COVID-19 Advisory: Letter to the EI Community
Date: 5 March 2020
To: SCs, Employees and Contractors
From: Oliver Trinidad, OTR/L, Program Director
Stay Calm, Life Goes On but Prevent Infection
At this time, no one knows how severe this outbreak will be. Given this uncertainty, and the fact that the seasonal influenza (flu) virus is also widespread, we are taking proactive steps to enable us to continue providing the much needed service we provide. At the same time, we need to stay calm because panic is can sometimes be more dangerous than the disease!
Having said that, we want to maintain a safe workplace and encourage and adopt practices protecting the health of SCs, consultants,employees, visitors, our families and the families and children that we strive to help. We must focus on the things we can do to stay safe and healthy.
Preventing COVID 19 in the Office
We ask everyone to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases in the workplace. Everybody should remember the following:
Stay home when you are sick.
Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
Cover your mouth with tissues whenever you sneeze, and discard used tissues in the trash.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or any part of your face without washing your hands first,
Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
Clean frequently touched surfaces with alcohol-based sanitizers.
Ability Builders will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout the workplace and in common areas. Cleaning sprays and wipes will also be provided to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as telephones and keyboards.
Employees are encouraged to use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings as much as possible during this outbreak. IT support services are available to employees who need assistance with this technology.
Preventing COVID-19 When Visiting Homes
For employees and consultants in the field who do home visits, please practice universal health precautions when dealing with the children and families you are serving. Aside from the precautions above, here are some other tips when visiting and treating children and families:
Use a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach in 1 quart of water prepared fresh each day to clean your toys or equipment before and after seeing your child,
Wash your hands before and after a session or as frequently as necessary with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds,
Keep a supply of hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes with you at all times,
Wear disposable gloves during feeding or oral motor therapy or when you feel contact with body fluids are likely,
Do not share items such as toothbrushes, washcloths between children,
Sanitize all adaptive utensils used in service provision,
For more information, please review and follow the health and safety standards particularly General Standards 4 and 5, found in the link below https://www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/service_providers/health_and_safety_standards.htm
What if I Don't Feel Well?
It is critical that employees and consultants do not report to work or see their assigned children while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. Also, if a child or a family member in the home you visit are exhibiting symptoms mentioned above please use common sense and cancel or postpone your session until you judge that it is safe to continue.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that contact be limited until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. We provide paid sick time and other benefits to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.
While we currently do not offer formal telework arrangements, we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests from office employees to work from home during this time. While not all positions are conducive to telework, those positions with primary job duties that can be effectively performed remotely will be given consideration.
Please contact me or the human resources department with any questions or concerns.
Fun and Helpful Links
CDC Preventing Infection in the Community
CDC Guidance for People with Potential Exposure to COVID-19
What To do If You Think You've been exposed to COVID-19 - CDC
Animated Informational Prevention Video Watch the animated Vietnamese Coronavirus video that Last Week Tonight's John Oliver calls "absolutely slapping" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9YirNgAzXI!
Corona Virus Dance Viral (forgive the pun) COVID 19 safety dance (BTW picture above is a screen capture from the video) https://firstname.lastname@example.org/video/6795172608770870529