Didymus Thomas Library
Pandemic Operations Plan
The purpose of this policy is to establish a procedure to be used in the event of an epidemic/pandemic or other public health emergency. This policy differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. In the case of an event such as a fire, storm, or utility outage, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building and normal library services will resume shortly after the event or crisis has ended. In the case of a public health emergency, recovery may be slow and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for an extended period of time. In the event of a pandemic or other serious health emergency, the library may be required to take measures to help slow the spread of the illness. These measures may include temporary closure of the library to the public and/or service restrictions such as limited hours of operation, reduced staffing, restricted access to areas in the library, increased health and safety measures for staff, cancellation of programs, special events, and meeting room reservations, etc.
Essential workers are as defined by New York Library Association (NYLA). Employees who will be allowed in the building are individuals who are needed to check and maintain the building, perform bookkeeping duties, complete payroll and prepare for virtual programming.
Staff who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, thereby limiting the number of employees in the building.
Work shifts may be altered to accommodate fewer people working together at one time. Each employee will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their work area at the end of their work shift.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
To ensure employees comply with protective equipment requirements, Didymus Thomas Library (DTL) will:
● provide employees with acceptable face coverings at no cost to the employee and will have an adequate supply on hand. DTL will maintain sufficient supplies of PPE (gloves, mask, etc.). Inventory will be monitored weekly and replenishments will be ordered as needed. PPE will be stored in a common area accessible to all employees. Face coverings must be cleaned or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled. They may not be shared, and should be properly stored or discarded. Staff can request additional masks if theirs become damaged or soiled. Staff will be allowed to bring in their personally owned masks as long as they meet the CDC recommended guidelines. Staff will be required to launder their own reusable masks.
● limit the sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces. When in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, employees may wear gloves and should sanitize or wash their hands before and after contact. Items such as computers and other technologies or items that will be shared among staff will be wiped down with approved sanitizer wipes or solutions before and after each use by an individual.
● Hand sanitizer and soap will be readily available throughout the building. Signs encouraging proper hand washing will be posted throughout the Library.
Documentation of Work Hours and Locations (Staff Exposures, Cleaning, and Disinfection)
DTL is committed to providing a safe and sanitary environment for its patrons and staff. Based on recommendations from the Oneida County Health Department, other appropriate public health organizations, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local, state or federal government entities, the Library may increase the frequency or methods of cleaning and sanitizing the building, especially high traffic areas and surfaces.
DTL will place a strong emphasis on prevention and individual responsibility for taking necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of infection.
DTL employees will self-screen by taking their temperatures and abiding by local and state health department guidelines for symptom monitoring prior to reporting for their scheduled shift.
DTL will provide its patrons and staff with convenient access to hand sanitizer, hand washing facilities, and disinfecting wipes. Signs will be posted throughout the building encouraging all to frequently wash and disinfect their hands to help minimize the spread of an infectious illness. The Library itself will endeavor to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as is reasonably practical. Computers designated for public use will have a protective film covering the keyboard, and mouse. At the end of the patron’s allotted time, staff will sanitize the computer station. Communal desks will be disinfected as well at the end of the employees' allotted time on the desk.
DTL is requiring patrons, visitors, vendors, and community partners who visit the library to practice the following recommendations provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases:
● wear an appropriate mask when coming to the Library (no exceptions). Masks must cover both the mouth and nose.
● practice social distancing and abide by the markings and signs throughout the Library.
● stay home when sick.
● wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
● avoid touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth.
● cover one’s cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing the tissue in the trash.
● avoid close contact with people who are sick.
To ensure employees comply with hygiene and cleaning requirements, DTL will:
● Adhere to hygiene and sanitation requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) and maintain cleaning logs on site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning. The Director will be responsible for keeping and maintaining the cleaning log. The log will be kept in the Director’s office.
● Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations for personnel, including handwashing with soap, water, and paper towels, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible. Signage will be posted in all restrooms and washing facilities with the CDC recommendations on hand-washing protocols. Hand soap and other sanitizing products will be kept at the Library and will be replenished as needed.
● Conduct regular cleaning and disinfection at least daily, or more frequently as needed, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of shared objects and surfaces, as well as high transit areas, such as restrooms and common areas, must be completed.
If directed by local, state, or federal health mandates to implement social distancing, the DTL will follow such mandates, both within the library building, and, where appropriate, upon the library premises. Further, it shall be within the discretion of the Library, acting through its Director and its Board of Trustees, to impose additional mandates as determined to be necessary to maintain appropriate social distancing and to protect the health, safety, and well-being of both patrons and staff.
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or any other illness associated with a pandemic/epidemic, DTL will cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as other employees or patrons who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations. The positive employee will follow isolation requirements as instituted by state and local health department guidelines for COVID-19 or any other illness associated with a pandemic/epidemic.
The employee’s workstation will be thoroughly disinfected.
What to do if you were exposed to COVID-19 or suspect an infection:
What to do in order to return to work:
Public Health authorities may recommend quarantining recently returned items. Items will remain in quarantine for the prescribed period for that material, as per the Mid-York Library System protocol. Materials may remain on patrons’ cards during the quarantine period, and if so, the DTL staff will post the discharge date to reflect the return date.
To ensure material does not aid in the transmission of a communicable disease, DTL requires that:
● All material be returned through the book drops.
● Materials will be quarantined for 7days. Quarantine periods may be altered if guidance provided to the Mid York Library Systems should change.
● Staff wear appropriate PPE while handling materials.
Communicating with the Public Due to Closure of the Library
It is the policy of the Didymus Thomas Library to notify its patrons, employees, volunteers, and community as soon as possible in the event of a library closure. If a reopening date is known that date should also be communicated.
Methods of communication to be used include, where possible, the following:
If there are delays beyond the expected reopening date, regular communication should
occur, using the available methods outlined above.
Criteria for Suspending or Limiting Library Programs
DTL will consider the following criteria to determine limiting or canceling Library-sponsored programs:
Public use of the DTL for non-library sponsored programs will be subject to the above criteria.
DTL will maintain continuity of library services to the greatest extent possible while working to provide a safe environment and complying with local, county, and state mandates. DTL will strive to minimize the negative impacts on access to resources and services resulting from procedures adopted in response to a pandemic. The Library will work to preserve access to its online resources with the help and support of the Mid York System.