Delphi Public Library Safety Measures Plan
In an effort to ensure a safe environment for employees and patrons, the following actions are being taken to minimize the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The main elements are screening, hygiene measures, distancing, and masks. Each element used by itself will not be sufficient, but when taken together, and taken seriously, they can shut down the virus.
Employee Health Screening Process
All Delphi Public Library employees are required to self-screen each day before coming to work. They must confirm that they have not developed a single sign of the disease—a new fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or even just nasal congestion or a runny nose that is not likely to be due to seasonal allergies. (A formal temperature check is not required, because although 90% of symptomatic COVID-19 patients eventually develop fevers, in early stages fever is present less than half the time. The mild symptoms are most important to screen for.) They are required to notify the director if they have a fever over 100 degrees, any of the above-mentioned symptoms, or other CDC-recognized symptoms of COVID-19. The employee will be asked to stay at home, or to go home if at work, and call in for further guidance. The director will follow CDC recommendations or local healthcare provider guidance for when to allow the employee to return to work. The employee will work remotely from home when possible and/or use appropriate leaves. Current guidance suggests that people with symptoms who have not been tested should self-quarantine for at least seven days from the start of their symptoms and until they’ve been fever-free and with improving symptoms for 72 hours.
Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
Limited numbers of staff for very short time periods were allowed in the library buildings from March 16 to May 4. On May 4, all frequently touched areas and all counter and furniture surfaces were thoroughly cleaned by an outside service with hospital-grade cleaning materials. To maintain a safe and sanitized workplace, staff are encouraged to use only one computer during their shift, and are required to clean surfaces in their work area before they leave the building. The library custodian will clean all high-touch surfaces again nightly. Wipes are available in each library area. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is encouraged. Hand sanitizer will also be provided at both entrances and in high-touch areas. Disposable gloves are also available.
Library materials will be quarantined for 72 hours when returned by a patron and before being checked in and placed back in circulation.
After the quarantine period, materials will be cleaned with 70% alcohol before being returned to the shelves or made available to other patrons.
Children’s play materials will be unavailable.
Compliance with Social Distancing, Mask Wearing, and Safety Protocols
Social Distancing. All library employees will maintain a distance of six feet from each other at all times. Studies show that environmental transmission may account for as little as 6% of COVID-19 infections. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets emitted by infected people when they cough, sneeze, talk, or simply exhale; the droplets are then breathed in by others. (Loud talking has even been shown to generate measurably more droplets than quieter talking.) This is why physical distancing is so important.
Masks. All library employees are required to wear masks when in the library if they are in proximity to another person (and in all public areas once the building reopens). The virus that causes COVID-19 can make people infectious before they develop symptoms of illness. Studies now consistently indicate that infectivity starts before symptoms do, that it peaks right around the day that they start, and that it declines substantially by five days or so. That is the reason for combining distancing with masks. They provide “source control”—blocking the spread of respiratory droplets from a person with active, but perhaps unrecognized, infection. Even the material of a double-layered cotton mask can block droplet emissions, and the virus does not last long on cloth; viral counts drop 99% in three hours. A recent, extensive review of the research from an international consortium of scientists suggests that if at least 60% of the population wore masks that were just 60% effective in blocking viral transmission—which a well-fitting, two-layer cotton mask is—the epidemic could be stopped. The more effective the mask, the bigger the impact. Masks also prevent wearers from touching their noses and mouths.
Gloves. All library employees may wear gloves when handling materials if that is their preference. Gloves should be disposed of after each use, however. If gloves are worn for any length of time, they can serve simply to transfer droplets from surface to surface. Frequent hand washing may be a better alternative.
Hand Washing. All library employees are required to practice frequent handwashing and/or hand sanitizing. Cleaning hands is essential to stopping the transfer of infectious droplets from surfaces to nose, mouth, and eyes. Studies have shown that frequency of hand washing makes a bigger difference than many realize. The key is to wash or sanitize your hands every time you go into and out of a group environment, and every couple of hours while you’re in it.
Staff (and the public, once the building has fully opened) will have access to multiple restrooms with hand-washing procedure guidelines posted at the sinks. Hand sanitizer and wipes will also be made available at key locations throughout the facilities.
Once the building reopens, barriers such as tables will be placed at circulation desks for the safety of both staff and patrons to ensure social distancing and enhanced protection. Masks will be required. Seating will be limited and spaced at least six feet from other seating. Meetings, gatherings, events and programs, when allowed, will require the ability of social distancing to be maintained. This Safety Measures Plan will be adjusted as new data becomes available and as the library moves through its phased reopening plan.