• March 11, 2020
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Some viruses can survive for extended periods of time on surfaces. It is not yet clear for how long COVID-19 lives on surfaces, nor how transmissible the disease is via contact with surfaces where the virus lives. Regardless, there are important things that housecleaners can do to protects ourselves and our clients. These include:

Ask that your employer inform you if anyone in the home has any flu-like symptoms, and if possible, reschedule cleanings for after those symptoms have subsided.

In the case that anyone in a home you clean has had flu-like symptoms, you may want to consult this list of cleaning products that are recommended for prevention of COVID-19 transmission.

Ask your employer to provide disposable gloves for your use, and use good hand-washing techniques.

As is always the case, ensure that there is adequate ventilation when you use any surface cleaners, and never mix cleaning products.

Avoid carrying cleaning supplies between homes in order to prevent the transfer of germs from one home to the next.

Ask your clients to sign up for Alia—NDWA’s portable benefits platform that allows multiple clients to contribute to a paid time off fund for housecleaners—so that you can have paid time off in case you get sick or if your cleaning schedule is interrupted by a client’s illness. To find out more about Alia, you can sign up here and then Alia staff will give you instructions on how to get started.


Home Care Workers should be aware that early data suggest older people are twice as likely to experience serious symptoms from COVID-19. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness. Many Home Care Workers also provide support services for people who have compromised immune systems, have cancer, or have received chemotherapy and therefore are at greater risk of serious illness. In addition, people of all ages, with or without disabilities, seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness if they have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. (source: https://acl.gov/COVID-19).

This blog post was written by a family caregiver with tips on how caregivers can create safer environments for the people in their care—and for themselves. The tips include:

Limit visitors to the home/workplace.

Limit your own exposure to crowded events, to the degree that this is possible.

Practice good hand-washing techniques.

Work with your employer/client to ensure that the home is stocked with cleaning supplies, over the counter medicines, prescription medicines, and non-perishable foods, to minimize trips to the store.

Talk with your employer/client about backup plans for medical visits or treatments, in order to limit exposure to COVID-19 in healthcare settings.

Talk with your employer/client about backup care plans in case either you or your client become ill. The materials in Section 3 below may help you with these conversations.


Initial data indicates that children are at lesser risk of contracting severe COVID-19 symptoms, but that could change. And we all know that children come into contact with germs more than just about anyone else! Here are a few tips for nannies during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Practice – and teach – good hand-washing. Explain to children that this is both to protects ourselves, each other, and people in our communities who may be more vulnerable.

If possible, limit exposure to COVID-19 by avoiding taking children on optional outings to crowded indoor places. Discuss alternative activity plans with your employer.

Support the children in your care to understand and break down racist responses to COVID-19. See section 4 below.

Talk with your employer about backup care plans in case either you or someone in your employer’s family becomes ill. The materials in section 3 below may help you with these conversations.


Our sister organisation, Hand in Hand the Domestic Employers Network, has written these guidelines on how employers can create safe workplaces for domestic workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing these materials written by and for domestic employers can be a helpful way to start important conversations with your own employer. Here is a sample text that you can use to share these recommendations with your employer:

“I thought you would be interested in these materials from Hand in Hand, the Domestic Employers Network, on how we can help each other stay safe from COVID-19 coronavirus. Can we find a time to talk about these recommendations?”

As you prepare to talk with your employer, here are some things you may want to think about in advance and be ready to discuss:

Are there any additional supplies that would allow you to better protects yourself and the people in your care? What are those?

Are there any changes in your work routine that would allow you to better protects yourself and the people in your care? What are those?

Will your employer provide paid time off in case you become ill or someone in the employer’s family does?

What are your employer’s plans for alternate care arrangements if you become ill and are unable to provide care?

What are your employer’s plans for alternate care arrangements if the person or people in your care become ill with the coronavirus and you cannot perform your work duties without putting yourself at risk of infection?


One of the best things we can do to keep ourselves and each other safe—during the COVID-19 pandemic and always—is to build communities of care. This means a couple of different things.


Many of us come into contact with other domestic workers—whether that is with other nannies at the park, with other housecleaners at the bus stop, or with other home care workers at shift changes. These can all be opportunities to check in with each other and form plans for mutual support. Mutual support could look like contacting each other if we need to find someone to cover shifts, sharing information with each other, or assisting each other with our day to day needs in case one of us gets sick, like school pickups or grocery shopping. You can also join NDWA’s Facebook communities to connect online with other domestic workers in your area.


As is often the case at times of crisis and uncertainty, scapegoating is on the rise. COVID-19 has become a global pandemic that impacts people around the world in all racial and ethnic groups. However, since the virus first started to spread in China, people in Asian communities all around the world have faced racist backlash. In addition, we are seeing people use the COVID-19 pandemic to promote anti-immigrant hate. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance has created some tips on how to stop racist scapegoating while also stopping the spread of COVID-19. The full set of recommendations and fliers can be downloaded from their website, and here are a few things we pulled from those resources that we can all do:

Help stop the fear by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. Share accurate information about how the virus spreads. The CDC states that diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other person.


Source : http://www.masscosh.org/tips-domestic-workers-during-pandemic

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