COVID-19: Protecting Youth In OYA Facilities

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OYA has put in place many new procedures to protect youth and staff in OYA facilities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OYA has put in place many new procedures to protect youth and staff in OYA facilities.

In response to questions from families about what we are doing to keep their loved ones in our facilities safe due to the pandemic. So we’ve put together this information:

  • Cleaning and Disinfection
    • All living areas in facilities are cleaned many times a day, following CDC recommendations. This includes disinfecting living units, bathrooms, eating areas, doors, countertops, etc.
    • When one group is in a common area, or when they use common recreation equipment, they clean and sanitize before another group comes in.
  • Handwashing and Personal Hygiene
    • Youth have been educated in how to stop the spread of the coronavirus. All youth have access to soap and water for handwashing. Posters in all OYA facilities encourage youth to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow or into a tissue, and to avoid touching their face. These are the most effective methods to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Face Coverings
    • According to the CDC, only patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, and staff working with these patients, should wear medical-grade face masks.
    • Youth and staff may wear non-medical-grade face coverings if they wish. OYA has ordered ready-made face coverings plus materials for youth to make their own. Many generous individuals have also donated them to our facilities.
  • Physical Distancing and Reducing Contacts with Others
    • All facilities are closed to visitors, volunteers, and non-essential employees.
    • As much as possible, youth are staying together by living unit.
    • We temporarily closed schools, vocational activities, and many volunteer-led enrichment activities. We are seeking ways to re-establish some of these activities remotely.
    • We have limited remaining group activities to fewer than 10 people at a time, from the same living unit, and only if they can stay six feet apart.
    • We have restricted the number of youth in certain areas to increase physical distancing.
    • Youth in dorms are now sleeping head to toe, to increase distance.
  • Staff and Contractors Self-Screen Upon Arrival
    • Staff and contractors must self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and wash their hands before entering a facility.
  • All Facilities Have Quarantine and Medical Isolation Areas
    • OYA has set up areas in each of its facilities to quarantine youth without symptoms who may have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. We have also set up medical isolation areas for youth who have symptoms or test positive.
    • Staff working with youth in quarantine or medical isolation have appropriate protective equipment. Youth in quarantine may wear a medical-grade mask, if they wish.
    • We get youth tested for COVID-19 when they show symptoms (such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath) and when a health care provider recommends it. OYA uses CDC/OHA guidance on appropriate criteria for testing. Those being tested and/or awaiting results will be medically isolated.
  • Modified Intake for Incoming Males
    • We created a new process at MacLaren to hold all new male intakes and male youth entering for parole violations in a separate living unit for a 14-day period. The 14-day hold is to make sure they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 before we transfer them to their longer-term living unit or another facility.
    • We do not have the same option for incoming female youth at our Oak Creek facility because of space and staffing limitations. However, all incoming youth there receive a health screening before leaving juvenile detention and another when they arrive at Oak Creek. Those who develop symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient will be placed in quarantine or medical isolation, if needed.


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