These are certainly very challenging times. On a positive note, we are seeing the progress in the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic reflected in the number of cases at Open Sky as well and we are working hard to try to ensure that this positive trend continues.
Update on Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity
I announced last week in an email to the organization that I am leading an effort addressing diversity, equity and inclusion at Open Sky. We remain in listening and learning mode: listening to the impact this has had on people, seeing what we can learn, and all while providing meaningful support to people all across our organization. The specific ideas shared by people thus far have been quite thoughtful, instructive and proactive. However, right now we are not creating an action plan or “to do list”, rather we are creating the space for people to share their reflections. Whatever action we decide to take, it is very important that it be taken within a thoughtful and well-managed framework.
With this in mind, a few things I believe will help us now include finding a consultant with deep knowledge, experience and expert facilitation skills who will help us create an overall framework and provide a thorough organizational assessment. This assessment will be instructive and will help us determine what steps we need to take at Open Sky.
What we know already is that silence is complicity and doing nothing is not an option. I will keep you informed as this effort progresses.
Family and Guardian Visits
In the past several weeks, guidance was issued regarding visits to programs. We have developed a policy and procedure for programs to follow that ensure that our individuals and our staff remain safe. The procedure is summarized at the end of this document. We will also be developing protocols for visits to family homes in accordance with DDS and other funders’ guidance. We will provide more information on this soon.
I extend my best wishes to you and your family as we enter the next phase of this crisis and begin developing our plans for emerging as a stronger and more just organization.
Ken Bates, President and CEO
Visitation Procedures for Open Sky Program Visits
Open Sky residential programs has begun to allow outside visitation, following rules such as:
- Each program must determine whether visitation can be safely permitted for residents, visitors and staff.
- Scheduling Visits in Advance • Visits must be scheduled with the program in advance to allow coordination with others that may also want to visit the program and to ensure proper staffing levels.
- • Visits will be limited to once per week
- DDS visits are limited to 30 minutes o CAYAS visits are limited to 1 hour •
- When scheduling a visit all visitors will be screened by asking the following questions:
- Have you or anyone visiting tested positive for COVID in the last 14 days? o Have you or anyone visiting been exposed to anyone who tested positive to COVID in the last 14 days? o Have you or anyone visiting traveled outside of the state in the last 14 days? o Have you or anyone visiting had any symptoms of COVID-19 including fever (100.0 F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, or new loss of taste or smell? â–ª If visitor replies yes to any of the above questions the visit will not be scheduled â–ª
- Visitors must be informed that they will be screened again on the day of the visit
- All visitors are required to wear a face mask and will be asked to bring their own face covering
- Limitations on Visitors • Only 1 visit can occur at a program at one time • Barbecues and parties are prohibited • Children and at-risk people are strongly encouraged to remain home • Visits will be limited to: 2 visitors at a time
- CAYAS – 1 family at a time with a limit of 4 people unless the immediate family is larger and/or includes siblings that cannot be left at home)
- Designated Visiting Area-- Each program shall designate an outdoor area for visitations that meet the following criteria: • Yard, patio, open porches, parking lot or driveway • No enclosed outdoor spaces are permitted, for example if a tent is used it must have airflow and no sides • Visitors will not be allowed entry into the residence for any reason
- Individuals served will also be encouraged to wear face coverings if they can tolerate it and do so safely
- Visitors and individuals served must follow social distancing guidelines and remain 6 feet apart
- Visits in DDS residential program staff will remain outside to supervise visit from a distance respecting individual’s privacy
- Disinfecting the Visiting Area • All surfaces such as; chairs, tables, picnic bench, games must be disinfected with an approved disinfectant after each visit
- Visitors and individuals served must be encouraged to clean their hands with a hand sanitizer at the end of the visit