FCA’s Statement on COVID-19: Updated May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020 | Press Release

MINEOLA, N.Y., (May 15, 2020) FCA has served Long Islanders since 1884 through some difficult and challenging times and we continue to do so today in ways that limit health risks to clients, staff, volunteers and vendors. We recognize that in times of crisis, community needs increase and we are called to do even more. That’s why all of our programs remain open and our staff are working hard to support kids, families and seniors through these unprecedented times. FCA is considered an ESSENTIAL business under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order and our dedicated staff are ESSENTIAL Employees.

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will continue to adjust our response accordingly. We are receiving regular bulletins from the state and county health departments and regular updates from our funders, including NYS OFA, OMH, OASAS, OCFS and the federal government. Based on what we have heard from them, here’s some guidance:

COVID-19 transmission is preventable. Here’s how:

Practice everyday preventive behaviors! Stay home unless absolutely necessary. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Maintain strict social distancing of at least 6′ in all settings. Protect others by wearing a face/nose covering when going to public spaces. Dispose of used masks and gloves properly. Clean frequently touched surfaces often, including your cell phone.

We have boosted our already thorough cleaning efforts at all FCA sites, have directed staff and contractors to pay extra attention to flat surfaces (including in agency vehicles) and we encourage everyone to take responsibility for limiting your potential exposure. If you don’t have anti-bacterial wipes or other similar cleansing products, soap, water and friction will often do the job.

We have posted signs in every site’s bathroom reminding visitors to wash their hands.

We have placed NYS DOH-provided signs on the doors of each of our buildings asking that people at high risk or exhibiting symptoms not enter our premises. While the signs feel unwelcoming, we are mindful that people who may be immunosuppressed or are over the age of 60 are at particular risk for death related to COVID-19.

While some jobs or tasks require staff to be in the office or in field-based settings, all other staff and volunteers have been directed to work remotely and we are delivering services virtually.

All internal or external meetings will be conducted via phone or video link (Zoom, MS Teams, etc) rather than in person.

Our residential programs come with special challenges. Based on state recommendations, staff are screening residents and where indicated, helping those who present with symptoms access a higher level of care. We have isolation and quarantine protocols in place should the need arise and we have adequate PPE on-hand at all sites.

We have curtailed all external visits to our sites, including program tours, contractors and volunteers. Effective immediately, the names of essential visitors will be logged and everyone at every site will sign in and out.

All agency travel has been limited and visits to other agencies or client homes must be specifically approved by a supervisor, especially if these trips involve public transportation.

All local college campuses have cancelled in-person classes; interns from those schools should not be working at FCA sites until further notice, though remote work may be acceptable.

All meetings at all sites that are likely to include more than 5 people have been cancelled and staff may not attend community gatherings while representing FCA, unless specifically approved.

All of our programs remain open and functional, though program activities have been modified in line with government restrictions and public health guidelines. That may change based on further state/county guidance, and we have a well-considered emergency management plan for the agency as a whole and for each division/site should the need arise.

These guidelines are in effect until further notice and will be revised regularly based on emergent verifiable information. We have crafted a comprehensive re-entry plan so that when given the green light, we can immediately begin to transition our services, volunteers and staff back into program sites.

Here are some links that might be helpful:

All of us at FCA are very aware of the heightened stress and anxiety that many in our community are experiencing.  We are in touch with public health folks around the clock, we are troubleshooting issues as they arise and our number one priority is you and your health/mental health. When you take care of yourself, you make your family and our family here at FCA stronger.

Because we know that many have children in your lives, we wanted to share this article with you about how best to talk with kids about COVID-19. There are some great tips here that provide the added benefit of self-care:

Take a deep breath. Draw on your experience, strength, hope and faith.  And know that as long as we stand together, we got this.

About FCA

FCA is a nonprofit agency helping more than 30,000 Long Islanders each year. For the last 135 years, the organization has worked to protect and strengthen vulnerable children, seniors, families and communities on Long Island.

FCA believes in the potential of Long Island – a place where no child, senior, family or community is left to struggle alone with barriers to health care, education, employment or economic prosperity. Long Island continues to be one of the greatest places in the world to live and raise a family for many; FCA exists to ensure that be the case for all.

For more information about FCA, please visit www.fcali.org.

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