As We Return: What Our Families Should Expect

Hello to all of our Arc of Evansville families! We are looking forward to seeing you again and hope you have remained well. Recently, a letter with a lot of information about our reopening was sent to you; please review it carefully and contact The Arc if you have any questions. There are some changes that may cause some challenges, and we appreciate your patience, especially the first several days after reopening.

We will be re-opening services that have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These services include: Day Services for Adults; Music Therapy; Work Services (Arc Industries); Respite; and Connections for Life/PAC. Behavior Support Services and Community Job Link will continue as well. In order to maintain the safest environment for the clients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing several changes and procedures.

The re-opening date for those who are under 65 years of age and who do not have high risk health conditions is Monday, June 22, 2020.

Those 65 and older and those who have high risk health conditions may return on Monday, July 6, 2020.

Your return to services should be decided on by you and your Individual Support Team based on your health risks and those you reside with. We expect that everyone will be back by July 6th when the Governor opens the State on July 4th. Until July 6th, your spot at The Arc of Evansville will remain open for you. After that time, we will be looking at filling slots with those on the waiting list, if applicable.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that people of any age who have the following underlying medical conditions, particularly if they are not well controlled, are at high risk for severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised (undergoing cancer treatment; smoking; bone marrow or organ transplantation; immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications)
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

(From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

We encourage you to wait to return on July 6th if you are 65 or older or have any of the above health conditions.

It is very important that you not attend services if you or anyone living in your residence or your residential staff are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following symptoms: chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, please stay home.

We will be taking temperatures and asking screening questions before you enter the facility each day. We will also be taking temperatures again midway through the program day.

If you have a fever of 100.4⁰F or have had a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or fever in the past two weeks or have been around anyone who has COVID-19, you will be sent home as well as those who reside with you who are also planning to attend services.  

If a client tests positive for COVID-19 they may not return to program until they are free of fever for at least 72 hours (3 full days) and symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours and at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first began. Clients who are exposed to COVID-19 may not return to services for 14 days after their last known exposure, unless they experience symptoms. Symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following symptoms: chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. If clients experience symptoms, the standard set forth in this paragraph regarding symptomatic individuals applies. The client and his/her housemate will be sent home and not allowed to attend services for two weeks.

Individuals who have a fever of 100.4⁰F or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 during program hours will be quarantined in a designated area until family or provider staff arrive to pick them up. Housemates will need to leave at the same time. If the person tests positive for COVID-19, you will be notified that you have been in a facility in which someone has tested positive for COVID-19.

The facility will be thoroughly cleaned/sanitized prior to the June 22 opening. We will be sanitizing high-touch areas throughout the day and the facility will be thoroughly cleaned each evening. There are hand sanitizers at each entrance and in each classroom. Staff will have hand sanitizers with them for those in CFL/PAC who will be in the community.

We will be having clients assigned to specific classrooms where they will be asked to remain during their program day. Individuals will be seated to allow for appropriate socially distancing. We will not allow visitors in the building with the exception of Case Managers and Behavior Support Specialists. Team meetings will be held remotely via video or phone.

*All vending machines are closed due to being a high touch surface area. Water fountains will also not be in operation. Clients must bring their own drinks as well as bottled water or water in a personalized reusable container each day. For the same reason, microwaves will not be accessible. DO NOT send/bring in food that must be microwaved. All food must be ready-to-eat and if cold, must have an ice pack in their lunch bags/boxes. If a client would like to eat hot food, it should be heated at home and placed in a vacuum container to keep it hot. We will also not be serving coffee. If an individual must have coffee to drink, he/she should bring it in a thermos for his/her personal use.

The Arc of Evansville staff will be wearing masks when working directly with clients. We will provide cloth masks for clients to wear while they are in services.  If an individual is having or may have difficulty wearing a mask, please begin a desensitization process prior to the client’s start date. We have included a desensitization guideline and social story that may be helpful with the letter that was sent to your home. You may also want to contact your Behavior Support Specialist, if you have one, to assist you with this process. Masks will be collected as clients leave and will be washed and sanitized daily.

Please be aware that METS transportation requires passengers to wear masks while being transported in their vehicles.

For the safety of all of our clients and staff, individuals who continuously refuse to wear masks when required, maintain appropriate social distance, and/or maintain safe hygiene practices will be sent home.

We will be limiting the number of individuals entering and exiting the facility at one time during arrival and pick-up. We will most likely be staggering times to avoid traffic congestion. The unloading process will take longer as we will be conducting the screening process as individuals exit their vehicles. Please be patient. We are doing this for everyone’s safety.

You will be getting a call from your Program Coordinator the week of June 15th.  They will review these guidelines and discuss plans for returning to services with you. Please be expecting a call that week.