COVID-19 Risk Plan
Outside the Box, COVID-19 RISK PLAN Outside the Box (OTB) wants to ensure that all employees and participants are as protected as possible during this time. This plan is to outline infection prevention and control as well as additional preventative steps outlined by state & federal officials as well as Outside the Box.
The COVID-19 virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes/cough. It is possible that a person can get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes (this is not thought to be the main way in which the virus is transmitted).
To ensure everyone is knowledgeable regarding how to prevent and decrease risks, please read & follow the steps outlined below:
ALL EMPLOYEES/ ALL DEPARTMENTS
1) Be familiar with all guidance that has been issued by Outside the Box.
a) Ensure thermometers are available, as well as gloves, disinfectants, cleaning agents/supplies, tissue, soap, etc. across all work environments, all shifts.
b) If you have developed symptoms and or temperature of 100.4 or greater- Do not come to work until you are symptom-free of fever (100.4 F or greater) for a minimum of 72 hours, without use of fever-reducing or other symptom-relieving medication (cough suppressants) and have communicated with your doctor and supervisor for guidance. COMMUNICATE with your supervisor and or day program (this applies to all participants and employees).
c) Staff and participants are required to wear a mask at all times when carrying out or receiving services for Outside the Box. Continue to be aware and encourage EVERYONE to cough into their sleeve/cover mouths with a tissue when coughing/sneezing, wash hands for at least 20 seconds – sing a song while doing this to help lengthen the time spent washing, etc.
DAY PROGRAM SUPPORTS please follow the above steps for all employees and additionally:
1) Encourage as much NO TOUCH interaction as possible when engaging with people. Maintain as much distance between others as possible.
2) Abide by Social Distancing guidelines.
a) No matter your role while in the Outside the Box facility, we will maintain 6 feet or more of personal distance between one another, except in emergency situation.
b) Outside the Box will provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for all staff members who work in our facility.
c) Outside the Box continues to encourage meeting virtually or by telephone, and no in-person team meetings will be held at Outside the Box until further notice.
d) All employees and participants are prohibited from gathering in large groups.
e) Employees and participants are prohibited from gathering in confined areas, and from using other employees’ or participants’ PPE, phones, computer equipment, or other work tools or equipment.
f) No visitors will be allowed inside the Outside the Box facility until further notice. Only OTB staff and participants will be allowed inside. This includes drop-off and pick-up times.
3) Follow the infection prevention guidelines and increase our cleaning and disinfecting to
occur during every shift. This is ongoing — not once per shift; after everyone uses the
bathroom, touches cabinets, etc.
a) This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones,
keyboards, toilets/handles, faucets, and sinks.
b) Use the provided cleaning checklist and schedule to ensure thorough disinfection is
taking place between every single use and document this cleaning.
c) Follow guidelines provided regarding how long cleaning solution must remain on a
surface before being wiped away. This time frame varies among products, therefore, it
is recommended to keep solution on surfaces for 10 minutes prior to wiping them.
4) Have participant team contact information readily available as any other contacts relevant to
5) You must wear a mask at all times while working. Cloth masks have been made available to
all Outside the Box employees. Due to the severe supply shortage of PPE, Outside the Box
cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide masks to participants. Participants will be
required to obtain a mask prior to resuming services at OTB. Everyone must follow the
instructions for proper usage and cleaning while continuing to follow all of the steps outlined
below. YOU MUST STILL FOLLOW ALL other protocols while wearing a mask. Masks are
only one part of the process for infection prevention. Do not think that the mask alone will
a) If you go shopping for your group, you must wear your mask while out in the community
and follow all other protocols for handwashing, disinfecting, etc.
b) Share this link with everyone:
6) STAY HOME – only go out for NECESSARY reasons. Do not go to social activities or go out
to the store several times a week – Remain home! Plan ahead…..limit your exposure.
a) ALL employees must take their temperature before their shift (preferably 2-3 hours prior)
and document the temperature once you arrive for your shift. Notify your supervisor
immediately and DON’T COME TO WORK if you have a temperature of 100.4 F or
greater and contact your physician.
b) Employees should utilize their own thermometers; if an employee does not have a
thermometer you must notify your supervisor or the HR Director for guidance on how to
proceed with temperature checks.
7) All participants’ temperatures will be checked before they are allowed to enter the OTB
facility. If a participant is found to have a temperature of 100.4 or greater, they will be
refused entry to OTB and will be sent back with the person who brought them to the facility.
Because of this, transportation providers should not leave the front OTB drive until
instructed to do so by OTB staff. Certain high-risk participants will need their temperature
taken more frequently -see participant specific plans.
8) Separate any ill participants from their group members.
a) Notify on-call support or an administrative team member immediately if someone
becomes ill or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 while attending OTB programming.
9) Contact physicians regarding any upcoming appointments to determine if the appointment
should be rescheduled. It is strongly recommended to utilize Telehealth appointments for all
staff and participants.
a) You should only go to a doctor appointment and or any med check or emergency rooms
if experiencing life threatening symptoms, or under the advisement of a doctor and/or
10) Go outside and get fresh air & on nice days open windows, doors- both have been proven to
provide a preventative measure in contracting the virus.
