12/9/2020 Update: Materials Quarantine to Reduce from 5 Days to 3 Days Starting Mon. Dec. 14

Published 12/9/2020 3:45 PM CT, Updated 12/10/2-2- 1:30 PM CT

On this page: Message RE: Moving to a 3-Day Quarantine  |  Background  |  Staff Procedures

 

Delivery Announcement (text overlaying IHLS Delivery Van)

IHLS Members, 

We are pleased to announce that Illinois Heartland Library System is reducing the quarantine time for interlibrary delivery materials and tubs from 5 days to 3 days, starting Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. IHLS will continue to quarantine these items on libraries' behalves within our hubs.

We understand that this decision will please some yet frustrate others who want the in-house quarantine to remain 5 days or be reduced below 3 days. To better understand our decision, we encourage you to read more about our decision-making process in the section below titled Background: Moving to a 3-Day In-House Materials QuarantineIn short: This decision was made after reviewing the existing health literature and after consulting and getting a consensus from our Delivery Working Group, a group made of both IHLS and library leaders and staff. If at any time the Illinois Department of Public Health or another authoritative agency should recommend a shorter or longer quarantine time, then we will adjust our quarantine period accordingly. 
 
Please continue to add a date, in neat, printed letters, to the outside of your tubs in the plastic label pocket. This date should indicate the last time that items inside the tub were touched by human hands
 
Meanwhile, IHLS staff members will continue to practice the safety procedures described in previous emails, outlined in the IHLS Staff Procedures section below, and as outlined in the COVID-19 Guidelines for Safe IHLS Delivery Service During the COVID-19 PandemicAdditionally, IHLS pledges to: 

  • inform IHLS employees who came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected employee of their exposure, 

  • inform a library of any case where an employee of that library came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected IHLS employee, and 

  • inform a library of any case where a library’s materials or tub came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected IHLS employee.

If you have any questions about the quarantine time and procedures or our in-house practices, please contact your Delivery hub manager. For more information on staff protocols and our commitment to a safe working environment, please see our Staff COVID Protocols on our Policies page. Thank you to all of our member libraries for your continued support as we work to provide you with safe interlibrary loan delivery service. 

Sincerely,  
 
Leslie Bednar, Executive Director  
lbednar@illinoisheartland.org  
 
Ellen Popit, Associate Director  
epopit@illinoisheartland.org  
 
Susan Palmer, Director of Operations  
spalmer@illinoisheartland.org 


Background: Moving to a 3-Day In-House Materials Quarantine 

According the current science and as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infection is primarily caused by exposure to respiratory droplets or through airborne transmission: "Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. . . . Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours." (CDC
 
On the other hand, COVID-19 spread is possible but less common through touching contaminated surfaces: "Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads[.]" (CDC
 
This does not tell us how to handle library materials, which have longer-than-average exposure times than materials touched in other industries, such as retail. Science also does not yet tell us about the transmissibility of the virus in amounts and conditions resembling those found in libraries. Furthermore, neither the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided library-specific guidance. Therefore, IHLS and the Delivery Working Group, a group comprised of IHLS and library leaders and staff, decided to move forward in reevaluating the science and attempting to apply it to library-specific factors. Our primary sources of guidance included the following: 

After this evaluation and after getting a consensus from the Working Group, IHLS decided to move forward with a reduction of the IHLS in-house materials quarantine from 5 days to 3 days. However, should the Illinois Department of Public Health or another authoritative agency advise a shorter or longer quarantine time, IHLS we will adjust our quarantine period accordingly.


Keeping Library & IHLS Staff Safe: IHLS Staff Procedures 

IHLS staff continue to practice the following safety procedures in order to provide libraries with a safe interlibrary delivery service: 

  • disinfecting commonly touched workspaces and tubs, paying special attention to high-touch areas such as handles, 

  • requiring handwashing every 30 minutes, 

  • requiring masks for IHLS staff when around library materials or other people, 

  • using temperature scanners to monitor the temperatures of all staff members before they enter an IHLS building and sending staff members home if they have a temperature reading above the state guideline of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 

  • following the Emergency Travel Order issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health, 

  • following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, and 

  • regularly reevaluating our policies and procedures for improvement. 

Additionally, IHLS pledges to: 

  • inform IHLS employees who came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected employee of their exposure, 

  • inform a library of any case where an employee of that library came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected IHLS employee, and 

  • inform a library of any case where a library’s materials or tub came into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected IHLS employee.

If you have any questions about the quarantine time and procedures or our in-house practices, please contact your Delivery hub manager. For more information on staff protocols and our commitment to a safe working environment, please see our Staff COVID Protocols on our Policies page