COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Scientific understanding of the COVID-19 virus is evolving every day and Rocking the Boat’s response will continue to evolve with it. Rocking the Boat’s priority is to reduce community risk and the organization has implemented a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols designed not just to protect individual staff members, participants, and volunteers, but the broader South Bronx community. All staff, participants, and volunteers must attest to having read these guidelines and agree to follow them at all times while at Rocking the Boat indoor and outdoor facilities and while using Rocking the Boat equipment. Each individual member of the Rocking the Boat community plays a critical role in keeping and maintaining everyone else’s health and safety.

These protocols reflect and in many cases exceed the most up-to-date New York State and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Rocking the Boat will:

  • Ensure that rapid tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) are available to all staff, participants, and volunteers;
  • Ensure that all who enter the facilities are following the protocols below.

Staff, participants, or volunteers who feel protocols are not being followed should contact the Executive Director immediately to report concerns and be assured that all such contact will be kept confidential.

Vaccination Policy
Consistent with its duty and ongoing practice to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of recognized hazards, Rocking the Boat has adopted this policy to safeguard the health and well-being of employees, participants, and their families; visitors and others who spend time in our facilities; and the larger community from the risks associated with COVID-19. This policy is intended to comply with all state and local laws. It is based upon guidance provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other public health and licensing authorities, as applicable.

Rocking the Boat will expect all employees to either (a) establish that they are two weeks past having received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine; or (b) obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation. The process for seeking an accommodation is explained below. Employees who do not fulfill one of these two requirements will be placed on unpaid leave and their employment will be subject to termination. Participants and visitors are required to follow the vaccination guidelines above. Rocking the Boat will consider requests for exemptions when appropriate. To establish that they are vaccinated, employees and participants may present a completed COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or the digital New York State Excelsior Pass for inspection by an appropriate member of the Management Team.

The CDC defines being “up to date” with your COVID-19 vaccines as: “you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible.” For adults 18 years or older, a booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is indicated for “most people at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series.” For adults ages 50 years and older, a second booster is indicated “at least 4 months after the first booster.”

While Rocking the Boat is not mandating that employees and participants are “up to date” beyond their primary series of vaccinations, the organization strongly encourages all members of the community to fulfill the CDC’s definition of being “up to date” with your COVID-19 vaccines.

Rocking the Boat will treat all such information as confidential. To facilitate employees’ ability to receive the vaccination, Rocking the Boat will consider timely requests for appropriate schedule changes. In accord with its time-keeping policies, Rocking the Boat will also pay non-exempt employees for time spent receiving the vaccination. Additionally, Rocking the Boat will reimburse employees for the cost, if any, of receiving the vaccination, contingent upon receipt of appropriate supporting documentation.

Requests for Exemptions as Accommodations
To assist any employee who is disabled, who is pregnant, who is a nursing mother, who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates the vaccination, or who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, Rocking the Boat will engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided so long as it does not create an undue hardship for Rocking the Boat and/or does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace and/or to the employee. To request an accommodation for one of the above reasons, please notify an appropriate member of the management team in writing. Once Rocking the Boat is aware of the need for an accommodation, management will engage in an interactive process to identify possible accommodations. If you believe that you have been treated in a manner not in accordance with this policy, please notify Rocking the Boat immediately by speaking to Executive Director Adam Green. You may request an accommodation without fear of retaliation.

Participants who are not vaccinated may request exemptions by speaking with their Program Directors. Programs Directors will share those requests with the Chief Program Officer in order to make a decision.

Mask/Face Covering Protocols and Other Hygienic Practices
While employees, participants, and visitors are welcome to wear a medical grade N95, KN94 or KF95 face masks that meet requirements similar to those set by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators while inside public or shared spaces within Rocking the Boat buildings, there is no requirement to do so. If masks are worn, they should be worn properly, covering both the mouth and the nose.

Rocking the Boat will have an adequate supply of face masks, soap, paper towels, disinfectant in spray bottles, and hand sanitizer in stock at all times.

Suspected or Diagnosed Case of COVID-19
If you or someone living in your household develops symptoms associated with COVID-19, please take any FDA approved COVID-19 test immediately and do not come to Rocking the Boat while these symptoms are present. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Participants who do not attend programming due to experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must report that they are having COVID-19 symptoms to their Program Director. 

Participants who receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis may not come to Rocking the Boat and must report the results to their Program Director or Social Worker. Program Directors and Social Workers must immediately successfully communicate that information to Rocking the Boat’s Chief Program Officer.

Staff and volunteers who do not report to Rocking the Boat due to possible COVID-19 symptoms must report that they are having COVID-19 symptoms to their supervisor.

Staff and volunteers who have been tested positive for COVID-19 through any FDA approved test may not come to Rocking the Boat and must communicate the results to their supervisor as immediately as possible and receive a confirmation of receipt of the message. Supervisors must immediately communicate that information to Rocking the Boat’s Chief Program Officer.

Staff, participants, or volunteers who have tested positive for COVID-19 through any FDA approved test must not come to Rocking the Boat for 5 days from the day of diagnosis or onset of symptoms (whichever comes first) and must test negative on a rapid antigen test no earlier than the 5th day or on subsequent days when symptoms are no longer present in order to be allowed to return to Rocking the Boat.

While maintaining the anonymity of the affected person, Rocking the Boat will conduct a contact tracing process and notify anyone who has been in close contact with the infected person.

Close Contact
"Close contact” to someone who has tested positive through any FDA approved test within or outside the environment of Rocking the Boat is defined as the following: exposure of a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within six feet

Individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or who subsequently tests positive for COVID-19 within 24-hours of exposure must test daily and wear a medical grade KN95, KF94, or N95 mask indoors for three days following the date of exposure. If, by the third day the test result is negative and they continue not to experience symptoms, they may remove the mask.

If an individual learns of being exposed after the third day but within 10-14 days of initial exposure, that person must test negative on a rapid test before returning to Rocking the Boat but is not required to mask. 

Contact Tracing, Notification, and Communication
Staff members, volunteers, or participants who have tested positive for COVID-19 through any FDA approved test or experienced symptoms prior to a positive test result (whichever occurs first), will be asked to identify everyone they have been in close contact with for a period of three days prior to the positive test (including the day of the test/symptoms) and contact them. For example, if the positive test occurs on a Friday, anyone in close contact from Wednesday will be identified and contacted.

Beyond required notification, confidentiality will be maintained.

Other Considerations
If a staff member or volunteer develops COVID-19 symptoms while at Rocking the Boat they will be given a rapid antigen test, asked to wait for 15 minutes in a safe location for results, and then asked to immediately leave, regardless of whether the result is positive or negative. A second test will be sent home with them and they will be asked to take that test the following day and report the results back to their contact at Rocking the Boat. If they do not have safe transportation home, Rocking the Boat will assist them. If a participant develops COVID-19 symptoms while at Rocking the Boat they will well also be tested as others per above, be isolated in the library or outdoors, weather permitting, while their parents are contacted to arrange safe travel home.

Rocking the Boat will attempt to determine if the COVID-19 case was work-related, including by asking questions about (i) how the staff member or volunteer believes he/she contracted COVID-19 and (ii) activities at work and outside of work that may have resulted in the illness (of course being mindful of employee privacy).

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799

Rocking the Boat is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Download Form 990.