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COVID-19 Employee Health and Safety Procedures

Phase Two (Employees & Public in the Building)

The health and safety of PCPL’s employees and the public is top priority. PCPL will phase-in library services to ensure adherence to all federal, state, and local health recommendations. To protect the health of the individual employees and the public, the following mitigation strategies have been designed. Community mitigation activities are actions that people and communities can take to slow the spread of infectious diseases. Community mitigation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available. PCPL will work to meet patron’s needs during regular business hours through curbside service and through specified browsing hours where the public may visit inside the facility.

It is expected that all employees and public will adhere to these safety measures while at the PCPL. Failure to support the health and safety goals listed below can be considered insubordination and may lead to disciplinary action for employees, and removal from the building for members of the public. This document may be updated and modified as new situations or information becomes available. Employees will be notified of the modifications by email and via the library website.

Library employees are available by telephone during normal business hours at (574) 946-3432 or by email at Hours of operation, and any additional COVID-19 related information is posted on the Library’s website:

Maintaining Physical Distancing Recommendations

Physical distancing is required between all members of the public and staff when inside the Pulaski County Public Library. This implies that at least six feet is maintained between individuals, except when situations arise such as passing co-workers in a hallway or traveling past a co-worker’s workspace.

PCPL may make changes in services, hours, and schedules to ensure employees can adhere to physical distancing recommendations.

Limited public hours will be staggered in order to minimize the number of people in the building at a time, and to allow for proper sanitization protocol.

Employees may still work remotely as instructed by the library director to support library operations.

Employees will work six feet away from their co-workers and the public at all times.

Employees in small offices or close cubicles will have access to an alternate place in the building to work.

CDC recommends decreasing physical contacts in the workplace, such as in-person meetings and group lunches.

Employee breaks and lunches should be conducted in the staff member’s office or alternate workspace.

Employees should use phones and email to ask each other routine questions or obtain service versus walking to visit offices in person or leaving handwritten notes.

Employees will refrain from using other employees work terminals. IT or Maintenance may be required to perform maintenance in working spaces. Please be considerate and remain physically distant during these times. IT or Maintenance staff will wash or sanitize their hands prior to and after repairs.

Limited service models will be enacted to protect physical distancing measures between employees and patrons.

Patrons will be required to stay in their car during curbside service.

When employees and staff must interact at the circulation desk, Plexiglas barriers will assist when social distancing is not possible.

Employees will have minimal staff-patron interactions and will require physical distancing ability. If required to assist a patron, employees should maintain their physical distance.

Employees will file incidents reports regarding any patrons that attempts repeatedly to violate the six-foot distancing requirements. Library employees have the right to a safe and respectful workplace environment.

Implementing Basic Infection Prevention Measures & Enhanced Cleaning

Hand sanitizing stations are available for the public at every entrance of the building and near high-touch patron areas.

Employees will disinfect patron traffic areas and high-touch areas following the conclusion of patron hours, in preparation for the next set of patron hours.

Employees will disinfect their areas and high-touch materials at the beginning and end of each shift using paper towels and Pulaski County Public Library-provided disinfecting solution or antibacterial wipes.

Employees will frequently and thoroughly wash and sanitize hands using CDC guidelines. Hand sanitizer and a hand washing sink behind the circulation desk is available to all employees.

Employees will wash hands prior to and after specific activities to prevent cross contamination. Activities include such things as:

  • Changing between work activities
  • Moving materials between co-workers such as book carts
  • Entering the building and before beginning work: “Clean in, Clean out”
  • Book drop rotations

Employees will actively refrain from touching their face – mouth, nose, and eyes – while at work.

Employees will practice respiratory etiquette.

Employees will respect personal working spaces and not use a co-worker's desk, phone, or workspace. In the event that a working space must be shared, the employee will sanitize that space before and after using it.

Shared workspaces, like the circulation desk, should be sanitized thoroughly at the change of each shift using PCPL-provided cleaners.

