Health and Safety Plan/Guidelines
UPDATE: FEBRUARY 2, 2022
Revisions to Clinical Care Policies
As the rate of COVID-19 infections steadily declines in New York City, we are continuing to evaluate our clinical care policies and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with current evidence and recommendations by public health and government authorities and medical center experts.
NYU Dentistry will no longer require testing or proof of vaccination prior to high aerosol-generating procedures, effective Monday, February 7, 2022. The only circumstance for which patients will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours — regardless of vaccination status — will be for those who are undergoing sedation and/or general anesthesia.
Please see the updated NYU Dentistry Required PPE document, which is also linked from the bottom of this page.
As the health and safety of our community is always our top priority, please note that the following rationale provides us with a high level of confidence that this change is appropriate at this time:
- All of our providers wear fitted N95s or equivalents when providing care to unmasked patients.
- Our screening practices ensure that all of our patients are asymptomatic.
- High volume evacuator suction devices are available and effectively reduce aerosols.
- The Omicron incubation period is shorter than previous variants, about 3 days.
- NYU Langone no longer requires testing or vaccination for asymptomatic patients prior to any dental procedure.
Although this change means that patient vaccination status no longer affects patient care, vaccination information remains important health history information. Therefore, patients should still be asked about their COVID-19 vaccination status, which must then be documented in their axiUm Health History.
The COVID-19 form in axiUm will be moved to a more universal location tomorrow, Thursday, February 3rd.
To access the form, go to the axiUm Health History and click on the plus sign ( + ) to add a new form.
Select the COVID form from the dropdown menu and click 'OK.'
Complete the COVID-19 Vaccine form.
As always, thank you for everything you do to maintain the health and safety of our community.
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The Health History in axiUm has been updated with an additional page titled "COVID-19 Vaccine."
At every visit, patients should be asked if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine and if they have any updates to their COVID-19 vaccination status. If patients answer "yes," additional questions will open to add the vaccine manufacturer and dates of all doses received.
Please note that patients must also bring acceptable proof of vaccination, which must be scanned into Patient Attachments, prior to high aerosol-generating procedures.
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UPDATE: JANUARY 10, 2022
Revisions to Clinical Care Policies
Based on the increase in COVID-19 positivity, available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness, and to better align ourselves with current NYU affiliate medical center recommendations, the College of Dentistry has made the following updates to its clinical care policies, effective Tuesday, January 18, 2022:
- All patients will be required to be fully vaccinated with a booster prior to a high aerosol-generating procedure, or they will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 5 days of the procedure.
- Acceptable documentation for proof of vaccination must include the dates and manufacturer of all doses. Excelsior passes are no longer acceptable proof.
- The College will accept any nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), except the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 assay, Tidal Laboratory RT PCR or Applied DNA Science Linea Covid-19 Assay. PCR and TMA are types of NAAT tests. Antigen and at-home tests are still not accepted.
- As a reminder, PCR tests are offered at Metro Community Health Center (MCHC) located on the 1st floor of the Schwartz building.
- Shoe covers are no longer required in any clinical area
Please review the updated NYU Dentistry Risk Level and PPE document, linked also at the bottom of this web page.
In our ongoing effort to ensure the health and safety of our entire community, we ask each of you to please remain aware of the protocols in place, have the confidence to speak up when you believe a reminder is needed for someone, and continue to keep each other safe.
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UPDATE: JUNE 7, 2021
Revisions to Clinical Care Policies
Based on CDC, DOH, FDA, and NYU affiliate medical center recommendations, the College of Dentistry has made the following updates to its clinical care policies as of June 7, 2021:
- All clinical care providers (faculty, students, and employees) should change N95 respirators daily unless soiled or dirty. N95 respirators should no longer be conserved for multiple days of use.
- Fully vaccinated patients will no longer be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to a high aerosol generating procedure. Patients must provide proof of their vaccination, which must be uploaded to the patient's chart.
- There will be no change for unvaccinated patients (or patients who do not provide proof of vaccination status), who will continue to need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result up to 5 days prior to a high aerosol generating procedure.
Please review the updated NYU Dentistry Risk Level and PPE document, linked also at the bottom of this webpage.
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Update: APRIL 21, 2021
Revisions to the Patient Prescreening Protocol
Based on available data from testing, availability of PPE, and stringent screening protocols, NYU Dentistry will now allow our assigned clinical team to pre-screen patients up to 72 hours before their appointment. For example:
- Monday appointments can be pre-screened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
- Tuesday appointments can be pre-screened on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday
- Wednesday appointments can be pre-screened on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday
- Thursday appointments can be pre-screened on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
- Friday appointments can be pre-screened on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday
We have also established a special onsite screening and triage process to accommodate patients we could not reach during our pre-screening process but present at the College, not knowing that their appointment was canceled. These patients will be escorted to 1A for a special onsite screening by an assigned faculty member, and their care will be handled accordingly.
