Covid-19 Guidelines for Employees August 6, 2021
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area
General Operational Guidelines for Employees
General Guidance for All Employees (regardless of vaccination status):
• Employees who experience symptoms of any illness are encouraged to stay home.
• Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others and be clinically evaluated for COVID-19.
• Frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing is encouraged.
• All employees should assist with cleaning and sanitizing of high contact areas.
• When employees are in shared use spaces (hallways, break rooms, etc) and may be around people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated face coverings should be worn.
Specific Guidance for Vaccinated Employees
• Fully vaccinated staff who are exposed to COVID-19 may or may not be under work restrictions for 14 days.
• Fully vaccinated staff will be exempt from completing the daily health screenings.
• Fully vaccinated staff should continue to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when working with people served. However fully vaccinated staff may socialize in breakrooms, conduct in-person meetings with other vaccinated staff, and/or eat together without wearing masks.
Specific Guidance for Unvaccinated Employees
• Each day at the beginning of a shift and again at mid-day employees should complete a Health Screening form to ensure they remain fever and symptom free.
• Employees should wear a face covering over their nose and mouth unless they are working independently in their own office or home away from others.
• Socially distancing at least six (6) feet apart should be maintained for unvaccinated staff.
• When staff are on break, six (6) feet or greater distance should be maintained between unvaccinated employees.
• Unvaccinated employees who are exposed to COVID-19 will continue to need to follow testing and quarantine recommendations from The Arc.
• Office space should continue at 60% capacity until Illinois enters phase 5 of the restore Illinois plan.
• Break rooms will remain open to be used to prepare food and unvaccinated staff should physically distance themselves from others. Communal, pot luck, or shared food is not allowed unless all participating employees are vaccinated.
• Staff are encourage to take breaks outside weather permitting.
• All building visitors/suppliers should complete the visitor questionnaire and wear a face covering when entering any of the premises.
• Program staff will adhere to programmatic rules as implemented by The Arc under the Illinois Department of Human Services CDS guidelines.
• Any visitors to the homes will need to be cleared completing an assessment as part of the individual’s team.
• All visitors should continue to complete the health screening.
• All residents should be assessed daily for symptoms and have their temperatures checked at the beginning of each day.
• Beginning July 1, 2021 At-home day program will be implemented based on the needs of the person served.
Covid-19 Update for August 3, 2020
It has been a while since The Arc of the Quad Cities Area has sent out a general update regarding the status of operations. This is partly due to the fact that we have been busy planning, strategizing, gathering information and talking directly to the people we serve and their families. Using this time and the information gathered, we have been diligently working to ensure services and supports are offered in safe, practical and effective manner. The State of Illinois has sent guidance to day programs that allow for a soft opening in August with minimal people and then operations can resume at 50% of room capacity starting September 1, 2020. In accordance with the State of Illinois guidance outlined below and organized by program is a summary of some key operational updates.
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area continues to offer quality, person centered supports in our 24-hour residential programs. In order to do so we continue to implement social distancing practices, appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and additional hygiene and cleaning practices. Over the last couple months we have begun to schedule more and more safe visits from family members, however, we still are not approving overnight visits. If a person wishes to go home with a family member, they will need to remain with them long enough to develop a strategy for return that will follow an individualized plan developed with our nursing staff that takes into consideration the health of the household. Group home individuals and staff continue to find new and creative ways to ensure everyone is engaged in programming and has the chance to safely be a part of their community. Please continue to work with your assigned QIDP for updates on the activities or general happenings at each home, or to make arrangements for visits.
The staff at Arc Industries continues to ensure we are maintaining production standards and are keeping the business customer’s happy. Arc Industries has also been hard at work adding, building, and installing the needed safety precautions to ensure that when the greater workforce returns to the site they will all be safe. Since the State decided to allow a soft opening of services in August, Arc Industries has reached out to a small number of subcontract workers to begin work on August 10, 2020. We then anticipate welcoming more workers back on September 1 and September 14 in accordance with State’s guidance on re-opening of services. Due to the many changes needed at Arc Industries, the program will only be open to individuals who had previously been working and who have the ability to work while adhering to the additional safety precautions. Subcontract workers who live independently or with family have been identified as the priority for bringing back to work and then those that live with supports will considered for return on Sept 14.
Community Day Services
Community Day Services staff has been hard at work these last few months making sure each residential home had the needed staff supports, supplies, and technology to keep people living in the home active and engaged. The Community Day Services program has been planning how reinvented services will be delivered at The Arc Building and Opportunity Center to ensure to the best of our ability that everyone remains safe and healthy when they return. In addition to offering programing at these two locations, Community Day Services will be expanding to offer fully community based programming that will ensure safety while accessing the portions of the community that are open and accessible by the general population. The program staff will work with a few participants on a soft opening on August 10, 2020. Then we hope we can welcome more people back on September 1, 2020. The Arc of the Quad Cities Area is prioritizing these services for people who live independently, with family, or are served by another agency. Individuals who live in a The Arc’s group homes will continue to receive their day services from day program staff in each home with appropriate access to the community.
