COVID-19 Precautions

 

Updated August 2021

The following guidelines refer to the provision 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 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 receiving face-to-face therapy.

Client Pick-Up and Drop-Off

  • Clients ages 4 and older are 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 vehicles. However, parents have the option of bringing them to our front porch, where they may wait for their therapist to retrieve them. We ask that parents waiting on the porch practice social distancing.
  • Parents are asked to complete a self-screen at home before coming to The Carruth Center. Please do not come to The Carruth Center if your child has any of the symptoms below:
    • Sore throat
    • New, uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for clients 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
    • Fever over 100.4 or a fever that you have given fever reducing medications
    • Runny nose/congestion outside of the client’s normal baseline
  • Please do not come to therapy 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. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of another individual for an accumulative time of 15 minutes in 24 hours, masked or unmasked.  If your child has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or symptomatic of COVID-19 please contact Mimi Branham, Clinic Director, for a timeline for return.
  • Because of the high volume of clients we see, our waiting room will remain closed. Parents, caregivers and siblings will be allowed in the building to use the restroom while they wait for their child. We ask that you wear a mask when entering the building. Therapy observations are limited to no more than once a week. Special circumstances can be discussed with the Clinic Director.
  • We ask all parents to return 5–10 minutes before the end of their child’s therapy time. 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 COVID-19 may return to the clinic ten (10) days after the LAST day of exposure to that person
  • Clients who have been exposed to a person symptomatic of COVID-19 may return to the clinic ten (10) days after the LAST day of exposure to that person or until the symptomatic person receives a negative PCR COVID test or an alternative diagnosis from a medical professional.
  • Please contact Mimi Branham, Clinic Director, at mbranham@carruthcenter.org to help you determine the date your child may return to services.
  • If a child cannot pass the health screening because they were diagnosed with or have symptoms of COVID-19, they may return to the clinic when all three of the following conditions have been met:
    • The client has been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours.
    • Respiratory and COVID-19 symptoms have improved
    • It has been at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared.
  • Alternatively, a client who cannot pass the health screening because they have symptoms of COVID-19 may return to the clinic if one of the three conditions below are met:
    • The client has received a negative real-time PCR COVID-19 test result.
    • The client has a doctor's release form.
    • It has been at least 10 days after symptoms began.
  • Clients who have 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 related to illnesses or inability to pass the COVID-19 screener at this time.
  • Clients will be charged for no-shows (canceling without informing your therapist).
  • If you are unable to come to therapy due to COVID-19, teletherapy services may be provided on a time-limited basis if this service is clinically appropriate for 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.
  • We utilize contact tracing when a staff member has been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If your child’s therapist has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be made aware of this exposure.  This is regardless of staff’s vaccine status.
  • If we are made aware that a Carruth Center client or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 a notification of potential exposure will be sent to affected Carruth families by the Clinic Director.

Client – Therapy Sessions

  • Clients and staff will wash their hands before starting their therapy session and at the end of their therapy session.
  • Social distancing will be used when possible, however, it is very likely that your child’s therapist, and possibly other children, 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.
  • Children over the age of 6 must wear a facial covering to therapy sessions. A facial covering may be a mask or a face shield.  If the facial covering interferes with therapeutic intervention, your child’s therapist may remove it for part or all of their therapy session.  Please contact your child’s individual therapy team if you have questions about facial coverings interfering with your child’s therapy plan.
  • Employees are not required to wear masks outside, but do wear masks or face shields while in the building.
  • Gloves may be worn if a therapist is at risk of exposure to bodily fluids.

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 prolonged exposure to someone being tested for COVID-19 will follow CDC guidelines about returning to work.
  • Staff will self-screen at home and have been trained on the COVID-19 screening questions. 
  • A staff member diagnosed with or symptomatic of COVID-19, may return to work following CDC guidelines:
    • The employee has been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24 hours.
    • Respiratory and COVID-19 symptoms have improved.
    • It has been at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared or a negative COVID-19 real-time PCR test has been obtained.

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
    • Doorknobs 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.
  • Visual alerts (Cover your Cough from CDC) are posted at the doors of the clinic educating others about decreasing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Tissues, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, disposable masks and face shields are readily available to staff.
  • The clinic is thoroughly disinfected nightly by our maintenance team.
  • All toys and materials will be cleaned when used with a child whose class has been placed on limited contact or if a child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Any toy or material that has any secretions on it or has been mouthed is cleaned and left to dry 24 hours before use.
  • The ball pit in the OT gym will not be in use.

 

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