Policy Document: Pandemic Operations Plan

Pandemic Operations Plan

Background

In September 2020, legislation was passed requiring all public employers in New York State to adopt a plan for operations in the event of a declared public health emergency involving a communicable disease. Pursuant to Labor Law Section 27-c, all covered public employers must develop a pandemic operations plan which includes:

  1. A list and description of all positions and titles considered essential in the event of a state-ordered reduction of in-person workforce, and the justification for classifying each position as essential;
  2. Protocols the employer will follow to enable non-essential employees to telecommute or work remotely, including plans to obtain any needed devices or technology such as software, office laptops or cell phones, and the transferring of office phone lines to work or personal cell phones as practicable or applicable to the workplace;
  3. A plan for how the employer will, to the extent possible, stagger work shifts of essential employees and contractors to reduce overcrowding on public transportation and at worksites;
  4. A description of how the employer will obtain necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential employees and contractors, based on the various tasks and needs of such employees, in amounts sufficient to provide at least two pieces of each type of PPE to each essential employee and contractor during any given work shift over at least a six-month period. PPE includes: “all equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards, including gloves, masks, face shields, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices, respirators, hard hats and disposable gowns and aprons”;
  5. A protocol outlining what happens in the event an employee or contractor is exposed to the communicable disease, exhibits symptoms, or tests positive for such disease, to prevent the spread or contraction of such disease in the workplace, including policies regarding the disinfection of the workplace and available leave for employees;
  6. Policies for documenting hours and work locations for essential employees and contractors to aid in tracking the disease; and
  7. A protocol for how the public employer will work with the locality to identify sites for emergency housing for essential employees.

With the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in 2019 (COVID-19)—and the attendant business closures, service restrictions, and personal and community health and hygiene protocols subsequently put into place—Saratoga Springs Public Library devised a Health Emergency Response Plan (approved March 2020; absorbed into this document) and Business Reopening Safety Plan (initially approved June 2020; included here in the Appendix). The Library has followed those protocols and included them in this Pandemic Operations Plan, since many of the measures taken in response to COVID-19 can potentially be applied to similar future public health emergencies.

The information contained in this document is subject to change based on the nature of the pandemic encountered—i.e., whether transmitted via air/respiratory droplets, touch/surface contact, or some other means—and will be reviewed, updated, and communicated accordingly based on the situation.

Overview

The Pandemic Operations Plan (“POP”) establishes various protocols to be used in the event of a pandemic, epidemic, or other public health emergency. If there is a serious infectious disease outbreak, Saratoga Springs Public Library (“Library”, “the Library”) must plan for the safety of staff and visitors, and for staff being unable to report to work. In addition, during a public health emergency, businesses, social organizations, or schools may be required to take unique measures to help slow the spread of the illness including:

  • Closing by order of local public health officials.
  • Limiting or canceling social and public gatherings.
  • Requiring quarantines and/or other social distancing measures.
Definition of a pandemic

A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease and may occur when a new virus appears against which the human population has no immunity. If a pandemic were to occur today, one could expect the virus to spread rapidly due to the interconnected nature of the world and the high level of global travel. During a pandemic, up to 35% of employees may be absent at one time due to their own illness. Additional numbers may be absent for other reasons, as covered in the Saratoga Springs Public Library Employee Handbook. (Sources: World Health Organization: https://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov)

Recovery from disease outbreak may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or some other physical crises. It is important to ensure that core business activities of the Library can be maintained for several weeks or more with limited staff and reduced hours due to a public health emergency. It bears mentioning that a public health emergency plan differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. With a general emergency preparedness policy, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building, or begin rebuilding, almost immediately after the event or crisis (such as after a fire or storm, or if there is a utility shortage). But with a public health emergency like a pandemic or other serious infectious disease outbreak, recovery may be slow, and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for several weeks or more.

Continuity of service

In the event of a pandemic, the Library seeks a balanced, responsible approach to operations informed by the best and latest science and public health guidance available. There are obvious risks in failing to prepare for and respond adequately to the threat presented by a community health emergency. However, significant changes to Library operations and services have the potential to disrupt normal operations more than the effects of a pandemic, epidemic, or other health emergency alone. The Library will consider costs and benefits to residents and staff of all proposed changes to procedure. The Library will maintain services to the greatest extent possible while simultaneously working to provide safe facilities and cooperating with public health authorities.

Public health measures

The Library is committed to providing safe and sanitary facilities for the public and for Library staff. Based on recommendations from the Saratoga County Department of Public Health, the CDC, or other public health authorities, the Library may decide to:

  • Temporarily increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in its facilities, especially areas and surfaces that experience the highest use, with the understanding that no amount of reasonable effort can ever guarantee that public places are free of infectious agents.
  • Post signs in restrooms and throughout the building encouraging hand washing and routine practices that help minimize the spread of germs from person to person.
  • Provide public and staff with convenient access to hand sanitizer, hand washing facilities, disinfecting wipes, and facial tissues.
  • Institute social distancing measures, such as arranging furniture so that there is a safe minimum distance between people.
  • Provide staff with vinyl gloves and training in their use when handling materials.
  • Require staff who are sick to leave the Library.
  • Emphasize good hygiene habits and personal responsibility in preventing the spread of disease.

The Library encourages staff and visitors to follow the CDC guidelines which aim to slow the spread of germs in these ways:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Keep your children home from school or daycare, and away from the Library, if they are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Cough into your shoulder or the bend of your arm.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it away in the trash right away and then wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day for 30 seconds with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol hand sanitizer if you can’t find soap and water.
  • Be prepared for taking care of yourself or your family members at home if you or they get sick.
  • Get a flu shot for the seasonal flu as well as the vaccine for the pandemic, epidemic, or other health emergency when it becomes available.
Temporary reduction or suspension of services

During a pandemic, epidemic, or other public health emergency, public health authorities may advise that libraries and other gathering places minimize or entirely suspend programs, services, and operations where numerous individuals congregate in relatively confined spaces. In such cases the Library Director may decide to temporarily discontinue Library programs and use of Library meeting rooms by the public.

