A NOTE FROM AEDD CEO/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
November 9, 2020
Dear AEDD & CLS Staff,
RE: COVID-19 FMLA, Revised COVID-19 Related Policies and Guidance
With the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays fast approaching, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that our “out of state travel” and “out of state visitor” policies remain in effect. These policies are in effect to protect the children and adults and we serve, and also you and your family. With the cases of COVID-19 continuing to increase, it is everyone’s responsibility to take these policies seriously in an effort to protect those we serve, our co-workers and families.
Per the policies, you are expected to report instances of out of state travel for yourself or members of your household and also guests from other states visiting your household to your supervisor immediately. Failure to follow these policies will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and any available leave time could be denied if it can be determined that you did not properly report. Please keep in mind that these policies do not prevent you from traveling outside of the state or receiving visitors from out of the state. This is always your choice; however, in order to safeguard those we serve and other staff, AEDD & CLS shall follow best practices and self-isolate per these policies.
Out of State Travel Policy
Any AEDD/CLS employee or volunteer traveling outside of Arkansas is required to report that trip to his or her supervisor immediately. Additionally, any employee or volunteer who has a family member, who resides in the home, who travels outside of Arkansas must also report that trip to his or her supervisor immediately. All employees or volunteers who do travel out of the state, or who have family members who travel outside of the state, will then be required to self-isolate for a 14-day period upon their return to Arkansas. Each day of that self-quarantine, employees will report their temperature, or the temperature of their family member, to their supervisor and Human Resources. This policy shall remain in effect until you receive notice otherwise.
Out of State Visitor Policy
AEDD/CLS employees are required to report visitors, including family members, that come into the employee’s household from other states or that have recently traveled outside of the country. Upon contact with visitors, even those not displaying symptoms, employees will then be required to self-isolate for a 5-day period. Each day of that self-quarantine, employees will report their temperature to their supervisor and Human Resources. If a fever is reported during the self-quarantine, additional guidance will be provided and must be followed prior to the employees return to work. This policy shall remain in effect until you receive notice otherwise.
Additional Information and Guidance
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
AR Department of Health Possible Exposure to COVID-19 Guidance:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with the inside of your bent elbow facing your mouth
- Stay home if you are sick
- Call your doctor if you are worried about being sick
Exposure to COVID-19 occurs when an individual is 6ft or less from a confirmed positive person for 15 or more minutes during their infectious period. The infectious period is 48 hours before symptom onset or date of swab collection if asymptomatic.
Positive exposure does not occur when an individual walks by someone who is confirmed positive, nor when going in a room or building where a confirmed positive person was previously, and nor is it simply being in the same building with a person who is or was positive. If you are unsure whether or not a positive contact has occurred, discuss it with your supervisor or Human Resources.
If you have had a positive exposure to COVID-19 you MUST self-quarantine (remain home) for 14 days after the date of your last exposure to the confirmed positive individual. Quarantining and remaining home is for the safety of those you may come in contact and to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Ideally, you should be contacted by staff from the Arkansas Department of Health to provide guidance and monitor your health. If, your condition changes or you become symptomatic or ill, please let your supervisor and the Human Resources department know immediately. Please note, a negative COVID-19 test result, based upon a positive exposure, does not change the requirement to complete the 14-day quarantine. An exposed person who has no symptoms, may return after the 14-day quarantine. Your supervisor or the Human Resources department will coordinate that date and your clearance to return.
Confirmed Positive Individual
A Confirmed Positive Individual is when a person tested for COVID-19 and received a “positive result for COVID” from a physician’s office, health dept, medical lab, or the hospital. A confirmed positive individual is not someone who is ill, but has not yet tested nor someone who has tested but does not have results. Once it is confirmed that you are positive you must immediately isolate yourself for 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing mediation and resolution of other symptoms. Therefore, it could be longer than 10 days before you are able to return to duty based on the duration of your symptoms.
Return to Duty for Confirmed Positive Individuals Who are Severely Immunocompromised
At the guidance of the CDC, the return to duty timeframe is different for a confirmed positive individual who also have a severe or critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised. In this regard, a severe illness is defined as when an Individual has respiratory frequency of less than 30 breaths per minute. A critical illness is when an individual has respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction.
Any employee with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised must follow the below return to duty guidelines:
- At least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing
medications and symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved
- Consider consultation with infection control experts
If an employee who is severely immunocompromised but who were asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) throughout their infection may return to work when at least 10 days, but up to 20 days, have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result.
For those who are confirmed positive that never develop symptoms, isolation can be discontinued after 10 days from the date of the positive test, unless illness or symptoms develop. In order for a staff who is confirmed positive to return to duty, a release from the Dept. of Health or doctor’s office must be provided.
Contact tracing is how public health officials track the spread of an infectious disease outbreak. When a patient is confirmed to have an illness, they isolate themselves to prevent further spread of that illness. Public health staff help those who have been infected recall where they have been and with whom they had close contact while they were infectious. Those “contacts” are contacted by public health staff and asked to quarantine themselves to stop further spread of the illness. AEDD and CLS assist the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) with contact tracing by providing them with as much information as possible when a positive exposure occurs within one of our facilities. The goal of AEDD and CLS is to be diligent in responding to issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic while providing the best level of programming to those we serve.
Facility Safety Precautions
All AEDD/CLS locations will only staff and consumers inside of the facility, unless preapproved and absolutely necessary. Additionally, only necessary vendors and visitors shall be allowed in the building and will be subject to the same screening upon entering the building. Delivery personnel should be instructed to leave deliveries outside of the building whenever possible.
Inter-Company Travel – Employees should restrict traveling between different AEDD/CLS locations to only the extent necessary. Intercompany mail should be as limited as much as possible to minimize the number of trips and should be dropped off within the enclosed reception area, as much as possible. Please continue to scan/email documents and other mail items as much as possible.
All AEDD/CLS locations will continue to strictly enforce the following precautions in efforts to continually limit the transmission of COVID-19:
- All staff, and consumers dropped off, will have their temperature taken before entering
the building. All consumers that receive transportation services will have their
temperature taken before being loaded onto our vehicles. We will have supplies
available and our staff will assist with the process.
- Anyone displaying a high fever (exceeding 100.3) or displaying any other COVID-19
Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) will be removed from the facility
- Social Distancing – Staff and consumers will practice social distancing while in and out of
the building. – No more than 10 people to a group, with proper distancing between
- Staff and consumers will be reminded to wash their hands with soap and water multiple
times throughout the day.
- All staff and consumers are required to wear a face mask, as long as they are medically
We all know this COVID-19 event is larger than we expected and ever changing; however, our mission at AEDD/CLS remains the same, to empower individuals with developmental disabilities to improve the quality of their lives. That mission applies to our employees, donors, volunteers and supporters as much as to the children, adults and families we serve. We do and will continue to provide the best possible care to those we serve.
CEO/ Executive Director
Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc.
Community Life Services, Inc.