With the coronavirus undetected because of delayed testing and now spreading in U.S. communities, the burden to prevent its further spread has in some ways shifted onto our individual actions -- as a kind of civic duty, even.

It can seem like the world around us is spiraling out of control in these uncertain (and sometimes frightening) times. Our ability to influence current events is limited. But each of us has the power to make a difference. We can adopt some common sense habits that can lower the probability of becoming infected ourselves, and those same common sense habits can lower the probability of infecting others as well. We can work together to slow the spread of this virus in our community, protecting the most vulnerable within our population and reducing the burden on our health care system. It is impossible to reduce the risk to zero, but that shouldn’t stop us from making a sensible effort.

Keep at least six feet distance between you and other class participants

We are so lucky to have a large facility. There is no need for crowding. Please be aware of the space of others. It can be socially awkward, and even cause offense, to move away from another person when they are in your space. However, if we keep in mind how many people may have elderly or immunocompromised family members at home, this becomes an easier habit to practice ourselves and to understand from others as well. Try not to take it personally if someone declines your offer to hold the door for them, steps further away from you during a conversation, or neglects to shake your hand. They may simply be trying to keep their distance to protect themselves and their loved ones.

While the current recommendations generally call for six feet distance between you and someone who is sick, it seems reasonable to ask that we generally keep such a distance from others in class regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms – at least when there is no particular reason for or advantage to being closer.

In Manners, Sport, and Rowdy classes this distance is easy to achieve. In larger Puppy classes this may require shifting stations to the perimeter of the entire room, instead of all down one end. For your quick reference, six feet = two blue floor tiles. The humans in the above picture are at least 18 feet apart.

Of course, depending on your particular situation, even this level of social distancing might not be enough to have you feel comfortable coming to class. If that is the case, consider scheduling private coaching sessions for you and your dog instead.

Cough or sneeze into a tissue...

...then throw it away and wash your hands

Or, cough or sneeze completely into your upper sleeve.

It is currently believed that the primary mode of transmission is direct contact with virus expelled in mist and droplets during coughing and sneezing. Be awesome and don’t share your germs!

Wash your hands...

...before and after, well, anything

It’s good practice to wash your hands before starting class to avoid bringing anything with you from somewhere else. And after class to avoid taking anything with you when you go. And any time in between that you feel like it. They’re your hands, wash away!

Our instructors are washing their hands thoroughly before and after (and sometimes during) each class. Even so, if you do not wish for an instructor to demo with your puppy in puppy class, we will completely understand.

Stay home if you are sick...

...especially with a fever or dry cough

Your instructor will do the same, and find coverage or cancel class if he or she is under the weather.

To some of you these requests may seem overly cautious for an area with no current reported cases (as of March 11 2020).  However, we believe that it is only a matter of time until we see community spread within this part of the state*. In consideration of the most vulnerable among us, for whom it would be devastating to become infected, and in support of our health care system, we think it is incumbent on us to do each do our part to flatten the curve (also see).

 Our cleaning protocols: Naturally, we already have cleaning protocols in place to prevent the transmission of dog-dog illnesses. We have increased our cleaning of human-contacted surfaces, such as door handles and chairs. Our standard disinfectant is Trifectant and we also use common household cleaners like detergent, soap, and Clorox. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

*We are not medical professionals. We simply intend to utilize the most evidence based and reasonably cautious advice available. We will do our best to follow any and all official recommendations presently available.

Can’t stop touching your face? Changing habits is never easy.

Here’s an article with some advice.

And, some simple tips for avoiding viruses from the Ohio Department of Health.