The mission of The Friends Network as a not-for-profit organization is to maximize opportunities for individual choice, to advance independence, and to develop circles of support through a person-centered approach in the areas of social relationships, recreation, life management skills, community integration, and vocational services for adults with developmental disabilities.
In order to achieve our goals, The Friends Network provides social opportunities for adults with disabilities through weekend trips, cultural events, outings to restaurants, movies and dance clubs. The activities are held at various locations throughout Westchester and Putnam Counties. Friends is a unique organization giving adults with disabilities the opportunity for friendship which would not occur in an informal setting.
The Friends Network Day Habilitation Program Covid-19 Safety Plan for Re-opening
TFN Telehealth Program
To accommodate the individuals whose families have expressed their concerns about their children
returning to site based Day Habilitation TFN will contnue to offer Telehealth Programs. TFN has successfully provided Telehealth Day Hab programming since March. Individuals who are not ready to
participate in on site Day Hab or might be home bound for other reasons(ie: anxiety, having cold symptoms or being quarantined) have another choice of service. TFN plan is to continue to enrich the
lives of these individuals offering them hours of educacational and fun actvities through Telehealth.
- TFN will ensure all entrances have signs alerting non-essential visitors are not allowed.
- TFN will ensure signs are posted in each room throughout the building providing instruction on transmission, prevention and containment activities
- Entrance to site based Programs
TFN Pre-Entry/Pre-Participation Screening:
TFN health screener will screen all individuals, staff, and only essential visitors prior to entry into the day program site and/or participation in services/service delivery per infection control standards for protection of screener and screened person.
This will include temperature check and required questions on exposure and COVID-19 Symptoms, per NYS DOH and OPWDD guidance documents. TFN health screener will maintain daily documentation of all screenings of individuals, staff and visitors in compliance with OPWDD and NYS guidance and policy.
Temperature checks will be done with an infrared thermometer of all individuals prior to entering the program site. Questions will include:
Do you have any of the following?
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Have you traveled to a state that requires 2 week quarantine?
Are you ill, or caring for someone who is ill or residing with someone who is ill?
• Individuals, staff or essential visitors who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify the Program Director prior to arrival.
Response to Signs and Symptoms and Departure:
In the case of any individual, staff or visitor who fails initial/pre-program screening or is exhibiting signs or symptoms during service delivery, the TFN Health screener will:
- Facilitating departure as soon as possible, and safely manage separation from other individuals not exhibiting symptoms, until they depart.
- Ensure instruction is provided to any individual or staff sent home due to symptoms to contact their health care provider and written information on healthcare and testing resources.
- Ensure the day program immediately notifies the local health department and OPWDD about the suspected case.
- Ensure individuals/staff members with positive COVID-19 test results, exposure/possible exposure, and signs and symptoms are reported to their TFN Program Director.
Participation and Return to Program/Service:
When any individual, staff is ready to return to program/service the TFN Health screener will:
- Ensure the return of an individual or staff to programs/services occurs only after written approval from their health care provider in adherence to OPWDD and NYS DOH guidance regarding quarantine periods and fever free durations. And will maintain medical documentation allowing an individual or staff member who was COVID-19 positive to return to program site/services.
- Ensure individuals do not participate in day services while they or a member of their household or certified residence is being quarantined or isolated.
*TFN staff will receive training to ensure they know to report and how to report positive COVID-19 test results, exposure/possible exposure, and signs and symptoms and be expected to report this information to their supervisor.
*If an employee at TFN is confirmed to have COVID-19, TFN Director will inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace while maintaining confidentiality as required by the ADA
• TFN employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to notify their supervisor and stay home until they are free of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
TFN Health screener will ask/ document whether staff that are symptomatic have in the two weeks prior to symptoms, did you:
- Have contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Live in or visit a place where COVID-19 is spreading (or visited states that require 2 week quarantine)?
B. Social Distancing Requirements
TFN will ensure effective practices to facilitate social distancing when distancing is not possible, including the following:
- TFN will reduce the number of individuals served at one time in the same space during program. TFN staff will separate individuals into two small groups of no more than 5 individuals to facilitate social distancing.
- TFN will limit small spaces to no more than 50% occupancy (i.e. computer room has 4 computer stations 2 will be removed limiting to 2 people at a time)
- TFN serves 10 individuals per day in 3,000 sq. ft. considering the size and different spaces throughout TFN facility no physical barriers are needed to provide necessary social distancing.
- Each group will utilize the larger inside spaces and the outside patio area of TFN, ensuring safety, reduced congestion and to facilitate easier social distancing. TFN will determine the use of smaller spaces by the number individuals that can fit in a room giving each individual 6 feet of separation on all sides. (i.e. computer room 120 square feet / allows 2 people at a time)
The following is a description of each room being used for TFN Day Habilitation:
Room/Use Square Feet Individual Capacity
Kitchen 308sqft 5
Living Room 308sqft 5
Computer Room 112sqft 1
Activity Room 520sqft 8
Art /Lunch Room 214sqft 3
*The above rooms have been modified with the proper equipment needed for use and furniture has been strategically placed giving each individual 6 feet of separation on all sides.
