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We Are Working to Mitigate & Contain the Spread of the Cononavirus

Health and well-being are at the heart of everything the SASH partnership does. We are complying diligently with guidelines from the CDC, the Vermont Department of Health, and state and local government officials in an effort to mitigate and contain the virus. We also are involved in numerous groups and task forces monitoring the coronavirus at the state and local levels and developing our multi-layered responses and resources.

In anticipation of the arrival of the coronavirus in Vermont, we started actively preparing our continuity and contingency plans weeks in February. We are prepared to keep our operations running over the long haul. We have an incredible team and network of partners devoted to participants’ wellness and safety! Here are some of the steps we have taken:

  • We have distributed information about the coronavirus and self-protection measures to participants and SASH staff, installed additional hand sanitizers at affordable-housing sites where SASH is based, and provided on-site education from SASH wellness nurses.
  • We have posted signs at all of our entrances asking visitors to self-screen using this brief questionnaire before entering.
  • We have advised participants to self-isolate and to screen all visitors and family members using the same questions before allowing anyone to visit.
  • We are instructing visiting nurses, home-health workers and related professionals to shower and change into clean clothing upon arrival if they were with another client or at a facility where there are coronavirus-infected people immediately prior to their arrival.
  • We are asking participants not to gather in common areas. We understand the importance of having access to exercise rooms, public computers and others services, but we are strongly advising that they limit their time and maintain a 6-foot distance from others in compliance with social-distancing guidelines. In many locations, staff have rearranged or removed furniture and commonly shared items such as TV remotes and community puzzles so as to not encourage gathering.
  • Most staff are working remotely, but at least one SASH coordinator is on site during regular business hours. On-site staff are working from their offices and keeping a distance of 6 feet from others. SASH staff are phoning residents as the first option, then determining whether an in-person, one-on-one visit is appropriate. They also are asking the screening questions of every person they encounter and maintaining a 6-foot distance from anyone with whom they meet.
  • We have cancelled all group programming and community meals. In an effort to address loneliness and isolation, we have several initiatives underway to maintain connections with participants — and to connect participants with each other — through phone calls, social media, mail and other means. For example, we have put out the call for handmade cards from schoolchildren for SASH participants, one of our SASH coordinators is leading “Facebook Live” mindfulness sessions, and other online communities and activities are under development.
  • We have asked any participant who tests positive for the virus, or who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive, to first make sure that they or their doctor informs the Vermont Department of Health, then to notify their SASH coordinator so that we may properly disinfect any impacted area(s).

This Too Shall Pass

The coronavirus situation is constantly evolving. We are all learning as we go and adjusting our behaviors as new information becomes available. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience during this trying time. We are all in this together!

We are tremendously grateful for the support we have received from friends and neighbors during this unprecedented time. Family members and strangers are reaching out to offer help. A person from an apartment building adjacent to one of our buildings is organizing her neighbors to shop or run errands for our residents. We have received bags of soap and cleanser from the Body Shop to distribute to residents. At all levels, our amazing staff is picking up extra shifts and taking on added responsibilities, not knowing whether they eventually will be remunerated for their additional work. As motivational speaker Father Gregory Boyle says, “There is no us and them, only us.” THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.

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