COOPs and the Coronavirus: The Lessons May Surprise You

Courts are now in the midst of reopening, yet the Coronavirus is still very much with us.  Right now, the United States has had over 2.3 million confirmed cases with over 26,000 new cases reported just yesterday.  We have experienced 121,000 deaths from the virus and new projections predict that we will top 200,000 by the fall.  In over a third of the country, the infection rate is actually increasing.   This alone makes this crisis different from any courts have ever faced before.  If it were a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake, within a few hours to a few days, it would be over; efforts would turn to clean up and repair.  We still cannot do that even though the country is working hard to return to normal.  Nevertheless, this seems like a good time to look back, take stock of what we have learned so far from the crisis, and think of what we would change in our Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP).

This week the panel discusses the need for long-term COOP recovery plans; necessary pandemic based legal changes in family court law, protection orders, child custody, domestic violence, and speedy trial requirements; the reality of having no physical location in which to hold court for months; improving emergency communications systems; improving teleworking protocols; identifying court functions that can be permanently performed at home; the radically different design of future courthouses; and changing sick leave requirements from “if sick – stay home,” to “if might be sick – stay home to protect others.”

This Week’s Panelists

  • Zenell Brown, Court Administrator for the 3rd Circuit Court (Detroit, Michigan).
  • Dorothy Howell, Court Executive for the Probation Division of the Superior Court in East Orange (Newark, New Jersey).
  • Rick Pierce with the Pennsylvania Administrative Office of the Courts.
  • Mark Weinberg, Court Administrator for the 7th Judicial Circuit (Daytona Beach, Florida).
  • Angie VanSchoick, Court Administrator for the Municipal Court in Breckenridge, Colorado.
  • Liz Rambo, Trial Court Administrator for the Lane County Circuit Court, (Eugene, Oregon).
  • Mike Roddy, Court Executive Office for the Superior Court in San Diego, California.

Listen to the CLAPodcast Episode:

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