11) No one should be allowed inside the OTB facility if they have symptoms or live in a home
where someone has had a fever or is ill. Ask them to consult with their physician regarding
when they can resume contact.
a) Ensure ALL employees & participants follow the same infection prevention strategies
you are taking-ask them to IMMEDIATELY wash their hands upon arrival, every hour
that they are present, and before leaving, ask them to eliminate close contact and
practice social distancing.
b) For staff and participants in the high-risk category, OTB is currently asking that these
individuals refrain from working or attending our program in person until further notice.
Virtual services may be available.
12) If you are transporting anyone in your personal vehicle, please ensure that you have
disinfected the vehicle-seats, seat belts, handles, doors, etc.
13) Health Emergency
a) If there is a health emergency concerning a staff member or participant, please ensure social distancing as much as possible. If the event that cardiopulmonary resuscitation would be required, OTB staff will only perform chest compressions, and no mouth-tomouth rescue breathing. This hands-only CPR is now the form recommended by the Red Cross.
b) As we begin reopening: Wear masks, maintain social distance. Be creative, but take precautions.
When will OTB begin providing services in the building again?
This question is highly dependent upon how effective current measures are at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus infection. If social distancing and stay-at-home orders work quickly at decreasing the tremendous strain on hospitals, and individuals are able to follow the important guidelines outlined by the CDC and local authorities, we will be able to open our doors sooner. We are in constant discussion about when that will happen and, when that time comes, will work diligently to notify the public.
When OTB opens, how will you ensure social distancing occurs given the small group spaces?
When we are able to open back up, we anticipate a slow start as many participants may choose to remain home for a while longer. We will maintain guidelines and best practices suggested by health officials by keeping even smaller groups than usual (no more than 4 participants and 1 staff per room), removing excess furniture from rooms to encourage 6ft of distance between individuals, and not participating in community outings or riding in staffs’ automobiles.
Will I still get to be a part of my small group, do my favorite things, and work with my favorite staff?
We want everyone to be prepared with the knowledge that things will likely not be the same for a while once we re-open during this pandemic. We will do everything we can to ensure meaningful and fun activities are occurring, however, when participants return they will likely be working with different staff and be included in different small groups than they were previously a part of. Over time and as more people return, we will be able to move towards more normalcy in our everyday operations.
When OTB opens, what changes will I need to make to my regular habits?
All participants and staff will be asked to wear masks (or some form of nose and mouth coverage such as bandanas or scarves), wash their hands upon entry, be prepared to leave immediately if signs of any illness are present, and adhere to hourly reminders to wash hands in order to participate in services.
What are my favorite OTB staff up to during this pandemic?
Sadly, due to the way the Medicaid Waiver is structured, we are unable to bring in enough money when OTB is closed to retain all employees. The difficult decision was made to furlough all hourly employees until we are able to open back up. Our hope is to bring back these passionate, dedicated, and incredible humans as quickly as possible and are exploring all options available to help take care of each other during this difficult time.
What is OTB doing in the meantime to stay connected to the community?
A small crew of OTB administrators are providing virtual FHIOs (1:1 meetings), virtual small groups, and conducting regular phone calls to program participants. Some minor improvements to the OTB facility are being done, when possible, like deep-cleaning the kitchen, painting various rooms, and disinfecting common areas. We’re also missing everyone so much and can’t wait to get back to see you all!
How can I help OTB during this strange time?
When OTB opens back up we will follow all CDC recommendations for trying to stay safe. Because of that we will likely ask all participants and staff to wear masks. If you’re a skilled sewer and would like to donate some time and resources to making fabric masks, please do so! Here is a link to a very helpful pattern: https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/
Please also keep in mind that there are many people with more immediate needs that OTB. Please be kind to your neighbors, offer to get groceries for others when you’re going out, send encouraging cards to healthcare workers, or buy gift cards for your favorite local restaurants.
How will Inside the Bottle, OTBs annual fundraiser, be impacted by this pandemic?
We will be postponing this event until there is different guidance from the CDC about gatherings. Our tentative reschedule date is October 1st, 2020.
Through years of experience, and a shared passion for supporting people with developmental disabilities, Outside the Box, Inc.(OTB) co-founders envisioned giving people MORE…more opportunities for learning, hope, and purpose. In 2008, OTB became a reality and no longer a dream. Outside the Box (OTB) co-founders quickly turned into two part-time employees, a graduate intern, and a four-person clientele in a borrowed conference room. Within the first two years, we expanded into our own space housing 15 staff and nearly 100 participants. Today OTB is now in a 14,000 square foot home on seven acres of green space supporting over 350 participants and 50 staff.
Outside the Box is more than just a name. It is a unique culture that empowers our participants and staff members to become the very best versions of themselves. By celebrating individual successes and building inner wealth, it is our hope that everyone experiences personal growth during their time at OTB and beyond. OTB provides three lines of services to let our participants explore different opportunities. Our Day Services Program is where our participants are peer matched in small groups and work through structured curriculum and have weekly opportunities to practice skills in community settings of their choice. Employment Services is dedicated to working with participants on skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce. Studio OTB, allows program participants to express themselves artistically and explore with their tactile and visual senses through a variety of media.