UPDATED: HANDLE WITH CARE – COVID- 19 TRAINING PROTOCOLS
As States begin to reopen, it is important that we are ready and have established protocols in place. The current strategy is to provide a structured and phased guideline for reopening while leaving it up to the Governors of each state, and regions on the exact timing for implementing each phase. The protocol outlined below is based on the standards and requirements we are seeing across multiple regions and States. These protocols will vary based on i.e. (1) State requirements; (2) phase of re-opening; (3) whether the training is on-site or via seminar, and (4) the client. This protocol is subject to modification. We're using the best available information at hand. HWC Training Protocols include: Participants attending HWC Training must certify they are healthy and to the best of their knowledge NOT at risk of spreading COVID (i.e. do not have COVID symptoms, do not have COVID and are not in a quarantine or stay at home period if exposed to COVID). Participants who show signs of symptoms of COVID cannot attend training. The room size provided by the organization will meet State distancing or occupancy requirements for the number of Participants expected. Prior to attending everyone (HWC trainers included) will be asked to take their temperature and make an self-health assessment that they are not experiencing COVID symptoms. We're setting 100 degrees Fahrenheit as the maximum temp permitted to participate. Please ask your staff to self-screen their temps at home on the morning of training. Prior to attending the training or entering the training room there will be a sign-in table where temperature will be taken, participants will sanitize or wash their hands, and gloves (hand sanitizing) and masks will be required. We ask that no one enters the training room until their sign-in process is completed. Masks and gloves stay on unless the person leaves on a break. When the person returns, s/he must resanitize and change gloves. The same mask can be kept. Masks stay on unless you need to remove it to speak or breathe. If the mask is taken off social distancing must be adhered to. Before the mask is dropped the person must distance 6 feet from the nearest person. Trainers can drop their mask for longer briefings, explanations, broadcasting training. The trainer has to be at least 6 feet away if his/her mask is down. Where social distancing cannot be maintained, masks and gloves must be worn. During Personal Defense, each participant will keep the same partner. During the physical restraint training, including "spotting" practice, particpatns will be divided into small groups and remain with that group throughout. Additionally If there is any question about scheduling HWC training, the Client should check with the State and/or licensing agency as to when training can proceed. There may be last minute schedule adjustments or rescheduling due to COVID i.e. the trainer becomes ill and there is no time to provide a substitute trainer or a substitute trainer is not available, changing COVID protocols, restrictions or limitations. If the last minute cancellation is due to HWC, we will cover HWC (not client) out-of-pocket travel costs. If the last minute cancellation is due to the organization/client, the organization shall cover any HWC incurred non-refundable costs.
Question: I am sure you have received the below question before. What is HWC's position about having a pregnant student to go through the training? Answer: This is probably the most frequently asked question we've received over the years. My position on this has morphed over time. My original position concerning 1st trimester and training was, pregnant women are smart. They can make their own decision about what they can and cannot perform in training and, as a trainer, we simply document what they were and were not able to perform. After more than three decades, we have no idea how many 1st trimester women have been taken down with the PRT, both, in training and as clients in actual restraints. Likewise, we have no idea how many 1st trimester woman have performed PRT takedowns, either, in training or with clients. I can say, we have never received a report of a miscarriage to any woman, regardless of trimester, in the history of HWC. I make the distinction between 1st trimester and 2nd and 3rd trimester because, in most cases, a woman in the 1st trimester likely doesn't even know she is pregnant until after the fact. 2nd and 3rd trimester should be treated differently, because in most cases, whether she is an employee or a client, we know she is pregnant and have a responsibility to develop a policy that makes sense and protects everyone concerned. In my opinion, the best policy in 2016 is to take either of two approaches with employees: 1) As you are doing, leave it up to her OB Gyn to decide (in which no OB Gyn would ever approve of something like performing restraining maneuvers); 2) have UHS develop a clear policy that states, if you/we know you are pregnant you cannot participate in this training. How would you suggest recording those accommodations for certification or recertification purposes? If the agency decides to allow her to participate in those elements that make sense (depending upon what trimester she is in and her overall health), I would treat it the same way as you should do for every employee you put through the training, i.e., a "proficiency ("Can do - Can't do") checklist". For instance; cannot perform a Standing PRT. Reason: third trimester pregnancy and send the document on to Human Resources. All an instructor does at the Basic level is train them and document what they could and could not perform. You are not really "certifying" them in the same sense that HWC Certifies Instructors and issues them teaching certificates. At what point do the accommodations effect certification/recertification? As I said, you are not "certifying" Basic students per se'. Your very best employee could blow out her knee playing volleyball and be unable to perform during that particular class. You are simply documenting what she was and was not able to perform that day. Would you suggest or require some type of refresher course for that staff member upon clearance from their doctor? You could make them participate in a full refresher course or an Instructor could just take them through everything on your checklist during a mini session. If you are confident enough to sign off on them, so am I. Per HWC standards what qualifies as a refresher course/what are the requirements of such? If they have been trained previously and are returning from pregnancy or an acute injury, I would be satisfied with having them demonstrate everything on your check list, as long as you document it. I am using pregnancy in this example but I think this would also apply to staff who had just had surgery or was severely injured.
Laws Regarding Restraint for Schools
Handle With Care has been providing training for school staff on how to manage student populations from pre-k12 since 1985. There is generally a divide in schools between special education and general education with respect to behavior management and crisis intervention. The use of restraint in both general and special education are governed by 4 main bodies of law: Self Defense Laws: Federal, Constitutional and State laws protecting the right to defend self and others. Ingram v. Wright (SCOTUS). The State does not have the right to limit a person’s right to defend themselves or another in any manner that is reasonable. Bowers v. DeVit. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the right to self-defense does not terminate when a teacher or student enters the schoolhouse gates. See also, Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969) Tort/Common Law: Courts have held that schools act in the place of parents (in loco parentis). As such, schools have a duty to maintain a safe environment conducive to education. Along with this doctrine comes a duty to train staff to handle foreseeable circumstances. It is foreseeable that children will lose their tempers and may engage in inappropriate behavior like fighting and throwing objects. There is a duty to train staff how to manage these foreseeable situations in a way that maintains a safe environment conducive to education. Treatment and Behavioral Plans (IEPs/BPs). This is the duty to provide professional judgment in developing educational and treatment plans. The Supreme Court has held that the professional duty rests exclusively with the professionals working directly with the [students]. Youngberg v. Romeo. 457 U.S. 307 (1982). In addition to the above, special education students have the additional Federal laws that must be complied with: Americans with Disability Act (ADA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 (504). The laws specific to special needs students protect their right not to be discriminated against because of their disability, and the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) which includes IEPs.