COVID-19 Update, Feb. 24

Updated: Apr 19

Based on the increase in COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador and the province's return to Alert Level 5, Choices for Youth (CFY) has made adjustments to operations to follow all Public Health safety measures while also providing safe and reliable program delivery. As always, our focus remains on the safety and well being of our staff and young people, and any adjustments to programs and services are made with a focus on minimizing risk at all times.


Phased approach at CFY

CFY has implemented a phased approach to easing restrictions across sites and programs. CFY will progress through the different internal phases using a two-week lag in comparison to when Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (Gov NL) reduces alert levels, and an immediate adjustment if alert level is increased. Based on the Gov NL’s shift back to Alert Level 5 on February 12, CFY also reverted back to Phase A and adjusted programs and operations accordingly.

The following measures have been implemented as a part of CFY’s Phase A operations, in line with Public Health guidelines:


General Working Procedures

  • Any staff with COVID-19 symptoms is required to say home and recommended to follow Public Health guidance, including potentially contacting Public Health. Staff who come to work sick will be sent home.

  • Any staff who is given direction from Public Health to self-isolate should get in touch with their supervisor to discuss the appropriate leave/accommodation options.

  • Staff and teams should meet using online tools where appropriate.

  • Staff and teams can host in-person meetings where deemed essential. Physical distancing should be maintained, with non-surgical masks used when physical distancing is not possible.

  • Any staff returning from out of country or out of province for any reason should inform their supervisor right away and are required to follow all guidance from Public Health.

  • Any staff with a member of their household returning from out of the country or out of province should discuss the situation with their supervisor and are required to follow all guidance from Public Health.

  • Any staff with other employment arrangements where they may be exposed to individuals who are COVID-19 positive (e.g. long-term care facility, hospital, etc.), must inform their supervisor and are required to follow all guidance from Public Health.

  • Any staff who has identified a potential need for workplace accommodation should connect directly with their supervisor and Human Resources department. Requests should be sent to hr@choicesforyouth.ca and will be processed within 24 hours.

  • Non-medical masks required at all CFY sites and when working as follows:

  1. At CFY sites in all common areas (washrooms, hallways, kitchen space, etc.) regardless of distance.

  2. In CFY offices when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  3. When in public spaces for work-related reasons (e.g. supporting a young person in community, grocery shopping, etc.).

  4. When in a company vehicle and/or transporting staff/youth in a personal vehicle.

  • All site visitors (youth, staff, postal workers, cleaners, etc.) screened for symptoms and travel history using site intercoms prior to permitting entry to CFY sites. If person does not pass the screener, they are not to be permitted entry to CFY site and should be supported to connect with Public Health.

  • Staff may be assigned tasks outside of their regular job description based on emergent needs and availability as pandemic response protocols and plans evolve.

  • Volunteer and student activities may continue based on identified needs; Coordinators should discuss safety protocols with Managers to ensure all Public Health guidelines are followed. As of February 13, no new volunteer activities may be implemented. Existing activities may continue in alignment with all Public Health safety measures.​

  • Evaluation of public events such as open houses, focus groups and fundraisers with reduced capacity based on guidance and recommendations from Public Health.

  • Sites can accept in-kind donations at their discretion.

  • Limited supply of medical grade personal protective equipment kits secured. These are to be used only if a staff member needs to directly interact with a symptomatic young person. Coordinate with Supervisor and Human Resources for access.

  • Continuation of increased safety protocols at all sites, including:

  1. Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting

  2. Informational posters and reminders of diligent hygiene

  3. Mandatory mask usage

  4. Physical distancing measures

  5. Screening of all site visitors

  • As of February 11 and until further notice, administrative teams that are able to complete job duties remotely are able to work from home. Please consult with your Coordinator or Manager for guidance.

Transportation

  • Transportation of youth in personal vehicles has been restricted. Exceptions may be granted for essential services ONLY and when approved by supervisor. If transporting a young person in person vehicle:

  1. Everyone in vehicle must wear masks

  2. One passenger only (sitting in backseat)

  3. Hand sanitizer must be used prior to entering vehicle

  • Company vehicles and/or personal vehicles used to transport youth need to be sanitized:

  1. At each shift change

  2. At the end of each day

  3. After transporting a young person

  • Anyone using a company vehicle and/or transporting staff/youth in personal vehicle must complete screener prior to entering vehicle. Any person that does not pass the screener should not to be permitted entry into vehicle and should be supported to connect with Public Health.

  • Bus passes provided for youth as needed.

  • Taxi approvals for youth provided as needed and with supervisory approval.

Programming

All programs at CFY are still operational, with potential capacity restrictions and/or safety measures put into place. For specific questions or support with referrals, please connect with the program team: Outreach and Youth Engagement, Momma Moments, Upstream – (709) 754-3047 The Choices Shelter – (709) 757-3050 RallyForward – (709) 754-0446 The Lilly – (709) 739-1019

  • As of February 10 and until further notice, group recreational activities and group arts and cultural activities are suspended.

  • As of February 11 and until further notice, all group programming is suspended.

  • On-site programming activities must maintain physical distancing and/or wearing masks when unable to do so. Capacity to be determined based on space availability.

  • All shared spaces sanitized twice a day by staff, including all washrooms and following Public Health recommendations.

  • All shared spaces (including programming areas, common areas and shared office spaces) to be cleaned after use and cleaning form signed.

  • Pre-screening to continue prior to individuals entering into buildings.

  • Pre-screening with young people will continue in residential pogroms each morning and when they leave and re-enter program sites.

  • Programming is operating on-site with modifications as per Public Health recommendations.

  • Continuation of individual supports and online activities where possible.

Individual Visits

  • Individual visits will continue where social distancing can be maintained.

  • Contact should be done in-person whenever possible, in adherence with physical distancing policies and youth visit schedules.

  • In-person visits will be decided upon in consultation with the Team Lead or Coordinator based on needs of individual young people.

  • Pre-screening questions asked prior to staff interacting with youth in-person.

  • Masks must be worn when physical distancing can not be maintained.

  • Daily assessment of risks conducted.

Medical Support

  • Daily medication distribution continued according to program guidelines while practicing physical distancing.

  • Medication dispensing will be completed in compliance with individual needs.

  • As of February 11 and until further notice, CFY medical team will shift to virtual (phone) appointments. For exceptional circumstances where a young person needs to be seen in-person (e.g. wound care, post-natal, etc.), youth are able to book an in-person appointment as long as they are asymptomatic and no other symptoms of illness.

Food Services

  • As of February 11 and until further notice, food services shift to take-away meals only.

  • Up to three people allowed in the physical kitchen space at CFY Outreach & Youth Engagement Centre, with adherence to physical distancing, mask wearing and all food safety measures.

Social Enterprises

  • Social enterprises are compliant with all Public Health guidelines relating to business operations, capacity and safety protocols. This may include closures or reduced operations based on Public Health guidance.

CFY will continue to follow updates made available by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and encourage you all to stay informed and up-to-date with information by visiting the Gov NL COVID-19 site here.


Our agile response is made possible by the collective work of all staff members, and we will continue to review capacity across programs and respond as necessary to ensure that we are able to provide a consistent level of program and service delivery across the organization.

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