Thanks to all who attended our CFY Virtual Huddle 2.0 on June 16! If you weren't able to attend you can check out the video by clicking the image below.


Topics include:

  • Update on CFY’s pandemic response and phased approach to easing restrictions

  • "What We Heard" from the staff survey (read the summary here)

  • Medical services for Youth at Carter's Hill Place


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • Pain swallowing

  • Runny nose

  • Unexplained loss of appetite

  • Diarrhea

  • Loss of sense of smell or taste. 

​Any staff with these symptoms should stay home. Please contact 811 if you have 2 or more symptoms.

Site screening procedures, and youth screening where applicable, should check for these symptoms.

Additionally, if any youth are experiencing small red or purple spots on your hands and/or feet, they should be directed to 811. Similarly, any staff who are experiencing small red or purple spots on your hands and/or feet should stay home and contact 811.

2. How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person through:

  • Respiratory droplets made when you cough or sneeze

  • Close, prolonged personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, and 

  • Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

3. What is physical (social) distancing?

Physical (social) distancing is a method (but cannot be used as the only method) of helping to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Physical (social) distancing includes:

  • Staying home when unwell

  • Avoiding large crowds and non-essential gatherings

  • Keeping a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) between yourself and others

  • Avoid coming in contact with vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatments.

4. What happens if a CFY staff member contracts COVID-19?
If you or another staff person are worried about their symptoms, the first step should be to use the province’s self-assessment tool, and if necessary, follow up by calling 811 to discuss symptoms and next steps.

If you are directed by 811 to self-isolate,  please contact your direct supervisor immediately to determine next steps. Human Resources will work with you and your supervisor to make a plan and determine how CFY can support you during your time in isolation.

If you are seeking support in navigating these options, please contact your direct supervisor, or connect with Lucas Geary, Senior Human Resources Specialist at and 709-746-0684.


5. Have any thoughts been given to routine testing for front line workers?
All decisions as it pertains to testing lies with public health officials. As of right now, the only way to receive testing is via directive of the 811 Healthline (more info above).


Choices for Youth has implemented several procedures to limit staff and youth exposure to the virus at all our sites, including screening all site visitors, encouraging vigilant hand-washing and social distancing, increasing cleaning measures at all sites, and supporting the community to centralize medical clinic services at The Gathering Place.


For a full list of measures that Choices for Youth is taking to protect staff and youth, please visit

6. When should I be using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work?
The Downtown Health Care Collaborative physicians have instructed the following as it relates to the use of PPE:

 Face Masks

  • A face mask should be worn if working face-to-face with a client identified to have a cough, fever, runny nose and/or shortness of breath.

  • The client with these symptoms should also be provided with a face mask.

  • A face mask should be worn when working in areas where physical distancing can not be maintained, including potentially when working at CFY sites. Sites are encouraged to reconfigure office spaces, where possible, to adhere to physical distancing measures.



  • Gloves should only be worn if you are directly touching a client identified to have a cough, fever, runny nose and/or shortness of breath.


In all situations, vigilant hand washing is advised. Additionally, at all times, physical distancing (2 metres) between staff and clients, as well as between staff members, should be maintained.


7. What is CFY doing to secure additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff?

Nationally and internationally, procurement and distribution of PPE is being prioritized for hospitals and testing centres. Due to this, judicious use of PPE (as per instructions above) is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic due to worldwide supply limitations.

To secure additional PPE for staff, CFY has identified the supply of PPE for homelessness serving agencies as a core request to be included in federal advocacy efforts by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and A Way Home Canada. This request is one amongst many focused on staff and client wellbeing. We also continue to raise this issue with provincial health leaders and End Homelessness St. John’s.

Based on professional medical advice, the best way to protect ourselves and each other from the virus is frequent hand-washing and maintaining a physical distance of two meters with others at all times (outside of your household unit). 


8. Will I be asked to work in a different area of Choices for Youth?
We are in the process of capturing the breadth of skills and experiences that CFY staff possess so that, if needed, staff can be allocated to different areas of the organization where there is increased demand. Choices for Youth is committed to mitigating as many risks as possible with the health and wellness of staff and clients being top priority. If staff need to be re-allocated to a different area of the organization, supervisors and Human Resources will discuss work plans and safety measures to address any concerns or individual needs.. 


9. What resources exist to support my and my work during this difficult time?
We recognize that this is an extremely difficult time for staff on many different levels. To ensure that wellness is top of mind in every corner of the organization, our Senior Leadership Team has prioritized resource sharing and additional training opportunities for staff.


inConfidence, our Employee & Family Assistance program is available to all staff regardless of whether or not you have opted out of health insurance benefits. The services offered by inConfidence are delivered by professional counsellors and work/life consultants who provide support in a number of different areas. This program is completely confidential with no cost to staff or their family members.

Toll free: 1-877-418-2181    




Username: inconfidence

Password: efap


In addition to our EFAP, we have developed a list of mental health and wellness resources - from online counselling services, to free online fitness classes. We hope that this list will provide you with some tools to help you navigate this difficult time. 

We also encourage staff to reach out to their supervisor, or directly to HR if they require additional support. The Senior Leadership Team will be continuing to share resources and provide training to staff to ensure that wellness is prioritized in every corner of the organization during this challenging time.

10. I wasn’t able to attend the Virtual Huddles, but I have a question/comment/idea to share with Sheldon. How do I do this?

No worries! You can submit a comment, questions, or bright idea any time you like through our comments & question form. This is a space for you to share your thoughts anonymously. 

Connect with us


261 Duckworth Street

St. John's, NL A1C 1G9


P: 709.754.0446

F: 709.726.3125

Choices for Youth

Registered Charity

130889942 RR0001

All are welcome.