  • If any Saratoga Springs City School District school is closed due to pandemic or epidemic, Saratoga Springs Public Library will remain open unless one of the requirements for closing listed below is also met. However, all Library programs, outreach, and special events will be canceled on any day in which any or all of Saratoga Springs City School Library schools are closed due to pandemic or epidemic.
  • Should school be canceled due to a pandemic or epidemic, non-circulating children’s materials and toys will be removed from public areas, and play and program areas, such as the Tree House Room and the Story Room will be closed, during the duration of the school closure to minimize spread through surfaces frequently touched by children. Disinfecting and/or cleaning procedures issued by public health officials will be followed as possible.
Temporary closure

The Library will close due to pandemic, epidemic, public health concern, and/or public infection concern if a mandate, order, or recommendation for closure is issued by public health or government officials on the local, county, or state level. At the discretion of the Library Director or the Library Board President, the Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily if:

  • The criteria for closure outlined in the Cluster Action Initiative Response Plan are met.
  • There is insufficient staff to maintain basic Library service levels.
  • Public visitation is too low to warrant keeping the Library open.
  • Any other condition exists which prevents the Library from operating safely and effectively.
Minimizing negative impacts on operations and services

The Library provides crucial resources and services to residents and will strive to minimize negative impacts on access to resources and services resulting from procedures adopted in response to a public health emergency.

  • Online access to information: The Library will work to preserve access to its online resources both in the Library and remotely. Residents with home Internet access can use the Library’s online resources remotely and when libraries are closed. The Library will strive to maintain access to its Internet site, subscription databases, digital content, and online catalog even if the Library is closed temporarily.
  • Access to computers in the Library: The Library recognizes that many residents lack home computers or online access and rely on the Library to provide free Internet access. While the Library remains open, it will strive to maintain public Internet access insofar as it is possible to do so safely. In coordination with health authorities the Library will consider alternatives to complete suspension of public computing, depending on emerging conditions. Measures might include provision of disinfectant wipes, social distancing measures to increase space between simultaneous computer users, and, potentially, vinyl gloves and facemasks.
  • Suspending due dates: In the event of a temporary closure, the Library will extend or suspend all due dates (late fees/overdue fines were permanently suspended in 2020). The Library will use its Internet site, social media, Library e-mail distribution lists, and work with local media to publicize any such suspension. In such an event, the Library would encourage the public to keep checked out items in their homes until further notice. A suspension would be advantageous for several reasons, including to prevent the Library from being inundated with returned materials while no items were getting checked out, and it would prevent customers from feeling the need to venture to the Library to return materials when they are sick.
Communication

In the event of closure necessitated by a public health emergency, effective communication about any reduction in services or open hours is of the utmost importance. Library staff should immediately follow the Saratoga Springs Public Library Emergency Closing Procedures.

Essential positions and scheduling

Given that in-person, onsite staffing during a pandemic is likely to be on a spectrum as the situation, governmental guidance, and/or science dictate, the Library has identified various possible phases of operation, and the positions necessary to support each phase. Numbers of employees permitted onsite at once may vary by phase, based on any mandated occupancy restrictions and/or plan to limit potential exposure or mitigate spread.

For the purposes of working onsite during a pandemic or public health emergency, different positions will be deemed essential, depending on the allowable degree of public and staff access to the building.

In all circumstances, the following positions are deemed essential, for the purposes of reporting to work onsite:

Position Purpose
Director To receive and distribute mail, approve invoices for payment, retrieve files, empty materials returns as needed
Human Resources Manager To retrieve personnel files and office supplies, as needed
Senior Account Clerk To process accounts payable and receivable, and complete necessary reporting
Library District Treasurer To approve warrants, sign checks, and complete necessary reports
Computer Services Manager To maintain and troubleshoot Library network and computing equipment
Operations Working Supervisor To oversee Library physical plant, including maintenance and security of Library building, mechanical systems, and grounds; procurement and monitoring of cleaning and PPE supplies; empty materials returns, as needed
Building Maintenance Worker Inspection and maintenance of Library physical plant, including building, mechanical systems, and grounds. To empty materials returns, as needed
Cleaner To complete necessary cleaning and disinfecting activities
Librarian I, Librarian II, Librarian III To retrieve materials and supplies for remote/virtual programs as needed. To empty materials returns, as needed

Additional positions may be deemed essential, based on the degree that the building is open to the public, and staff can work onsite, based on the phases of operation outlined below, and in the Business Reopening Safety Plan.

Closure: Essential-only staff permitted onsite

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely
  • Youth and Adult Services: Librarian I, II, III to retrieve materials and supplies necessary to provide reference and readers advisory service and program remotely.

Phase 1: Limited staff can report to work. Library closed to the public. Staff work from home except for the following positions deemed essential for Phase 1:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) by appointment to retrieve program and materials
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing

Phase 2: Resumption of circulation of physical materials; public allowed in building by appointment. Only the first floor is open to the public, for picking up items on hold. In-building staffing during open hours is limited to the minimum needed to perform public service (including filling holds, receiving deliveries, answering phone calls, etc.). The following positions are deemed essential for Phase 2:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for metering/monitoring building access
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk to assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials, and assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) by appointment to retrieve program materials and support contactless pickups, assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 2, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (1), Clerk (1), Shelvers (1-2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical Services Clerks (2-3), Second floor Librarians (1-2)

Phase 3: Metered public access to building; no lingering. All floors of the Library are open to the public for browsing. Computer center, Saratoga Room and Teen Room are closed. No seating is available. The following positions are deemed essential for Phase 3:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for metering/monitoring building access
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk to assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials, and assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) to provide public service, assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 3, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (1-2), Clerk (1), Shelvers (2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2-3), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian), Information Desk Librarian (1)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2-3), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical

Phase 4: Metered public access to building; no lingering. All floors of the Library are open to the public for browsing. Computer center, Saratoga Room, and Friends Book Shop open by appointment for time-limited use. No general seating is available. The following positions are deemed essential for Phase 4:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for metering/monitoring building access
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk to assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials, and assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) to provide public service, assist with metering/monitoring building access; Library Clerk(s) to provide service in Saratoga Room and Public Computer Center
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 4, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (2), Clerk (1), Shelvers (2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2-3), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian), Information Desk Librarian (1)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1), Computer Clerk (1), Saratoga Room (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2-3), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical Services Clerks (2-3), Second floor Librarians and ancillary staff (1-5)

Phase 5: Metered public access to building. All floors of the Library are open to the public for browsing. Computer center, Saratoga Room, and Friends Book Shop are open by time-limited appointment. Limited public seating is available. The following positions are deemed essential for Phase 5:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for metering/monitoring building access
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk to assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials, and assist with metering/monitoring building access
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) to provide public service, assist with metering/monitoring building access; Library Clerk(s) to provide service in Saratoga Room and Public Computer Center
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 5, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (2), Clerk (1), Shelvers (2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2-3), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian), Information Desk Librarian (1)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1), Computer Clerk (1), Saratoga Room (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2-3), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical Services Clerks (2-3), Second floor Librarians and ancillary staff (1-5)

Phase 6: Unmetered public access to building. All floors of the Library are open to the public for browsing. Computer center, Saratoga Room, and Friends Book Shop are open by time-limited appointment. Limited public seating is available. The following positions are deemed essential for Phase 6:

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for monitoring/security
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk for reception duties and administrative support function
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) to provide public service; Library Clerk(s) to provide service in Saratoga Room and Public Computer Center
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 6, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (2), Clerk (1), Shelvers (2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2-3), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian), Information Desk Librarian (1)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1), Computer Clerk (1), Saratoga Room (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2-3), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical Services Clerks (2-3), Second floor Librarians and ancillary staff (1-5)

Phase 7: Limited programs and meetings. All floors of the Library are open to the public for browsing. Computer center, Saratoga Room, and Friends Book Shop are open by time-limited appointment. Limited public seating is available. Meeting rooms are open for limited, socially-distanced programs and meetings.

