MINEOLA, N.Y., (Mar. 12, 2020)- As the Coronavirus outbreak continues, FCA has been working hard to limit risks to clients, staff, volunteers and vendors, while at the same time avoiding steps that could fuel panic or paralyze the organization. It’s a tricky balance and the situation is evolving rapidly.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to fine tune our response in the days and weeks to come. We are receiving daily bulletins from the state and county health departments, from NYS OFA, OMH, OASAS, OCFS and CDC. 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 when you have symptoms or feel sick. Cover coughs and sneezes. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Maintain social distancing, including handshakes, hugs and fist bumps. Clean frequently touched surfaces, including your cell phone.
We are boosting our already thorough cleaning efforts across all FCA sites, have directed staff and contractors to pay extra attention to flat surfaces (including in agency vehicles) and encourage everyone to take responsibility for limiting your potential exposure. If you don’t have anti-bacterial wipes or other products, soap, water and friction will 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 70 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, many of our staff and volunteers have begun working remotely.
Any internal or external meetings that can be conducted via phone or video link (Zoom, Skype, etc) will be done in that way 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.
The number of external visitors to all of our sites has been limited, including program tours, contractors and volunteers. Effective immediately, the names of visitors will be logged and everyone at every site will sign in and out.
All agency travel has been limited and trips beyond a 25-mile radius 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 25 people have been cancelled and staff may not attend community meetings of more than 25 people while representing FCA.
As of now, all of our programs remain open and functional. That may change based on 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.
Again, the most important thing here is that you stay home if you aren’t feeling well or have symptoms; we offer lots of paid time off. The same applies if a member of your household has symptoms.
These guidelines are in effect until further notice and will be revised based on emergent verifiable information.
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 of you 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.
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 place 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.