The plan below is intended to outline the policies, practices and conditions established to follow 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.
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 (and other illnesses) in our workplace, and that requires full cooperation among our clinicians and clients. Only through a 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
We operate independently under the guidance provided by the DC Department of Health for healthcare facilities
As such, all providers are fully vaccinated (which includes boosters), participated in COVID-related continuing education, and maintain PPE use and other core safety precautions.
screening to address signs & symptoms of COVID-19
No assessment work should occur when either party is sick, suspects they may be sick, or is unsure of health status. Every clinician will 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 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, is awaiting COVID test results, etc. they are expected to remain home. An appointment can be made via telehealth or rescheduled once 5 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 or respirators 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. Under some circumstances, exceptions to the masking requirement may be made solely at the discretion of the provider.
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. To limit any chance of congestion, we ask that only one person remain in the waiting area when accompanying a testing participant. We will maintain space as best as possible in the assessment interaction, but all clients should know that there are brief intervals of closer contact (i.e. to retrieve/switch materials). Participants can take water or mask breaks in the waiting room only or in a designated separate space when that is occupied.
hand washing & sanitizing
Our bathroom is shared and steps have been taken to make its use safer. Visitors are encouraged to wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water upon arrival to the building. Hand-sanitizer is 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. Objects such as pencils, pens, computer and testing equipment, and other work tools are cleaned and disinfected before being put away. Testing participants will have ongoing access to sanitizer. 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. Most shared materials have been removed from our waiting area. However, some handouts remain. We ask that you please refrain from unnecessary touching of common items.
All of our providers have met expectations set by Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health that all health care workers in the District of Columbia should be fully vaccinated. In-person participants of eligible age will be asked to demonstrate proof of vaccination to work in close proximity.
In some scenarios, testing participants may be asked to obtain COVID testing prior to the office visit. This decision is made by the evaluator in alignment with an office-wide policy of greater vigilance when a participant is not vaccinated, may be prone to removing or frequently touching his/her/their mask, community spread is not low, seasonal risks are present, and/or there are other personal/medical extenuating circumstances.
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 remain in regular contact with leaders in the assessment field, test publishers, and 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.