When personal keyboard and mouse covers are not available, plastic covers will be used at all computers that are not individually assigned and discarded at the end of the employee shift.

Employees should carry their own writing utensils.

Employees will contribute to basic housekeeping practices include routine cleaning and disinfecting of shared surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the workspace.

High touch surfaces include door handles and locks, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, self checkout station.

If possible, during this phase, leave internal doors open to decrease the need to touch doorknobs and handles.

Handwashing signs will be posted in all restrooms that show proper handwashing procedures.

Handling Returned Library Materials

Handling materials is one of the most complex areas of library operations during a pandemic. This is due to the potential of virus transmission on shared objects such as books and DVDs. Current scientific studies suggest the virus may remain present on plastic surfaces for up to 72 or more hours and on cardboard and paper surfaces for up to 24 hours. To combat this potential, Pulaski County Public Library will quarantine all retuned items.

Employees will remove items from book drops and leave in current checkout status during a quarantine period.

Designated carts/dumbwaiters will be used for emptying book drops and will not be used for other activities.

Carts/dumbwaiters emptied from the book drop will be quarantined for 72 hours.

Items will remain in a quarantine area that is away from staff work or travel patterns.

After 72 hours, a different cart (clean cart) will be used to transfer to a secure area for check in.

Items checked in are available for re-shelving or holds.

Utilizing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All employees will be provided with two cloth face coverings, and additional coverings are available upon request.

Face shields are available for employees to utilize, but are not to be used as a substitute for a cloth facial covering.

Masks are required at Pulaski County Public Library for patrons and staff who are not fully vaccinated for Covid-19 and for children between the ages of 3 and 12.  Individuals who are fully vaccinated may use library facilities without a mask.  Vaccinated individuals are welcome to continue to wear a mask if they choose to do so.

Physical distancing is still required.

Employees may review the provided CDC poster How to Use a Face Mask.

Employees will read and follow the provided CDC guidelines on how to properly use and sanitize their cloth mask.

Gloves are available for employees handling book-drop returns, and based on need. They are to be removed safely and discarded immediately after the items are delivered to the quarantine area.

Upon removal of any PPE, employees must wash hands thoroughly before touching anything else.

Employees are encouraged to rely on frequent and thorough handwashing if gloves are not available.

Gloves must always be available in Spill Kits. We must comply with OSHA Standard Compliance (1910.1030) and combine personal protection and clean-up items mandated by OSHA, CDC, and State Health Departments to aid in the clean-up, transportation, and disposal of potentially infectious blood or body fluid spills.

Monitoring Individual Health and Wellness

All employees will monitor how they feel and be aware of potential symptoms of COVID-19.

We require temperatures to be taken and logged prior to beginning work.

If an employee does not feel well, exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms, or has a temperature above 100.4 (or feels feverish), the employee must stay home.

If someone in a person’s home is being tested for COVID-19, they are expected to work remotely until test results are available.

If you’re feeling ill, follow the CDC’s recommendations on what to do if you’re exhibiting symptoms  

If an employee is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they may be asked to work remotely from home until negative test results are available.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Facility

Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

A combination of cleaning and disinfection will be most effective in removing the COVID-19 virus. Cleaning reduces the soil load on the surface, allowing the disinfectant to work and kill the COVID-19 virus. Disinfectant may not kill the virus if the surface has not been cleaned with a detergent first.

Disinfecting will take place at the end of each shift before a team leaves the building.

Infectious Disease Outbreak Plan

Employees who appear to have symptoms upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees and sent home. The current team supervisor will notify the Director Immediately and PCPL will follow all CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Or at least two of these symptoms:
  • Fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.

The building is supplied with a thermometer to determine if an employee has a fever over 100.4, should an employee report being sick while at work.

If a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 we will follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations, and notify the Library Director.

Employees will inform the Library Director if they have a sick family member at home with COVID-19.


Published 10-12-20. Updated 6-8-21.