MNE COVID-19 Reentry Protocols

 

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, Melmark’s senior leadership team continues to monitor national, state and regional guidance surrounding virus mitigation. We remain hyper-vigilant in our approach to ensure the health and well-being of the individuals at Melmark and our mission-first staff.

Important update announcement from the Commonwealth of Massachussetts

“With the recent policy changes across the country and news about the Delta variant, I know you are wondering how this impacts DDS programs and your loved ones, and what steps we are taking to keep them safe. This week, we are announcing major updates to our congregate care surveillance testing program and also releasing updated guidance for visitation, group homes, and day programs.”

Click here to view the full article

Below are the latest updates on Melmark’s visitation and re-entry protocols and plans:

*During all phases and normal business operations, any individual presenting with COVID-19 symptoms is not permitted to visit or receive visitors. Melmark reserves the right to deny visits that may impact the health and safety of those we serve.


 

School Re-Entry Plan

 
► Click here to see the MNE School Re-Entry Plan.

► The Spanish version of the MNE school re-entry plan is linked here.
 

The first cohort of children and adult day-only participants has returned to MNE programs. Details surrounding the next phase of re-entry can be viewed in the weekly newsletter to families, the Melmark Moments.  

Melmark’s re-entry plans are tentative and may change due to virus mitigation measures at Melmark, in our region and throughout the state of Massachusetts.

Children’s Day Program

Visitation Policy for Children’s Service Program.

Adult Day Program

Visitation Policy for Adult Service Program.


Off-Site Visit Attestation Form

► Click here for the Children’s Residential Off-Site Visit Attestation Form

Click here for the DDS Visitation Guidance for the Adult Programs


 

Health and Safety Measures in Place

The following are some of the safety measures put Into place as Melmark continues its hyper-vigilant approach to virus mitigation

  • Plexiglass barriers are in use.
  • Work areas are located minimally six-feet apart and not facing one another.
  • Signage is in place to help individuals and start adhere to social distance protocols.
  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times while working, as well as additional PPE in accordance with guidelines from the CDC.
  • In-person meetings are replaced with virtual meetings whenever possible.
  • Health and screening checks (for staff and individuals) including temperature monitoring, take place prior to entering the day program area and frequently throughout the day.
  • Staff continue to practice social distancing, individuals instructed to practices social distancing.
  • A reduced number of individuals work/study within each program area, individuals working in groups will remain with the same cohort throughout program hours.
  • All program entrances and exits are designated one-way when possible.
  • Bathrooms in program areas are designated for single occupancy.
  • Touchless. sinks are being installed in program areas.
  • Parents/guardians are required to monitor any symptoms observed from their loved one and report it to school/adult day program personnel.
  • Ill individuals and staff are required to stay home.
  • If an individual or staff becomes ill during program hours, he/she will be isolated, and departure from program will he coordinated immediately.
  • Individual-specific mask toleration protocols are being devised.
  • All individuals and staff will be provided with increased opportunities to complete hand washing throughout the day. When hand washings is not feasible, staff and students will be provided hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Individual hand sanitizer use will be supervised.
  • Regular cleaning of program areas, materials, surfaces and public locations will be completed prior to and throughout the program day with CDC approved cleaning supplies. High-touch surfaces will be disinfected at a higher frequency throughout the day.
  • Deep cleaning of all program spaces will be completed weekly using ElectroStatis sprayers.
  • Individuals will continue to eat lunch in their programs, at their own work areas.
  • All large group events and community activities are postponed.


School Program

Click here to see the MNE School Re-Entry Plan.

 

As of September 4, we have 68 day students attending in person, with 21 students who continue to receive remote instruction with residential staff support. Children who live in MNE residences are also receiving remote instruction. All individuals continue to work on individual goal work, including activities of daily living (with the exception of tooth brushing skills in day program). Outdoor time is utilized, weather permitting.  

