This insight is part of a continuing series of informative best practices and shout outs to recognize innovative approaches state and local governments have adopted to help them manage through the current COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to the City of Plano, Texas for allowing us to share this material.
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the public’s growing need for timely and reliable information from their local government, the City of Plano, Texas adopted an innovative approach to keeping citizens informed. As the virus began to spread, and social distancing became necessary, the city closed all municipal parks, recreation centers, athletic fields and the public library. Additionally, numerous Plano employees were directed to work remotely as non-essential services were curtailed. The city furnished employees with the equipment necessary to work from home and the City’s Technology Services staff, working on very short notice, deployed over 200 laptop computers to support remote work.
Recognizing that librarians could be a valuable resource in responding to the high volume of coronavirus-related calls, the City created a virtual call center staffed by library personnel. Technology Services redesigned the phone system’s call routing trees to redirect coronavirus calls to the homes of library staff, who are now serving as call-takers for virus-related questions.
The establishment of the virtual call center has enabled the city’s core services continuity efforts by limiting the call volumes to 9-1-1 and other service providers, while allowing the library staff to continue to serve the community as productive providers of vital information.
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