The Arc of Bristol County is paying special attention to the widely reported and unfortunate outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), that is now spreading throughout the region. We are following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended guidelines, and all local and national organizations. As you may be aware, both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Rhode Island have both declared a State of Emergency in Response to this outbreak.
It is important to note that no employee or program participant has tested positive for COVID-19 at this time. However, our focus has been to Prepare, Protect, and Prevent. Although no program or service is currently being closed or suspended at this time, we are taking proactive measures towards reducing the exposure of those we support and our employees. At The Arc of Bristol County, the health and well-being of our participants and staff are our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the virus and we are committed to being responsive to the needs of the individuals in which we support, and our workforce.
Towards preparation, we have been closely monitoring the Department of Public Health and the CDC guidance, and have implemented additional sanitization protocols at all of our locations towards minimizing the spread of infection. We have supplied all of our locations with additional hand sanitizers and have increased cleaning protocols to every 2 hours. We have issued guidance to staff and individuals on the following preventative precautions to minimize contracting the virus which are very similar to the usual steps we take to avoid the cold and flu:
• Frequent and thorough hand-washing for at least 20 seconds
• Use of hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash
• Get a flu shot, if you have not already done so
In addition, over the past few weeks, we have been purchasing additional emergency supplies of cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, face masks, protective equipment and emergency supplies of food, medical supplies, and temporary beds, should they be necessary.
Towards protection, effective immediately, all program locations and offices will begin health screening of all participants, staff, scheduled and unscheduled visitors to our locations. The screening will include a no contact, infrared temperature scan. Anyone who does NOT pass the screening requirements, will be asked to refrain from entering the building. We ask that visitors please limit their contact to essential visits only, especially for those in our residences and/or adult day programs. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. We provide paid sick time and other benefits to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.
Additional protection measures that we are implementing include:
· Any large group activities and/or event participation will be cancelled
· Recreation programs will be limited to small group activities and each activity will be assessed on case by case basis- we will provide as much notice as possible for upcoming event cancellations
· Day program community based activities will be very limited and we will temporarily suspend outings to activities such as the YMCA or library
· Residential and Community Support programs will work to limit community contact during this period to prioritize basic needs, medical, health and employment needs of those we support
· Adult Family Care, Shared Living, Family Supports, Guardianship, Trust Management and Representative Payee home visits will be limited and prioritized based on medical and basic needs
· We will also teach groups about the importance of social distancing and it will be encouraged going forward
· All large in-person agency meetings have been suspended. We will be utilizing our telecommunication features towards hosting meetings/trainings virtually.
· Administrative staff will be re-assigned to various offices to ensure continuity of operations and program staff will be working remotely from home, where possible.
Towards prevention, we understand the importance of keeping you up to date on the latest information, and towards that end, we have assigned Virginia (Ginny) Street, RN, Director of Adult Health Services, towards assembling a COVID information and response team. Ginny will work closely with all of the agency healthcare professionals, and in concert with our Vice President, Donna Brown, who chairs our Safety Committee. Any and all reports of potential exposure and/or active infection, should be reported to Ginny at 508-226-1445 x2501 or Donna at 508-226-1445 x3105 immediately.
As we receive additional guidance from the respective state health officials, we will be sure to share updates and communication towards providing the latest best practice approaches towards containing this outbreak. We will provide these through our website, social media, and email communications.
For additional information, please visit the following websites (these will also be posted on our website at www.arcnbc.org):
The Arc of Bristol County/proAbility has taken these immediate steps to keep our community safe. This message is to assure you that we are carefully monitoring the situation, and to share with you the recommended precautions that we can all take to ensure the health of our community. We recognize that this may cause temporary hardship, but feel that as a responsible organization, we must take important measures to protect our most vulnerable members and staff. Our greatest tool toward prevention, is to remind all who are ill to refrain from visiting an Arc location or any public location in the community as directed by the Health Department.
The Arc of Bristol County is prepared to take all the necessary steps should the situation escalate and require further collaboration with local officials. We appreciate your help in keeping our community healthy. While we understand that this is a stressful situation, filled with much waiting and uncertainty, we hope that our continued communication and transparency helps to keep us all grounded during this difficult time.
Michael Andrade Richard Harwood
President & CEO Chair, Board of Directors
What Information Do We Collect?
When you visit our website you may provide us with two types of information: personal information you knowingly choose to disclose that is collected on an individual basis and website use information collected on an aggregate basis as you and others browse our website.
