COVID-19 Information Technology Resources

For Public Entities Regarding Remote Public Meetings

In conjunction with the issuance of Executive Order 20-25, which supersedes Executive Order 20-05, by the Honorable Governor Gina M. Raimondo (see http://governor.ri.gov/newsroom/orders/), the Department of Administration is providing the following updated guidance for public meetings:

  1. In the event that a public body meets in-person, and the public body has the capability of providing remote audio and/or video access by the general public, it should do so. For Executive Branch agencies, such capability may be available through services that the Division of Information Technology (“DOIT”) can identify for you.
  2. In the event that a meeting is held at a physical location, the media, on a pool basis if appropriate, and the public should be permitted to attend, while being mindful of the attendance limitations set forth in Executive Order 20-14, as and may be further supplemented and/or amended (see http://governor.ri.gov/newsroom/orders/).
  3. In the event that either audio and/or video coverage of a meeting is interrupted, the meeting shall be suspended, with the record reflecting such suspension, until such time as functionality is restored.
  4. Should the members of the public body have the technology available to them during a remote video meeting, the members should allow themselves to be visible to the public during the entirety of the meeting.
  5. At the commencement of a meeting, the record should reflect which members are in attendance in person, if any, and which members are participating remotely, if any.
  6. It is important that each member identify themselves before speaking so that the record is clear as to who is discussing or questioning a matter. And, it is prudent to have all votes be taken by roll call with identification of the person voting.
  7. If possible, all documents anticipated to be publicly presented at a meeting should be posted on the public body’s website prior to the start of the meeting. Such posting should not be considered as part of any record until admitted into evidence and/or the record by the presiding officer. In the event that an unanticipated document is introduced at the open meeting, the public body should post the document to its website as soon as practicable.
  8. Instructions for how the public may access and participate in the meeting shall be placed in the agenda for the meeting.  Additionally, the agenda shall contain contact information for a representative of the public body who may be notified in the event of technical difficulties.

Microsoft Free Offerings

For businesses, municipalities, K-12 and other entities, Microsoft is providing six months of Office 365 tools for free to enable remote collaboration, file sharing and video conferencing. They’re also offering free assistance to set up these tools. Click the following links for more information about these free services:

For Businesses: Free Office 365 E1 offer for six months. Please follow this link.

For Schools: Free Office 365 A1 available to all educational institutions. Sign up by following this link.

For Individuals:

  • If you have an email address through work or school, sign in using this link.
  • If you’re using an email address like Gmail or Outlook, you can sign up for a version of Teams by following this link.
  • This offering is not intended for State Employees for accessing State data and the conduct of State business.  If you are a State employee and require Office 365 deployment for telework, please contact your agency IT team.

If you need additional assistance with this products, please contact:

Jon Huber
Technology Strategist | Microsoft Public Sector | 280 Trumbull St., 21st Floor | Hartford CT 06103
860.573.2509[m] |  jon.huber@microsoft.com