- TFN will use red arrows floor markers to designate the flow of foot traffic throughout TFN facility. Yellow Caution signs on walls every 6 feet will show individuals the required social distancing needed to be apart from each other. Each room throughout TFN will have signs with Covid-19 Safety reminders (i.e. washing hands, social distancing and wearing face mask.)
- TFN can keep proper social distancing throughout our facility without installing additional barriers.
- TFN staff will continually keep individuals attending program informed and educated about Covid-19 by verbal prompts (i.e. to wash their hands, to keep 6ft apart, and not to touch their face). TFN staff will also provide individuals with printed materials showing what they need to do to keep safe. TFN staff will develop fun activities demonstrating good safety practices (i.e. a best safety poster contest)
- TFN staff will be assigned to a group of no more than 5 individuals daily. If staff needs a restroom break other staff will be notified to oversee the group until staff returns. All paperwork will be done after program ends. If there is staffing shortage or any unexpected absence occurs TFN will notify other staff for coverage that day.
C. Gatherings in enclosed spaces
- TFN Day program capacity is 10 per day less than the limit of 15
- TFN will adjust individual schedules in order to group individuals by day to ensure the group is a static as possible. Friends Network will not have more than 10 individuals per day.
- TFN will only have one group on site so there will be no instances of groups co-mingling.
- TFN has enough space and tables to spread the staff and individuals out during meal time while maintaining social distancing. TFN will adhere to social distancing while enclosed spaces and individuals and staff will wear masks except while eating or outdoors taking a socially distanced mask break.
- There will be no shared food or beverages or buffet style dining at TFN. Individuals will bring their own boxed lunch from home or can choose to order from local eateries and have lunch delivered to TFN.
- TFN will be using disposable food utensils as often as possible. Staff will be assigned to monitor the kitchen at lunch time and if any other utensils or dishes are used they will be washed in the dishwasher on the hottest setting.
D. Day Program Schedule and Activities
- TFN allows no more than 10 individuals to participate in the day program per day. The 10 individuals attending program on each day will be separated into two smaller groups. According to the attendance each day the group will be divided (i.e. 10 individuals 5/5 per group,). TFN 4 hour Day Program will start at 9:30am ending at 2pm. (Lunch will be 30 minutes per day)
- TFN Day Program activities will include arts & crafts, games, cooking, socializing and exercise. The following examples will show how these actives will be conducted safely and while maintaining social distancing.
Arts & Crafts: each individual will be given the materials needed for the specific project to be done in their own individual container or bag. Each individual will work on their project with 6 feet of separation on all sides from the other individuals participating in the activity. Staff will demonstrate the steps needed for the project in front of the group also maintaining the correct social distancing. If an individual needs help with their project a TFN staff will be allowed to assist them. The staff and individual will be wearing the proper PPE equipment (i.e. mask, shield, gloves).
Games: TFN will play a variety of games and each individual who participates will have their own materials needed to play the game. The materials needed for the games will be packaged and labeled with each individual’s name (i.e. Dice, cards, paper, pencils, markers, chips and individual printed game sheets) there will be no sharing of game materials.
Cooking: This class will be demonstrated by TFN Staff. Staff will go over kitchen safety and food safety. Staff will introduce/demonstrate each ingredient and cooking utensils used in the recipe. Staff will give individuals printed recipe to take home to make with support of staff or family member.
Group Socialization: Staff will make sure that all individuals keep the proper 6 feet social distancing at all times when people are together. (i.e. Watching a movie, talking, listening to music)
Exercise: Individuals will be encouraged to keep physically fit. Weather permitting staff will take individuals outside for walks while keeping the proper social distancing and wearing a mask. On inclement weather days TFN will offer a dance fitness class where individuals can dance exercise keeping 6 feet of distance on all sides.
- TFN staff will offer all activities scheduled for each day to everyone attending that day, but no more than 5 people per activity will be allowed. If more than five people want to participate in the same activity that activity will be offered at another time during that same day. This will assure that TFN is accommodating all the needs/goals of the individuals we serve. TFN staff will maintain all the safety requirements mandated.
E. Personal Protective Equipment
- TFN program director will ensure that all staff wear appropriate face mask covering both mouth and nose at all times while providing services and will follow all current Executive orders and OPWDD guidelines.
- Program Director will ensure that only essential visitors are permitted to enter and are wearing appropriate facemasks if an individual does not have a face mask one will be provided at no cost prior to allowing entrance into the building.
