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COVID-19 Update: CDC Issues Reopening Decision Tools for Businesses, Schools

May 19, 2020

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on May 14 new information tools to help guide employers in how to reopen businesses, schools, mass transit stations, and childcare centers to the public.

The six documents depict flow charts of the process decision-makers can use to reopen their establishments, while considering their state and local stay-at-home orders.

The CDC recommends that all workplaces delay opening unless they are prepared to protect employees in higher risk groups, such as those 65 and older or who have underlying medical conditions.

If an organization can properly protect workers and begins the reopening process, the CDC recommends “intensifying cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation” and promoting healthy hygiene practices such as hand washing and having employees wear a cloth face covering, as feasible.

For general workplaces, the CDC asks employers to develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival and to plan for if an employee gets sick.

For schools and child care centers, the CDC recommends organizations be equipped to screen children and employees upon arrival for symptoms and history of exposure to COVID-19 before considering reopening. It also recommends social distancing, smaller groups, limited sharing of toys and supplies, and that all employees are trained on health and safety protocols.

For all entities, CDC asks that employers consider several steps to ensure ongoing monitoring is in place once reopened and encourages regular communication with employees and local health authorities.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, recently introduced its GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation program on cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention. GBAC STAR establishes requirements to assist facilities with work practices, protocols, procedures, and systems to control risks associated with infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Accreditation criteria and facility applications are now available at www.gbac.org.

CDC Reopening Decision Tree

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