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Delphi Public Library Safety Measures Plan

Adopted 5/18/2020, amended 6/15/20, 7/20/20, 9/21/20, 11/16/20

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. If COVID testing is available, an employee who has symptoms will be requested to get tested. They may then return to work after receiving a negative test result. Current guidance suggests that people with symptoms who have not been tested should self-quarantine for at least ten days from the start of their symptoms and until they’ve been fever-free and with improving symptoms for 72 hours. People who have tested positive may return to work when they’ve been fever-free and with improving symptoms for 72 hours. Employees who have close contact (less than 6 feet for 15+ minutes within a 24 hour period starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick) to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days, or follow the latest state guidelines on close contact quarantine.

If an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, the library will follow CDC guidance for the workplace. If it has been less than seven days since the sick employee has been in the facility, the library will close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person, and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting those areas to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. Because of the physical environment of the library, it may be necessary to close the entire building for 24 hours before cleaning if the employee has been in multiple areas of the library during the previous seven days before falling ill or testing positive. If it has been seven days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. The library will continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.

The library will determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus, inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and instruct potentially exposed employees to stay home for 14 days, telework if possible, and self-monitor for symptoms. 

Risks of exposure are determined as follows:

An individual who has had close contact (< 6 feet for ≥15 minutes within a 24 hour period starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick) to

  • a person with COVID-19 who has symptoms (in the period from two days before symptom onset until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation; can be laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness), or

  • a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (laboratory confirmed) but has not had any symptoms (in the two days before the date of specimen collection until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation)

should stay home until 14 days after last exposure and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others at all times, self-monitor for symptoms, check temperature twice a day, watch for fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19, avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Because of the small physical spaces in which employees work and interact with each other, and the lack of ventilation in most of those areas, it may be necessary to close the entire building and send all employees home to self-quarantine for 14 days after last exposure, as specified above. In this case, all library services except Digital-Only Services will be suspended for the 14-day period and will resume when it is safe for employees to return to the building.

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

  • Library materials will be quarantined for 24 hours when returned by a patron and before being checked in and placed back in circulation.

  • 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 and visitors are required to wear masks when in the library. 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. 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. All library visitors will be asked to wash or sanitize their hands when entering the library. 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 will have access to multiple restrooms with hand-washing procedure guidelines posted at the sinks. Hand sanitizer and surface sanitizing solutions are also available at key locations throughout the facilities.

Barriers such as tables are placed at circulation desks for the safety of both staff and patrons to ensure social distancing and enhanced protection. Masks are required at all times while visiting the library. Masks must be: worn by all persons over the age of 2, well-fitted to the face, covering the nose and mouth with no large gaps, made of tightly woven fabrics such as cotton and not fabrics like lace, mesh, or knits, and worn properly throughout the duration of your visit. This means not pulling it down or away from your face to expose your nose and/or mouth. Those that prefer to not wear a mask will be offered curbside delivery only. Patrons who are feeling unwell or have a fever will be asked to stay home until they are well. Seating is 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.

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