  • Operations: Working Supervisor, Building Maintenance Worker(s), Cleaner(s) for essential maintenance (building operations and groundskeeping) and cleaning; Library Building Monitor(s) for monitoring/security
  • Administration: Library Director, Human Resources Manager, Computer Systems Manager, Senior Account Clerk, Library District Treasurer for essential administrative, personnel, IT, and financial activities unable to be performed remotely; Library Clerk for reception duties and administrative support function
  • Circulation & Technical Services: Librarian III/Head of Circulation & Technical Services, Principal Library Clerk, Senior Library Clerk(s), Library Clerk(s) for necessary check-in, materials handling, and processing; Shelver(s) to return and retrieve materials
  • Adult and Youth Services: Librarian III(s), Librarian II(s), Librarian I(s), Senior Library Clerk(s) to provide public service, host in-person programs; Library Clerk(s) to provide service in Saratoga Room and Public Computer Center
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery

The typical in-building staffing complement during opening hours for Phase 7, determined so that employees reporting to work in person can arrive at staggered times, and maintain a safe distance, is:

  • Ground floor: Librarian (2), Clerk (1), Shelvers (2)
  • First floor: Circulation Desk Clerks (2-3), Senior Clerks (3), Greeter (1-Monitor, Clerk, Shelver, and/or Librarian), Information Desk Librarian (1)
  • Second floor: Reference Desk Librarian (1), Computer Clerk (1), Saratoga Room (1)
  • Additional employees permitted: Shelvers (2-3), Circulation Supervisors (1-2), Technical Services Clerks (2-3), Second floor Librarians and ancillary staff (1-5)

Phase 8: Full opening and operation. Library functions, hours, and staffing return to pre-pandemic levels. All floors are open to the public, as are meeting rooms, the Teen Room, and Treehouse Room.

Employee attendance and non-essential activities

General work rules and attendance polices are outlined in the Saratoga Springs Public Library Employee Handbook. The items below are additions to and variations of those policies that may be exercised during a public health emergency period.

  • If the Library is open, healthy employees are expected to report to work on time as scheduled, according to the Saratoga Springs Public Library Employee Handbook’s general policies for staff absences, with the understanding that they may be temporarily reassigned during the emergency period.
  • Some employees may have duties which can be completed through teleworking (i.e., payroll, banking, website maintenance). During the emergency period, this option may be exercised, with administrative approval.
  • Employees who come to work sick, or who become sick while at work, will be sent home immediately.
  • In the event of a closure occurring after healthy Library employees have reported to work as scheduled, they may complete tasks as appropriate during their scheduled hours.
  • Large in-person work gatherings, such as staff development days or meetings, will be canceled, postponed, or transition to a virtual (online) format during the emergency period.
  • Non-essential work-related travel will be canceled or postponed during the emergency period
Responsibility for Library operations

If the Library Director is unable or unavailable to perform the responsibilities and decisions outlined in this policy, administrative authority for this policy and all Library operations shall follow the Person in Charge protocol.

Telecommuting and remote work

Please refer to the Employee Handbook and Telecommuting policy and procedure.

Personal protective equipment

During an outbreak of an infectious disease (such as COVID-19), recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) specific to positions or job duties may change depending on geographic location, updated risk assessments for employees, and information on PPE effectiveness in preventing the spread of a pandemic. Library management will check Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites regularly for updates about recommended PPE. In response to COVID-19, certain measures were put into place as part of the Library’s Business Reopening Safety Plan that can serve as a reasonable guide for future pandemic response (though specific PPE requirements and protocols for PPE use may change based on the nature of the pandemic).

  • The Library has identified face coverings and gloves as the primary articles of PPE necessary for typical operations.
  • The Library Director will work closely with the Operations Working Supervisor to identify and enumerate PPE needs, based on current and projected in-building staffing levels.
  • The Operations Working Supervisor will network with multiple suppliers on a weekly basis to keep abreast of supply chain issues for PPE, including pricing and delivery constraints, and keep the Library Director informed of major issues related to these constraints. This will be to ensure that there will be at least two pieces of the required PPE given to each employee.
  • The Operations Working Supervisor will ensure that the essential PPE materials are inventoried on a weekly basis to identify any critical needs. In the absence of the Working Supervisor, the full time Building Maintenance Worker will perform these duties.

Exposure response, cleaning/disinfection, and employee leave

In the event an employee or contractor is exposed to the communicable disease, exhibits symptoms, or tests positive for such disease, the Library will follow the protocols established in its Business Reopening Safety Plan. Cleaning and disinfection practices will likewise follow those outlined in the Business Reopening Safety Plan, unless the nature of the pandemic and recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, and/or other entities dictate otherwise. Leave for employees—whether paid or unpaid, government-mandated or Library-provided, voluntary or compulsory, or some combination of these and other factors—is or will be covered in the Employee Handbook.

Documenting work hours and locations

All employees, whether working onsite or offsite, will follow the Library’s protocol for recording hours worked as outlined in the Employee Handbook. As part of clocking in using the Library's online timekeeping system, employees will confirm their onsite work location (or attest to working offsite). A report of employees’ work locations is automatically generated daily and retained in electronic format by the Human Resources Manager (for any possible contact tracing purposes). For employees unable to clock in online, and for contractors entering the building, a record of their onsite presence is obtained via paper attestation. Employee attestations are retained by the Human Resources Manager; contractor attestations are retained by the Working Supervisor. A protocol for onsite contractors and service providers is outlined in the Business Reopening Safety Plan.

Emergency housing for essential employees

While it is unlikely that such situation might arise—based on the nature of the business of a public Library—the Library may house employees responsible for maintaining the safety, security, and essential operation of its building and grounds nearby or in a manner that mitigates disease exposure or spread during a pandemic. Downtown hotels will likely be best suited to this purpose. The Library Director and/or Human Resources Manager will assist employees in obtaining emergency housing, working with City and County authorities as appropriate and necessary.

