The Price Center in Response to the COVID-19 Virus
Download the September 1, 2020 Re-Opening Plan ( click here )
September 1, 2020
Dear Price Center Community Member:
While the pandemic remains a concern to all, in accordance with the State’s reopening initiative, the staff at The Price Center have been hard at work crafting guidelines and practices to inform our incremental approach to reopening in order to better manage COVID-19 risks and restore much needed services to our families and the individuals we serve.
On August 10, 2020, The Price Center launched Phase 1 of our day program reopening strategy. As an agency, we made the decision to reopen very slowly and will continue to accept individuals back into the program selectively based upon need, risk factors, and ability to comply with safety measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, etc. The health and safety of the individuals we serve and staff is our prime consideration. At the end of week 3, we had a total of 21 individuals attending our Christina Street day programs (7 in Community Based Day and Specialized Supports, and 14 in our two Day Habilitation Programs).
Our Phase 1 reopening assessed individuals based upon various factors such as risk/benefit, and ability to tolerate a mask or face shield. Availability of transportation and readiness to return were also considered. Phase 1 is a small representation of our Price Center community. As we successfully near the beginning of Phase 2, we are expanding the number of individuals attending our day programs to those who will access other means of transportation (i.e. The RIDE, Mass Health and DDS funded transportation) and are able to practice social distancing but may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask or face shield.
This letter and its attachments contain important information relating to reopening including the special precautionary policies and practices we will be following to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission among the individuals we serve, our employees, and others. Although, your loved one may not be returning back in Phase 2, we feel it is important for you to know how seriously we take health and safety and all of the safeguards we have in place.
In addition to our updated policies and practices, our program activities and group structures have been modified to assure appropriate social distancing, use of masks, and improved hygiene. Additionally, we have made significant changes to our spacious facility to better accommodate ventilation and social distancing needs. The attached documents will detail all of the precautionary steps we have taken to protect the individuals and staff working in our day programs.
Please note that individuals or guardians must complete and return several documents prior to commencing programming.
- Signed Attestation of Risk
- A current comprehensive medication list with dosage, strength, route, time included.
- Signed physician orders for any medications that will need to be administered at the program. For Individuals attending the Day Habilitation programs only – A current medication list signed by the Health Care Provider may be acceptable.
- Signed acknowledgement receipt of The Price Center “Day Programs Re-opening Safety and Health Guidance Handbook”
Our primary concern continues to be for the welfare of the individuals we serve and our employees. We thank you for your partnership in our efforts to keep all of our individuals and employees safe and healthy.
Please visit our website for updates and feel free to contact your program’s Director with program related inquires.
Chief Executive Officer
Read the July 2, 2020 Visitation Guidelines Letter ( click here )
Read the May 1, 2020 Covid Letter ( click here )
March 31, 2020
May 1, 2020
Greetings and sincere wishes from The Price Center community. I hope that that you and your family are healthy and successfully weathering this unprecedented crisis. I wanted to update you with a brief status report on our reopening plans, as well as our many ongoing activities.
First, not surprisingly, we do not plan to reopen our day programs in the next thirty days. The scope of this continuing pandemic, as well as the State’s extension of business closures make it apparent that this will not be possible. As we were among the very first to proactively close our operations on March 13, we will exercise the same prudence when evaluating reopening scenarios in order to best assure the health and safety of the individuals we serve – our top priority.
We have had ongoing internal discussions and are forming a Reopening Advisory Committee to be led by Renata Ivnitskaya R.N., our Healthcare Supervisor. We will examine and plan various scenarios for a phased return to full operations which considers criteria for reopening, as well as execution strategies and new protocols for health and safety.
Our Residential Community has continued unabated and the commitment and diligence of our residential staff has been extraordinary. As a relatively new member of the team, I am humbled by the efforts of our residential employees and their leadership.
