• Reviewing the usual absenteeism patterns at your shelter.
  • Discussing attendance and sick leave policies with staff.
    • Encourage staff and volunteers to stay home when sick.
    • Use flexibility, when possible, to allow staff to stay home to care for sick family members.
  • Being open to cross-training current employees or hiring temporary employees to help cover for staff who need to be out.

Read CDC’s detailed guidance to learn more about how to get your organization ready for COVID-19. CDC also has guidance on preventing COVID-19 among people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

Take steps to lower the chance that staff and clients will get sick

The best way to prevent illness among your staff and clients is to help them avoid being exposed to germs that can make them sick. Start by encouraging everyone to use everyday preventive actions (such as washing hands often, avoiding close contact with people, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow). Be sure you have supplies on hand (such as such as soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets) for your staff, volunteers, and those you serve.

To help limit the spread of the virus, you should also develop flexible sick-leave and telework policies so that staff (and volunteers) can stay home when they are sick, when they need to care for a sick household member, or to care for their children in the event of temporary school dismissals.

Clean and disinfect a facility to limit spread of the virus

To limit the spread of the viruses such as COVID-19, routinely clean and then disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often. Some of these surfaces and objects are doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and countertops. Read CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting to learn more. Use the cleaners you typically use. Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label. For disinfection, most common household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf icon.

Find information about whether COVID-19 has spread in a community

You can get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from your local public health officials and by visiting CDC’s website.

Learn about special considerations for clients with mental health conditions

The spread of COVID-19 may be very stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about the virus can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. People who have preexisting mental health conditions, including problems with substance abuse, may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis. People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Servicesexternal icon website.

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