The Heartwood School 2020 Safety & Hygiene Protocols

The Heartwood School and Timber Framers Guild are committed to conducting our courses as safely as possible during the 2020 pandemic. Our team of instructors researched, consulted with other organizations and Guild company members, and worked together to develop these safety protocols to protect students, instructors, and the community in which we work and teach. If you have any questions about the protocols that have been developed and are being implemented throughout the 2020 season, please contact or for more information. 

Heartwood Hygiene Protocols

Personal Protective Equipment and Daily Certification

  1. Personal safety equipment has been expanded to include a thermometer, face masks, safety glasses, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, sanitizing wet wipes (at least 100-count), nitrile gloves, and a 16-oz or larger spray bottle with a sanitizing solution for your tools. Please mark these items conspicuously with your name or with a clear identifying mark so that someone else does not inadvertently pick them up, and bring these items with you to Heartwood. Be sure to bring your own water bottle and coffee cup; do not share. 
  2. Each morning before you leave for Heartwood, each attendee will be asked to take their temperature with a thermometer they bring from home. If their temperature is above 100.3° or if they have other COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, respiratory infection, shortness of breath, or a sore throat, the attendee will not return to Heartwood. The attendee is advised to seek testing or return home. In the event that an attendee is unable to return to class because of a COVID-19 infection or these symptoms, please call Mack Magee at 401-489-4567 to let him know you have a symptom(s) or have tested positive for COVID-19. Mack will arrange with you to adjust your class fee or will hold a spot in 2021 for you to complete the class.
  3. Heartwood has zero-tolerance for coming into work if you have any of these symptoms. The attendee MUST return home or be tested for the virus. We are unable to allow for any exceptions. 
  4. Attendees are not to return to the Heartwood School until cleared by a medical professional (bring proof) or if they have not had any symptoms for 14 days or more. 
  5. Each morning prior to beginning work, each attendee upon arrival will self-certify to the instructors that they:
    1. Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees. 
    2. Have no signs of a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours.
    3. Have not had "close contact" with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. ("Close contact" means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6' of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions [e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 while that person was symptomatic.)
    4. Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.
  6. If the above conditions are met, the person will initial their certification chart certifying that this is true, and report to the instructors.
  7. Hands should be washed upon arrival at Heartwood per CDC guidelines and multiple times a day for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds with soap and water. Hands should be dried using paper hand towels provided by Heartwood, and the used hand towels must then be disposed of in the designated receptacle. Please make sure that used hand towels end up in the receptacle and not on the floor.
  8. Masks are required to be worn by all attendees and visitors. Visitors will be discouraged to reduce risks. There is also zero-tolerance for a refusal to wear a mask. The attendee will be asked to leave if, in the instructors' or staff's estimation, an individual is not complying with this policy. A mask must be worn whenever a person is within six (6) feet of another person. Heartwood strongly recommends that attendees wear masks whenever practical, even at distances greater than six (6) feet. Please bring two masks per day minimum. Masks will collect sawdust and sweat and will require washing after a day of work. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires masks to be worn in public and having an additional mask each day will help to assure your safety and the safety of the general public as well as the other attendees. (Masks may be home-made but must comply with CDC standards. N95 masks are not necessary.)
  9. Attendees are urged to bring protective gloves to be worn when handling items others have touched, including when shopping. Hands should be washed per CDC standards once gloves are removed. If a safe washing station is unavailable, the attendee must use hand sanitizing solution and allow hands to air dry.  


