Thu Mar 26th, 2020
In response to the rapidly developing events surrounding COVID-19, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Permanent Fund government will modify the programs and services to ensure the protection and safety of tribal members, tribal employees, and our community.
The identified operations have been modified in accordance with the recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which includes guidelines for social distancing and restrictions on congregated groups no larger than 10 people, and at least six feet apart. Social distancing also includes limits on person-to-person contact, group meetings, and other social activities.
The non-essential functions have been identified and a comprehensive list of modified services and hours of operations are detailed below.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribal Court will be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Hearings are held from 1:30 p.m. until all hearings have concluded. The court will accept filings as usual; however, any motions or pleadings can be submitted by email (tribal court will be accepting filings by email given the current circumstances and the filing fee should be mailed), mail, or fax. The court will only set cases on an emergency basis and will be resetting previously set matters for a later date when the environment is safer for all parties. Currently, Web/Video Conferencing capabilities are being evaluated for potential implementation for Court operations.
Child Support: No child support will be available for pick-up at the tribal court. All child support checks will be mailed to the recipients by the Finance Department.
Probation Office: Probation will maintain services but will be contacting probationers by phone.
Family Court Support Office: The Family Court Support Office will be available by phone only for emergency situations.
The processing of monthly tribal distribution payments will continue as normal, including communications with membership for changes to method of payment (check /direct deposit), any other changes, and answering questions. All checks/advices will be mailed. Checks will not be available for pick up at the tribal offices. Minors trust account services will continue. All checks/advices will be mailed.
Tribal Credit: The policy that limits loan draws to $1,000 has been waived. Applications will be taken over the phone and will not require tribal member signature. Final loan documents will still require tribal member signature, but not require a notary. Signed documents may be received through email, fax, or regular mail. The deadline for submitting applications will be Tuesday at 3 p.m. each week; applications received after that time will be processed the following week. Loan checks/advices will be mailed Friday of each week.
Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable (AP/AR): The cashier window will be closed. Accounts Payable will process as normal. Someone from AP/AR will be in the office on an as-needed, emergent basis to process rush medical emergency checks when needed. Accounts Receivable will process as normal but remotely. Signed repayment agreements may be received through email, fax, or regular mail.
Purchasing: Purchasing will process as normal remotely.
Contracts and Grants: All aspects of contracts and grants management will continue as normal.
Budgeting and Planning: All aspects of FY2021 budget planning will continue.
CULTURAL PRESERVATION DEPARTMENT
The Cultural Preservation Department staff will be working remotely, but available via phone to respond to questions about cultural events, upcoming tribal fair, and any other related matters.
SUIMA: The Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy is closed and staff will work remotely providing online instruction and monitor student process through online programs, emails, phone calls, and texting. Families will have access on the SUIMA website for daily Ute Language lessons (https://www.suima.org).
Higher Education: Higher Education will work remotely advising student through email, regular mail, and phone calls. GED and Adult Education lessons will be provided through emails and phone calls.
Public Education: Public Education will work remotely providing tutoring and student support through emails, text, and phone calls. There is partial funding available if students need assistance with technology and other educational needs.
HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES
Staff will work remotely and on an on-call and emergent basis. All major electrical, plumbing, sewer, gas, and HVAC systems will be addressed by staff. Staff may ask the tribal membership to leave the home or isolate in a spare room while work is taking place. Staff will respond to emergency requests at the Cedar Point Townhomes. Rent payments and processing will continue and must be post marked by the fifth of the month. There is currently some emergency housing available at the townhomes and J Road. Office phones will be forwarded to staff who can walk the membership through some basic repair tasks.
JUSTICE AND REGULATORY
The Southern Ute Police Department will continue to provide law enforcement services, radio communications (911), criminal investigations, and victim services during this time.
Division of Gaming: Division of Gaming investigators will provide tribal building security patrols on and off campus, extra patrols of Casino, and assist tribal court with required paper service.
