Weekly COVID-19 Updates

Below are summaries of the weekly COVID-19 Updates from Dr J. Please be sure to check your email for the full update including attachments.

August 21, 2020

Dear Fellow FCA Employees,

I hope this email finds you healthy.  It is hard to believe August is half over and that school is closely approaching.

One of the key reasons CT is able to even consider the possibility of having school partly in person is due to listening to the science.  FCA has also been proudly and diligently listening to the science.  One of the nation's leading experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, identified 5 things that are a must in decreasing the spread of COVID-19 and getting a hold of this pandemic:

  • wearing a mask
  • physical social distancing
  • avoiding crowds
  • doing things outdoors rather than indoors
  • diligent hand washing

Here is a link to a recent interview Dr. Fauci gave that discusses these 5 musts as well as expertly answering other key questions:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/fauci-says-despite-upcoming-election-science-will-not-be-politicized

It is imperative that we continue to keep his recommendations at the forefront of our decisions both inside and outside of work.  We can't let our guards down.  It is why the transmission rate is so low in CT.  As many of our programs have remained in face-to-face operations, and others have resumed some limited return to the office and/or face-to-face sessions, we must remain diligent in continuing these practices to keep ourselves, our clients and co-workers safe.  

Attached to this email is the updated FCA Information & Guildelines Related to COVID-19.  There have been some minor additions and modifications so please review thoroughly and refer any questions to your supervisor. 

In good health,

drj
 

July 31, 2020

Dear Fellow FCA Staff Members:

It is hard to believe that August is upon us and we have been in the throws of this pandemic for over 5 months now.  I hope you are enduring well and have the support you need.

As you may have heard, good news was shared recently that the Department of Social Services (DSS) has continued all current regulations for telehealth through March of 2021.  This will continue to give us the flexibility we need to provide high quality service through phone and video sessions while we continue to plan for various stages of recovery and re-opening. As always, the health and safety of our employees and clients is the top priority of our decision making.

FCA is currently at "Phase Yellow" in most programs.  We have made the decision to move to an all color system.  You will find attached to this email, as well as in your program specific COVID-19 Recovery Plan, further clarification of parameters for each color.  This will give you some guidance around when FCA moves from one color to another and all that we have to take into account in making that decision.

In our current phase, there have been some limited face-to-face sessions outdoors in IICAPS and Foster Care.  So far, these are going well and we continue to review and assess they are completed in as safe a way as possible.  There are also several large spaces identified in the Child Guidance Clinic where indoor face-to-face sessions can occur, but only if clinically necessary and if staff open to it.  We are also looking at phasing in some outdoor face-to-face visitations with some of our RTFT clients.

The next big change will be with EXTEND.  We are developing plans to re-open EXTEND when the Danbury school year begins. There has been much thought, construction and planning.  We will only have 50% of our typical attendance in the building while also offering virtual support and programming for other clients.  Of course, these plans can change at any time, as there are still several weeks prior to school, and what the pandemic will look like at that time in unknown.

And finally, school.  I know many of you are facing the decision of whether to send your children back to school or learn from home. There are so many factors at play - health and safety; risk to your loved ones; what will school look like; what will my employer allow for; will my children get the instruction  they need if they are home; how will I handle things if and when it all changes suddenly. Please know that we all think about how this impacts you at the leadership level. We have many essential staff that have to report to work each day and others in programs that have more flexibility. There is no easy answer for us or you, but please keep your supervisor informed of what situation you are facing.  We can talk it through and try to provide the best support we can.

Here is a link to a recent New York Times article: "Opening Schools Won’t Be Easy, but Here’s How to Do It Safely"

Not all schools will be able to restart. For those that can, the focus should be on more than just the classroom.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/opinion/coronavirus-schools-reopen.html?smid=em-share

In good health,

drj

July 13, 2020

TO: All FCA Staff Members

Our weekly COVID-19 update (dated July 13th) is attached. While there are no changes, we continue to stress that you should review the document to ensure you are up-to-speed with our current guidelines, procedures and the general information we share.

Dana Hillman and Roger Chappuis have been working on our website.  They have developed an employee only section, which is embedded into our public website.  This will allow for sharing of resources and providing pertinent and up to date information (including the weekly update) for all staff.  The web address is:

http://www.fcaweb.org/employees/

In addition to the update, attached is a document that specifies (on a scale of 1 to 10) the current risk levels for 37 common day-to-day activities. I recommend you keep this document handy to reference - especially when you plan to venture out from the safety of your home. Also, you may want to share the document with your family and friends.

FCA is looking for ideas from our fantastic and creative employees to help enhance our telehealth practices.  We anticipate some form of telehealth to remain in place for the foreseeable future and hopefully beyond the pandemic.  If you are interested in joining a small work group to focus on telehealth or have any ideas or feedback you would like to share, please contact Robyn Hoffman (robyn.hoffman@fcaweb.org).

Finally, I'm sure you are aware that the virus has subsided a bit in our area, but is spiking in places such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, etc. The improvement in our area is being directly attributed to our discipline of wearing face masks and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Please continue to protect yourself (and others) by continuing to practice these important new disciplines, as they are proving to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus.  Many parts of the country and world continue to show significant COVID-19 spread.  As you consider your plans for PTO in the future, please remember to notify your supervisor of any travel outside of CT so that we can determine your eligibility to work at FCA locations, and re-familiarize yourself with the travel policy in our attached FCA weekly COVID-19 update. 

In good health...

drj
*Please see your email to access attachments

 

June 26, 2020 

TO: All FCA Staff Members

Attached is this weeks' COVID-19 Information & Guidelines. Even though it has not changed since the last version that was distributed (on June 12th), we encourage you continue to review the document closely so you understand the FCA guidelines for travel, working in an FCA office, and handling illnesses.

Recently, many of our staff members took the opportunity to participate in the recent "Management During the Pandemic" online survey. The data showed that most staff members feel our current communication strategies are effective and most feel well-supported by their supervisor and by the Agency during this most difficult time. I can assure you that we will continue with our various communication strategies (weekly updates, surveys, audio messages, etc.) to keep you updated on internal policies (travel, facility procedures, protocols relating to illnesses) and any regulatory decisions that may effect the Agency (e.g., the future of telehealth).

Once again, thank you for your continued dedication and hard work and please have a safe, healthy and restful weekend.

In good health...

Dr. J
 
 
June 12, 2020

To All FCA Employees:

Attached is our weekly FCA Information & Guidelines Related to COVID-19 AND an audio message from me.  The written guidelines have not changed much from last week, but as always, please review and be familiar with them. 

My audio message this week will address the the State's Upcoming next phase in, June 17th.  As any business and provider would, we continue to plan for many different possibilities.  There still is much uncertainty and no indication for an immediate need to change how we are operating at this time.  Please take the time to listen and let us know if you have any questions or concerns. 

I continue to be extremely grateful for all the hard work and effort you give to our agency and the clients and families we serve.  I also want to thank our reception staff who continue to come into the clinic each day, managing our main hub and lending us all support.  Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.

In good health,

Dr. J