Importance of mandatory health screening, expanded eligibility, staff kudos

Dear Team Carlsbad,

This week we welcomed our first members of the public back into the Faraday building since the pandemic began. Well, I should say we welcomed three members of the public – two came in to meet with members of our building and planning counter staff, and one paid a bill at the cashier. But, it’s a start, and a significant milestone.

Libraries expanded their in-person services last week, with the addition of browsing and checking out materials at the self checkout stations. This resulted in about twice as many patrons coming through the doors as before, when public computers were the main draw. To put this in perspective, however, we’re talking about a couple of hundred patrons a day spread across all three library facilities. Pre-pandemic, the average was 3,000.

We are intentionally taking a thoughtful and measured approach. Getting to this stage has required a lot of very careful planning and teamwork. In fact, prior to facilities reopening to the public, staff prepares detailed plans and checklists, and we have an independent consultant conduct an inspection. You can read these plans and get other information about the expansion of in-person services on this online portal.

What’s next?

I know this question is on everyone’s minds. We will first be evaluating the in-person services that started back up the past three weeks, then making plans for next steps. I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet.

The governor has set a target of June 15 for all parts of the state to fully reopen, provided current case trends continue.

Future of remote work

The city jumped into telecommuting with both feet last March, and I couldn’t be more proud of how well our employees have made this work. I’d especially like to recognize our IT Department for quickly rolling out new tools that allowed for continued collaboration and access to online resources, even when teams were working from different locations.

Moving forward, I am confident the city can continue to offer greater flexibility than in pre-pandemic times, and I am committed to finding the right balance for the city and our employees.

We are still working out exactly what this will look like, but the plan is to offer a framework and process for remote work and leave the implementation to each individual branch and department. As diverse as our lines of business are, there just isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

More to come on that.

Importance of completing health check in

As more staff return to the workplace, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of completing the mandatory health screening at the entrances of all city buildings. Last month we introduced touchless thermometers that scan your forehead and take your temperature. After your temperature is taken, you must complete the online form through the QR code located at the station or this online form.

This screening is a state and county requirement and is also important for everyone’s health and safety.

Employee cases

Thanks to your diligence, we have had no new employee cases of COVID-19 over the last week. Every action you take makes a difference – temperature screening, masking up, keeping your distance and getting vaccinated when it’s your turn.

Vaccine eligibility

Starting today, everyone 16 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. I know many city employees qualified in earlier tiers, but if you just now became eligible, here’s a list of appointment sites.

The Operation Collaboration site at the former Farmer’s Insurance building has closed up shop to allow firefighters to get prepared for what is expected to be a tough season for wildfires. But the county has greatly expanded its distribution sites, as have health care providers. Appointments are always hard to get right after a new group becomes eligible, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find one right away.

City’s new phone system

Our IT department continues to make progress on the city’s new phone system. The launch date is still in the works but you can learn more about the system’s features in this new video featuring some of our IT staff.

The new system has features such as:

  • Calls to your landline can be answered from your city issued laptop or smartphone

  • Voicemail messages will be sent to your email so you can listen, save it or forward them to another person

Here is more information on what to expect and some frequently asked questions.

Celebrate sustainability during Earth Month

April is Earth Month, and we’re happy to be offering safe in-person events and virtual workshops for the community after they were all canceled last year.

I especially appreciate our Environmental Management team’s leadership. One of our team members, Hallie Thompson, got her friend and daughter together, masked up and picked up trash at the beach during last year’s California Coastal Cleanup Day. She’ll be giving one of the presentations for the upcoming lunch and learn series hosted by Environmental Management on April 20 and participating in the Creek to Bay Cleanup again April 24. Thank you Hallie and the entire city team for helping make our community cleaner, safer and more sustainable!

You can see all of our Earth Month activities on the city’s website.

So many of our city departments and teams are also doing incredible work during this time. If your team has a success story to share, I want to hear about it. Email your stories and any pictures to

We are entering a real turning point as more of our daily lives are starting to return to something approaching normal. Please keep in mind that even happy changes can be stressful. Please continue to support one another and take good care of yourselves. You have done amazing things over this past year, and I know Team Carlsbad will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

Have a great week.