On October 6 of 2020, the state’s Safe Start plan was updated to include guidance for public libraries. This included a recommended minimum 24-hour materials quarantine period. In the state’s update to this guidance on January 29, 2020 that recommendation of 24 hours continued.
When this guidance was first shared in October, the Library chose to hold our quarantine time at 96 hours, as we waited for more studies about the virus to be released. Since that time, more information about the virus has come to light. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rutgers University have studied the virus and shared transmission via surfaces is unlikely.
The decision to reduce our quarantine time is not one that the Library made lightly. A team of Library staff led this recommendation after reviewing the state guidance, multiple studies about the virus and the impact this 96-hour quarantine time has had on Library operations and patrons. They also reached out to our neighboring library systems who have already reduced their quarantine times to understand the potential impact.
As always, the Library will continue to stay up-to-date with recommendations from our state and federal health leaders to ensure our services practices support the health and safety of Library staff and our community.