Resources for Parents
Preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus
Cleaning and disinfecting:
To clean your home and workplace to reduce the spread of COVID-19, look at your cleaning product. If it says it kills corona-virus on the label, it is EPA-approved and okay to use. Several name-brand products do, such as Lysol and Clorox.
Use the Product RightFirst, clean dirt off of the surface. Then wipe the surface with disinfectant.
Leave the surface you are cleaning wet with disinfectant for as many minutes as the product instructions require. This is a key step that people often miss. It's not enough to just wipe a surface with a rag dampened with disinfectant!
What to Clean
- High-touch areas such as door handles, phones, remote controls, light switches and bathroom fixtures.
- Horizontal surfaces such as counter tops, kitchen tables, desktops and other places where cough droplets could land frequently
The most important factors to disinfecting are to clean frequently and thoroughly, and to use the cleaning product correctly! No special products required!
A one-time “deep clean” is not effective.
Going DeeperIt's unclear exactly how long COVID-19 can remain on a surface. Early evidence suggests that the virus can survive for several days at room temperature. This is why wiping down commonly touched surfaces helps to prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu.
Disinfectant WipesMost disinfecting wipes claim they can kill up to 99.9% of germs. If used appropriately, they may be effective against COVID-19. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. It's important to clean a visibly dirty surface to rid it of dirt and debris before disinfecting.
Do not reuse wipes to wipe down multiple surfaces. This can transfer germs from the used wipe to other surfaces. To prevent this, use one wipe for each surface and then throw it out.
Do not dry the surface after using the disinfectant wipe. The surface that you are disinfecting will need to stay wet for the amount of time listed on the label. This step is important because the contact time is what is required to kill the germs.
At Home or the Dorm
- Clean all high-touch surfaces every day (counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables).
- Clean any surface that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
- Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions.
- Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including precautions you should take when applying it (wear gloves and use good ventilation).
Schools, Jails and Other Community Settings
- Follow your organization’s routine cleaning and disinfection program.
- Emphasize cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, counter tops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.
- Special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary or recommended at this time.
- Follow standard procedures for cleaning and disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant with a claim for human corona-viruses.
For CustodiansFollow the disinfectant manufacturer’s instructions for use, including:
- Use the proper concentrations of disinfectant
- Allow required wet contact time
- Pay close attention to hazard warnings and instructions for using personal protective items such as gloves and eye protection
- Use disinfectants in a sufficiently ventilated space
- Follow the safety data sheets (SDS) for each disinfectant chemical
Guidance from health officials on how to care for someone who is ill
Updated March 12, 2020
Federal, state and local health officials are working with communities across the region to protect residents and slow the spread of the novel corona virus COVID-19.
That includes providing guidance to any individual who cares for a sick person at home(link is external). Whether that is an in-home care worker or a loved one, these people play a key role in supporting good health and minimizing the risk of spreading the virus.
When someone in the home has confirmed or possible COVID-19, designate one person in the household as the main caregiver for the ill person.
Ideally, this caregiver should be healthy and not have medical conditions that would put them at risk for severe illness. Those considered “high risk” include people over the age of 60 and anyone with the following conditions:
- Lung problems
- Heart problems
- Kidney disease
- A suppressed immune system
This page provides caregivers with guidance on how to care for ill people with mild symptoms, as well as how the caregiver can care for themselves.
How to care for an ill person at home. Most patients with COVID-19 can receive the care they need at home, as mild symptoms of COVID-19 may be similar to a cold or the flu: runny nose, cough, low-grade fever and aches.
People are probably most contagious when they have symptoms like cough and fever. Here is what to do:
- Keep the sick person in a separate, well-ventilated room and apart from other people and pets as much as possible.
- If a separate space is not available, keep a distance of at least six feet from people who are well.
- A sick person who is coughing or sneezing should wear a mask when around other people. If the patient cannot wear a mask, the caregiver should wear a mask or cover their nose and mouth when close to the ill person (within 3 feet).
- Provide the sick person with a separate bathroom if available and a trash bag within reach.
- Limit activities outside the home until the sick person is feeling well for at least one day.
Care for the person as if they have the flu:
- Provide healthy food and offer plenty of fluids.
- Have them rest.
- Offer non-prescription medicines for symptoms like fever and aches.
Call a healthcare provider or an emergency room if the sick person develops concerning symptoms, or if their symptoms worsen. And notify the healthcare provider or the emergency operator that the ill person has been evaluated for or diagnosed with COVID-19.
Caregiver self-care. While the risk of catching a virus from a sick person is highest for the direct caretaker, everyone in the home can take the same precautions to limit risk. Monitor your own health regularly to watch for the development of similar symptoms.
The following recommendations minimize the risk of getting sick while caring for an ill person at home.
Practice good home hygiene:
- Properly wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after being in the same room as the ill person, handling their belongings and after using the bathroom.
- Properly clean all frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis using everyday cleaning products.
- Wear a face mask or cover your nose and mouth when interacting with the ill person if they are unable to use one.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth without first carefully washing your hands.
- Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding with an ill person.
- Wash dirty dishes in a dishwasher or, if by hand, with warm water and soap.
- Laundry can be washed in a standard washing machine with warm or cold water. It is not necessary to separate laundry used by a patient from other household laundry.
- In order to avoid germs, do not shake dirty laundry or “hug” dirty laundry to your chest to carry it.
Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It's best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds.
If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs are fast acting and significantly reduce the number of germs on skin.
With soap and water:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
- Use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
With alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Apply product to the palm of one hand.
- Rub hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
You should wash your hands:
- Before preparing or eating food.
- After going to the bathroom.
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom.
- Before and after tending to someone who is sick.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After handling an animal or animal waste.
- After handling garbage.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound.
- Restroom Poster - Clean Hands for 20 Seconds(link is external) (CDC)
- Lávese las manos con agua y jabón por al menos(link is external) (CDC)
- More Handwashing Posters, Flyers, Videos (CDC)(link is external)
- Poster: Do your part: COVID-19 (181.66 KB)
- Flyer: Do your part: COVID 19 (176.47 KB)
Cover your cough. Many respiratory illnesses—including serious ones such as influenza and pertussis (whooping cough)—are spread by coughing or sneezing. Some respiratory illnesses can also spread by direct contact—for example, after someone’s hands become contaminated by droplets from coughing or sneezing.
These illnesses spread most easily in crowded places or households where people are in close contact. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
What to do if you get sick. Help yourself get better and avoid spreading your illness to others by:
- Getting ample amounts of rest.
- Staying home from work or school.
- Drinking extra liquids—at least one glass of water or juice every waking hour.
- Not preparing food for others while you have symptoms and for at least 24 hours after recovering.
Who should wear a mask?
- CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear masks in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).
- While masks are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a mask may not be feasible. In these instances, adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible (see below for examples).
People who know or think they might have COVID-19
- If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, do not visit public areas. Stay home except to get medical care. As much as possible stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If you need to be around other people or animals, wear a mask (including in your home).
- The mask helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It helps keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people.
Caregivers of people with COVID-19
- Those caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting may also wear a mask. However, the protective effects—how well the mask protects healthy people from breathing in the virus—are unknown. To prevent getting sick, caregivers should also continue to practice everyday preventive actions: avoid close contact as much as possible, clean hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.