- TFN staff will provide guidance and support to individuals receiving services to ensure that they maintain social distancing and wear a face masks to remain safe.
- TFN program manager will be responsible for maintaining adequate supply of PPE on site and to re-stock as needed.
- TFN staff will be required to take the training on the proper use of PPE prior to re-opening.
- TFN program director will be responsible to retain documentation of trainings and to ensure that staff are up-to-date on all necessary trainings.
F. Hygiene and Cleaning
Personal Hygiene to Reduce Transmission
The Friends Network will ensure that all TFN staff and participants attending Day Hab will adhere to hygiene requirements to reduce transmission advised by NYS DOH and the CDC.
TFN will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations at each location to include:
- Hand washing: soap, running warm water and disposable paper towels.
- Hand sanitizing: alcohol- based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where hand washing facilities are not available and where frequent hand sanitizing is expected.
- TFN staff will wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds using the techniques per NYS DOH and CDC guidance, including the conditions that require hand washing.
- TFN staff will support individuals to wash their hands frequently/when needed, with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds using appropriate techniques as tolerated.
- TFN staff and individuals attending Day Hab will use hand sanitizer upon arrival to and departure from the program and through the day, providing supervision/support of use by individuals as needed.
- TFN staff will have a portable hand sanitizer on hand for individuals when hand sanitizer stations are unavailable (i.e.: walking outdoors)
Cleaning and Disinfection of Environment, Equipment and Supplies:
TFN will strictly adhere to sanitation requirements as advised by NYS DOH guidance documents.
TFN will implement the following minimum standards regarding cleaning and sanitizing:
- TFN staff will clean and disinfect all high risk areas/ and high touched surfaces throughout the day and after each use (i.e. Bathroom will be opened by staff for individuals as needed TFN staff will clean and disinfect after each use/ Every table, counter and chair will be cleaned and disinfected after each use of an individual)
- TFN will only use approved EPA registered products for disinfecting non porous surfaces.
- TFN will check to see that all products used to clean and disinfect are not expired according to the manufacturer recommended date and follow all manufacturer’s directions for proper use and storage.
- TFN will ensure proper ventilation to prevent the inhalation of toxic fumes when cleaning and disinfectant products are being used. (i.e. Opening window or door to let fresh air circulate while cleaning.)
- TFN staff will keep daily logs/check sheets including dates, and times when cleaning and disinfecting is done.
- TFN will keep all cleaning products, sanitizers and disinfectants secure and out of reach of individuals who may misuse.
- TFN staff will discard all used gloves, paper towels and other disposable items after cleaning sanitizing, or disinfecting immediately by disposing them in a tied plastic garbage bag and removing them from the environment immediately.
- TFN staff will clean, disinfect all areas and equipment used by a person exhibiting symptoms upon their departure from the area and prior use of area or equipment by other individuals or staff.
- TFN will provide individuals with their own materials and supplies for the activities they are participating in. No sharing of items will be allowed each individuals items will be labeled with their names and stored in their own individual containers. Items that are not disposable will be cleaned and disinfected after each use and put back into their container.
- TFN staff will clean and sanitize equipment and areas after each use of an individual throughout the day (i.e.: after an individual uses a computer TFN staff will clean computer, table and chair for the next use) All individuals using equipment must use hand sanitizer before and after the use of equipment.
- TFN will use disposable items and materials when possible. Individuals that have cell phones, iPads, or tablets and bring into facility must have TFN staff clean and sanitize the items when entering the facility. Individuals cannot use each other's personal items.
- TFN program director will ensure all safety measures are implemented for the transport of individuals to and from day services to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk.
- TFN staff will ensure individuals and staff traveling to and from will be grouped to reduce intermingling, and individuals will be assigned to the same van with the same individuals whenever possible.
- Both TFN vans will be reduced to 50% capacity to ensure social distancing. Windows will be kept open when appropriate.
- TFN will stagger arrival and departure times by 15 minutes to reduce entry and exit density.
- There will be assigned seating in the vans to restrict close contact of individuals and staff.
- Individuals will be instructed to stay in their seat until asked to exit the van so that individuals may exit one at a time.
- TFN staff and individuals will be required to wear masks at all times while riding in the van. There will be a supply of face masks in the van in case an individual has forgotten/miss placed theirs. Each van will be equipped with hand sanitizer to use upon entering the van.
- TFN van driver will clean and disinfect the interior of the van after each use and will sign off each time in the van disinfectant chart.
H. Tracing and Tracking
TFN Director will notify the local health department and OPWDD immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an individual, essential visitor or staff.
If a staff or visitor test positive the Director will cooperate with local health department to trace all contacts and notify the health department of all individuals, essential visitors and staff who entered TFN 48 hours prior to the person experiencing symptoms or testing positive. TFN Director will maintain confidentiality as required by law while performing contact tracing.