Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

Orchard Place COVID-19 latest precautions


Orchard Place has continued to monitor the global outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. As expected, the situation is evolving rapidly and has now been declared a pandemic. We are in contact with our community partners, as well as Polk County Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health. We will keep you informed.

Our best defense against this virus and it's spread is to minimize our contacts with strangers or others whom we are not familiar with their potential exposure to the virus.  This is why the NBA has suspended their basketball play, why colleges are sending students home for at least 2-4 weeks, and why other significant events and gatherings are being called off; they too know that the best defense is limiting contact.  

To protect the safety of all staff, clients, and visitors effective immediately, Orchard Place will be implementing the following strategies:

1. All training scheduled at our facilities are postponed until further notice. We will provide a week's notice before resuming training.

2. Staff participation in external meetings, gatherings, workshops, or training sessions is suspended. Avoid all in-person meetings. Use e-mail, phone, or on-line conferencing when possible. For unavoidable in-person meetings such as therapy sessions, groups, or consultations, staff are directed to sit at least three feet from each other.

3. Volunteer activities are suspended. This includes Spring Break activities scheduled at Campus, mentors, and therapy pets.

4. Visitors to Campus will be restricted to relatives only.

5. Screen clients/families/childcare settings before scheduled visits by asking the following three questions as recommended by IDPH (Guidance for Healthcare Providers & Facilities):

· Do you have a fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough or difficulty breathing)?

· Did you travel from an affected geographic area as identified by CDC within 14 days of getting sick? Visit the CDC's Information for Travel page for the most up-to-date alerts.

· Did you have close contact with a person laboratory confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 within 14 days of getting sick?

      ***Note individual programs may have additional instructions for you. 

 Know Your Risk

· Familiarize yourself with the symptoms (Coronavirus 2019 Symptoms) and whether you fall into a high risk or special population category (Higher Risk & Special Populations)

· Before traveling, check the CDC's Traveler's Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which they will go. Avoid all non-essential travel, if possible.


If you believe you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or you might be experiencing symptoms, immediately contact your primary care physician and alert your supervisor.

  • Supervisors will ensure leadership is made aware. Communication between staff and supervisors is critical.
  • Your medical provider may ask you to self-isolate. If so, communicate that immediately.
  • Stay Informed
  • Seek reliable sources for your information. The World Health Organization (WHO), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Polk County Health (PCPH) provide appropriate resources. The links to each site is below.

 World Health Organization: Coronavirus FAQs

World Health Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Iowa Department of Public Health

Polk County Health Department

Action Everyone Must Do to Help

We need everyone's help to prevent the spread of ALL contagious viruses, including COVID-19. Practice the same routine hygiene used to help prevent the cold and flu. We encourage all staff to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel sick (malaise, fever, cough, flu-like symptoms), please stay home and contact your supervisor.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • We know that these events are changing quickly. We will continue to communicate these updates.