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Update: NOVEMBER 19, 2020
Change to dedicated entrances for Students/Employees and Patients
As of Monday, November 30, the dedicated entrance for students and employees will be moved to the main Schwartz lobby entrance at 345 E. 24th St., and the patient entrance will be moved to the 338 E. 25th St. location, where a new covered tent reception area has been constructed. All students and employees will be required to swipe their NYU ID cards upon entering the Schwartz lobby.
You will not be able to enter the building without a valid NYU ID card after the Thanksgiving weekend, so please make sure to follow all the steps outlined in the building access checklist, and if your ID card is not valid:
- Students: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns related to your NYU ID card access and activation.
- Employees: First, check the expiration date on your card. If it has expired, contact NYU Card Services. Next, confirm that you've received clearance to return to campus from the COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team. If you haven't been cleared to enter the building, your NYU ID card has been deactivated. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Human Resources and Faculty Services at email@example.com.
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Update: October 5, 2020
Mandatory N95 Usage for All Providers When Treating Patients Who Have Removed Face Coverings
As of Monday, October 5, all dental care providers (faculty, students, and employees) who are treating open-mouthed patients (i.e., patients who have removed their face coverings) must always wear N95 respirators while providing care. Please note that the NYU Dentistry Risk Level and PPE document linked at the bottom of this page under References/Resources has been updated to reflect this change.
N95 Fit Testing / Equivalents
Per emails sent from the Office of Clinical Affairs to all clinical personnel on a rolling basis, starting prior to the June 29 resumption of clinical operations, the NYU Dentistry Respiratory Protection Program (PDF) provides for fit testing to ensure that a proper seal is achieved with your respirator (must be clean shaven to achieve proper fit for negative pressure respirators), and a training class to review respirator safety (training is incorporated with fit testing). The procedure for scheduling a fit testing is detailed below.
- Download and complete the Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (PDF) Be sure to save the completed questionnaire as follows "Lastname_Firstname_Respirator.pdf".
- Upload your completed Questionnaire to the following Box folder: https://nyu.app.box.com/f/34f1d160839e42bbb031c9e7008b6518
* Your questionnaire will be reviewed by Yvelande Couamin, Senior Director of the Health Screening Unit, and she will contact you if there are issues with your completed form.
* If you uploaded your questionnaire and have not been cleared, it is likely that it was either blank or not saved with your name, so clearance cannot be granted. When uploading, please ensure that your questionnaire is fully completed and saved with the correct filename (per #1 above).
* Do not email your completed form. All forms must be submitted by the link provided above only.
- Once you are medically cleared, you will receive an email with instructions for scheduling a fit testing appointment. Fit testing will take approximately 15-20 minutes and takes place via scheduled appointment only.
Clinical personnel who are not able to be fit-tested are eligible to request an N95 equivalent. Please contact Sarah Torosyan and Yvelande Couamin to learn about the process for obtaining an N95 equivalent.
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RESUMING CLINICAL OPERATIONS
Statement of Goals and Guiding Principles
As the incidence of new COVID-19 infections steadily declines in New York City and NY State and local governments have instituted phased plans for reopening, NYU Dentistry — following the guidance provided by the University — has developed a plan to gradually and safely resume clinical operations. This will entail bringing clinical employees and students back on site and instituting extensive policies and procedures to protect our greater community in compliance with NYC and NY State mandates.
The major principles guiding this plan include the following:
- Ensuring the health and safety of our community: Our top priority is protecting the health and well-being of NYU Dentistry faculty, students, staff, and patients and preserving public health.
- Following guidance from health and government authorities and experts: We will follow public health guidance from all relevant local, state, federal, and University authorities.
- Phased return to the College: Return to facilities and activities will be incremental and phased, recognizing that new restrictions and strategies are needed to ensure the safety of all members of the NYU Dentistry community and workforce.
- A shared commitment to healthy behavioral practices: Each member of the community is expected to exercise personal responsibility by protecting their own well-being and that of their colleagues and the extended community by following the guidelines of the CDC and other public health authorities.
Our initial focus is on resuming urgent and emergent care clinical activities at the College. This plan will eventually be expanded to encompass all clinical and nonclinical activities.
A new policy requiring face coverings at all times in NYU Dentistry buildings is now in effect.
GENERAL GUIDELINES, POLICIES, AND PROCEDURES
A Phased Approach
Our re-entry process will be conducted in phases, as follows:
- The first phase of resuming patient care will begin when we receive permission to open the Urgent Care clinic.
