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Select Board Adopts Infectious Disease Policy To Protect Employees & Ensure Gov't Continuity

by Connie Sartini
At their Emergency Meeting on Friday, March 13 regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Select Board unanimously adopted an Infectious Disease Policy, the purpose of which is to be prepared to implement workplace measures to protect employees and to ensure business continuity in dealing with the Coronavirus Infectious Disease Protocols Policy.
     The following protocols apply to all town personnel including paid part-time and temporary, seasonal, detail, call and contract employees, and all boards or committee members, both elected and appointed.
Sick Employees Should Stay Home
     Boards, committees, department heads, and supervisors should advise their employees to be alert of any signs of symptoms associated with COVID-19 including respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or a temperature 100.4 F.
     Employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are prohibited from reporting to work following their diagnosis for 14 days and prior to returning to work must provide a doctor’s note that they are medically cleared to return to work.
     Employees without symptoms but who have had contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days following that contact.
     Employees with accrued, unused sick leave benefits will continue to receive their regular compensation during their period of absence until the benefits are exhausted, or they are cleared to come to work.
     Sick employees who report to work will be directed to go home.
     Employees are not to come to work if they exhibit any COVID-19 like symptoms. This is highly contagious through direct person-to-person contact. Any town employee, or official exhibiting symptoms upon arrival or during the day will be promptly separated from co-workers and sent home
     The town will not restrict personal travel, however, if an employee plans to travel domestically or internationally, they must notify their department in advance. It is not mandatory to disclose this information, but would greatly assist in reducing the risk of infection and transmission.
     If an employee travels to a foreign country, they will be required to use vacation time and stay at home for a minimum of 14 days after return from the trip.
Health and Safety Reminders
• Wash hands often with antibacterial soap and water or hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing
• Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and/or have a fever. A six-foot distance is
• Cover mouth and nose with tissue
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
• Stay home if sick
Clean Surfaces
Employees are encouraged to clean frequently all commonly touched surfaces in the workplace such as counters, workstations and door knobs.
Working from Home
     The town may consider temporary work arrangements and flexible schedules. This will be determined by the Town Manager and the Department Heads on a case by case basis.
     Department Heads should prepare for increased numbers of employee absences due to the illness in employees and their family members and plan for essential functions to continue. Plans for this should be developed, and some personnel could be cross-trained to perform essential functions.
Leave of Absence and Benefits
     Employees out on leave will follow the same guidelines they use when they are out sick.
Employee Assistance
Lastly, during these stressful times, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to employees to help deal with concerns about individual’s health and well-being.
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