Personal Information You Choose to Provide
We may request that you voluntarily supply us with personal information, including your email address, postal address, home or work telephone number and other personal information for such purposes as correspondence, placing an order, requesting an estimate, or participating in online surveys.
If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses. We provide the same protections for these electronic communications that we employ in the maintenance of information received by mail and telephone.
Website Use Information
Similar to other websites, our site may utilize a standard technology called "cookies" (see explanation below, "What Are Cookies?") and web server logs to collect information about how our website is used. Information gathered through cookies and server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our website, and the sites visited just before and just after ours. This information is collected on an aggregate basis. None of this information is associated with you as an individual.
How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?
Broadly speaking, we use personal information for purposes of administering our business activities, providing service and support and making available other products and services to our customers and prospective customers. Occasionally, we may also use the information we collect to notify you about important changes to our website, new services and special offers we think you will find valuable. The lists used to send you product and service offers are developed and managed under our traditional standards designed to safeguard the security and privacy of all personal information provided by our users. You may at any time to notify us of your desire not to receive these offers.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are a feature of web browser software that allows web servers to recognize the computer used to access a website. Cookies are small pieces of data that are stored by a user's web browser on the user's hard drive. Cookies can remember what information a user accesses on one web page to simplify subsequent interactions with that website by the same user or to use the information to streamline the user's transactions on related web pages. This makes it easier for a user to move from web page to web page and to complete commercial transactions over the Internet. Cookies should make your online experience easier and more personalized.
How Do We Use Information Collected From Cookies?
We use website browser software tools such as cookies and web server logs to gather information about our website users' browsing activities, in order to constantly improve our website and better serve our users. This information assists us to design and arrange our web pages in the most user-friendly manner and to continually improve our website to better meet the needs of our users and prospective users.
Cookies help us collect important business and technical statistics. The information in the cookies lets us trace the paths followed by users to our website as they move from one page to another. Web server logs allow us to count how many people visit our website and evaluate our website's visitor capacity. We do not use these technologies to capture your individual email address or any personally identifying information about you.
Notice of New Services and Changes
Occasionally, we may use the information we collect to notify you about important changes to our website, new services and special offers we think you will find valuable. As a user of our website, you will be given the opportunity to notify us of your desire not to receive these offers by clicking on a response box when you receive such an offer or by sending us an email request.
How Do We Secure Information Transmissions?
When you send confidential personal information to us on our website, a secure server software which we have licensed encrypts all information you input before it is sent to us. The information is scrambled en route and decoded once it reaches our website.
Other email that you may send to us may not be secure unless we advise you that security measures will be in place prior to your transmitting the information. For that reason, we ask that you do not send confidential information such as Social Security, credit card, or account numbers to us through an unsecured email.
How Do We Protect Your Information?
Information Security -- We utilize encryption/security software to safeguard the confidentiality of personal information we collect from unauthorized access or disclosure and accidental loss, alteration or destruction.
Evaluation of Information Protection Practices -- Periodically, our operations and business practices are reviewed for compliance with organization policies and procedures governing the security, confidentiality and quality of our information.
Employee Access, Training and Expectations -- Our organization values, ethical standards, policies and practices are committed to the protection of user information. In general, our business practices limit employee access to confidential information, and limit the use and disclosure of such information to authorized persons, processes and transactions.
How Can You Access and Correct Your Information?
You may request access to all your personally identifiable information that we collect online and maintain in our database by emailing us using the contact form provided to you within the site structure of our website.
Do We Disclose Information to Outside Parties?
What About Legally Compelled Disclosure of Information?
We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.
Permission to Use of Materials
The right to download and store or output the materials in our website is granted for the user's personal use only, and materials may not be reproduced in any edited form. Any other reproduction, transmission, performance, display or editing of these materials by any means mechanical or electronic without our express written permission is strictly prohibited. Users wishing to obtain permission to reprint or reproduce any materials appearing on this site may contact us directly.
We are grateful for your donation and support of our organization. If you have made an error in making your donation or change your mind about contributing to our organization please contact us. Refunds are returned using the original method of payment. If you made your donation by credit card, your refund will be credited to that same credit card.
Automated Recurring Donation Cancellation
Ongoing support is important to enabling projects to continue their work, so we encourage donors to continue to contribute to projects over time. But if you must cancel your recurring donation, please notify us.