Community Employment Services
Community Employment Services has continued to work to ensure we are developing, retaining and strengthening our partnerships with community employers. As with many people around the country, we have seen a reduction in the workforce that has affected the people we serve. However, Community Employment staff continue to work with our vocational rehabilitation clients to help them build a career.
Community Supports program staff provides the needed and necessary support for people with intermittent services to continue to thrive as best as possible. The program continues to offer in-home service and has provided a lot of education to help people understand safe social distancing and other guidelines. This program continue to accept new referrals for expansion.
Self-Direction Assistants and QIDPs for Home-based Services have remained in contact with the individuals and families served to ensure we are aware of their intentions for services. Through the use of Personal Support Workers this program is also working to reinvent how it provides services to ensure that everyone they serve remains safe, healthy, and connected to the community. The program is working to break down barriers that may exist for people in getting needed services and is willing to work creatively with people to address their individual needs, wants and desires.
The Assistive Technology program has continued to get, repair and education people on their individualized needs for assistive and adaptive equipment. This has helped to ensure people maintain their greatest level of independence while living through these challenging times. The program has also recently been awarded a grant to expand the amount of technology we can offer to ensure people are connected to others and in control of their own lives as much as possible.
There is a lot more information about the above described services that is and will be available and I encourage anyone with questions to reach out to their assigned QIDP.
If you have any ideas, comments, or concerns you would like to share about these current operations or some of the described future operations please reach out to myself at 309-786-6474 or contact The Arc directly through the website at www.arcqca.org.
Covid-19 Update for June 12, 2020
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area is again reaching out to families, friends, people served and staff to update you on the most current information in regards to our operations. This week we received notice from the Illinois Department of Human Services that all Community Day Services (CDS) will remain closed through August 31st. Along with halting payment for CDS programs, The Arc of the Quad Cities Area has been asked by the Department to reinvent our programs to ensure that when they can open it is in the safest way possible with less people in larger congregate settings. This means that when CDS is again funded people will not be able to go back to their same old routines. Over the next few weeks and months we will be working to develop what these new routines will look like and how we ensure people are not primarily served in larger congregate settings.
We know that the closure of these services has been tough on people served and we are committed to working with them and their families to ensure they have the supports they need to continue to live their best life possible. For those people who live at home with their family, if you need additional supports or service while our day programs remain closed please reach out The Arc of the Quad Cities Area in order to discuss options for changes to your services or funding. Even without changes to funding people can participate in our weekly education and entertainment opportunities offered online through Zoom.
For people in our residential and intermittent services The Arc of the Quad Cities Area continues to offer a variety of daily activities to keep people feeling productive and happy. Our QIDPs and Supervisors are working with families to schedule safe, socially distant visits which have been a welcome addition to our new routines in each home. As we enter the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan we hope that our options for visits and additional community activities will also open up for people served.
If you have any ideas, comments, or concerns you would like to share about current operations or about what our future operations may look like please reach out to myself at 309-786-6474 or contact us through the website at www.arcqca.org.
I remain grateful for the many ways that the people we support, their families and our staff members have persevered during this extraordinary time.
Covid-19 Update for May, 27 2020
At The Arc of the Quad Cities Area we hope that everyone reading this update is remaining strong and hopeful as we navigate our way through this crisis together. We at The Arc continue to strive each and every day to balance providing meaningful services to people with disabilities while ensuring the health and safety of everyone. We are a strong agency comprised of many caring people, and this crisis is hard on each of us. When things are going well we get to share in each other’s successes, and when things are difficult and/or sad we share in each other’s trials. In this crisis we have had to share in each other’s grief, but we remain hopeful that in the long run we will see more successes that will balance out this grief.
As Illinois moves into Phase III of the Restore Illinois plan we anticipate seeing additional opportunities for activities outside of the houses for our community. However, The Illinois Department of Human Services has informed us that our Community Day Services will remain closed through the end of June. The Arc of the Quad Cities Area has been reaching out to families and people served to gather input from day program participants and planning internally so we will be ready to open when the time comes. We know the programs will not look exactly the same when we finally can re-open, but our main goal will be the health and safety of everyone participating.
Each person who lives at home with supports from The Arc of the Quad Cities Area remains engaged in a variety of activities that our creative staff come up with each day. With the onset of warmer, dryer weather, people are going to be offered more options and choices of what to do each day as more time will be spent outside. The Illinois Department of Human Services has asked that providers determine what safe, socially distant visitation looks like at each of our homes. This means we still cannot go back to our ‘normal’ visits from family and friends, but we do want to continue to work with you to ensure you can safely visit those you care about. If you want to arrange a visit with appropriate social distancing practiced, please reach out to your QIDP for support in arranging an individualized visit that meets everyone’s needs.
I want to thank you all for ongoing support of The Arc of the Quad Cities Area. If you find yourself with an inspired idea of how you can help The Arc, or if you have questions, please reach out to us. You can reach out directly to your QIDP, you can call us at 309-786-6474 or contact us through our website at www.arcqca.org.
