Summary: ASPCApro’s “Safe Workplace Playbook for Animal Shelters” (Released August 2020)

The ASPCA just released ASPCOpro’s Safe Workplace Playbook for Animal Shelters (August 2020), which includes COVID-19 processes, procedures, and guidance (consistent with the CDC’s guidelines) for safely carrying out daily shelter activities in the time of COVID-19. Sections provide separate guidance for staff/volunteers and managers.

The playbook is meant to be used as a jumping off point from which individual shelters can create program specific protocols.

Physical Distancing

Learn 10 steps staff and volunteers can take to maintain physical distancing, emphasizing that “self-awareness and accountability for our own actions are key to assuring everyone’s safety.” In order to achieve the recommended physical distancing, it is necessary to limit occupancy in the shelter. Two physical distancing checklists are included, one for shelter managers and one for “On the Road and in the Field.” Physical distancing by clients and partner agencies is also required.

Hygiene & Cleaning

Consistency is key, both at home and at work! Hygiene practices are split into two sections, one for staff and volunteers and the other for managers. Identify key times to enact handwashing and a list of cleaning practices during COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Did you know there is a correct way to put on a mask and take it off?  While not technically PPE, face masks are essential in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. This section discusses safe mask practices and putting on, wearing, removing, and laundering that is essential for keeping people safe during this pandemic.

Here are additional resources on PPE from the playbook:

Screening & Monitoring

Create a screening and monitoring process for staff and volunteers through use of this checklist, including a Daily Self-Screening Questionnaire.

Working with Animals

Managers and staff are provided with checklists of precautions to take to reduce COVID-19. Since the greatest risk of COVID-19 transmission is from person to person contact, the playbook breaks down the steps and precautions both managers and staff should take to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

Business Travel

The playbook provides guidance for key areas of consideration and precautions to take to stop the spread of COVID-19 during essential business travel:

  • Before you leave
  • What to pack
  • During your trip
  • Travel by car
  • Hotels
  • Air travel

Additional resources from TSA and CDC on travel are listed.

More Information

ASPCOpro recommends appointing a Site Manager and Assistant Site Manager to liaise with the shelter staff and leadership team. Duties of the Site Manager are provided.

The playbook also provides three additional COV ID-19 resources: ASPCAPro COVID-19 Information Hub; AVMA (COVID-19 section); CDC (COVID-19 section).

Here is the link to download the full pdf version of the ASPCApro Safe Workplace Playbook for Animal Shelters.


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