• Announcement

SHS COVID-19 Center: Precautions for your Organization – NEW UPDATES (12-17-2020)

COVID-19: Guidance for Organizational Response Planning

This interim guidance is based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance as combined with standard Risk Management principles and strategies.

Perhaps the largest threat to your organization during the pandemic are the changes to your primary operations as you respond to the needs of your community.  Already we have seen many nonprofit organizations rise to meet major social service needs in major ways.  Areas such as emergency childcare, residential shelters, in-home babysitting, elder care, and food distribution are just some of the ways you are serving.  Drastic operational changes made over a short period of time can significantly increase opportunity for undesirable events to take place. Thankfully, with the right amount of planning and a dedicated staff, you can control your risks during this time and be in a better position for when the pandemic is over.

Top 5 Things  Your Organization Should be Doing

  1. Stay current with information and guidance from the CDC, local government, and State/Local Health Departments.
  2. Respond to Organizational Changes
    1. Building Shutdowns
    2. Operational Changes
    3. Third Party Operations & Risk Transfer: Contracts, Waivers, COIs, etc.
    4. HIPPA
  3. Conduct Risk Assessment
    1. Tabletop
    2. Physical Walk-through
  4. Develop Controls
  5. Establish a Response Plan

As you serve your communities, we want to serve you with risk management considerations & resources during this time. There are multiple links to guidance from the CDC and Great American throughout. Click each link to learn more.

New Updates

This interim guidance pertains to critical infrastructure workers, including personnel in 16 different sectors of work including:

  • Federal, state, & local law enforcement
  • 911 call center employees
  • Fusion Center employees
  • Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector
  • Janitorial staff and other custodial staff
  • Workers – including contracted vendors – in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy and government facilities

Additional considerations:

  • Employees should not share headsets or other objects that are near mouth or nose.
  • Employers should increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
  • Employees and employers should consider pilot testing the use of face masks to ensure they do not interfere with work assignments.
  • Employers should work with facility maintenance staff to increase air exchanges in room.
  • Employees should physically distance when they take breaks together. Stagger breaks and don’t congregate in the break room, and don’t share food or utensils.

Worker Exposure Classifications from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Very High Exposure Risk

Very high exposure risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures. Workers in this category include:

  • Healthcare workers (e.g., doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians) performing aerosol-generating procedures (e.g., intubation, cough induction
    procedures, bronchoscopies, some dental procedures and exams, or invasive specimen collection) on known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • Healthcare or laboratory personnel collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients (e.g., manipulating cultures from known or suspected COVID-19
  • Morgue workers performing autopsies, which generally involve aerosol-generating procedures, on the bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of their death.

High Exposure Risk

High exposure risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Workers in this category include:

  • Healthcare delivery and support staff (e.g., doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who must enter patients’ rooms) exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients. (Note: when such workers perform aerosol-generating procedures, their exposure risk level becomes very high.)
  • Medical transport workers (e.g., ambulance vehicle operators) moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients in enclosed vehicles.
  • Mortuary workers involved in preparing (e.g., for burial or cremation) the bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of their death.

Medium Exposure Risk

Medium exposure risk jobs include those that require frequent and/or close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas without ongoing community transmission, workers in this risk group may have frequent contact with travelers who may return from international locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact be with the general public (e.g., in schools, high-population-density work environments, and some high-volume retail settings).

Lower Exposure Risk (Caution)

Lower exposure risk (caution) jobs are those that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor frequent close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) the general public. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers. See printable guidance from the CDC, printable flyers for essential workers, and guidance from OSHA on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.

Guidance for Schools & Childcare Programs

  • Make hand cleaning supplies readily available.
  • Encourage students and staff to stay home if sick.
  • Monitor absenteeism.
  • Plan for digital and distance learning.
  • Be prepared to temporarily dismiss or close schools and cancel events.
    • Short term dismissals for cleaning and contact tracing if you have a case.
    • Longer dismissals if you have substantial spread in your area.
  • Plan ways to continue student services such as school meal programs if schools close.
  • Stagger staffing or schedules to reduce in-person interaction.
  • Work with your local health department for guidance on closures and re-openings.

Supplemental Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open

Guidance for Homeless Service Providers

Persons experiencing homelessness may be at risk for infection during an outbreak of COVID-19. This interim guidance is intended to support response planning by homeless service providers, including overnight emergency shelters, day shelters, and meal service providers.

COVID-19 is caused by a new virus. There is much to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of the disease. Everyone can do their part to help plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging public health threat. CDC has developed recommendations for homeless service providers about how to protect their staff, clients, and guests. The Before, During, and After sections of this guidance offer suggested strategies to help homeless service providers plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging public health threat.

For Facilities that House People Overnight

If cases of COVID-19 have been identified among residents of on-campus community housing, work with local public health officials to take additional precautions. Individuals with COVID-19 may need to be moved to temporary housing locations. These individuals will need to self-isolate and monitor for worsening symptoms according to the guidance of local health officials. Close contacts of the individuals with COVID-19 may also need temporary housing so that they can self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

Consult with local health officials to determine when, how, and where to move ill residents. Information on providing home care to individuals with COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization is available on CDC’s website. Follow CDC’s guidance for colleges and universities. Work with state and local health officials to determine the best way to isolate people who are sick and if temporary housing is needed. For guidance on cleaning and disinfecting a sick person’s bedroom/bathroom, review CDC’s guidance on disinfecting your home if someone is sick.

Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders

Guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living

COVID-19 is being increasingly reported in communities across the United States. It is likely that the novel coronavirus is circulating in most communities even if cases have not yet been reported. Residents in retirement communities and ILF are considered to be at higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes because of older age and because they may have underlying health conditions, such as chronic heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. They also may be at higher risk of getting and spreading the virus because of community characteristics, such as frequent social activities, and shared dining facilities and communal spaces. Guidance specific to retirement and independent living communities can help the residents, and those who help serve them, slow the spread of the virus and prevent serious illness.

Resources for Clinics and Healthcare Facilities

Food Handling & Distribution

Operational Change Management, General Liability, Risk Transfer, and Response

As you partner with other agencies with your community, it is important to remember how critical contracts, waivers, and certificates of insurance are to protecting your organization.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming the liability for a Third Party operating within your building or on your premises.


Driver Safety

If you are ramping up delivery and/or transportation operations, it is important not to relax your driver safety standards.  Don’t make the mistake of putting a driver behind the wheel that really shouldn’t be driving for your organization.

Other Resources