Keeping Your Community Organization Safe During the Pandemic
Community organizations do crucial, on-the-ground work to help neighborhoods by providing various types of assistance and resources. They bridge the gap between local government, health officials and the population by figuring out what their community needs and advocating for it at a higher level. The work these organizations do — social services, nonprofit work, education, etc. — is essential to both the wellbeing and morale of the people they serve. Here are some precautions you can take to keep your organization safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Curbing the Spread of COVID-19
The main mode of viral transmission for COVID-19 is through droplets produced by coughs, sneezes and talking. In order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, be sure to take the following precautions:
- Encourage volunteers and employees to stay home if they have been sick lately or feel symptoms of COVID-19
- Implement a mask policy for any indoor areas
- Ensure people practice social distancing, staying 6 ft apart
- Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Separate any workers who have been feeling sick
- Take volunteer/employee temperatures before they enter the building each day
- Wash hands frequently
- Implement no-touch trash receptacles
- Restructure building layout to encourage one-way traffic and spread out desks/tables
- Consider limiting the number of people that use the restroom at one time
- Install signage that encourages social distancing and new safety measures
Assess Risks Logically
Risk assessment is very important when combating COVID-19 and ensuring the safety of those around you. For example, minimizing the number of face-to-face interactions as well as the duration of those interactions. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes the risk of certain workplace activities into 4 distinct classifications:
Low Risk: Meetings and conversations are done virtually. Only essential activities, such as administering health care, are carried out in-person.
Risky: Small, in-person meetings. Outdoor in-person gatherings are prioritized, but still include individuals from different households (from the same geographic community) who maintain social distance measures. Masks are required, and no food is served. Cleaning and disinfecting measures are taken regularly, especially after a space has been occupied for lengthy periods of time.
High Risk: Medium-sized gatherings and indoor activities are held, while enforcing a mask mandate. Pre-packaged food is served, with disposable utensils. Limited guests come from outside the immediate community.
Highest Risk: Large indoor gatherings, where social distancing is difficult to practice and masks are not enforced. Food is served not pre-packaged and without disposable utensils. Event attendees come from a variety of locales outside of the immediate community. Buildings who go about their “business as usual” without taking any precautions are at the highest risk.
Implement a Consistent Cleaning & Disinfection Schedule
Disinfecting high-touch surfaces every day with EPA-approved chemicals needs to be implemented, particularly if people congregate indoors. High-touch surfaces include but are not limited to:
- Light switches
- Faucets and toilet handles
- Drinking fountains
- Office equipment
In addition to cleaning and disinfecting, buildings should program their ventilation systems to circulate as much outside air as possible. Keeping windows open is also a great way to improve indoor air circulation. If an in-person gathering is necessary, try to have it outdoors if possible.
Aftermath is Here to Help Community Organizations
Aftermath Services offers the industry’s only coronavirus (COVID-19) disinfection program with verifiable surface testing to ensure the virus is eradicated from the environment.
The safety of you, your volunteers, employees and community is our top priority. If a COVID-19-impacted area is not properly disinfected, it could lead to further virus transmission. If your community organization does not practice the safety standard outlined by organizations like the CDC, those you work with are at an increased risk of exposure.
For more information on how we clean & disinfect, visit our COVID-19 webpage or call us with additional questions at 877-769-6917.
Additional Resources for Community Organizations
- COVID-19 printed signs to promote hygiene
- Health departments & directories
- Hiring a janitorial service to clean COVID-19 could do more harm than good