Southern Ute Detention Center: The detention center will continue to provide services for inmates. Effective immediately, all visitation is suspended. This includes all contact and non-contact visits. Education, PBT breath samples for courts and probation have been suspended. Food and supply deliveries will be dropped at the Sally Port behind the kitchen. The driver will not enter the facility as trustees and staff will bring supplies into the kitchen. Office supplies will be dropped at the main administrative entrance. No one will be allowed access to the facility other than SUDC staff that is scheduled to work that day. SUPD, SUSS, Los Pinos Fire Protection District, and maintenance are allowed to enter the facility on an as needed basis. SUDC will continue to house contract inmates but will not be accepting new contract inmates at this time. Bail bondsman will be permitted into the Sally Port but will not enter the facility. Anyone who enters the facility including bondsman in the Sally Port will be asked if they have exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19.
Tribal Rangers: Tribal Rangers will continue to patrol the reservation and serve as first responders. Animal Control Officers will continue to provide services for the community.
Environmental Programs Division: Environmental Services will work remotely with the exception of monitoring stations for air quality and water quality within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
PROPERTY & FACILITIES
Custodial Services: Custodial Services is one of the most vital departments operating at this time and will continue to provide cleaning and sanitation of only the spaces where critical staff and IMT are operating.
Motor Pool: Motor Pool will cease all services to vehicles except for emergency service vehicles and other needs for critical tribal operations.
Building Maintenance: Building maintenance will work remotely and respond to major repairs as necessary and continue monitoring building maintenance needs.
Grounds Maintenance: Grounds maintenance will address trash pick-up and maintenance throughout the tribal campus and only in the spaces where critical staff and IMT are working.
TRIBAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Tribal Health Services is the most critical department providing services to the tribal membership during this time. Please continue to call the Southern Ute Health Center prior to your arrival; this practice is for the health and protection of both the patients and health care providers.
Tribal Health Center: The Health Center will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. for urgent appointments and pharmacy only. Respiratory ailment screenings will be conducted in the tent located behind the Southern Ute Health Center beginning at 8 a.m. All specialty medical clinics are postponed.
Dental Clinic: The dental clinic is closed.
Optometry: Optometry services will be ceased until further notice.
Behavioral Health: Behavioral health staff will be reaching out to patients, providing services and how to cope during stressful times. Providers are addressing the possibility of utilizing tele-medicine.
Public Health Nurse & Community Health Representatives (CHR): The public health nurse and CHR’s will provide medication deliveries, non-emergent medical transport, home visits, and case management as needed. Dialysis transports will continue.
Shining Mountain Health and Wellness: The Shining Mountain Health and Wellness staff will temporarily modify their scope of work to assist the Southern Ute Indian Tribe COVID-19 Call Center. Staff are identifying the program capacity to provide weekly cooking and other related information.
TRIBAL INFORMATION SERVICES
Administration: TIS staff will work with limited staff continue to process mail for the tribal government, answer and transfer incoming calls to tribal departments, and provide modified services.
Vital Statistics: Vital Statistics will continue to process enrollment applications, certificate of Indian blood (CIB), tax exemption forms, and notary public services. This will be available on Monday – Wednesday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. in the Central Receiving building.
The Southern Ute Drum: The Southern Ute Drum will continue to maintain production and provide special coverage on the COVID-19 outbreak and other current issues.
Mail service remains available. We will continue to meet the needs of tribal departments who have crucial tasks that involve postage. The schedule created to address tribal government mail delivery and mail pick up will be, Monday – Wednesday – Friday 8 am – 12 pm, First mail run at 8:30 am and the last one at 10:30 am. The only exception would be if the last day of the month or first day of the month falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, we will come in to do the postage and deliver the mail to the post office in the morning.
Emergency Family Services (EFS): EFS is encouraging clients to utilize the online application and submission process to limit the in-office exposure. EFS is working with Farmers Fresh and Grocery Store to accept applications from EFS online through email so tribal members can receive food vouchers at the store. All clients must call ahead to request funds available to them. Clients will need to contact EFS through the phone located at the front desk of the Mouache-Capote building. EFS will be working in collaboration with Elders Services to provide applications to/from Tribal Elders and/or disabled clients for assistance. EFS is also temporarily modifying services for off-reservation tribal members by providing the option of receiving $200 or $100 for grocery, as long as funds are available.
