MANSFIELD -- Officials with the Richland County Juvenile Court and detention center have adopted measures to protect staff and visitors during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"This will be accomplished largely by reducing our contact with the public where possible, while continuing to provide access to juvenile justice," said court administrator Brian Bumpus.
-- Felony cases and those cases involving acts of violence will be handled as normal. All other cases (truancy, traffic, dependency, delinquency, unruly) will be deferred/reduced by a target of 50 percent. This will be facilitated by the magistrates in the coming days.
-- No individual, including staff, shall enter or remain in the building if he or she (1) has a fever, (2) exhibits a chronic cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, (3) has traveled out of the country within the past 14 days, or (4) has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus
-- Home and office visits as conducted by probation officers are suspended until further notice. Probation staff are asked to make contact by phone, face-time, etc.
-- Community service operations are suspended until further notice.
-- All meetings with members of the public that are not immediately pressing (e.g. interviews, etc.) are to be postponed until further notice.
-- Probation staff members are encouraged to work from home when possible.
-- Informal conferences will be limited to those cases involving acts of violence.
-- Detention visitation and volunteer service is suspended until further notice.
-- All detention staff and youth must be screened prior to admittance, including a temperature check.
-- Staff who desire to take time off during this time should consult with their supervisor. The use of sick leave may be permitted for childcare and/or prevention, but this may be limited, and will be considered on a priority basis as determined by the department supervisor and court administration.
-- Additional man hours will be assigned to regularly disinfecting the building. Particular attention will be paid to the lobby areas, hearing room and courtroom.
Bumpus said employees and others should take proactive measures to prevent the presence/spread of the COVID-19 virus. These include:
-- Those with a a fever of 100.4 or more, have any symptoms of the coronavirus (chronic cough, sore throat, shortness of breath), or have been in contact with someone who may be infected, should stay home. All employees are encouraged to take their temperature at home before reporting to work.
-- Maintain an appropriate social distance of 4 to 6 feet whenever possible.
-- Wash your hands regularly (20 seconds with soap and water) and/or use hand sanitizer.
-- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
-- Remain in your workspace as much as possible, and to the extent possible, interaction with other staff should be done electronically.
-- Unless necessary to the operation of the court, non-employees should not be admitted in to the secure areas of the building.
-- Employees are encouraged to sanitize their work areas at least twice daily.
"While it is not our intention to induce panic or fear, we feel it pertinent to take these precautionary steps until more is learned about the COVID-19 pandemic," Bumpus said.