Under Mayor Bowser’s Executive Orders, the District of Columbia has advanced in its phased re-opening but reinstituted an indoor mask mandate. The plan below is intended to establish and explain the policies, practices and conditions necessary to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DC Department of Health (DCDH) guidelines for COVID-19, as well as federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Additionally, we are happy to share a PDF of the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan from Bernstein Companies (1990 K Management) that addresses the engineering and administrative controls for physical distancing, cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination and ventilation in our building.
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment as a foremost priority. We are all responsible for implementing this plan. The collective goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplace, and that requires full cooperation among our clinicians and clients. Only through this collaborative effort can we generate the best opportunity for safety and wellness.
Scheduling an assessment
Consultation with educators, administrators, physicians, and public health experts has culminated in our decision to maintain integration of successful virtual work for the foreseeable future. In-person work is conducted with thoughtful planning. We ask that clients contact us early to develop assessment plans that allow for us to limit your trips to the office, optimize both comfort and safety, and still receive results in a timely way.
Safety measures within WPA offices
screening to address signs & symptoms of COVID-19
The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess health status prior to entering our office and to report feeling sick. Every clinician will diligently review the CDC symptom checklist and share any concerns with the client. The same is expected of the client. Vaccinated visitors are asked to present proof of vaccination. If this has not been done prior to the appointment, other precautions may be taken upon arrival at the suite, which is not optimal. If either clinician or client has any concerns at all about health, they are expected to stay home and we will prioritize rescheduling. If either clinician or client is aware of exposure to someone with COVID-19, has any possible symptoms, or has recently visited a "hot spot" or participated in a group event without precautions, they are expected to remain home. An appointment can be made via telehealth or rescheduled once 14 days has elapsed if no symptoms emerge or a negative COVID-19 test is rendered after sufficient wait time (optimally 5 days post potential exposure).
Appropriately fitted masks are required at all times in suite 635 and are also required in the common areas of 1990 K. Gaiters, bandanas, loose paper masks, and shields are not sufficient. We encourage visitors to have an extra mask on hand in case one breaks or becomes soiled. Please consult CDC guidelines with regard to how to ensure a mask is sufficiently fitted to seal the nose and mouth area.
We can convene in person if the client can be reasonably expected to follow social distancing protocols. At this time, that excludes very young children.
Only one clinician will be in the office per day. There will never be more than one client in the office at the same time. We ask that if it is necessary to accompany the testing participant to the office that only one person remain in the waiting area. We will maintain 6+ feet space as best as possible in the assessment interaction, but all clients should know that there are likely brief intervals of closer contact (i.e. to retrieve/switch materials). Participants can take water or mask breaks in the waiting room only. Objects such as pencils, pens, computer and testing equipment, and other work tools will not be shared and will be cleaned and disinfected before being put away. Testing participants will have ongoing access to sanitizer.
hand washing & sanitizing
Our bathroom is shared and steps have been taken to make its use safer. Everyone is expected to wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water upon arrival to the building and whenever it makes sense during the day. Hand-sanitizer dispensers were installed in the building and are plentiful in our suite.
cleaning, disinfection & ventilation
Regular housekeeping practices have been amplified, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, and shared spaces such as restrooms and lobby areas. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted by clinicians in high-touch areas such door handles, computers, testing materials, etc. We continue to utilize high quality Germ Guardian True HEPA filter, Homedics, and Airthereal air purifiers. The building team has also made adjustments such that the maximum amount of fresh air is being brought into the workplace, air re-circulation is being limited, and ventilation systems are closely monitored. Steps are also being taken to minimize air flow blowing across people. Toys, books, and most other shared materials have been removed from our waiting area. However, some handouts remain. We ask that you please take what you review home with you and to refrain from unnecessary touching of common items.
Communicate. It might be hard, but we ask that anyone who later finds out that they were in close proximity to someone with COVID-19 or perhaps becomes symptomatic or tests positive themselves, let us know. There’s no blame or shame. There is risk of preventable harm if you do not disclose. We will be transparent in the office, and ask the same of our clients.
We closed our office as COVID-19 news hit because we care about individual/personal welfare and felt a deep commitment to the larger wellness of our community. Our single biggest job right now is to respect the guidelines and try to be patient, smart, and compassionate.
We miss high-fives, unmuffled laughter, and unrestricted interactions but we'll get there when the time is right.
We remain in regular contact with leaders in the assessment field, test publishers, and related colleagues to make decisions about best testing practices.
The variety of options we offer are guided by client best interest, research data, and safety first. If you have any questions at all, please ask! There are still many unknowns with regard to COVID-19, variants, and differing medical and mental health implications. Talking and planning together is key.