NOTE: This memo is superceded by the March 24, 2022 memo “Return to normal capacity for indoor group activities, programming, and visiting.”

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide direction regarding the measures required to allow increased capacity for indoor group activities and programming. Group activities and programming, for the purpose of this memorandum, include but are not limited to: education programs within classrooms, mental health treatment groups, Inmate Activity Groups (IAG), the Offender Mentor Certification Program {OMCP), Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) groups, religious programs, and visiting.

In order to reduce the likelihood for transmission of COVID-19 and other common respiratory illnesses, the following measures are required at all institutions.

1.Exclude individuals who are in isolation or quarantine from in-person programming.
2. Continue to encourage all staff and residents to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series.
3. Optimize ventilation

a. Utilize outdoor locations when possible to decrease COVID-19 transmission
i. Activities that involve yelling or singing should be conducted outside, when possible.

b. For indoor programming, maximize ventilation and:
i.Open windows if possible.
ii. Maximize use of outside air.
iii. Use a MERV 13 filter in air handling unit, if possible.

4. Post signs in each classroom/group room area regarding COVID-19 signs and symptoms, hand hygiene, use of face coverings, and physical distancing.

5. Face coverings which cover the nose and mouth are mandatory at all times for all those in group/classroom settings.

6. All attendees shall perform self-screening for symptoms at the beginning of each session, and those who are symptomatic shall not participate and shall be referred to nursing for additional screening.

7. Require hand hygiene when entering and exiting group spaces.
a.Hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol) or
b. Soap and water can be used (water does not need to be hot). Scrub for at least 20 seconds
with soap and water and then rinse.

8. Require disinfection of surfaces and devices after each use.

Effective immediately, normal group attendance, to include inmate visiting, shall resume if the following criteria is met:

  1. The facility or institution is in Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Reopening, and
  2. All vaccinated attendees to wear procedure masks and all unvaccinated attendees to wear N95 masks at all times while in the group, and
  3. A free standing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA} filtration or a Do-It-Yourself (DIV} MERV-13 unit appropriate for the size of each group space is located in the group space and operational or a combination thereof {see attachments).

Once the Hiring Authority or designee has confirmed that the aforementioned criteria has been met, the inmate assignment offices shall ensure classes and programs are filled to operational capacity based on prioritized waitlists. Hiring Authorities and Supervisors of Correctional Education Programs {Principals) shall closely monitor compliance.