Appendix: Business Reopening Safety Plan

Approved: June 4, 2020; Updated: December 21, 2020

Saratoga Springs Public Library is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of its community of Library users and workers. This Business Reopening Safety Plan outlines measures that the Library will take while restarting to serve the community in person. It complements, as an addendum, the Saratoga Springs Public Library Public Health Emergency Response Plan, which will be further supplemented by the Saratoga Springs Public Library Phased Reopening Plan. At the direction of Empire State Development, this document is informed by requirements of the New York State Department of Health and guidance for contactless retail operations, because no such guidance exists that is specific to libraries.

During an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, recommendations for PPE specific to occupations or job tasks may change depending on geographic location, updated risk assessments for workers, and information on PPE effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Library management will check Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites regularly for updates about recommended PPE.

OSHA definitions of risk categories

Very high exposure risk: Very high exposure risk jobs are those with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures. Workers include healthcare and morgue workers performing aerosol-generating procedures on or collecting/handling specimens from potentially infectious patients or bodies of people known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of death.

High exposure risk: High exposure risk jobs are those with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Workers in this category include healthcare delivery, healthcare support, medical transport and mortuary workers exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients or bodies of people known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of death.

Medium exposure risk: Medium exposure risk jobs include those that require frequent and/or close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas without ongoing community transmission, workers in this risk group may have frequent contact with travelers who may return from international locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact with the public (e.g., schools, high-population-density work environments, some high-volume retail settings).

Low exposure risk (caution): Lower exposure risk (caution) jobs are those that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor frequent close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) the public. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.

As of June 4, 2020, the Library has determined that its employees fall into two risk categories: Low Exposure Risk (not required to be within 6 feet of others to perform job duties) and Medium Exposure Risk (required to come within 6 feet of others to perform job duties), based on OSHA definitions. This assessment will be reviewed and updated as circumstances change.

The Library’s top priorities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Physical distancing
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common surfaces

I. People

A. Physical distancing

  • Employees will maintain six feet of distance from each other whenever possible.
  • Any time employees are less than six feet from another person, in a shared workspace, or in a public area of the building, acceptable face coverings must be worn.
  • Employees must be prepared to put on a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet. Face coverings are always recommended.
  • Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one employee at a time unless all occupants are wearing face coverings, but at no more than 50% occupancy, or the state mandated maximum occupancy.
Offices and workstations
  • Whenever possible, workstations will be arranged to allow separation of six feet.
  • Staff at stations in the same room should wear face coverings while at their workspace even if separated by a cubicle partition or with six feet of separation.
  • If six feet of separation between workstations cannot be met, employees will be provided with alternative measures to mitigate exposure, such as:
    • Face masks
    • Face shields
    • Workstation orientation
    • Physical barriers may also be installed where practical
    • Ability to work remotely, if feasible and practicable
  • Staff are strongly encouraged to clean and disinfect their own workspace multiple times during the shift, giving special attention to common surfaces.
  • Office work will be scheduled to ensure the minimum number of people necessary are on site.
  • Face-to-face desk layouts will be avoided, when possible.
  • Interaction to exchange information or quick meetings on the office floor space should respect physical distancing.
  • Staff are encouraged to remove all non-essential items from desktops and work areas. Staff should aim to clear all items from desktops and work areas at the end of each day to allow for full cleaning of the surface.
Signage and social distancing markers in staff areas
  • Signs and distance markers will be posted in commonly used areas (Circulation Desks, Reference Desk, Information Desk, Children’s Room Desk, Staff Lounge, Staff Restrooms)
Signage and social distancing markers in public areas
  • Signage will be posted outside the Library on the doors and on a sidewalk sign with instructions for ordering and pickup and hours of operation.
  • Pickup procedures will be no-contact, and social distancing will be maintained.
  • Patrons will pick up materials one at a time while other patrons wait six feet away.
  • Library materials return bins will be placed near entrances for patrons to return materials and social distancing markers will be placed to keep a 6 ft. distance between patrons.
  • Signs will be posted to remind patrons to wear face coverings when picking up or returning Library materials.
  • Social distancing markers and/or signage will be placed outside of the elevator

B. Gathering in enclosed spaces

Meetings and trainings
  • In-person gatherings will be limited as much as possible, and tele- or videoconferencing used instead.
  • Essential in-person gatherings (e.g., meetings) will be held in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants.
  • Safe meeting spaces will be designated to require social distancing of six feet.
  • No more than 10 people or the state mandated maximum percentage of a meeting room’s capacity at any meeting. Times for meetings may be staggered and larger groups must be divided to meet the 10-person maximum.
  • When in-person meetings or trainings are required, employees must maintain a 6-foot distance from each other and wear masks.
Elevators

Elevators are reserved only for those who cannot use the stairs. When using the elevator, only one person may be in the elevator at a time, unless all are wearing face coverings, and the number of people aboard do not exceed 50% of the elevator’s capacity.

Lunch periods and breaks

Management of employee breaks to provide social distancing and proper hygiene is necessary. Start and end times will be staggered, and staff will be encouraged to bring food from home that does not require onsite preparation, storage, or using shared utensils or appliances. To maintain physical distance, staff may take breaks or meal periods in locations other than the staff lounge, including meeting rooms and the Treehouse Room.

Seating and capacity
  • Staff room chairs will be limited and spaced appropriately.
  • Signs will be placed on tables to ensure proper social distancing.
  • The capacity of the staff room will be posted.
  • Employees may not arrive early for break.
  • Break times will be separated by 10 minutes to have enough time to wipe all surfaces after each use.
Cleanliness and disinfection

Supplies will be provided for employees to clean up after themselves, e.g., wiping down tables.

Restroom usage during the workday and at break times
  • Disinfection intervals will be increased to always ensure a clean environment.
  • While the Library is closed to the public, staff will be encouraged to use every available restroom; all restrooms will be limited to one person at a time.
  • Supplies will be provided for employees to clean up after themselves. (e.g., wiping down counters and handles, etc.)

