COVID-19 Precautions

Updated 09/08/2020

The following guidelines refer to the resumption of care on-site during the COVID-19 crisis. As guidelines for the country, state and county continue to develop, these policies will change to reflect current standards. We will monitor the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and information from the Harris County Public Health Department for updates. The Carruth Center provides this information so families will be aware of precautions we are taking and are aware of the risk of their child returning to therapy.

Client Pick-Up and Drop-Off

  • Clients ages 4 and older will be picked up for therapy from their vehicle and returned to their vehicle or taken to their class after their therapy session is complete.
  • Children under the age of 4 can also be picked up from their vehicle. However, parents also have the option of bringing them to our front porch, where they may wait with them to be screened for entry into the building. We ask that parents waiting on the porch wear masks and practice social distancing.
  • A health screening will take place for each client before entering the building:
    • Clients will have their temperature taken via no-touch forehead scanner. Any client with a fever over 100.0 cannot be seen for services that day.
    • Parents/caregivers will be asked a series of screening questions. Entry may be denied if any of the following criteria are met:
      • Sore throat
      • New, uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
      • Diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain
      • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever
      • Loss of taste or smell
    • If your child has had close contact with someone who is lab confirmed positive for COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19, whether symptomatic or not, they may not attend therapy. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of another individual for an accumulative time of 15 minutes, masked or unmasked. Please contact Mimi Branham, Clinic Director, for a timeline for return.
  • Parents/caregivers will be asked to report if the client has taken any fever-reducing medicines within the past 24 hours.
  • Parents, caregivers and siblings will not be allowed in the building unless it is to use the restroom while they wait for their child. We ask that you wear a mask when entering the building. Special circumstances can be discussed with the Clinic Director.
  • We ask all parents to pick up their child 5–10 minutes before the end of their child’s therapy time. Because of increased demands on staff to thoroughly sanitize and clean the facility, we do not have staff who can watch your child if you arrive late for pick-up.

Client Illnesses and Absences

  • Clients who have been exposed to a person diagnosed with or symptomatic of COVID-19 may return to the clinic fourteen (14) days after the exposure to that person.
  • If a child cannot pass the health screening or been diagnosed or have displayed symptoms of COVID-19, they may return to the clinic when:
    • The client has been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours, after respiratory and COVID-19 symptoms have improved, AND at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared.
    • Or the student has received a negative Real-time PCR COVID-19 test result.
    • Or the student has a doctor's release form.
  • If someone in your home is getting tested for COVID-19 due to concerns of exposure or infection, please do not bring your child to therapy until PCR test results are negative or until 14 days past the diagnosis date, even if the student has been asymptomatic. Rapid test results have proven unreliable and will not be considered when making return to clinic plans.
  • Clients who have been ill with illnesses that have been confirmed by a doctor NOT to be COVID-19 may return to The Carruth Center when they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours.
  • Clients will not be charged for last-minute cancellations at this time.
  • Clients will be charged for no-shows at this time.
  • Any client who is not wanting to return to the clinic can receive services through teletherapy for as long as we utilize this platform and as long as it is benefiting your child.
  • Clients who are immunocompromised, medically fragile, or who are otherwise at risk for complications arising from catching an illness are encouraged to not return to the clinic at this time. Please talk to our staff about initiating teletherapy services to meet your child’s needs, if you would like to pursue services.

Client – Therapy Sessions

  • Clients and staff will wash their hands before starting their therapy session and at the end of their therapy session.
  • Clients may not bring materials or toys from home to therapy. They may bring a drink to the clinic.
  • Client sessions may be abbreviated to make time for cleaning of therapy materials between sessions. Clients will only be charged for the time their child is seen, not for cleaning time.
  • Social distancing will be used when possible, however it is very likely that your child’s therapist will be within 6 feet of your child during their therapy session.
  • Masks are available to our therapy staff to wear during sessions. However, due to the nature of some therapies, they may be removed for part or all of your child’s session to facilitate strategies needed to help your child in therapy. Face shields are provided to staff to use in instances when face masks cannot be worn.
  • Employees will wear masks when getting children from therapy and taking them back to their cars or the front porch, and in all common areas. Staff may not congregate in common areas without wearing face masks.
  • Gloves may be worn if a therapist is at risk of exposure to bodily fluids.
  • If we are made aware that a Carruth Center client or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the Health Department will be notified and a notification of potential exposure will be sent to affected Carruth families by the Clinic Director.

Staff

  • Staff have been educated about our COVID-19 precautions, use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), new policies and universal precautions relating to decreasing the spread of germs and sanitation.
  • Staff members who have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will not report to work and will follow CDC guidelines about returning to work.
  • Staff who had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will not report to work for fourteen (14) days or until a negative Real-time PCR COVID-19 test is received.
  • Staff who had prolonged exposure to someone being tested for COVID-19 will not report to work until PCR test results are received and are negative.
  • Staff will take their temperature upon arrival to work and undergo the same screening questions as clients. Any staff member having a fever over 100.0 or answering “yes” to a screening question, whether symptomatic or not, will be sent home.
  • If a staff member is diagnosed with or symptomatic of COVID-19, they may return to work following CDC guidelines:
    • When they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours, after respiratory and COVID-19 symptoms have improved, AND at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared.
      -OR-
    • When they have been fever free without the use of fever reducing medications, after respiratory symptoms have improved, AND a negative COVID-19 Realt-time PCR test has been obtained.
  • If a staff member becomes ill with COVID, the Health Department will be notified and a notification of potential exposure to clients will be sent to Carruth families by the Clinic Director.

Clinic Facility

  • Common areas will be wiped down in the morning, mid-day and in the evening with a CDC approved cleaner. Common areas include:
    • Light switches
    • Door knobs and handles
    • Table-tops
    • Faucets, sinks, toilet handles
  • Therapists/staff will wipe down keyboards, phones and desks daily using a CDC approved cleaner.
  • Therapists in individual rooms will wipe down seating and table-tops in between clients.
  • All toys and materials will be cleaned after use.
  • Materials that are too tedious to be cleaned (i.e., ball pits) will not be in use.
  • Visual alerts (Cover your Cough from CDC) will be posted at the doors of the clinic educating others about decreasing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Tissues, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, soap and gloves will be made readily available to staff.
  • Extra staff will be available to clean shared therapy areas while therapy occurs to minimize cross-contamination.
  • Cleaning/disinfecting of hard and soft surfaces will follow CDC guidelines.
  • Staggered work shifts or use of additional space will be implemented for those therapists who must treat in shared areas.
  • The clinic will be thoroughly disinfected nightly by our maintenance team.

Any questions about these policies may be directed to Mimi Branham, Carruth Center Clinic Director at mbranham@carruthcenter.org.