- Following Urgent Care, we will seek permission to open the Specialty Clinics and the D4 Group Practices.
- The final phase will begin when we receive permission to resume 100% of our clinical operations at pre-COVID-19 levels.
It is essential that our community members are knowledgeable about COVID-19, as well as infection control and bloodborne pathogens.
Prior to returning to our facilities, all employees must complete the following trainings:
- Dentistry and COVID-19
- OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens
- Infection Control and Prevention Procedures (including use of Personal Protective Equipment [PPE])
- Module I required for all employees and students
- Module II required for all clinical staff and all health care providers, including research scientists
- Module III required for certain work practices and lab safety training
- Dentistry and COVID-19 Assessment
Testing, Quarantining, and Daily Screening Protocol
RETURN TO CAMPUS TESTING AND QUARANTINING
NYU has established policies to help maintain a safe campus environment, and the NYU Returns web hub contains comprehensive information about the University's planning and protocols.
All students, faculty, and employees are required to get tested and submit verification before entering NYU buildings. The testing program and procedures refer to tests designed to detect the presence of a COVID-19 infection, not antibody tests. Learn more about the Testing and Quarantining process for:
DAILY SCREENING PROTOCOL
All employees and students entering the College of Dentistry must complete the NYU Daily COVID-19 Symptom Check every day — on the same day they plan to arrive at the College.
You will need a thermometer, as the Symptom Check form requires daily temperature-taking.
Upon completion of the form, employees and students will either be cleared to report to the College — and a message stating "You may report to work" will appear on the app — or they will be directed to contact their healthcare provider.
If cleared to report to the College, employees and students will be required to present the app’s authorization to the Public Safety Officers upon entering the building. The Public Safety Officers will deny entry to those who do not have proof that they are cleared to report to work.
Physical Distancing: Guidelines for Types of Space
As a general policy, all personnel (employees, students, and patients) must maintain a distance of at least six feet unless provision of care requires a shorter distance. Appropriate signage on the physical space and on digital monitors will be prominently displayed to help remind and aid in enforcement.
The following strategies will also be employed:
- Elevator occupancy levels will be limited, as will the density of elevator waiting areas.
- Restrooms will be designated "patient only" or "employee only" and occupancy will be limited.
- Patient waiting areas will be modified to allow for adequate social distancing.
- One-way designated building entrances/exits and up/down stairwells will allow for eased traffic flow.
WORKPLACE DISTANCING MEASURES
- Plastic shielding will be installed where social distancing is not possible.
- Staff will not share phones, keyboards, or other office equipment unless necessary and only if cleaning protocols are maintained.
- Rotating, low-density work schedules will be implemented, with alternating shifts by day or week available to all employees. This may require some employees working on days other than Monday through Friday.
MEETINGS / CONFERENCE ROOM MEASURES
- All meetings and seminars will continue to be held virtually when possible.
- Conference room occupancy will be limited to a specific number of persons at a time — which will be visibly posted at each room — to enable staff to eat meals and for essential meetings only.
- In-person meetings that are essential must adhere to room occupancy limits and social distancing guidelines.
- No visitors or guests will be allowed until further notice. Vendors will be allowed by appointment only.
PPE Availability and Policies
MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS
- Face coverings are required to be worn by all individuals who enter the building; anyone who arrives without a face covering will be denied entry. A homemade cloth mask is acceptable for building entry. Upon entering the building for screening, a face mask will be provided.
- All personnel involved in patient care will be given appropriate PPE depending upon risk level.
- To ensure proper PPE coverage, please note:
- Employees should avoid face makeup.
- It is recommended that employees also avoid facial hair.
- Long pants and short-sleeved work shirts are PPE appropriate clothing.
- Employees and students must follow proper donning and doffing PPE sequences.
Type and Intended Use of Face Coverings/Masks:
Cleaning and Hygiene
- All personnel entering the building must sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer.
- All work surfaces must be regularly wiped down.
- At the end of day, all employees must sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer.
- Please refer to the Clinic Manual Policy on Infection Control for information on infection control procedures and protocols
ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENTS
- High volume evacuator suction devices to reduce aerosols will be available.
- Clinical treatment areas will be thoroughly disinfected between patients and overnight.
- Employees who need to request workplace accommodations due to underlying health conditions should complete this form.
- Employees who would like to request modifications to work arrangements due to being members of an age group considered to be at higher risk to COVID-19 according to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (currently age 65 and older) should complete this form.
- For all other questions or concerns please contact Human Resources & Faculty Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is imperative to remember that we will continue to revise and update our safety protocols as we increase building occupancy.
The more cautious we are as our community returns to work, the more quickly we can allow additional cohorts of researchers who are also anxious to get back into their labs.