C. Workplace activities and areas requiring mitigation

Public Library work is largely transactional, and under normal circumstances, the Library is a hub of community activity, with regular opportunities for staff and members of the public to come within six feet of one another, including:

  • At service desks, such as the Circulation Desk, Information Desk, Children’s Services Desk, Teen Room Desk, Reference Desk, Computer Services Desk, and Saratoga Room
  • At Library programs and meetings
  • In public activity spaces, such as the meeting rooms, the Treehouse Room, the Teen Room, café space, public computing area, and computer training lab
  • In shared office spaces, including the Youth Services office, Circulation work area, Technical Services office, Computer Services office, Saratoga Room office, Adult Services workroom, and Administration reception area
  • In small workspaces, such as the Henry Street Library returns room, server closets, mechanical rooms, storage areas
  • In or near shared facilities, including restrooms, timeclock area, and 2nd Floor Staff lounge
  • As part of employee recruitment and onboarding efforts, including interviews, new hire orientation, and training

To mitigate risk to employees and members of the public, through activities that normally offer opportunities for staff members and members of the public to come within six feet of each other, the Library will take the following measures. These measures may be altered in later stages of our reopening:

  • The Library will initiate a phased reopening plan, limiting access to the building
  • Staffing levels will be limited to only those employees who are necessary for the services offered based on the phased reopening plan
  • Staff will work in the Library only limited hours, on alternating/rotating shifts, with staggered arrival and departure times
  • Other employees will continue to work from home
  • Sneeze guards will be installed at service points
  • Services provided in or at the Library will be contactless (no physical contact between employees and visitors)
  • Public programs will be offered virtually, rather than in person
  • Use of Library meeting rooms by the public will be suspended
  • Public computing areas, the Treehouse Room, and the Teen Room may be temporarily closed
  • The Library will close, remove, or deactivate non-essential amenities and communal areas which promote gathering or are high-touch (e.g., vending machines, communal coffee machines).
  • Signage about COVID-19 safety, Library hours and activity, and hand and respiratory hygiene will be posted throughout the building, and information about guidelines in force will be posted on the Library’s website and social media channels
  • Guidelines will be in place (see below) for occupation of offices and workspaces

II. Places

A. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Masks/face coverings

In accordance with New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, Subpart 66-3 Covid-19 Emergency Regulations, Section 66-3.2 Face Coverings, face masks/coverings are required for all Library staff members in situations in which six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained, and in all public and shared areas of the building. If an employee has a medical condition or other concern when wearing a mask that causes a hardship, contact Human Resources to discuss.

A properly worn face mask/covering, which covers both the mouth and the nose, is always required of all patrons over age two while in the Library. If this safety requirement is not practicable based on a disability or medical exemption, please contact the director or the director’s designee to explore a reasonable accommodation, such as ordering materials online or by phone for curbside pickup, or appointments by phone or video call, prior to visiting the Library.

Face shields

Face shields may be used as an additional safety measure. Masks must still be worn with a face shield.

Gloves

Based on CDC findings, the Library will only require staff to wear gloves when receiving materials and/or disinfecting Library spaces.

General PPE guidelines:
  • Five (5) washable, reusable cloth masks will be provided by the Library at no expense to employees for their use.
  • Face coverings will be required when social distancing cannot be maintained and recommended at all other times.
  • Cloth face coverings must be washed between uses.
  • Employees are responsible for retaining, properly using, and maintaining their own masks. Masks worn by staff should conform to the latest recommendations provided by the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
  • One face shield will be available for each employee, to supplement but not to replace, acceptable face coverings.
  • Disposable latex-free gloves will be available to employees when handling materials and cleaning surfaces.
  • Employees requiring additional or replacement PPE should ask their supervisors.
  • Patrons will not be permitted to enter the Library or receive Library-provided service without an acceptable face covering. If an accommodation is required, curbside service or service via telephone or video call may be offered.
  • Vendors and delivery people will be required to wear a mask when entering the Library building. The Library will not provide PPE to vendors or delivery people.
  • Employees will be given training on how to put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE.
  • The Library will limit the sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces. When in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, employees will wear gloves or properly sanitize or wash hands before and after contact.

B. Hygiene, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting

Personal hygiene

Staff will be reminded to follow CDC hygiene guidelines, including avoiding touching their faces and washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water several times during the work hours, and using hand sanitizer to reduce risk and prevent cross-contamination and potential infections.

Cleaning

The Library will adhere to all federal and state governments and agencies regarding hygiene and sanitation requirements, including guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health.

Cleaning logs will be maintained documenting the date, time, and scope of cleaning, by the employee completing the cleaning.

The cleaning logs will be checked by the area supervisor at the end of each shift. The cleaning logs will be kept in the following locations:

  • Circulation bulletin board
  • Children’s desk between workstations
  • Reference desk between workstations
  • Information desk between workstations
  • Operations workstation
  • Restrooms

Spray bottles of disinfectant cleaner and paper towels will be available for staff use in all staff work areas and at public service desks.

Staff will be required to wash their hands at the beginning and end of their shift and when removing gloves or masks.

Handwashing stations are available throughout the building, including the following locations:

  • Ground Floor: Operations workshop, Children’s Room Staff Room, Children’s Room Staff Restroom, Crawshaw Room, Public Restrooms, Glasby Room and Susman Room
  • First Floor: Teen Room, Circulation Workroom, Community Room Kitchen, Public Restrooms, Technical Services Office, Café
  • Second Floor: Board Room, Staff Room Kitchen, Staff Restrooms, Public Restrooms

Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the building.

Soap and hand sanitizer stations and paper towel dispensers will be refilled by Operations Department staff.

Shared workstations at public service desks will be cleaned by the person staffing the desk before and after each shift.

Staff with personal workstations will be responsible for cleaning their workstation daily. Items to be cleaned include but not limited to:

  • keyboard
  • plastic edge of monitor
  • mouse
  • phone
  • RFID pad
  • case un-locker
  • receipt printer
  • counter area
  • hand scanner
  • chair armrests
  • printers
  • cash register

Staff will be trained by their direct supervisors in appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures and safe use of Library-provided agents specific to each of the above areas/items. Supervisors will be trained by the Operations Working Supervisor and Lead Cleaner.

Common staff areas

Staff members using the staff room must clean surfaces after using them including but not limited to:

  • fridge door handle
  • microwave
  • faucets
  • water cooler buttons
  • counters
  • table
  • book trucks—staff will clean the handles of book trucks before and after moving them
Public areas of the Library
  • Sanitizing supplies will be available for the public for use on surfaces.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for public use.
  • Public and staff restrooms are equipped with soap and paper towels for handwashing.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the public restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at mid-morning and mid-afternoon each day when the Library is open to the public by Operations staff.
  • Handrails, door handles, push bars, PACs and other frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected mid-morning and mid-afternoon each day when the Library is open to the public by Operations staff.
  • At the end of each shift, staff on the Reference Desk, Information Desk and Children’s Desk will wipe down public workstations, and areas of the service desk accessible to the public.
  • At the end of each desk shift, staff on the Circulation desk will clean the edge of the service desk accessible to public and the credit card terminals.
Disinfecting

The entire building will be thoroughly cleaned by the Library’s cleaners each night after closing using disinfectant products identified as effective against COVID-19. The measures listed on the chart below should be implemented to reduce risk and spread of infection.

