The Diocese of Palm Beach is continuing to closely monitor the developments related to coronavirus (COVID-19) and is taking proactive steps to address a number of concerns. During this development, and as always, the safety of the Diocese of Palm Beach employees, volunteers, school parents/guardians, students and the community are a top priority.
The diocese asks all employees, volunteers, school parents/guardians and students (including all members of our Catholic schools, religious education and youth programs) to cooperate in the following steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases in the workplace and at home.
Diocese of Palm Beach Travel Protocol:
- All are asked to defer non-essential travel during spring break, Easter break and in the months ahead.
- The Diocese of Palm Beach, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), recommend travelers defer all cruise ship travel at this time.
- The diocese has also established new travel protocols that address cruise ship travel during the coronavirus outbreak. You are required to stay home for 14 days upon return from your cruise. In addition, you should monitor your health and practice social distancing. After your 14-day self-isolation period, provide documentation from a physician stating that you are not infectious and that you are able to return to work or school. This policy applies to any person who takes a cruise, as well as all members of that person’s household.
- Prior to traveling to any areas designated by the CDC as Level 2 or 3, notify your manager, principal or pastor of the effective dates of travel and when you will return. This applies to all Diocese of Palm Beach employees, volunteers, school parents/guardians and students. All clergy and religious should contact the chancellor prior to travel.
- Anyone traveling to impacted Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, Italy, South Korea) must stay home for 14 days upon return. In addition, you should monitor your health and practice social distancing. After your 14-day self-isolation period, provide documentation from a physician stating that you are not infectious and that you are able to return to work or school. This policy applies to any person traveling to impacted Level 3 countries, as well as all members of that person’s household.
Diocese of Palm Beach Employee Protocol:
- It is critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing symptoms of illness.
- Employees who report to work exhibiting symptoms of illness may be sent home. The diocese provides paid leave time for employees and other benefits to compensate those who are unable to work due to illness. Employees should refer to the Diocese of Palm Beach Personnel Policy Handbook for information.
Additional Diocese of Palm Beach Employee, Volunteer and Student Protocol:
- If you are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, chills or fatigue do not report to work or school. Contact your supervisor if you are a Diocese of Palm Beach employee or volunteer; contact your school’s principal if you are a parent/guardian or student. Seek medical care immediately.
- If after seeking medical care you are determined to be non-infectious, please ask your doctor to provide you with a note declaring such before you return to work.
- If you test positive for coronavirus, follow your physician’s and CDC instructions, including self-isolation. Once you are no longer infectious and your physician releases you back to work and school, we will require a physician’s note stating that you are no longer infectious and that you may return to work or school.
The Diocese of Palm Beach will continue to address concerns related to coronavirus, including promoting awareness and initiating additional responses if necessary. Updates regarding how COVID-19 could affect parishes and schools in the diocese can be found at www.DiocesePB.org and on the diocese’s Facebook page @DiocesePB. You can access additional information and updates on COVID-19 on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov and the Florida Department of Health at www.floridahealth.gov. Please also join us in praying for all those who are affected by this outbreak.
In this uncertain moment, I have every confidence in our abilities to pull together with kindness, care and concern for the common good.