With growing global spread of COVID-19, the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of archivists and recordkeeping professionals. It’s time to close the archives to the public and allow staff to make decisions about where to safely continue their work.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health have urged all Canadians to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. In response, many schools have now closed, and universities and colleges have moved classes online. These precautionary efforts are proactive and prioritize the safety of students, staff and faculty. At this time, there is little benefit to allowing researchers to physically access archives and special collections. It’s time to suspend in-person visits and encourage staff to work from home where appropriate.
In many locations across Canada, public services have been suspended or curtailed, including public library services. The ACA strongly encourages the closure of all public archives, museums, local history rooms, and historical sites as an additional proactive measure.
The ACA acknowledges that any closure or reduction of services will disproportionately affect student workers, contract staff and hourly workers who may lose wages or access to benefits during this time. The ACA encourages employers to consider any and all opportunities to allow for remote work. Possible projects include: 
Administrative work, such as:
If staff continue to work from office buildings, they should continue to follow good health and safety practices. Where possible, remain at least two arms lengths from other people, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Do not work in an unsafe environment.
For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit Infection Prevention and Control Canada at: https://ipac-canada.org/coronavirus-resources.php or call the Coronavirus Hotline at: 1-833-784-4397.
We appreciate that the global COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly worrisome and that mitigation efforts will require significant adjustments. In these challenging times, we remain ready to advocate for archives and recordkeeping professionals. We also acknowledge the strength of our professional community and the good will that characterizes ACA membership. Let’s keep this community safe and healthy so that they can care for our important documentary heritage now and in the future.
ACA Board of Directors
 Thanks to the SAA Accessibility and Disability Section for compiling this list of work tasks and projects that archivists can do remotely. For more ideas, visit the Section’s growing google resource page here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16ubmmTtJ7oCjbUFI_75fqG9J62pul9dg_RCd4au4tMw/mobilebasic
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