Covid-19 Update for 4.29.2020
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area knows that the current crisis facing our community is challenging for all of us. We also understand all the additional stress that it causes the people served, their families, and friends. This is why we continue to make an effort to keep you informed of what is happening at The Arc of the Quad Cities Area.
Just like almost all organizations in the country, The Arc is adjusting its plans and operations to ensure we are providing the best possible support services to people with disabilities in the Quad Cities. As part of this adjustment, we continue to learn how best to meet the unique needs of each person served. These unique needs range from the typical struggles many of us are experiencing due to sheltering-in-place to directly battling positive cases of coronavirus. We will immediately notify you If your family member or loved one is someone who has tested positive or upon initial exposure to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Throughout this crisis, we continue to implement precautions outlined by physicians, the CDC, the State of Illinois, and The Rock Island County Health Department. The Arc continues to implement mandatory staff masking, pre-work health screenings, additional household cleaning and has limited contact to only essential people for household needs.
The Arc’s goal is to continue to offer essential services to people with disabilities in a manner that helps to stop the spread of the virus. The Community Day Programs at Arc Industries, The Opportunity Center and The Arc Building remain closed following the guidelines from The State of Illinois. Once The State of Illinois determines the programs can start to move forward again, management will begin implementing when and how each of those programs can re-open and will share that information in as timely of a manner as possible. When each of these programs does re-open there may be changes that will need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of people served.
Even though the full vision of the future of The Arc’s services seems to remain uncertain, we have so much to be appreciative of. We are thankful for families that continue to maintain social distance, we are encouraged by those who have brought joy into our homes through their creative actions, and we continue to be inspired by our direct support professionals who are working round-the-clock to support the people in our care and their families. Residents in our homes have experienced great food from local restaurants, enjoyed musical entertainment from friends, had happy birthday sung to them from management, played “zoom” bingo against other homes, learned to make homemade pizza and so much more. Daily I am inspired by the actions of staff, management and the people served who are taking opportunities to uplift others.
If you find yourself with an inspired idea of how you can help us, or if you have questions, please reach out to us. You can reach out directly to your QIDP or we continue to use and monitor our phone system and you can call us at 309-768-6474 or contact us through our website at www.arcqca.org.
COVID-19 Important Update
April 13, 2020
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area is working to ensure people with disabilities have the supports and services needed during this unprecedented time. We continue to staff our group homes with everyday heroes who are known as direct support professionals. These heroes are tasked with providing a safe, clean environment with ongoing activities and engagement for people served and providing guidance on understanding the virus to each individual they support. This guidance has The Arc working each day protecting people served, offering reliable resources and sharing the most up to date news and practices with each staff and person served.
The most current update we have with regards to the temporary closure of our Community Day Services sites is that they will remain closed until the Division of Developmental Disabilities provides an official notice stating that service can resume. The Governor of Illinois has extended the Stay at Home order until April 30th, 2020 and will continue to monitor the situation to determine if the order will be lifted or remain in place. Even if the order is lifted this may not mean that CDS service will resume immediately, as The Arc will need official notice from DDD on when services may start. The Arc of the Quad Cities Area continues to change and adapt our services to new guidance on a regular basis.
One of the things that individual truly enjoy is video calling with their friends and family and if you are interested in doing this please reach out directly to the group home. If you have others questions, concerns, or ideas on how to support The Arc of the Quad Cities Area, please reach out to us. We continue to use and monitor our phone system and you can call us at 309-768-6474 or contact us through our website at www.arcqca.org.
We thank you for continuing to support The Arc of the Quad Cities Area in achieving our mission of empowering people with disabilities to believe in their own unique abilities to achieve their full potential.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support of The Arc of the Quad Cities and for believing in our mission!
COVID-19 Important Update
April 6, 2020
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area is reaching out to our community to let people know that yesterday afternoon we were notified that one of our group home residents has tested positive for COVID-19. This person was and continues to be experiencing minor symptoms of the virus. The individual has been staying at home since the evening of March 16th and once the test was ordered we began to isolate them to their bedroom. Across our group homes we have been working to limit the number of staff working at each site, screening staff when they arrive to work, implementing additional cleaning and sanitation and following all precautions and guidance available. These measures and steps will continue to be implemented across the agency and we will take additional precautions in coordination with the health department at the affected home.
As the current situation continues to affect all of us, The Arc will continue to strive for excellence in supporting people with disabilities to live their best life possible, even in these trying times. Our dedicated and committed staff work as everyday heroes to the people we serve and we cannot thank them enough for their daily courage.
At this point The Arc has just this one case and all individuals, families, caregivers, and staff who live in the home have been notified of the case. Therefore, if you have not received direct contact from The Arc you or your loved one has not been in direct contact with the individual. Future cases may be expected as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread in the community. Any future cases will be communicated to the individuals, families, caregivers, and staff who are directly affected. You can be assured that The Arc will continue to work to implement precautions and guidance received from our state and federal partners, and we will continue to work locally with the health department.
For families and caregivers who have any questions, concerns, or ideas on helping the agency, please contact your assigned “Q”/case manager.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support of The Arc of the Quad Cities and for believing in our mission!