase reopen.