A number of us have been very busy on two fronts: Working out
Cubberley space issues with the City and planning how we will
reopen FOPAL, whenever that may be.
As most of you probably saw in the Palo Alto Weekly, the City and the
School District (SD) have verbal agreement on a new lease commencing
July 1. The City will return to the SD most of the classroom space on
School District's 27 acre parcel, retaining playing fields and some
other portions. The City has been working very hard to find space on
the City’s 8 acres for tenants on SD property, in many cases causing
existing tenants on City property to give up some space. FOPAL will
keep both of its mobile buildings, Main Room and Children's
The Santa Clara County order allows retail establishments to open on
June 5 with certain restrictions. We are studying those and awaiting
news about opening of Cubberley. Then we will reopen our buildings,
first to volunteers, then donors and finally a sale.
We have developed most of the protocols necessary for volunteers to
return to work in as safe an environment as feasible. Janette is
working on a system for volunteers to have assigned shifts in each
room to facilitate social distancing. Volunteers should enter
buildings only at the agreed shift time. Volunteers will arrive
wearing face coverings and will continue to wear them when in a
FOPAL facility. Before entering each day, volunteers will review
the health screening form that is attached to this protocol. If
answering yes to any of those questions, stay or go home and inform
Janette that you are unable to work at FOPAL. Consult your own medical
professional. If you receive a COVID diagnosis, follow CDC
instructions to stay home for 10 days after start of symptoms and
three days after cessation of symptoms. Hopefully anyone who has been
at FOPAL who receives such a diagnosis will inform Janette so other
notifications may be made without naming the ill individual. Anyone
becoming ill while at FOPAL should leave immediately and request
assistance if necessary. If you have had close contact with a person
diagnosed with Covid DO NOT ENTER. Call your doctor or 211 for
instructions on how long you must be in quarantine. We are depending
on you to keep your fellow volunteers safe.
When entering a FOPAL building, enter your name and other information
on the contact tracing sign-in form just inside the door. This might
be used at a later date if a COVID diagnosis of anyone entering a
building is received. FOPAL would inform others who signed in during
the same period that they may have been exposed.
When at FOPAL remember to stay at least six feet away from anyone
else. Wherever you are working, do so in a way to keep a six-foot
distance from others. Remember to wash or sanitize hands frequently.
The buildings will be cleaned with added precautions and more
frequently. Gloves and sanitizer will be available for your use.
Greet each other from a distance.
Use gloves when using any items that are also used by others. Use
paper towel sprayed with sanitizer to clean items that may be
contaminated. Please wipe down areas that will be used by others.
The sorting room keyboards will have plastic covers; wipe down the
covers after use.
No food or water will be available at FOPAL. Please bring your own
water. If you need food during your shift, bring it with you and eat
it outdoors or in your car if possible.
Anyone entering FOPAL buildings must follow the self-screening and
contact tracing protocols above. The self-screening form will be
The first task upon returning will be to clear out clutter so that
outside cleaners will be better able to clean the premises. Section
managers in the Main Room will be responsible for the area around
The Sorting Room will have just one or two sorters at any one time
and possibly one or two people using the computers. There are new
computers in the sorting room, all-in-one machines that take up less
space. The area is clean. Please try to keep it that way. Keyboard
covers are on order. Feel free occasionally to remove and clean
those covers. Cleaning supplies and gloves will be on the former
food table in the main room, near the sinks in the Children's and
There may be incoming donations in the corridor outside the sorting
room. A sorter can make sure they are in bankers boxes and ready to
enter the Sorting Room. That person can also be the transporter
from the Sorting Room to sections.
Donations will not begin until at least a week after volunteers
return. Donors will not enter the Sorting Room. One or both of our
electric carts will be at the foot of the ramp outside the Sorting
Room. A volunteer will direct donors to put donations (once inside
a bankers box) on a cart and make available pre-signed receipts.
When a cart is full it will go to the Courtyard behind the Bargain
Room and remain in quarantine for a few days. Donations will be
received Tuesday through Saturday from 1-4 pm. There will be a limit
of six bags or boxes for any one donation until we have more capacity.
We will not have pickups during this period. People with large
donations will need to call Janette in advance and make arrangements
to drop off the donation at a location where we have space. No
ephemera, electronics or art will be accepted.
Our assumption right now is that the first sale will be August 8 and
9. In order to limit people in the sale rooms, that first sale will be
for members only in the Main Room on Saturday from 9 to 4 and in the
Children's Room from 10-4 both with advance sign-up for time slots.
There will be no Membership renewals/purchases at the sale. Bargain
Room will be closed on Saturday. There will be no sales to other than
members on Saturday. Life Members and Sponsors may purchase up to 100
books in the Main Room. Other members may purchase up to 25 books in
the Main Room per membership except Family Members may purchase up to
25 items for each of two adult members at a time.
On Sunday from 11-4 there will be a bag sale in the Bargain Room for
any customers with advance sign-up as to a time. The Main and
Children’s rooms will be open on Sunday from 11 to 4 with advance time
slot sign ups.
We are exploring the use of an electronic sign-up sheet on the website
for customers to pick a half hour slot (except for hour slots for the
first two hours for life members and sponsors in the Main Room). They
will be allowed to shop for about 25 minutes and then exit the
building to reach the cashiers at the foot of the ramp. In this way
there will be time to check for membership, give people an entering
time expectation without coming early for a number and waiting in
line, and limit the number of people in the buildings. Some antiseptic
cleaning will be done inside the building before the next tranche
will be admitted.
Under current regulations, the number of volunteers/customers in each
room at any one time will be limited to:
For all buildings, customers will enter one door and exit another.
Cashiers will be outside. Some clearing of an aisle inside the
entrance doors is underway for the Bargain Room and the Children's
There will be no ephemera, art or dollar sales as we begin.
The usual post sale free nights in the Bargain Room - Sunday night
4pm-6pm for nonprofits and Monday for all from 6pm-8pm - will take