Updated June 30, 2020

Federal, state and local health officials are working with communities across the region to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social service agencies and nonprofits play a pivotal role in supporting our communities in good health. 

How agencies can prepare

  • Ensure that your sick leave policies make it easy for employees to stay home when they are sick. Make sure your employees know about these policies and expectations. You’ll want to make sure you are in compliance with federal, state, and local sick leave laws and policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your organization with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home. Encourage them to develop flexible sick leave policies.
  • Create or update flexible policies that allow employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or child who cannot go to school.
  • Plan for absenteeism at the workplace by identifying essential functions and creating plans for continuity of operations.
    • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
    • Prepare to change your practices if needed to maintain critical operations (identify alternative suppliers, prioritize clients, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Plan to protect clients and staff by postponing non-urgent services, increasing services provided by phone or online instead of in-person.
  • Assist clients to gather resources they would need to stay at home for up to 2 weeks if they become sick or need to socially distance (such as medication refills). 
  • Reassure and support clients and staff by sharing info about what they can do to prepare at home, and what public health is doing to prepare.

Keep people well

  • Emphasize staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes and good hand washing by all employees.
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and frequent hand washing at workplace entrances and other visible areas.
  • Provide tissues, waste baskets and hand sanitizer in areas where employees gather.
  • Require employees to wear a face covering if 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained, unless an accommodation for people with disabilities or other exemption applies. The State of Oregon provides detailed Mask and Face Covering Guidance for Business, Transit, and the Public (PDF).
  • Require clients and visitors to wear face coverings while inside, unless an accommodation for people with disabilities or other exemption applies. (Statewide requirement begins on July 1.)
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs. Use regular cleaners and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

If employees feel ill 

  • Employees with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle aches, headache, chills, or fever should stay home. See CDC’s list of symptoms
  • Any employee that becomes sick with a fever and cough illness at work should be kept away from others and be sent home immediately. See CDC’s interim guidance for businesses and employers
  • For those employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness, do not require they produce a healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness or to return to work.
  • The CDC recommends that employees and volunteers who have been out sick (regardless of whether they were tested for COVID-19 or not) should only return to work when:
    • 72-hours have passed with no fever—without the use of medicine to reduce fever, and
    • Other symptoms have improved (such as coughing, shortness of breath), and
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.