Be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. With businesses being allowed to open, and people coming back out during the global pandemic, oddly enough, this is one area I’m actually verifiably qualified to speak about because I have a degree in science.
The Pandemic is Not Over
The pandemic is not over. I repeat, the pandemic is not over. If history tells us anything, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. But it doesn’t have to.
With the knowledge we have gained about viruses and how they spread and what we can do to prevent that, this can be mitigated. But it is up to us, each of us, to be an example to every other person we come into contact with. We need to be an example of prudence in this unprecedented time.
Even if you’re of the opinion that this is overblown, you have to have compassion for others. Especially since you are in a service industry where you come in direct contact with the public and are responsible for a confined space they will be occupying with others. You can believe what you want and live your life how you choose, but you have to have consideration for other people’s lives. It’s just basic respect for your fellow human being. You may be fine but you might come into contact with someone that isn’t. If you’re not practicing safe procedures you might unknowingly infect a coworker or client and they may not have a good outcome.
What You Need To Know About COVID-19
So here is what my education tells me about how to deal with this and what you need to know.
First, nothing has changed
- There is no cure.
- There is no treatment.
- There is no vaccine.
If a person gets it and they have a pre-existing condition, there is a possibility that they may not survive. Over what we think of as a cold or flu. They get sick from a cold and die. I know that sounds bizarre but ask the over 100,000 families that have lost a loved one. A loved one lost to something that is 100% preventable.
This is a respiratory virus. That means it grows in our respiratory system or lungs. That is why we need to wear the masks as coverings. It blocks the particles from getting in and getting out. That is the biggest thing you can do to help limit the virus. Wear a mask, wear it in public all the time and wear it properly — completely covering your mouth and nose.
The other way it gets into our respiratory system is through physical contact through our hands and then face. That is why they tell you to limit touching your face and to wash your hands. The most important time is when you change environments and go into somewhere you don’t know how well it has been disinfected.
What You Need to Do to Protect Yourself and Your Students
One of the most important places you can remember to clean your hands is as soon as you get in your vehicle. Cars play a major role in our industry, and they need to stay safe for your students.
- Completely disinfect the vehicle
- Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and do a quick squirt and rub it all over your hands really well.
- Request that all people getting in the car use hand sanitizer.
- Get some masks and keep in the vehicle for people that do not have one. Request everyone wear a mask. If everyone is wearing masks then this will stop most transmissions right there.
- Get some gloves and offer them to everyone entering your vehicle.
- You can even get plastic seat covers like at car dealers and gear shift covers click here
If you have sprayed down the inside of your vehicle really well with disinfectant, it’s reasonable to assume it is virus free. So as soon as everyone gets in, if they wear their masks and clean their hands, it is the best way to prevent transmission. But remember, someone might have it on their clothes so at the end of the day give your vehicle a good spraying and wiping.
Further, to be extra safe, I’d suggest that you wipe all common surface areas between each person that gets behind the wheel including yourself. This includes:
- Door handles inside and out
- Door panel and switch area
- Steering wheel
- Instrument panel area where people are facing and breathing
- Key or key fob
- Climate control area and switches or buttons
- Rear view mirror
- Gear shifter
- Seat and positioning releases
Keep track of people and anything they touch, come in contact with or especially breathe on and wipe it down.
Here is the tip I warned you about in the email. No one has said this because of, well, etiquette, but this is something that needs to be said. It is the most direct way to insure you get infected and we have all done it. Do not pick your nose now during this pandemic. I know that sounds crude but pretty much everyone picks their nose. If you touched a surface that someone breathed on that had the virus then touch it with your hand and then put that in your nose? You’ve given yourself the fastest way to get infected. Have you seen how they test you? They put a long swab way up your nose. Here you are putting your finger there with every virus known to man on your finger. Quite possibly Covid-19.
Spray down community areas where people gather with disinfectant. Doors, handles, counters, chairs and tables, product displays, and any place people touch. Keep it clean. If you want to be really diligent, disinfect after each client if you can. If you’re too busy then once every half hour or so.
Questions to ask students to assess risk
To be truly responsible anyone coming in close contact with the public like a drivers ed instructor you should be asking questions of your students to assess everyone’s risk. If any of them report that they have any of the things you ask about then you need to deeply evaluate the situation. Here are some things you should ask.
- Have you or anyone you have been in contact with tested positive for Covid-19?
- Have you or anyone you’ve been in contact with shown any of the symptoms of fever and loss of taste and smell?
- Have you or anyone you’ve been in contact with had a bad cough?
- Have you been in any groups or gatherings of more than 10 people in the last 14 days (protests)?
The reason you want to know if they have been in any groups in the last 14 days is because it takes 14 days for symptoms to surface. So if someone has been involved in the protests or any large gathering places like parks, beaches or anywhere that the virus could be spread those are people you have to consider the risk. If it was more than 14 days prior and they are healthy then you should be OK.
You can simply ask during the call “Oh, also, can you answer a couple covid related questions?” No one should object.
Keeping Your Family Safe and Protected
When you come home after being engaged with the public all day, start a process where when you come in the door you go right to the nearest shower, remove your clothes and put them in a plastic bag, seal it up and get in the shower. When you get out, take the bag to where you store your dirty laundry. You can now safely engage with your family.
This may sound overblown but this is how you can help keep this virus from coming back for a second wave (like the Spanish Flu did). The problem is that you see videos of people ignoring safe practices and social distancing. This could cause problems, but we have to wait 14 days to know how much. If there are, then that person’s contacts for the last 14 days needs to be checked. So you can see why it is important to limit your contact with others and stay at home. Only go out when necessary. Keep your family and loved ones safe.