COVID Updates

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE COVID-19
ACTION PLAN AND PREPAREDNESS

Whispering Meadows Ranch continues to closely monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Following State and County guidelines we hope to begin offering our programs in September 2020.

Whispering Meadows is dedicated to ensure the safety of its staff, participants, family members and volunteers as we return to work.  The following safeguards and safety protocols will be followed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at our facility:

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then through the tissue in the trash

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Staff and volunteers who have had close contact with someone who may have COVID-19 are required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, and must have a physician’s note to visit the facility.
  • Only staff and critical volunteers are to be on property.
  • All high touch areas will routinely be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day
  • The center will remain closed to visitors until further notice.

REOPENING PROTOCOL

  • Personal protective equipment will be required, including protective masks for all staff and volunteers. WMR will supply masks and non-latex gloves if needed.
  • Participants and family members are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
  • All persons MUST wash their hands before and after every lesson.
  • WMR will have designated access areas with limitations to the number of individuals in designated access areas, maintaining a minimum of 6′ of social distancing. 
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at designated access areas.

Whispering Meadows Ranch will oversee routine cleaning and disinfection of the facility following protocol from the procedures plan. This includes cleaning and sanitization of equipment (including tack and helmets), and practicing routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sink basins, etc.

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE COVID-19
SAFETY PROTOCOL FOR OPERATIONS

DAILY PRECAUTIONS OVERVIEW

All staff and volunteers are required to properly wash and sanitize their hands
immediately upon arrival and before reporting to work/assignments.

All staff and volunteers are required to wear masks during designated lesson times if social distancing is not attainable.

After horses are cared for and all barn chores are complete, designated staff/volunteers will clean and disinfect all door handles, halters, grooming supplies, helmets and lead ropes.

Designated staff/volunteer will oversee that barn areas are cleaned and sanitized after each scheduled times at the Ranch.

Areas include door knobs to the tack room and feed room. Restroom countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sink basins, paper towel dispensers and soap dispensers will be cleaned and sanitized.

Antibacterial soap is available in restrooms and the designated wash bin sink by tack area.

Regularly washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; practicing good sneeze and cough hygiene; avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and disinfecting and cleaning often touched objects and surfaces can help reduce your risk of exposure.

Only participants, family members, volunteers and staff are permitted to be at the facility, and only for scheduled lessons

Family/Participant Plan

If any person, who has been on property, tests positive for COVID 19, they must inform us immediately and the program will be shut down immediately for 14 days, possibly longer. All who were on site at the time of possible exposure will be contacted immediately.

If any person, who has been on property, is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19- must notify us immediately and not return to Ranch for 2 weeks.

All who were on site at the time of possible indirect exposure will be contacted
immediately.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must NOT come to the facility. A list of signs and symptoms will be displayed at the Ranch. Instructors will do a verbal health check with riders and volunteers at the beginning of every session asking about: signs and symptoms, travel, and exposure. Documentation will be recorded in schooling/therapy notes.

Family/Participant Procedures

All family members must wash their hands upon arrival following CDC guidelines. Families must bring the minimum number of people needed to care for the rider to help limit the people on site.

We are encouraging Riders to have their own helmets. We will provide helmets if needed.

If you arrive early for your session, riders will wait in their cars until a
volunteer/instructor comes to get them at the start of a session.

Riders will be required to wear a mask when in close contact with horses and
volunteers/instructors. If rider needs assistance in mounting and dismounting, they will be required to wear a mask. Riders will be directed by instructor when it is safe to remove their mask during riding.Riders will not be permitted to enter the tack or play room.

Riders will be dismounted and exit the arena one at a time.

Families will be asked to leave after their lesson to allow for disinfecting and to limit the number of people on site.

As much as we love greeting each other with a big hug and a warm welcome, it is extremely important to practice social distancing during this time. Please remind your child to wash their hands and avoid close contact with others. Try to keep information simple and remind them that health officials are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Volunteer Plan

If any person, who has been on property, tests positive for COVID 19, they must inform us immediately and the program will be shut down immediately for 14 days, and possibly longer. All who were on site at the time of possible exposure will be contacted immediately.

If any person, who has been on property, is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19 must notify us immediately and not return to Ranch for 2 weeks. All who were on site at the time of possible indirect exposure will be contacted immediately.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must NOT come to the facility. A list of signs and symptoms will be displayed at the Ranch. Instructors will do a verbal health check with riders and volunteers at the beginning of every session asking about:signs and symptoms, travel, and exposure. Documentation will be recorded in schooling/therapy notes.

Upon arrival, volunteers must wash their hands at hand washing station following CDC guidelines.

Volunteer Procedures

Volunteers must wear face masks when in close contact with others on property. Volunteers must wear a mask when participating closely with riders. Volunteers will be encouraged to bring their own masks however a supply will be available on site.