Elders Services: Elders Services will continue normal operation hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., however limited service for medical, grocery and household necessity delivery, and emergency services will be provided. Medical transport will be provided only for doctor appointments scheduled as of Friday, March 18, 2020, as well as medical emergencies. Staff will continue to deliver medication, groceries, bill pay, and post office runs within the approved safety zones. Elders Services has the right to refuse medical transport based on approved screening questions and a Doctor’s recommendation. Staff will implement safe contact practices with tribal elders by phone. In-person visits must adhere to the tribal policy and practice of social distancing based on recommendations from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team. Elders Services staff will work with other programs within the Tribal Services Department to coordinate services for Tribal Elders/Members with disabilities.
Food Distribution: Food Distribution is encouraging people to apply online. Staff are currently developing an online, pdf-fillable application and, upon completion, will be placed on the tribal website. Home delivery orders will be taken over the phone. Priority will be given to the elderly and disabled tribal membership. Participants will call in food orders and receive a time to pick-up their order. Entry will be through the back gate, guests will review the order in the loading area, sign in receipt of food, and exit through the front gate.
Vocational Rehabilitation: Vocational Rehabilitation will provide consumer meetings via phone or email and collaborative meetings with local vendors and resources via conference call, Zoom, and other technology services.
Social Services: Social Services will provide immediate response to client calls, emergencies, and continued collaboration with the Southern Ute Police Department. The tribal hotline for child abuse and neglect will continue to be available. Therapy sessions will be provided over the phone, through Facetime or Skype, and home visits as needed.
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The Department of Natural Resources will provide ongoing duties that are essential for continuity of operations and maintaining the Tribe’s business interests. The department will consider emergency meetings only.
GIS: GIS will work remotely to continue to provide map support services to the tribal membership as well as the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team as requested.
Lands: The Lands Division will work remotely and continue to provide land assignment administration and commercial crossing permits on an emergency basis.
Agriculture: Agriculture will continue to provide custom farm and agriculture support services including pest management.
Water Resources: The Water Resources Division will continue to provide irrigation support services and water administration.
Range: The Range Division will continue to provide emergency gas well spill management response and oilfield onsite inspections only when critically necessary.
Forestry: The Forestry Division will continue to provide emergency firewood services only, IMT planning, and forestry contract administration.
Wildlife Resources: The Wildlife Resources Division will continue to provide bison heard management, hunting/fishing licenses tribal member only, and Lake Capote dam early warning system monitoring. Bison meat will be available to the tribal membership, schedule for pick-up is forthcoming.
Lake Capote: Open only for SUIT members and immediate family only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; shoreline and dock fishing only; lakeside restrooms are open—campground facilities closed but camping allowed; limited bait shop sales through window. For Lake Capote questions, please call the Lake Manager at 970-883-2273 or The Southern Ute Wildlife Division at 970-563-0130.
Human Resources Department staff will work remotely and available by email and phone for assistance with employee benefits and employee questions/support. Risk Management continues to be involved in the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team and the COVID-19 response efforts.
The Internal Audit department will work remotely to assist with the continuity of government operations and meet with Tribal Council regarding on-going projects.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
The Boys & Girls Club is closed during this time. There will be no direct services provided, but Club staff will be offering programming, activity supplies and virtual support to families remotely.
The Tribal Planning Department will work remotely, continuing to plan functions on current projects.
SUNUTE COMMUNITY CENTER
The SunUte Community Center facilities are currently closed during this time.
The Prosecutor will attend court hearings as scheduled by the tribal court. The legal department will be available for child and elder protection services for the Department of Social Services and can be contacted by phone.
SOUTHERN UTE MUSEUM
The Southern Ute Museum is currently closed but will work remotely and continue the caretaking of exhibits, collections, and archives.
PERMANENT FUND INVESTMENTS
The Permanent Fund Investments will work remotely to continue to manage the Tribe’s investment capital.
SOUTHERN UTE INDIAN TRIBE COVID-19 CALL CENTER
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe COVID-19 Call Center will remain active through the duration of the modified government services being provided. Tribal members can reach the call center by dialing 970-563-0214. Calls regarding medical concerns should use extensions 2651 and 2654; calls with general questions or concerns should use extensions 2652 and 2667. Call center hours of operation are 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., 7 days a week until further direction is mandated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (IMT).
In addition to fielding calls, the call center will be making proactive calls to tribal elders, the disabled and high-risk tribal membership.
If you are a tribal member and concerned about your symptoms, please contact your primary care provider or call the Southern Ute Health Center at 970-563-4581 to speak with a health care professional.