COVID-19 Update, March 20

The ongoing COVID-19 situation has been challenging for youth and staff alike as we navigate these unprecedented times. CFY continues to focus on the well-being of youth and staff, and we are keeping safety at the forefront of each and every decision as we make necessary adjustments to our programs and services.

We are grateful for continued support from our partners as we find new ways of supporting young people, while also being mindful of Government safety recommendations and restrictions. The medical team from Eastern Health’s Downtown Health Care Collaborative have been working closely with us to support the emergent needs of young people while also ensuring safety of other young people and staff. Most importantly, our staff have continued to showcase their dedication and commitment through this stressful time.


While things are changing quickly, we are doing our best to support them, keep them informed, and be creative in our methods to help young people in our community. It isn’t easy, and we will continue to be challenged, but we are all in this together.

Please see an update below from CFY's Senior Leadership Team regarding the on-going COVID-19 situation as it relates to CFY programs and services. Please note that these updates are in addition to, or modifications of, the previous update posted on March 16.


Personal safety and individual health

Consistent with updates from various health agencies and the Chief Medical Officer, any measures we can take as individuals focused on good hygiene and social distancing remains the best way to limit the rate of transmission, and to reduce the overall impact on our community, our families and our clients.


Any CFY staff who are feeling sick should be taking a sick day. If individuals are worried about their symptoms there are two ways to determine next steps:


  1. Use the province's online self-assessment tool available at https://www.811healthline.ca/covid-19-self-assessment/

  2. Call 811 to discuss your symptoms and seek instruction


It is completely normal to feel anxious about COVID-19. We are reminding the CFY team that they and their families can access EAP at no cost 24/7. To get started call 1-877-418-2181.


We also remind members of our community and our staff that at any time they can call the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-737-4668.


Changes for all teams and programs at CFY

All teams and sites have taken actions to:

  • Suspend group-based activities; shift to individual supports as necessary.

  • Suspend hosting events; shift to postponements, cancellations or digital engagement where possible.

  • Postpone all work-related travel to other regions of the province, outside the province and outside the country.

  • Suspend all active job competitions; CFY will not be initiating any new job competitions for the time being.

  • Suspend acceptance of in-kind donations of goods. Financial donations can be made online at www.choicesforyouth.ca/donate.

  • Suspend volunteer initiatives.

  • Halt admission of non-essential visitors at all sites (exceptions will be professionals who need to meet with youth, maintenance staff, etc.).

  • Post information about COVID-19, social distancing and hand-washing at all sites.


Any staff returning from out of country or out of province for any reason are informing their supervisors right away and self-isolating for 14 days.


Staff with a member of their household returning from out of country or out of province, have been asked to discuss the situation with their supervisor.


Please note the additional measures for specific teams below.


Additional changes for residential and shelter teams

Staff are working with youth residents to monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. In such an event, youth will be asked to self-isolate and staff will support them in completing the online assessment tool or with calling 811.


As part of our on-going dialogue with the Department of Health and Community Services, we have requested procedures and instructions should there be a need for quarantining. We want to avoid this scenario but must plan for it.


We will be sharing more information with these teams as it becomes available.


Staff continue to support residents while practicing social distancing, or by phone, text and email. Food provisions are being made and medication distribution for youth will continue with appropriate safety protocols put in place.


Where possible, on-site staffing levels have been adjusted and new shift rotations are being implemented.


Additional changes for the Outreach and Youth Engagement team

As of Tuesday March 17th, meals are being provided during regular drop-in hours as takeaway meals only.


All other youth engagement at Carter’s Hill will be appointment based or crisis response. CFY staff will monitor, in consultation with health officials, access to Carter’s Hill site in a limited fashion (significantly reduced numbers of youth at any given time) for other needs such as support managing addictions, mental health, housing, etc.


All young people seeking services are being screened for symptoms and being supported with completing the online assessment tool or with calling 811 if needed.


In partnership with the Downtown Health Care Collaborative, modified medical services are available to meet urgent needs. Hours are being adjusted daily based on availability of medical professionals, and appointments are being completed by phone wherever possible.


On-site staffing levels have been adjusted and new shift rotations are being implemented.


Additional changes for our Family & Natural Supports team

Momma Moments group gatherings and all group-based activities have been suspended. Staff continue to support young mothers and their families by phone,text and email. Delivery of food has started with appropriate safety protocols put in place.


All staff are working from home as much as possible.


Additional changes for administration teams and non-essential staff

Staff on these teams are working from home as much as possible. Beyond coming in to work to access specific files or equipment, we have asked staff to limit their time in the office, or to access what they need during off hours if necessary in consultation with supervisors.


Additional changes to Education, Employment and Social Enterprise teams

While The Shop and Impact Construction will continue operations, our Neighbourhood store closed as of March 17th. No new materials are bring brought into The Shop.


All group based activities (e.g. Jumpstart, GED, etc) have been suspended.


Staff continue to support youth trainees by phone, text and email, and are planning to provide food care boxes to all youth trainees.


On-site staffing levels have been adjusted and new shift rotations are being implemented.


Managing staffing levels in relation school closures

As with staff needing to self-isolate, our teams are consulting with supervisors about any personal needs resulting from the recent school closures.


Supporting youth and our community in other ways

  • COVID-19 posters and hand washing reminder signs have been distributed to all CFY sites and housing units. We have made our workplace posters on COVID-19 available for use by other employers. Download the workplace poster here. Download the Gov NL hand washing signs here.

  • Informational post-cards have been created for programs to distribute to young people. These post-cards contain information about COVID-19 and measures youth can take to take to limit their risk. We have made these informational post-cards on COVID-19 available for use by other employers. Download here.

  • Additional cleaning supplies have been purchased for all sites, and our residential and housing programs have taken steps to ensure they have a 2-week supply of food and relevant medications in case of emergency shutdown or quarantine situation.

  • Additional cleaning measures are being implemented at all sites for high touch areas as per public health recommendations.

  • Members of CFY's Senior Leadership Team are participating in a Vulnerable Populations Working Group spearheaded by the Department of Health and Community Services.

  • Members of CFY's Senior Leadership Team are continually seeking advice and coordinating efforts through the Downtown Health Care Collaborative, and across partnering organizations such as the Gathering Place and Stella’s Circle.

  • CFY is coordinating social media messaging with the Department of Health and Community Services to help reduce misinformation and the rates of transmission.


Please stay safe, follow social distancing practices and look out for your neighbours, family members and colleagues.


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 GovNL COVID-19 site at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/.


We can all do our part by staying informed, remaining calm, and working together to limit the spread of this virus.


The safety of young people and staff will be our top priority through all of this.

Connect with us

MAIN OFFICE

261 Duckworth Street

St. John's, NL A1C 1G9

E: info@choicesforyouth.ca

P: 709.754.0446

F: 709.726.3125

Choices for Youth

Registered Charity

130889942 RR0001

All are welcome.