To the Members and Partners of the Association for Facilities Engineering:
Hotep! First and foremost, I truly hope this message finds you and your family safe. Times like these serve to remind us just how fragile the human condition can be, making the time we spend with our loved ones even more precious. As the only proven method to slow the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory illness has been to avoid human contact, the novel coronavirus pandemic we face promises to leave a lasting impact on how we engage and interact with co-workers, neighbors, friends and even family members. And, I pray that each of us will emerge from this challenging moment shared by nearly all people around the globe, more prepared, more resilient and more aware of what really matters in this life. That being said, I would also like to share a few updates with you about what is happening in and around our association. Because when this is all over, AFE will still be here to offer you the resources to help you live your best professional life. We are all in this together!
Here is what we know about the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 respiratory illness it causes. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):
- Coronavirus can remain in the air via aerosolized droplets from a cough or a sneeze for, at least, three (3) hours.While some studies suggest that sneezing is not a symptom of COVID-19, a person infected with coronavirus who suffers from seasonal allergies can pass the virus onto other people by sneezing or coughing, allowing an opportunity for other others to breathe the droplets in or come in contact with droplets that have landed on a surface then become infected by touching their nose, mouth or eyes.
- Coronavirus can remain viable – i.e. able to infect people – for up to three (3) days on plastic or stainless-steel surfaces.The virus remains viable on cardboard for up to twenty-four (24) hours and up to four (4) hours on copper.
- Coronavirus is easily disinfected.Most hand sanitizers or good old fashion soap and water will kill coronavirus.
While limiting or avoiding human contact remains the best defense for you and your family, I am calling on ALL AFE Members, and especially regional and chapter leaders, to check on our seniors. Please pick up the phone and spend a few minutes checking in with those upon whose shoulders we stand, either professionally or personally, and may be facing these challenging times alone.
Now, allow me to share what your association has been doing to mitigate our circumstances during this crisis. Before it became a good idea to explore the concept of telework, we began implementation of plan to expand our distance learning capabilities. And, I am happy to announce that we will be launching our new learning management system (LMS) on May 1st. The feature rich AFE LMS being developed by long-time AFE Member Peter Curtis and his PMC Group will allow AFE Members and other interested professionals to earn an AFE certification from the comfort of their own home. As we speak, the Certified Professional Maintenance Manager® (CPMM) certification is being converted to an online course format and will be the first online course available through the AFE LMS. Moreover, the AFE LMS will host online forums that will facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of operational insight and best practices. The AFE LMS will also allow our regions and chapters to create customized landing pages so that they can share announcements and resources relevant to local Members. In addition to building a robust LMS, we are also exploring the development of a dedicated AFE mobile app that will allow Members to stay connected to chapters or Professional Interest Communities (PICs), renew memberships or credentials, participate in online training and navigate live events all from a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
Over the past several weeks, it has been said many times that “things will get worse before they get better,” regarding the coronavirus outbreak. While that may be true, earlier this week some one said to me that he believes through this crisis we will see that good people truly exist in this world. I believe that. Just in the past seven days, I have also heard stories of business owners vowing to their employees that wages will be paid even though the business may be barred from operating during the outbreak. We must take care of each other. So, we here at AFE will continue to do our part. God Bless!
All the Best,
Amir Clayton Powell, JD, CPS
Executive Director & CEO