  • The disinfection steps outlined below should be taken routinely, based on frequency mentioned to disinfect workplace surfaces, chairs, tables, etc. and protect employees, patrons, and visitors.
  • Along with these workplace disinfectant activities, proper personal sanitary practices including frequent hand washing are also necessary.
  • While Library cleaners are responsible for completing most of the task list routinely, all staff are responsible for completing some routine workplace cleaning tasks, i.e., cleaning their own workspaces, cleaning up after themselves, and disinfecting frequently used surfaces.
  • Proper dwell time (contact time) for cleaning products is required to properly disinfect a surface. This varies from product to product; please read the instructions of the product for proper dwell time.
  • Library cleaners will keep a log of their cleaning activity. The log will be maintained by the Lead Cleaner.
Routine disinfectant measures
# Area/Place Disinfectant Surface Disinfectant Disinfectant Measures Recommended Frequency Who
1 Common customer surfaces Including tabletops, plexi-barriers, small study spaces, computer surfaces EPA-approved disinfectant Follow manufacturer directions on product label Twice Daily Operations Staff
2 Offices, desk, and meeting rooms Table and chair surface EPA-approved disinfectant Follow manufacturer directions on product label At the end of each meeting and end of day All staff
3 General objects often used or touched Door handles, light switches, and phones EPA-approved disinfectant Follow manufacturer directions on product label Twice Daily Operations
4 Play spaces/ toys Removed/closed until further notice n/a Removed until further notice Removed until further notice n/a
5 Returned materials All materials that are checked out by a customer (internally and externally) n/a Quarantine for 72-hour period After every returned item Circulation staff
6 Restrooms All surfaces, mirrors, countertops, floors, grab bars, baby-changing stations EPA-approved disinfectant Follow manufacturer directions on product label Twice Daily Operations Department Staff
7 Library vehicles Common surfaces (e.g., seat surfaces rails, belts, door and window controls) EPA-approved disinfectant Follow manufacturer directions on product label Before and after each use Drivers
8 All floors All floors EPA-approved disinfectant Mop Periodic, where frequently touched; mop hard surfaces routinely Operations Department staff
Advanced disinfection protocol due to a positive COVID-19 case
  • The routine disinfection measures should be followed regularly, whereas the advanced disinfection protocol is triggered when an active employee has tested positive for COVID-19, and Human Resources notifies the Operations Department of a positive case.
  • Advanced disinfecting should be performed as soon after the confirmation of a positive test as practical. If a delay is proposed of greater than a shift, an additional disinfection of potentially impacted common surfaces should be completed during the interim period.
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the Library will follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • The building will close for 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection.
  • If multiple employees are confirmed to have a COVID-19 positive test, the Library may close for a period of at least 72 hours.
  • Cleaning staff will clean and disinfect all areas including offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared workstations used by the ill person.
  • If it has been more than 7 days since the person with the suspected/confirmed COVID-19 used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfecting is not necessary.

Additional considerations:

  • If Library staff is unable to keep up with the demands/need for disinfecting the Library for any reason, Operations will contact one of the following COVID-19 approved companies to perform this work:
    • Quick Response: 518-899-7090
    • KPM Restoration: 518-859-9796

Each of these companies meets the following requirements:

  • Trained personnel to execute the process of advanced disinfection
  • Proper equipment and PPE to perform the task
  • All necessary procedures and local authorizations or permit to perform disinfection services
  • Use of approved COVID-19 disinfectant chemicals to perform this activity

The Operations Department will coordinate and supervise the disinfection process, ensuring that:

  • There is a specific plan and strategy to disinfect Library facilities and materials, based on guidance from the CDC and local health officials.
  • Only authorized people can access the site during the cleaning operation.
  • All third-party team members are using any required PPE.
  • Employees are made aware that the work areas have been disinfected.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for the advanced disinfection team, which shall consist of the Operations Working Supervisor and full-time Building Maintenance Workers, and additional staff as necessary:

  • The use of PPE for Library staff should follow the requirements outlined in this guide
  • The use of PPE is to be determined by the contractor based on the chemicals

C. Communication

  • Information updates will be provided to employees via the staff page, email, signage, and during staff meetings.
  • Information updates for patrons will be posted on the Library’s website and via social media, and on signs throughout and outside the Library.
  • Staff will be provided scripts to help inform the public of the mandatory use of masks while in the building.
  • Signage will be posted to remind employees and patrons to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE and cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • A log will be maintained of vendors who will be working at the Library. This log will be maintained by the Operations Working Supervisor.
  • The employee health screening log will provide a list of employees who are working on site by date. This log will be maintained by the Human Resources Manager.
  • The Library will not keep a log of patrons who enter the Library.
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should immediately notify the Library Director or Human Resources Manager. They, in turn, will immediately notify state and local health departments about contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.

III. Processes

A. Screening and testing

Employees will have a mandatory health screening assessment questionnaire, before beginning work each day and for essential visitors (but not patrons), asking about:

  • COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days,
  • positive COVID-19 test in past 14 days,
  • close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days,
  • travel to/from a restricted area, and/or
  • whether they have a fever of 100 or higher.

The New York State Department of Health Defines “close contact” as any of the following interactions:

  • Having direct physical contact with someone. (e.g., hug, kiss, handshake)
  • Being within 6 feet of someone for 10 minutes total in a day.
  • Having contact with respiratory secretions. (e.g., coughed/sneezed on, contact with dirty tissue, sharing a drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items)
  • Living with or spent the night with someone.

(Source: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing)

Assessment responses will be reviewed every day and the review will be documented. Assessment responses will not be saved after such review.

  • If a person has COVID-19 symptoms AND EITHER tests positive for COVID-19 OR did not receive a test, the individual may only return after completing at least 14 days of self-quarantine.
  • If a person does NOT have COVID-19 symptoms BUT tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may only return after completing at least 14 days of self-quarantine.
  • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period AND is symptomatic, the individual should follow the above protocol for a positive case.
  • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period AND is NOT symptomatic, the individual must complete a 14-day self-quarantine.

Employees who screen positive for COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter the Library and will be sent home with instructions to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing. The Library will notify the Saratoga County Health Department about the suspected case.

The Person in Charge will be the designated site safety monitor and will ensure compliance with the safety plan.

The Library will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event of a positive case. (See Cleaning and Disinfecting)

Employees will be asked to immediately disclose if they begin to experience symptoms, including outside of work hours.

Self-quarantining, self-isolation, and return-to-work

Quarantining in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but who are not yet symptomatic from others who have not been exposed to prevent the possible spread of the disease.