CDC Guidelines do not recommend gloves as there is a high probability of transfer from one item to another. Whispering Meadows Ranch will provide disposable gloves specifically for horse cleaning,

The sign in book will not be used during this time. Please keep track of your hours and text them to Kristine at your convenience.

Volunteers will participate in training of proper hand washing, face mask application, COVID19 signs as well as new procedures for preparing horses, lessons and cleanup at the Ranch. The procedure list will be kept by the Tack Room for your reference.

This is a wonderful time to streamline our processes and incorporate new guidelines. Please gently remind the kids and each other of social distancing and hand washing. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable with any task or interaction please let the instructor know right away.

Instructor Plan

If any person, who has been on property, tests positive for COVID 19, they must inform us immediately and the program will be shut down immediately for 14 days, possibly longer. All who were on site at the time of possible exposure will be contacted immediately.

If any person, who comes on property, is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19 must notify us immediately and not return to Ranch for 2 weeks. Anyone who was on site at the time of possible indirect exposure will be contacted immediately.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must NOT come to the facility. Attached is a list of signs and symptoms which will also be displayed at the Ranch. Instructors will do a verbal health check with riders and volunteers at the beginning of every session asking about: signs and symptoms, travel, and exposure. Documentation will be recorded in schooling/therapy notes.

Instructor Procedures

Upon arrival, Instructors must wash their hands at a hand washing station following CDC guidelines.

Instructors will familiarize themselves with new procedures for preparing horses, lessons and cleanup at the Ranch. The procedures list will be kept by the Tack Room for your reference. Instructors are responsible for assigning tasks to volunteers keeping in mind each volunteer will work independently. The assignments will be posted on white board.

Instructors will manage proper social distancing during lessons – not normal in our environment – so many will need reminders initially. This will include greeting students, traffic control near grooming and mounting area and gently reminding volunteers and families not to congregate.

Instructors will each have an infection control pouch. The pouch will contain supplies to mitigate contamination by bodily fluids including properly folded masks, sanitizer, tissues, Ziploc bags (for soiled tissues), and gloves. Pouches must be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Instructors will wear their masks during mounting and whenever within six feet of others.

Instructors will determine when riders and volunteers are able to remove and store mask according to CDC infection control guidelines to assist with clearer communication during lessons.

Instructors will provide assistance to riders from the side or back, avoiding standing directly in front of them. There will be a maximum of 3 riders, 3 horse handlers, in a class at this time. The Toy Room will remain closed to volunteers and riders. Only instructors will access this building.

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE COVID-19
ACTION PLAN AND PREPAREDNESS

Tack Room Helper Duties

Prepare black bucket with clean water, retrieve spray cleaner and disinfectant bottles, wash towels. Place all supplies in center stall for easy access.

Retrieve grooming buckets, hoof spray, bug spray, place in assigned stalls for horses.

Bring ALL necessary horse items out to designated middle stall. This will include halters, lead ropes, saddles, pads, bridles, and reins for assigned horses. If additional items are needed for horse helpers, ONLY the tack room helper will retrieve them.

Check with horse helpers and instructor often to make sure they do not need additional items.

After lesson is complete, ALL tack will be placed back in center stall for cleaning. Wipe down all tack with cleaning solution. Once all tack is wiped down, spray or wipe down with disinfecting solution, let dry outside.

After lessons are complete all grooming items will be cleaned and sprayed with disinfectant solution following CDC guidelines.

Lead ropes and halters will be cleaned and sprayed with disinfectant solution.

All thin English pads and wash cloths will be shaken out and placed in laundry basket for washing. Please DO NOT put rags with bug spray on them in the laundry basket.

Horse Handler Duties

Handlers will retrieve halters and lead ropes from center stall and bring horses in for grooming. Note, only the 1st and 3rd stalls will be utilized for preparing horses for lessons. If additional space is needed the hitching post on trail can be used. Groom horses and tack up.

If there is extra time before riders arrive, please walk horses down trail or in arena to loosen them up for lessons. DO NOT leave horses unattended or tied in stalls. If you need to leave them, please notify instructor.

When riders arrive to greet their horse, face masks must be worn at this time. Please practice social distancing while encouraging riders to groom and pet their horse. Horses will remain in grooming area during this time or in arena while closely following social distancing guidelines.

When instructed bring horse to mounting area. Please remember masks must be worn at this time. Masks will remain on until instructor deems it safe to remove per CDC Guidelines.

When lesson is completed, please wait for instructor to direct you out of the arena. Horses that are used in back to back classes will be wiped down along their withers, neck, head and rump after each rider.

When lessons are completed bring horse to the assigned stall. Remove all tack and place in center stall for cleaning. Each horse will be wiped down along saddle area, withers, neck, head and rump. If horse is sweaty please rinse them down in wash area.

Return horse to paddock area and place halter/lead rope in center stall for cleaning.