  • Average of four individuals per room.
  • Cohorts remain consistent for group work.
  • Consistent education staff are in each work room daily.
  • Desks are situated six feet apart.
  • Students are utilizing bathroom schedules.
  • Bathrooms are fitted with plexiglass barriers to minimize the spread of germs.
  • Hallways and stairs have been reconfigured for one-way foot traffic, with directional signage to help students and staff navigate appropriately.
  • Facilities staff have substantially reconfigured program spaces.
  • Lunch is being served in the classroom.
  • Medications are being administered in the classroom.
  • Cohorts remain together during playground and outdoor time.
  • Playground equipment is sanitized between classes.
  • Entrance from and exit to buses remains staggered.
  • Families continue screening for COVID-19 related symptoms before sending their son or daughter to school.
  • The COVID-19 symptom screening tool is filled in for each student upon entry to and exit from program.
  • Students continue to work on activities of daily living, with the exception of tooth brushing.
  • Individual goal work continues.
  • Group work takes place with the same cohort each time.
  • Students enjoy outdoor time and time outside the classroom, weather permitting.
  • There is minimal movement in the building during the day. 
  • Staff wear masks at all times; students wear masks as tolerated, with toleration trials ongoing.
  • Facilities staff have installed touchless equipment throughout program areas (toilets, sinks, trash cans, paper towel dispensers and door openers).
  • Extensive cleaning after each day, with high-touch points sanitized throughout the day.
  • Families are asked to send at least three changes of clothing daily to allow for soiled clothes (food, saliva, toileting accidents, etc.)

Parents/guardians of children and adults are asked to review and sign the COVID-19 informed consent/acknowledgment form before their loved one can return to day program. In addition, medical documents must be up to date. Families are asked to contact their program director with questions.


 

Adult Day Programs

Adult Day Programs

Following guidance from the MA Department of Developmental Services (DDS), we have welcomed back the first group of adult day-only participants. We are closely monitoring the success of virus mitigation measures to inform decisions about when the second cohort of adult day-only participants may return.

Below are some of the mitigation measures currently in place:

  • Average of four individuals per room.
  • Cohorts remain consistent for group work.
  • Consistent education staff are in each work room daily.
  • Desks are situated six feet apart.
  • Individuals are utilizing bathroom schedules.
  • Bathrooms are fitted with plexiglass barriers to minimize the spread of germs.
  • Hallways and stairs have been reconfigured for one-way foot traffic, with directional signage to help individuals and staff navigate appropriately.
  • Facilities staff have substantially reconfigured program spaces.
  • Lunch is being served in the work room.
  • Medications are being administered in the work room.
  • Cohorts remain together during outdoor time.
  • Entrance from and exit to transportation remains staggered.
  • Families continue screening for COVID-19 related symptoms before sending their son or daughter to program.
  • The COVID-19 symptom screening tool is filled in for each individual upon entry to and exit from program.
  • Individuals continue to work on activities of daily living, with the exception of tooth brushing.
  • Individual goal work continues.
  • Group work takes place with the same cohort each time.
  • Individuals enjoy outdoor time and time outside the work room, weather permitting.
  • There is minimal movement in the building during the day. 
  • Staff wear masks at all times; individuals wear masks as tolerated, with toleration trials ongoing.
  • Facilities staff have installed touchless equipment throughout program areas (toilets, sinks, trash cans, paper towel dispensers and door openers).
  • Extensive cleaning after each day, with high-touch points sanitized throughout the day.

Parents/guardians of children and adults have been asked to review and sign the COVID-19 informed consent/acknowledgment form before their loved one can return to day program. In addition, medical documents must be up to date. Families have been asked to contact their program director with questions.


 

Visitation Protocols

November – December 2021 Visitation Protocol

Click here to view the visitation protocol

 

Off-Site Visits for Residential Children

Families of children who live in MNE Residences continue to enjoy the opportunity to take their loved ones off-site, after strict COVID-19 mitigation measures forced us to restrict off-site visits. Currently, families are able to visit with their sons and daughters away from their MNE residences for up to four to six hours, between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. At this time, we are not allowing overnight visits.

The complete MNE Visitation Policy for Children’s Service Programs is located here.

 

Adult Residential Visitation Protocols

The link to Melmark New England’s Adult Service Programs Visitation Policy is located here.


 

Travel Protocols for Families

Families with travel plans should take the state’s guidelines into consideration and communicate with loved ones’ program staff to ensure ongoing health and safety in our community. If you are traveling back into MA from any state on the state’s restriction list, you must self-quarantine for 14 days. 

A number of states have issued travel restrictions. The situation is rapidly changing. For national travel information, please visit  www.travel.state.gov.


 

Virus Mitigation Best Practices

Thank you for remaining hyper-vigilant in our team approach to virus mitigation. It is just as important today as it was at the start of the pandemic in our area to follow “The 3 Ws”: Wear a mask, Wash hands thoroughly and frequently, and Watch your distance.


 

Next Steps

This web page, as well as the weekly family newsletter, The Melmark Moments, continue to be the best source of information regarding Melmark’s re-entry plan and visitation protocols.