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Employee Announcement: 16 March 2020

COVID-19 Response Plan at Learning Lab Apps

Download the PDF copy here, or read the online version below.

With the recent developments around the world relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, Learning Lab Apps has taken the following steps to aide the health and safety of its employees and continuity of business:


1. Remote working AT HOME

    1. As of Tuesday, 17 March 2020, all employees are requested to work remotely at home until further notice.

    2. It is imperative that you make use of this opportunity to isolate yourself and practice social distancing as far as is possible.

    3. The office will be strictly off-bounds to all employees as from 5pm on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, unless you have first contacted Adrian directly to request permission to enter the office. This is to avoid the spread of disease on surfaces.

    4. The company will provide each full time employee with a remote work allowance for as long a period as is necessary. This allowance should be used towards your internet connectivity, and ensure that this is used for work purposes, not music, videos or the likes. You must ensure that you have sufficient data and access to a quality internet connection during work hours. If this becomes a problem, please contact Adrian. Note that this allowance is a ballpark because we have not experienced something like this before. If you find that the allowance value is not realistic, please speak to Adrian. Don’t keep quiet. We want you to be comfortable working from home.

    5. Please take the responsibility of remote work seriously. It is not an opportunity to socialise or conduct other activities that are not related to your job. It is specifically an opportunity to isolate yourself as much as possible and to look after your family.


2. Working hours and communication

    1. Normal working hours apply during this period.

    2. Ensure that you check your internal messaging notifications and messages regularly. At a minimum, once every 60 minutes.

    3. All meetings must be scheduled in the Google calendar as usual, and everyone will be expected to attend meetings via Google Hangouts.

    4. For urgent communication, call the mobile number of the person you need to speak to.

    5. Please communicate with your team regularly to create clarity. Please also avoid disrupting others directly with unnecessary communication or after-hours communication (unless in an emergency). Use your discretion.


3. Updated work plans

    1. Continue to work as if all our goals and deadlines are still in place.

    2. Each team should assess their due dates and goals, revise where necessary, and then submit any changes to Adrian.

    3. Adrian / Dereck will remain in regular communication with the team in order to give updates specifically relating to COVID-19 and impact on LLA.

    4. You will be informed by Adrian as soon as it is deemed safe to return to the office for work.


4. Temporary New Rules

    1. You must inform Adrian if you have OR do come into contact with a foreigner, or any person who has travelled internationally or domestically from this point forward.

    2. You must inform Adrian if you yourself plan to travel extensively during the remote work period.

    3. You must inform Adrian if you AND/OR any person in your household becomes ill or infected with COVID-19 or any other illness.

    4. Points 4.1 to 4.3 are designed to ensure that any person who may have been exposed to COVID-19 might be required to work remotely from home for a further extended time as a screening period after the company resumes normal operations from the Monte Vista office.


5. Personal notes

I have a few thoughts about the situation we currently find ourselves in.

Please take remote work seriously. I realise I don’t need to say this because of the values and commitment of every person on our team. Watch this video on HBR with tips on staying productive while working from home.

Then, another very big reason we’re implementing remote work is to allow those with families and children to be available to care for them. I strongly encourage you to encourage those living in your household to isolate and practice social distancing.

As CEO, I will personally take a very dim view of any employee who participates in unnecessary activities where you may come into contact with other people. You should be responsible and protect yourself as much as possible for as long as possible. It is unlikely that COVID-19 will seriously impact your health, but, it is not impossible. There are cases where even normally healthy people have been admitted to ICU in a critical condition. Don’t take that chance with yourself or with your family. Especially considering that the hospitals will likely be entirely unable to cope with the influx of patients.

Additionally, I’d like us all to be sensitive to those among us who are older, who might currently have compromised immune systems, are pregnant etc. Therefore it is important that you do your best to prevent contracting or carrying the disease.

Avoid spreading (or reading!) news about the situation on social media. Most of it is fake and can lead to mass hysteria and panic, which from personal experience is not a joke. For a source of valid news, turn to reliable sources such as EWN, News24, IOL or WHO for situation updates.

In an ideal world, everyone cares about others more than themselves, and would therefore take rules and responsibilities seriously, especially at a time like this. The reality is far more ugly. Meaning that there is a very, very strong likelihood of a big outbreak of COVID-19 due to people largely ignoring requests that would otherwise ensure a much slower spread of the disease. A slower spread = more manageable and a significantly reduced death toll.

So I ask that every one of you live out our shared Core Value: “Care about everyone”. Especially at this time. Stick to the rules and regulations. Stop thinking you won’t be affected. Show care to those in your immediate surroundings. If possible, provided it does not place you or your family at risk, help other less fortunate people. Lend a hand in your community.

One very small example of the way we will show care as a company is to ensure that our office cleaning staff, who are employed on an hourly basis, continue to receive full pay despite being unable to work because our office will be closed. If you are in the position to do the same for anyone who relies on you for an income, I encourage you to do so.

I would like to share what Martin Luther (the Christian reformist, not the American) and CS Lewis, said about the bubonic plague in 1527 and the threat of atomic annihilation in the 1940’s respectively.

Luther wrote a letter titled “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague”:

You ought to think this way: “Very well, by God’s decree, the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal [bubonic plague]. Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely.”

CS Lewis wrote:

In one way, we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

Replace “bubonic plague” and “atomic bomb” with “COVID-19”.

The bubonic plague was a significantly more deadly disease than COVID-19. And the world war with the invention of the atomic bomb threatened to wipe out the entire planet by pushing a few buttons.

In closing, I would like to remind you that it is very likely that our tiny team and our product, WorksheetCloud, is all that will stand between this pandemic and educational progress for the thousands of children who rely on us. The longer schools are closed, the bigger the impact on the future of our children.

Therefore do your utter best to stay healthy and working productively. Our WorksheetCloud parents and children are depending on us.

Do not panic. We are strongest when we work together as a team. The pack takes care of the pack. If you need anything, whether business or personal, do not hesitate to contact me directly at any time and I will do everything in my power as your leader to get you the help you need.

God be with us all. Pray, and then use the wisdom He has blessed you with, in order that you may prepare for this pandemic.

Yours faithfully

Adrian Marnewick
Learning Lab Apps

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