October 2, 2020

On a Mission to Safely Reopen - What We’ve Learned

At 42Chat, we’re on a mission to help businesses and organizations across the country safely get back to doing what they do best. For schools, it’s teaching students. For sports leagues, it’s getting back on the field. And for businesses, it’s getting back to serving customers.

Whatever stage of reopening you’re in, you’re facing two challenges: Being Safe and Demonstrating It.

Being Safe

Once you have a clean facility (hand sanitizer, disinfecting, etc.) being safe is about implementing layers of safety consistent with local, state, and federal requirements for your business or organization.

First, you want to ensure every person attests to their current health status before they arrive at your door. This means answering CDC-recommended questions about symptoms and exposure to COVID-19, and just as importantly, providing a mobile phone number.

This critical first layer of safety places the responsibility on each individual to honestly report their status. Think of it like the airport—before you can get a boarding pass, you have to report that there’s nothing hazardous in your bag or on your person. It’s the same principle. And a cell phone number gives you a way to follow-up with anyone answering “yes” to a survey question, so they can then be identified for additional screening. 

The second layer of safety is temperature screening. Temperature screenings help ensure no one demonstrably sick enters your facility. But since studies show that more than 30% of COVID-19 cases do not report being feverish, temperature screenings should be done in conjunction with symptom screenings. Whether the individual takes their own temperature, or whether a third party or a machine takes it for them, temperature screenings serve as a check on those who may not truthfully answer symptom screening questions.

The third layer of safety is COVID-19 testing. Testing confirms whether someone that has reported symptoms or a temperature actually has COVID-19. It can also serve as a precaution, to make sure no one returning work is COVID-19 positive at that time. Without testing, the standard protocol for COVID-like symptoms or potential exposure is to self-quarantine for 14 days. But a negative test result allows that person to safely return to school, to the field, or to work.

Demonstrating It

While being safe is our primary responsibility, it’s not enough. We also have to be able to demonstrate it.

Demonstrating safety starts with repeatable processes and established procedures that create a safer environment. Everyone has to follow these procedures—not just your students, staff or customers, but everyone who enters your facility—from cleaning crews to repair staff to visitors. This sounds easy, but it only takes one person being “waived through” to destroy the confidence that you’re trying to instill.

Next, demonstrating safety means having a readily available audit trail to show compliance to insurers, regulators and lawyers. Whether your screening is paper-based or electronic, it’s critical that screening results are instantly accessible for oversight both within the company and externally when requested.

Finally, demonstrating safety means establishing a rapid-response plan for confidential outreach to those who are potentially exposed to COVID-19, so they can be tested or self-quarantine as appropriate.

At 42Chat, we’ve created HealthShield, the industry’s best text-based symptom screening tool. It’s easy to use, with no app to download. Users conduct their symptom screening each day on their own phones, before they enter the building, and receive a green, yellow or red check. HealthShield meets government regulations and CDC best practices, automatically creates a digital audit trail, and can notify potentially exposed users instantly. 

To learn how HealthShield helped IMLAX become one of the first youth sports leagues in the country to reopen, click here.

To learn more about HealthShield for your organization, click here.

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