Self-isolation means the separation of a person or group known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the disease. Incubation period is the time between when you contract a virus and when your symptoms start. The incubation period for the novel coronavirus is somewhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure (CDC).

Guidance for self-quarantining

Employees who are requested to self-quarantine by the Saratoga County Public Health Department or are self-quarantined due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 case must remain at home for 14 days. Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Lastly, if possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting sick from COVID-19.

Returning to work after self-quarantine

Those who undergo self-quarantine because of potential exposure can return to work after 14 days from the date of potential exposure if they do not develop symptoms. They should still closely self-monitor after this period. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes symptomatic while in self-quarantine, they must follow the self-isolation protocols.

Those who undergo self-quarantine while awaiting results of a COVID-19 test taken because they have been symptomatic, but who ultimately test negative, may return to work once documentation of the negative test result is provided to the Library Director or Human Resources Manager.

Guidance for self-isolation

Employees who are in self-isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test, sick with symptoms of COVID-19, or have been told by a health care provider or public health department to separate themselves from others, including people you live with, to the greatest extent possible should self-isolate for 10 days and seek the advice of their health care professional.

Returning to work after self-isolation

For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation can generally be discontinued 14 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours--without the use of fever-reducing medications--and with improvement of other symptoms. If issued an order of quarantine, the employee will provide a copy of that order to the Library Director or Human Resources Manager, along with any subsequent Department of Health documentation clearing the individual to exit quarantine.

B. Tracing and tracking

  • The Library Director or Human Resources Manager will immediately notify the Saratoga County Department of Health and DOH upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an employee, visitor, or patron
  • Library administration will cooperate with the local health department to trace all contacts in the Library and will notify the health department of all employees or vendors who entered the Library dating back to 48 hours before the employee began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, whichever is earlier, but maintaining confidentiality as required by law.
  • The Library Director or Human Resources Manager will notify employees that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Employees will follow the protocols outlined above under Screening and testing.

C. Other processes

Contractor/Service provider protocol

Contractor/service provider restrictions:

  • Meetings should take place virtually as often as possible going forward, to ensure the protection of both employees and visitors.
  • Where business-critical, in-person visits do occur, such as to allow equipment or facilities to remain operational, they should be in accordance with the Library’s Public Health Emergency Plan.
  • Note that the Visitor Self-Screening Checklist forbids visits from persons who have had known exposure to persons with COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or who are exhibiting symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19.
  • Contractor/Servicer Provider COVID-19 Health Screening Form must be completed before entering the Library.
  • Alternatively, a contractor/service provider may supply a one-time documentation that their organization requires daily health screenings.
  • All contractors/service providers visiting the Library must wear a face mask.
Directions for contractors/service providers
  • The Operations Working Supervisor or PIC will be responsible to ensure the Contractor/Servicer Provider COVID-19 Health Screening Form was completed for each visitor who enters the Library by providing a form in advance of entering.
  • Visitation or contractor work is forbidden if there has been any YES response to the COVID-19 Self- Screening Checklist.

Visits or contractor work that do occur should limit exposure to employees to the extent feasible, by:

  • Ensuring visitors/contractors take a direct route to meeting or work areas and do not unnecessarily interact with employees.
  • Practicing social distancing themselves at all times and instructing visitors regarding our expectations regarding social distancing (e.g., no handshakes or embraces, keeping six feet distance when interacting, etc.).
  • Practicing expected hygiene regarding washing hands and covering coughs/sneezes, pointing out or providing guidance on this topic.
  • For visitors, use dedicated meeting rooms where possible, which should have common surfaces disinfected between meetings.
Incoming material, supplies, delivery, and mail protocol

The World Health Organization advises it is safe to receive packages from areas where COVID-19 has been reported, advising that: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

The virus does not survive on surfaces for long and the length of shipment time and other environmental factors should deactivate the virus.

Materials
  • By agreement with other members of the Southern Adirondack Library System and members of the Mohawk Valley Library System, returned Library materials will be quarantined for 96 hours. This period exceeds current Centers for Disease Control recommendations but is aligned with the Reopening Archives Libraries and Museums (REALM) study conducted by OCLC, the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services and Battelle (https://oc.lc/realm-project).
  • All returns will be placed in bins at the entrance to the building.
  • Staff will wear PPE (including gloves and masks) to move the materials from the bins to designated carts, bins, etc. and move them to the designated quarantine location with a dated slip.
  • Return bins should be disinfected each time emptied.
  • When finished emptying the return bins, gloves should be discarded. Staff should wash hands with soap and water.
Deliveries between locations
  • Library materials will be quarantined for 96 hours before shipping.
  • While it is closed to the public deliveries from SALS will come through the Henry Street door.
  • Staff packing and unpacking delivery may wish to wear gloves
  • Dispose of gloves and wash hands with soap and water when task is complete.
Supplies, mail, and other shipped materials
  • The World Health Organization advises it is safe to receive packages from places where COVID-19 has been reported.
  • Staff handling shipped mail or packages may wish to wear gloves.
  • The US Mail will be delivered thought the Henry Street Library return drop.
  • Mail should be removed from the drop box promptly, to limit the possibility of cross contamination with returned materials.
  • Following protocols based on the REALM study, magazines and glossy catalogs should be separated from the packages and envelopes and placed in quarantine for 96 hours.
  • Paper envelopes and packages will be delivered as usual.
  • The area near the janitorial supply shelves will be the designated delivery area for packages from shippers such as UPS or FedEx.
  • No quarantine of packages recommended upon receipt.
  • Staff should dispose of gloves, if worn, and wash hands before and after handling shipped materials.

D. Phased Reopening Plan

Library Services by Reopening Phase
Reopening Phase 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Limited Service Hours
Enhanced Cleaning
Telephone, Chat, and E-mail Reference
E-Collections
Virtual Programs
Accepting Returns
Overdue Fines Waived
Public Allowed in Building
Holds Pick Up 🔶
Donations Accepted 🔶 🔶 🔶
Friends Book Shop 🔶 🔶 🔶
Copier and Fax Available
Public Restrooms Available
Computer Use 🔶 🔶 🔶
Saratoga Room Research 🔶 🔶 🔶
Outreach to Seniors* 🔶
Notary Services 🔶 🔶 🔶
Public Seating 🔶
Exam Proctoring 🔶 🔶 🔶 🔶
Meeting Rooms Available 🔶
In-Person Programs 🔶
Teen Room
Treehouse Room
Children's Room Computers

* Outreach to Seniors may be limited by partner agencies.

u Services are limited or require an appointment.

Services offered in each phase are subject to change, based on health metrics, government mandates, staff availability, etc.

