Monday, July 13,2020 - COVID-19 Reopening Update (continued)
LARC has spoken with many families, guardians and individuals regarding our efforts to maintain safe environments for them as well as staff. As we have been emphasizing over the last several months, our main priority is to protect the health and safety of individuals and staff while also utilizing a person-centered process to create flexibility as we all adapt to a new normal.
We are currently in the process of readying our 314 Main Street offices for limited use by staff and, over time, a small group for Day Services as part of the first phase of reopening (although for now, the building will remain closed to visitors). Some of the community work sites will be the first to reopen, with gradual reopening of LARC’s Industrial Lane and Putter Lane sites to follow, contingent upon conditions in the state in the months ahead.
Please be aware that reopened programs will not look or operate in the same way as they did before the pandemic. For example, we are implementing heightened cleaning and safety protocols for programs and transportation including:
Temperature checks and symptom monitoring of all staff and individuals
Dismissal if a staff member/individual shows any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of 100.4 or higher
Face masks are required by everyone, at all times
Social distancing will be implemented
Frequent handwashing will be encouraged through signage and weekly updates
Regular vehicle cleaning
Programs will have a reduced capacity, worksites and jobs may be changed, transportation will involve social distancing, and meals must be ready to eat. There will be no utensils, refrigeration, nor heating available. Additionally, there will be no hot water beverages.
Prior to returning to program, meetings and discussions will be held to assess an individual’s willingness, health issues and safety compliance ability. A virtual team meeting by conference call or video meeting will include the individual, family, residential provider, case manager and LARC representative. The team will discuss current medical status, compliance with preventative measures, transportation issues, details of return to worksite/program and all other required information.
Additional considerations such as a person’s ability to practice social distancing, wearing a face covering and ability to acclimate to altered programming will impact how soon return to a program will take place. Where we encounter issues, we will work with each person and their support team to identify solutions and alternative options. If a person cannot demonstrate they are able to social distance, LARC may reverse the decision for them to return to program at a later date.
A Vocational Program Coordinator or Day Program Coordinator will make contact to arrange a return to work meeting.
We will continue to update our community and program participants as reopening plans are finalized and implemented. Hopefully we can continue to move ahead with our plans to reopen. As in March, any of our plans may be dashed if the status in CT changes.
Michael Menard Executive Director
LARC Awarded Grant from Torrington Savings Bank Foundation
LARC has been awarded a grant from Torrington Savings Bank Foundation to purchase laptops that will enable staff to work more effectively as they support individuals during this pandemic. The agency was able to purchase 10 Chromebooks with the grant. The laptops will make communication throughout the agency more efficient for many essential employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.“ We are so grateful for the support from Torrington Savings Bank Foundation,” said Michael Menard, Executive Director at LARC. “The grant will provide much-needed funding to purchase equipment that will indeed make it easier to work remotely.” LARC staff are supporting individuals in group homes, vocational sites, and in private homes. Having a reliable computer makes it far easier for essential staff to support individuals--many of whom are working in jobs such as grocery stores and other businesses that did not close when the pandemic hit. The laptop computers are essential to keeping connected to individuals and co-workers, and working remotely. “Torrington Savings Bank Foundation has made a tremendous and impactful difference in the lives of many--not just our staff but the individuals who depend on them on a daily basis.”
LARC is beginning a phased reopening of the agency’s Vocational and Day Services programs over the next several weeks. The agency, which closed March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, formed a reopening committee in May to begin planning for a strategic phased-in reopening, according to a statement. (read more)
LARC Receives Safety Grant from Worker's Compensation Trust
LARC has been awarded a grant through the Workers’ Compensation Trust Safety Grant program to purchase and install lifts in two of LARC’s Day Service Option programs as well as one of the organization's group homes in Torrington. LARC was one of 61 organizations awarded a grant out of a pool of 116 organizations that applied for a 2020 safety grant.Many of the individuals served by LARC have very limited mobility. Several are in wheelchairs and have limited or greatly diminished strength. The organization continually assesses the positioning and mobility needs of individuals in the programs or residing in group homes and responds accordingly. Recently, it was determined that new adaptive and patient lifting equipment was needed to replace existing equipment. “We are so grateful for the support from Workers’ Compensation Trust,” said Michael Menard, Executive Director at LARC, in a statement. “The safety of individuals in our programs and our staff are priority and we are always assessing equipment and upgrades to accommodate evolving needs. This grant will enable LARC to purchase and install the necessary equipment to safeguard individuals and staff.”
Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the LARC Annual Meeting is taking place through an agency wide COVID-19 Update which shares some of the heroic work that staff have continued to do. Our hope is that you will take a few minutes to read the report and see how the agency is responding during this unprecedented and difficult time.
Grant Donation from Eversource Energy Foundation - April 29, 2020
LARC has received a grant of $1,500 from Eversource Energy to fund the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though LARC’s offices remain closed with staff working remotely, many are caring for individuals in group homes while others are supporting individuals who continue to work in the community at grocery stores and other locations. On a daily basis, large quantities of face masks, disposable gloves and protective gowns are keeping LARC staff and individuals safer amidst the COVID-19 virus.