Several upcoming City of Lawrence meetings canceled due to COVID-19; virtual meetings under consideration
photo by: Nick Krug
The City of Lawrence has canceled various meetings this week to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, raising the question of how city business will be conducted during the pandemic.
The City Commission held only a short meeting Tuesday, but it had previously deferred all of its regular agenda items to deter people from gathering. As the week went on and stricter health orders were issued to prevent the spread of COVID-19, other meetings were canceled.
Cancellations include the MPO policy board meeting scheduled for Thursday, the Historic Resources Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday and the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for March 25. The city also announced Thursday that it would pause its strategic planning meetings. The City Commission was scheduled to hold a retreat to work on its new strategic plan on March 28, but that meeting is now postponed following orders from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health that prohibit public gatherings of 10 or more people. A news release said that the city will continue to follow health orders and will wait to reschedule the retreat until it is deemed safe for all parties.
However, the city is not necessarily canceling all meetings. City spokesman Porter Arneill said in an email to the Journal-World that the city’s priority is to minimize people gathering, and that all meetings are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the urgency of agenda items. He said all nonessential meetings are being canceled.
As far as future meetings, Arneill said the city is currently investigating the use of video conferencing as an alternative, but it wants to ensure that the city is adhering to state requirements regarding open meetings. He said all notices regarding meetings will continue to be posted on the city’s website and distributed to those who subscribe to city updates.
More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the pandemic continues, the Journal-World will be making coverage of COVID-19 available outside of the paywall on LJWorld.com.
Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/
What to do if you think you may have COVID-19
Patients who have symptoms — difficulty breathing, cough and fever — should stay home, immediately isolate themselves from others and call their health care providers. Patients should never show up unannounced at a medical office or hospital. Instead, they should call ahead to explain their symptoms and give health care workers the ability to minimize the risk to others.
If patients do not have health care providers, they may call the Lawrence Douglas-County health department’s coronavirus line, 785-856-4343.
For updated information on the outbreak, Kansas residents can email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
More information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website or the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health website.