Pandemic Preparedness: How to stay safe in close living quarters – Checklist

If you live in close proximity to a number of other individuals (e.g., in an apartment, dormitory, sorority or fraternity house, group home, or other close living quarters), it can be especially difficult to know what precautions to take in order to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow the checklist below as a guideline for safety precautions to take!

How to keep yourself safe:Ideas for management to keep residents safe:
 SIGN UP SHEETS
If your community has sign up sheets for common areas, use them! 
If your community does not follow a schedule, check to see how busy the amenities are before using them. If the area is crowded, come back another time.
✓ AVOID USING SHARED SPACES IN YOUR FACILITY WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Always wear a mask in a shared space, regardless if there are other people around you.
If you have a shared kitchen or dining area, avoid sharing dishes, glasses, utensils, drinks, or food with other people. If you have your own personal area, opt to eat in there instead of a shared space.
Avoid using recreational areas such as pools and gyms.
If you share a bathroom with people outside of your immediate household, avoid leaving personal items and toiletries in the bathroom. If possible, put your personal items (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and other hygiene products, etc.) in a basket or bag to bring with you when you use the restroom.
If you share laundry services, bring your own detergent whenever possible. Avoid congregating in an area where others are doing their laundry (e.g., wait outside the facility or in your living area). If the area is too crowded, return at a later time. 
✓ REGULARLY WASH YOUR HANDS
You should wash your hands whenever you return home (even after going on a walk or visiting a shared area within your facility, such as a laundry room or kitchen).
For more information about when to wash your hands, visit this link.
✓ STOCK UP WITH DISINFECTING SUPPLIES, IF POSSIBLE
If you are able to, obtain disinfecting supplies (e.g., disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.). 
Carry these supplies with you if you plan on using community amenities or leave your immediate living area.
✓ REGULARLY SANITIZE HIGH-TOUCH OBJECTS AND SURFACES
It is important to disinfect commonly touched items or surfaces such as doorknobs, sinks, appliances, tables, remotes, etc.
Regularly wipe down high touch surface areas
✓ LIMIT ELEVATOR CAPACITY 
If possible, opt to take the stairs instead. 
Try to avoid elevator rides with more than one other person.
Face the wall when you enter the elevator.
Wear a cloth face covering while inside the elevator – regardless of if there are other individuals riding with you.
✓ MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Maintain a distance of 6 or more feet between you and other people as much as possible. 
For example, if another person is coming down a hallway or stairwell, wait for them to pass before entering the area. Also, don’t worry about holding doors for others – it is safer if you leave 6 feet between you and anyone else outside of your household.
✓ WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING WHENEVER YOU ARE OUTSIDE YOUR IMMEDIATE LIVING AREA
It is important to wear a cloth face covering outside of your living area, or when you are around individuals who do not live in your household.
✓ AVOID BRINGING GUESTS INTO YOUR CLOSE LIVING QUARTERS
It is important to not bring anyone who does not live in your household to your community. This increases potential risk of COVID-19 for everyone.
✓ REDUCE YOUR CLOSE CONTACTS
Staying home is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should be sure to avoid indoor, in-person social gatherings, non-essential trips or excursions, and reduce the number of people that you have contact with outside of your home.

✓ SIGN UP SHEETS

Create sign up sheets for shared common areas so that amenities do not become overcrowded (e.g., fitness facilities, pools, kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry areas)
Another possibility is to implement a schedule to follow in order to use the community amenities. 
✓ STOCK UP WITH DISINFECTING SUPPLIES, IF POSSIBLE
If you are able to, obtain disinfecting supplies (e.g., disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.). 
If possible, leave supplies out in community amenity areas for individuals to use.
If possible, add additional hand washing stations.
✓ DESIGNATE STAIRWELL DIRECTIONS
If the living community has more than one stairwell, designate one stairwell for individuals to use for going up the stairs, and one for individuals going down the stairs. 
✓ LIMIT ELEVATOR CAPACITY
Limit elevator rides to one or at most, two people whenever possible. 
Require cloth face coverings while waiting for and riding in the elevator.
Elevators are high risk areas and should be sanitized regularly. 
✓ REQUIRE CLOTH FACE COVERINGS IN SHARED SPACES
Require residents to wear cloth face coverings while outside of their immediate living areas.
✓ LIMIT GUESTS 
Advise residents to not invite guests to their living complex. 
✓ ADD HELPFUL COVID-19 SPECIFIC SIGNAGE
If possible, post signs to remind residents to follow physical distancing guidelines (e.g., stickers on the floor, informational posters, etc.), wear cloth face coverings, and follow suggested community requirements (e.g., limiting elevator capacity, signing up to use amenities, and limiting access to other shared spaces, such as laundry or fitness areas). 
✓ REGULARLY SANITIZE HIGH-TOUCH OBJECTS AND SURFACES
It is important to disinfect commonly touched items or surfaces such as doorknobs, sinks, appliances, tables, remotes, etc.


If you believe that you have COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus:

  • Stay home: stay away from others (including other individuals living in your household) as much as possible. Quarantine or isolate in a personal room or area if this is available and have individuals that live with you leave necessities (e.g., food, hygiene supplies) at your door instead of using shared spaces. For more information on what to do if a member of your home is sick, visit this link. 
  • Notify a facility manager, landlord, or someone who is responsible for the facility of your exposure.
  • Notify any close contacts you had two days before you felt sick to let them know of their possible exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, or believe that you have COVID-19, get tested.
  • Wear a cloth face covering and maintain physical distancing from others.

For more detailed information on what to do if you were exposed to COVID-19, visit this link.

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