All of our staff are extraordinary and vital to our efforts to serve your loved ones. Our folks have been busily employed in a variety of outreach activities including, live health checks, Zoom based fitness and interactive stories, and video based activities. We have received great feedback from many of you regarding the value of these efforts and you should know, it has been important to our staff members as well. Additionally, day staff have engaged in supporting our residences, maintaining our facilities, and a variety of tasks to support The Price Center. We are doing our very best to keep all of our excellent staff employed during this emergency.
Thank you for your continued support. Please reach out to me at any time at the email address below with questions, suggestions, offers of assistance, or if you feel we can support you in any way.
Best regards and stay well,
Chief Executive Officer
Read the March 31, 2020 Covid Letter ( click here )
March 31, 2020
I hope and trust that you and yours are all well and being vigilant during this unprecedented health crisis. I’m reaching out to share the steps The Price Center has taken to date, as well as our more forward-looking plans and perspective. Rest assured that every decision and step we take is being made with the health and wellbeing of the special individuals we serve as well as that of our staff in mind.
In mid-February we formed an internal Task Force to monitor the situation and plan for actions accordingly. We consulted with leaders in the public health community, physicians on the front lines, and the State for guidance. Early on, we implemented stringent sanitation practices and screened all who entered the Price Center for illness and fever. By March 13th however, it was becoming apparent that these efforts may not be sufficient to protect our community and we became one of the first organizations of our type to close all of our day programs.
The situation was, and remains, fluid in terms of when we might reopen. We are hoping and planning for the situation to stabilize and allow us to reopen as early as May 4, but this is by no means certain and, at this time, is optimistic. We will keep you posted via email and web site postings as the situation progresses. We continue to work with the State, Trade Associations, and Public Health Experts and to consider their guidance.
Our residential programs continue with enhanced precautions in effect. We have enlisted back-up staff to meet our additional needs from our qualified day staff. We have built food and material inventories at each house in accordance with our COOP policy and have a central repository as well at our facility on Christina St. in Newton. We screen all staff daily prior to their entrance to at our facilities. Please keep in mind that no visitation is allowed for the sake of the health of our individuals.
Central to our ability to serve is the health, wellbeing, and retention of our excellent staff. Many have been with us for years and their talent, commitment, and dedication to the individuals we serve is a critical ingredient driving the quality of our services. We have continued to pay them even in the absence of visibility into possible State compensation, which is only now beginning to take shape. We currently have no way to know if such compensation will meet the extraordinary costs imposed on The Price Center or will replenish our endowment, which has been impacted both by operations and by investment slippage.
Our staff have really stepped up, and those who can are engaged in numerous activities of service to The Price Center and the individuals we serve including:
- Providing back-up staffing to our residential programs which now operate 24/7 under very difficult and stressful circumstances.
- Stepping in to support non-Price Center residences that need experienced and qualified staff, especially those homes where our individuals live.
- Working behind the scenes to create YouTube and Zoom recreational and educational productions for our individuals at home.
- Creating and refining Covid-19 specific training materials for all staff.
- Building inventories of supplies and back-up food.
- Improving our Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
- Cleaning and maintaining all aspects of our main facility.
- Improving the external environments at our homes.
- Supporting vital administrative functions.
- Working to help us secure adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our operations in the face of severe shortage.
- Providing outreach to isolated individuals and families.
As we are transitioning to this new reality (no matter how long or short the circumstances may dictate) we are also aware that our ability to communicate with all of our constituents needs to constantly improve. We are well engaged with a project to improve our web presence that has been underway and we hope to launch a cleaner, more navigable site within weeks. Until then, please do utilize our existing site at www.thepricecenter.org for updates and services.
We are also engaged routinely with our Board of Directors who have been a solid base of support and guidance during this crisis. Our sincere thanks go to them as well as to all of the people who have reached out to us to offer support and assistance. We will need the involvement of all who care about our achievements over the last forty years to assure our success in the next forty years.
