The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the environmental health workforce, including changes to how local and state regulatory agencies conduct training and engage in regulatory inspections. In the rapidly changing world of COVID-19 response, we recognize that many agencies and organizations have created excellent training resources and inspection forms that, should they be readily accessible, would help ease the burdens of other jurisdictions. While guidance from federal agencies is very important, putting this information to use within state and local areas requires countless resources to create the forms and tools to serve each specific jurisdiction. This process has been the case regarding restaurant reopenings and similarly is being repeated for swimming pools, body art, hotels, schools, correctional facilities, HVAC units, and wastewater, to name just a few.
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) recognizes the need for a credible resource repository that can help environmental health professionals gain access to best practices on COVID-19 response, recovery, and resilience building and as they relate to environmental health. Based on feedback we have received from many of you, we are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID-19 Response Online Community (ROC) for you to engage in peer-to-peer learning and resource sharing.
Through this platform, users can access a resource library where participating state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) public health agencies and environmental health programs are able to share their communication, training, inspection forms, and other such resources developed for COVID-19. We are working to collect and collate user submitted resources into different categories--restaurants, body art, swimming pools/recreational waters, etc.--allowing environmental health professionals and safety specialists to engage with their peers through an interactive discussion forum that facilitates resources sharing, information exchange, and making connections that create opportunities for technical assistance.
This virtual community of practice has multiple features...