Phase descriptions
Phase 1: Pause is lifted and limited staff can report to work
  • Access to building and collections: Closed to public. Most staff continue to work from home. Limited staff report, masks and social distancing required.
  • Operations: For cleaning and maintenance
  • Administration: For essential activities
  • Circulation & Technical Services: For check-in, materials handling, and processing
  • Librarians: By appointment to retrieve program materials
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Drops have remained open during Library closure, and emptied daily, so materials have already been sequestered. New materials that are returned will be sequestered and/or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and prepared for shelving or shipping, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: Virtual only
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: None/virtual only
  • Materials processing and ordering: Once returned items have been checked in shelved/shipped, new materials that arrived during the closure will be processed. Ordering will continue to emphasize digital materials over physical materials.
Phase 2: Resumption of circulation of physical materials; public allowed in building by appointment
  • Access to building and collections: Limited staff report. Entrance of public allowed by appointment to retrieve holds. Collections closed to public. Ground floor and second floor closed to public. Masks and social distancing required. Hours limited.
  • Operations: For cleaning and maintenance
  • Administration: For essential activities
  • Circulation & Technical Services: For check-in and check-out, materials handling, and processing
  • Librarians: By appointment to retrieve program materials
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: Contactless “grab and go” holds pickup by appointment and or mail
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will continue to emphasize digital materials over physical materials
Phase 3: Metered public access to building; no lingering
  • Access to building and collections: Limited staff report. Limited browsing of New and Popular area. Ground floor and second floor closed to public. Masks and social distancing required. Hours limited.
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: In person
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will be based on patron need and demand
Phase 4: Metered public access to building; no lingering
  • Access to building and collections: Limited staff report. Limited number of patrons allowed in building. Collections open with one-way aisles. Meeting rooms Treehouse Room, Teen Room, closed to public. No tables, chairs. Computers and Saratoga Room by appointment. Masks and social distancing required. Hours limited.
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: In person
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will be based on patron need and demand
Phase 5: Metered public access to building
  • Access to building and collections: Limited staff report. Limited number of people allowed in building. Collections open with one-way aisles. Meeting rooms Treehouse Room, Teen Room closed to public. Limited tables, chairs, computers. Masks and social distancing required. Hours limited.
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: In person
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will be based on patron need and demand
Phase 6: Unmetered public access to building
  • Access to building and collections: Staff report. Public allowed in building. Collections open with one-way aisles. Meeting rooms Treehouse Room, Teen Room, closed to public. Limited tables, chairs, computers. Masks and social distancing required. Hours limited.
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: In person
  • Programs and meetings: Virtual only
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will be based on patron need and demand
Phase 7: Limited programs and meetings
  • Access to building and collections: Staff report. Staff who can work from home continue to do so. Public allowed in building. Collections open with one-way aisles. Treehouse Room and Teen Room closed to public. Limited tables, chairs, computers. Masks and social distancing required. Hours based on patron need and demand.
  • Materials handling: Circulation staff will check in Library materials that have been sequestered or treated according to the best available information. Items that can be, will be checked in, and shelved or shipped, according to agreed-upon understanding with SALS/MVLS libraries.
  • Checkouts: In person
  • Programs and meetings: Programs and meetings limited in size to allow for social distancing
  • Outreach: Limited contactless delivery
  • Materials processing and ordering: Ordering will be based on patron need and demand
Phase 8: Full opening and operation

E. Cluster Action Initiative Response Plan

Library administration will monitor the New York Forward website (forward.ny.gov) for data regarding Covid-19 hot spots and daily and 14-day-rolling-average Covid-19 test positivity rates posted on the "Percent Positive Results Dashboard."

  • If the14-day-rolling-average positivity rate in Saratoga County is greater than 5% for 10 consecutive days, or Saratoga Springs is declared to be within a Yellow Zone, as defined by the New York State Cluster Action Initiative, the Library will temporarily eliminate appointment-based services such as computer use and local history research, close public restrooms, and operate according to Phase 3 of its Business Reopening Safety Plan.
  • If the14-day-rolling-average positivity rate in Saratoga County is greater than 6% for 10 consecutive days, or Saratoga Springs is declared to be within an Orange Zone, as defined by the New York State Cluster Action Initiative, the Library will operate according to phase 2 of its Business Reopening Safety Plan, temporarily eliminating browsing. In this phase the only in-building service offered will be pick up of items placed on hold.
  • If the14-day-rolling-average positivity rate in Saratoga County is greater than 7% for 10 consecutive days the Library will operate according to Phase 1 of its Business Reopening Safety Plan, close the building to the public, and limit the number of staff working onsite.
  • If the14-day-rolling-average positivity rate in Saratoga County is greater than 8% for 10 consecutive days, or a pandemic-related state of emergency is declared by the City of Saratoga Springs, or Saratoga Springs is declared to be within a Red Zone as defined by the New York State Cluster Action Initiative, all services will be delivered virtually, and only essential administration and operations department staff will be allowed in the building.

Transitions between phases will be effective within 72 hours of when the metric for each phase is met.

At the discretion of the Library Director or the Library Board President, the Saratoga Springs Public Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily if:

  • There is not sufficient staff to maintain basic Library service levels
  • Public visitation is too low to warrant keeping the Library open
  • Any other condition exists which prevents the Library from operating safely and effectively.

Guidance resources and acknowledgements

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

Reopening New York Curbside and In-Store Pickup Retail Guidelines for Employers and Employees
https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/CurbsideIn-StorePickupRetailShortGuidelines.pdf

Reopening New York Essential and Phase II Retail Business Guidelines for Employers and Employees
https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/GeneralRetailSummaryGuidance.pdf

Reopening New York Office-Based Work Guidelines for Employers and Employees
https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/OfficesSummaryGuidelines.pdf

CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/pdf/Reopening_America_Guidance.pdf

CDC Resuming Business Toolkit
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community/Resuming-Business-Toolkit.pdf

Toledo Lucas County Public Library Safe Work Playbook
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3rwuaxa9592uoja/Safe%20Work%20Playbook_V2.pdf?dl=0

Addendum

The Board of Trustees authorizes the Library Director and/or his designee(s) to enforce the temporary safety measures such as physical distancing, face-covering requirement, limit on the number of members of the public allowed into the building, no-lingering rule, and hand and respiratory hygiene requirements outlined in this plan in accordance with the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct, which states, in part, that “Behaviors that interfere with normal Library operations, compromise safety or security, or prevent others from using or enjoying Library services are prohibited”. Those in violation of Library policies may be required to leave the premises.

Further, the Board of Trustees authorizes the Library Director to alter, update, review, and revise elements of this plan as necessary, without prior board approval.

Approved March, 2021