3/20/20 - IDHS Staff Message from Secretary Hou: Stay at Home

Friday, March 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The Governor's Stay at Home Executive Order (attached) represents a significant action taken to protect the well-being of every Illinois family and community.

I am writing to clarify: The Executive Order does not change your current work or work site assignment - you should adhere to the guidance you have received about what you should work on and where you should work during this national public health emergency.

In other words, if you are currently working from an IDHS worksite, you should continue to report there.

If you were directed to work remotely or be on call, that direction stands until further notice, although, as noted before, your duties, technology issues, or your supervisor may require you to work on site from time to time.

Today's Executive Order specifically includes Essential Government Functions, Human Services Operations, and Healthcare Operations-covering all IDHS functions-as essential activities that individuals can leave their homes to perform. This includes "state-operated, institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to the public…" as well as "all services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or to provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public." The Executive Order states that the Human Services Operations "exemption shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined…" and that "[g]overnmental entities are charged with determining their own Essential Governmental Functions."

The Department of Human Services is committed to continuing to provide essential services for the people of Illinois, even as many of our functions go largely virtual - either by telephone or online. Your safety and health during this time in extremely important to us. We are working every day to ensure best practices are being followed at your work locations.

As to its effect on all of us, personally, you and your family will be able to continue to engage in Essential Activities, including grocery and household supplies shopping, obtaining medical supplies and medication, visiting a health care professional, obtaining supplies needed to work from home, and, with social distancing, outdoor activity like walking or running.

I truly appreciate your work every day, and especially in this unprecedented situation.


Secretary Grace Hou