In that sense, while we are necessarily focused on the situation at hand, we are also optimistically looking forward to a better future for our organization and the entire community we serve. For this we will draw upon everyone with a stake in our success to contribute meaningfully, as their heart and their circumstances allow, to help us pick up the torch and build a greater tomorrow.
We will be in touch.
Very best wishes for a safe and healthy April.
Chief Executive Officer
Read the March 14, 2020 Covid Letter ( click here )
March 14, 2020
We are writing to update you regarding The Price Center’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. In a meeting this afternoon, we, together with the Board of Directors, decided to close The Price Center’s Day Program at 25-27 Christina St. in Newton for two weeks effective immediately. Our Residential Programs will continue with little change other than the factors itemized below. This difficult decision was made after much consideration and filtering of information from a variety of trusted sources. We want to assure you that this is a preventative measure made in the best interests of the health of our individuals, staff, and the greater Price Center Community. While we have had several individuals and one staff person sent home with illness this week, allow us to emphasize that at this time, we have received no notification of any suspected or known cases of COVID-19 among our individuals served, or staff.
We hope and expect to re-open Monday, March 30. Until then, we will be in close communication with The Price Center’s Board of Directors, DDS, as well as local and State Public Health Agencies. We will update you promptly should anything change.
Residential Program Impact:
- Residential Programs will continue with 24-hour coverage.
- We anticipate, greater Price Center resources will be freed up to support our residential team.
- Please be advised that our Moratorium on visitation for residential programs remains intact until further notice – no non-employee outside parties will be allowed on premises at any of our residential facilities.
We have stepped up our employee screening for all shifts including taking the temperature of all incoming staff.
In addition to email please visit our web-site for updates and please contact Shannon Teles our VP of Programs with program related inquires.
Lou MacDonald Michelle Fineberg
President, The Price Center Chair, Board of Directors
Read the March 12, 2020 Covid Letter ( click here )
March 12, 2020
In continuation of our outreach on the Coronavirus situation, following the Governor’s declaration of a State of Emergency in the Commonwealth and the World Health Organization’s declaration of the Coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, the Board and I wanted you to know how we have been preparing.
First, these declarations haven’t yet had an impact on our critical support or services, though the State has promised guidance and resources in a conference call earlier late yesterday (3/11/20). Please keep in mind that the situation is very fluid, we are monitoring our programs and community real-time, and we anticipate specific guidance to be forthcoming shortly from the State.
Our goal is to keep the whole of The Price Center family healthy and to continue to provide uninterrupted support and services. In this effort, our priority is to take all viable precautions to prevent infection and to protect the health and welfare of our employees, clients, and their families to the greatest extent possible.
To that end, we are instituting a one month moratorium – effective immediately – on all visits to The Price Center and our Residential Programs. This visitation moratorium will be evaluated and lifted, or extended as public health circumstances require. Changes will be posted here.
Under normal circumstances, we love having visitors, but minimizing “community” contact is a very high priority, according to the many experts we’ve consulted, and given the vulnerability of the population we serve, a necessary precaution. This also impacts many of our “community-based” programs and activities, which we are suspending or altering, for now to minimize risk.
Further, we are:
- Engaged with health officials to ensure we are carefully following their recommendations;
- Working closely with our cleaners to clean the facilities daily to minimize the risk of transmission (and in fact taking on additional responsibilities internally);
- Training staff to evaluate and react to daily circumstances and to ensure proper hygiene is coached, supported, and practiced by everyone at The Price Center and our residences;
- Developing appropriate protocols for isolation and treatment of any individuals exhibiting symptoms; and
- Developing contingency plans with other agencies and local and state officials.
To this point, The Price Center has not recorded any cases of Covid-19 and we are doing everything we can to avoid that possibility while putting responsible contingency plans in place.
In addition to making every effort to protect our community, we are committed to keeping you informed. Please continue to review our website for the latest updates.
Lou MacDonald Michelle Fineberg
President, The Price Center Chair, Board of Directors