Information continues to pour in regarding COVID-19 globally, nationally, and locally in the Central PA community. Although the scale of the impact is unknown, it is incumbent upon PCO to do its part to protect our employees and be responsible to our community locally and beyond.
At PCO, we care deeply about the health and well-being of our employees and our clients. Keeping people at the center of every action, interaction, and decision is part of PCO’s core values. Now, in such a time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to return to our core values for guidance.
In doing so, the PCO office in Spring Mills, PA is closed to the public until further notice. We have decided to continue to stay “open”. Most staff will work remotely with the exception of a rotational team that will check postal mail and send mail to those that do not have access to electronic communication. We will also be keeping our phone and fax lines open. As the situation unfolds, we will continue to keep you informed of any operational changes.
With these changes to our operations, you may experience some delays in service. We are making every attempt to limit any delays and continue to provide the customer service PCO is known for. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 814-422-0251 (see the included directory of staff with extensions).
PCO is recommending that inspectors utilize remote/virtual capabilities to conduct most annual inspections occurring early this season. However, in cases where the inspector and client agree that the risks of COVID-19 can be sufficiently mitigated (based on local conditions and factors specific to the inspector and client), onsite inspections may be scheduled. In many cases, a hybrid approach may be used, where part of the inspection (tour of fields and facilities) is conducted onsite and part (interview and/or paperwork review) is conducted via conference call, telephone call, email or postal mail.
For many clients who do not have internet capabilities, onsite inspections will be conducted later in the season. If onsite inspection is not possible due to risks associated with COVID-19, a later-season desk audit may be performed. It is PCO's intention for every certified operation to have some type of onsite visit in 2020, either as a full inspection or follow-up. Follow-up inspections may be announced or unannounced.
As noted, the decision to conduct an on-site inspection is ultimately at the discretion and comfort levels of both the inspector and the operator. If appropriate social distancing guidance are not adhered to, either party is entitled to end the inspection. If this happens, contact the PCO office regarding next steps.
PCO asks inspectors and operators to take state and local travel guidance into consideration when making this decision. PCO also suggests the following be implemented to protect all participants health and safety:
For new applicants, at this time, PCO cannot guarantee any timeline for certification, as inspector availability is somewhat limited.
We will be doing everything we can to provide attentive and responsive service. On behalf of PCO, thank you for being a valued member of our community and for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation. Please keep yourself, your family and companions safe during this time.
Interim Executive Director