MNE COVID-19 Protocol
Thank you for continuing to follow all COVID-19 mitigation guidance and changes which have occurred over the past 2 years. We received notification that MA state guidance regarding masking, testing and screening has changed effective July 1, 2022 for all of our congregate care settings and Adult Day program. This now aligns with the MA DESE guidance for our school program as well.
We are pleased to say that masks will be optional as of July 1, 2022 in all of our programs (children and adults; day and residential) for all employees who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. Up to date status definition includes the two series vaccine with the one booster at the 5 month mark after the second vaccine. If employees are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, they will continue to use a surgical mask in the course of their work day. For individuals with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions it is strongly recommended to wear a mask when indoors. Staff, students, young adults and visitors will have access to masks upon request.
For surveillance testing, we will move to biweekly surveillance testing for all staff using our current PCR (Color) testing system. Rapid test kits will be available for distribution through the end of August 2022 to eligible staff and students and young adults. Biweekly surveillance testing will begin the week of 7/11/2022.
For screening procedures, we will no longer require daily symptom screening tools of staff, residents in group homes, day students or adult day individuals to be performed onsite. However, we do request that staff, visitors and individuals self –screen before arrival to their settings. We will be adding signage to each setting with the reminder of self-screening procedures and symptoms.
Adult Day Program (CBDS): Please note that any individual with symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infections in the prior 5 days (regardless of vaccination status) will not be permitted to enter. If someone has had a diagnosis of or exposure to COVID-19 in the prior 10 days they will only be permitted to enter a setting if they do not have any symptoms and are able to wear a face mask at all times
For staff who experience signs or symptoms of COVID-19 infection while working, they should notify the program supervisor and put on a mask if not already wearing one.
For students or individual who develop signs or symptoms of COVID 19 infection while participating in program services, staff should notify the program supervisor and have the individual don on a mask if not already wearing one and move to an isolated area of the program.
For consultation and outreach staff working in locations other than Melmark settings, the decision of mask use will be determined in conjunction with the respective school district, parent or regulatory body. Please refer to the separate guidance.
For visitors to our school and Adult Day program, we will no longer require masks or screening tools to be completed. Appropriate safety, care and infection control measures will be in place. We also request visitors engage in social distancing for our students, young adults, staff and visitors. No screening will be required, however, we ask all visitors to self-screen before arrival and to remain home if not feeling well.
For visitors to our residences, we will no longer require masks indoor. However, visits will continue to take place in our designated visitation areas and up to 4 family members present. Appropriate safety, care and infection control measures will be in place. We also request visitors engage in social distancing for our students, young adults, staff and visitors. No screening will be required, however, we ask all visitors to self-screen before arrival and to remain home if not feeling well. Visitation may be suspended at any time there is a COVID 19 outbreak. In addition, visits may be suspended as long as there are no residents in quarantine.
For new admissions to our residential programs, a COVID-19 test will be required prior to admission and screening will take place daily for the first 7 days of a new admission.
For Adult Day Transportation Companies (does not include our vehicles and staff transporting individuals in the community), masks are still required to be worn by drivers, monitors and participants.
We will keep in place all administrative and environmental modifications such as frequent sanitation and deep cleaning, available hand sanitizers, PPE, social distancing reminders, signage to promote proper hand hygiene, touchless sinks and toilets, air filtration systems and touchless water dispensers. We will also maintain designated space for cases where isolation is warranted until staff or participants can be isolated to their own spaces.
We will continue to monitor positivity rates in our local communities as well as Melmark cases. Provided all levels remain low and have minimal impact on staffing levels, we feel confident these strategies will be appreciated by all in our return to near normal activities. However, should there be concerns in rising levels of COVID-19 in our programs, we will advise our staff, parents and individuals served of any changes to the above protocols.
Thank you for your continued vigilance and compliance with rapidly changing protocols.
Helena Maguire, M.S., LABA, BCBA
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.