General on-the-premises guidance to prevent exposure & limit virus transmission

  1. No handshaking.
  2. Wash hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. 
  3. Do not congregate at washing stations. Wipe down washing station, including faucet and water control handles after using, with a paper towel and sanitizing fluid. Grab doorknobs and latches using paper towels or tissues supplied by Heartwood and use elbows and shoulders to gently open and close doors rather than doorknobs and latches when possible.
  4. Follow the cleaning and decontamination procedures that are posted and shared. These procedures will cover all areas at Heartwood to which attendees may be exposed.
  5. A "No Congregation" policy is in effect. 
  6. Avoid when possible face-to-face meetings. Critical situations requiring in-person discussion must follow social distancing requirements. 
  7. We will not convene meetings of more than 10 people except in open air and with social distancing, with masks in place, per Massachusetts directives.
  8. All attendees' meetings or talks will be held outside, masks will be required, and crew will follow Massachusetts and CDC social distancing requirements (masks when less than 6' and whenever otherwise possible).
  9. All crews will stay a minimum of 6' apart to minimize the potential of cross-contamination.
  10. At each job briefing/toolbox talk, attendees will be asked if they are experiencing any symptoms and will be sent home if they are, as required by Massachusetts directives.
  11. Heartwood will post laminated COVID-19 safety guidelines and handwashing instructions at all appropriate locations.
  12. All restroom facilities shall be cleaned, and handwashing stations will be provided with soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
  13. All surfaces will be regularly cleaned, including door handles, laptops, etc.
  14. All common areas and meeting areas will be regularly cleaned and disinfected twice a day.
  15. To avoid external contamination, Heartwood recommends attendees bring food from home or where they are staying for snacks and breaks. Lunch will be provided. 
  16. Please maintain social distancing separation during breaks and lunch.
  17. Cover coughing and sneezing with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands. If no tissue is available, then cough into your elbow. These are specific guidelines by the CDC and Massachusetts.
  18. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands unless and until your hands are clean. This is known to increase the risk of spreading the virus. 
  19. To avoid sharing germs, please clean up after yourself. Please do not make others responsible for moving, unpacking, and packing up your personal belongings, including tools.
  20. If you or a family member is feeling ill, you must stay home! This is a directive from Massachusetts and has the force of law. 
  21. Use of eye protection (eyeglasses, safety glasses, safety goggles, or face shields) will be required at times. Attendees must bring eye protection. Instructors will provide more specific instruction as needed. 
  22. Except for attendees that arrived together or are staying together, all attendees should drive to Heartwood in a single-occupant vehicle. 
  23. When picking up or using a tool, make sure that you wipe down the tool with a disinfectant prior to using it and after you use it if it is a shared tool.
  24. All tools will be put away only after being wiped down each evening. 
  25. All high-contact surfaces will be cleaned a minimum of twice a day by Heartwood staff in order to minimize the spread of germs in areas that people touch frequently. This includes, but is not limited to, tables, chairs, light switches, control knobs on equipment and appliances, vehicle door handles, mirrors, gas caps, car radio, etc. Attendees are expected to wipe down all common areas and shared tools before and after their use.
  26. All attendees are expected to help to maintain and keep stations clean. Staying safe and free of infection is a shared goal and can be achieved collectively. 
  27. If an attendee notices soap or towels are running low or out, please notify instructors or staff immediately. 
  28. Garbage barrels will be placed next to the handwashing station for the disposal of tissues/towels. Please notify instructors or staff immediately upon returning to class if the barrels need to be emptied. 
  29. Do all you can to maintain your good health by getting adequate sleep; eating a balanced, healthy diet; avoiding alcohol; and consuming plenty of fluids. 


Classroom and dining activities

  1. A large tent will be provided for classroom and lunchroom activities.
  2. Attendees may spread out to stairs, benches, and other comfortable locations OUTSIDE if social distancing requirements are maintained. Attendees may not use interior dining room without express permission from instructors. All protocols must be followed when dining inside and dining room may not be used for more than 20 minutes at a time to limit potential exposure. 
  3. Twelve (12) 6'x8' tables will be under the tent to assure social distancing during classroom and dining activities. 
  4. Attendees are expected to spread out as much as possible. Those with better vision are asked to sit towards the back of the classroom.
  5. Chairs will be labeled by each attendee with their name or other identifier so that chairs are handled by fewer attendees. Once an attendee has chosen her or his position in the classroom, the attendee is asked to use that same position each day to limit exposure to potential germs.
  6. Attendees are expected to wipe the chair and table down each morning and after their use. Sanitizing solution and paper towels will be provided for this purpose. Attendees will wipe down the table and chair if used during lunch. Attendees should bring wet wipes to assure convenient access when needed.
  7. Attendees will be dining in up to three shifts of no more than twelve (12) attendees per shift. Instructors will set the shifts and who will be assigned to each shift.
  8. Lunch orders will be taken by staff each morning and the attendee's lunch will be organized and provided to the attendee as ordered. One person will be allowed in the kitchen at a time to pick up their lunch, and strict social distancing is required, as is a mask. 
  9. Please do not remove mask to eat until you are seated. Please keep your mask on when picking up food from counters and also make sure to don mask when bussing dishes.
  10. Use clean paper towel or tissue when filling water bottle and dispose of towel or tissue properly when done.

Question? Contact Heartwood School or Guild staff. 

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