Remaining Connected During COVID-19
No matter where you are, the effects of this pandemic are evident.
We wish we had the right things to say. We do not have an opening date just yet, but while waiting for directives from CDC and DHS, we ask ourselves, how can we still be helpful?
We can’t provide services in our building, but that hasn't stopped us from connecting and interacting with our participants in inventive ways in the meantime.
Like many others, we have been connecting via zoom. It’s been productive, educational, and fun!
We send out an invite link a few times a week to house agency staff, parents, and guardians of our participants. We email pdfs of the activities, so the participants can print them and follow along. If the parent or/house staff doesn’t have a printer, we make copies and have packets available for pick up. This way, everyone has a chance to get involved.
The group calls had some unexpected results. New friendships! We observed participants from different areas of our day program, now meeting and connecting in a new way – becoming close friends.
The groups have been playing Picture Bingo, Guess the Animal, and Wheel of Fortune, among others.
But of course, it hasn’t been all fun and games. There are also informative zoom meetings on safety, where the staff helps prepare the participants for coming back and social distancing with their peers. We share things like how to stay safe and wash your hands effectively.
Along with online group meetings, staff members take turns leading the sessions. The clients love to see all the staff. Other Direct Service Professionals (DSPs) will take turns and call individuals at a prearranged time, maintaining some one-to-one conversation.
This online practice will help pave the way for success when we can slowly reopen. One of the many of the challenges our participants have is a reluctance to change. So abruptly stopping or starting services is very disruptive. When the participants are allowed back, we will be even more diligent in our efforts to make the transition as safe and smooth as possible.
It’s been great to observe the interaction in the zoom groups, but we are hoping the situation calms down, and we will be able to get back to what we love doing and do the best.
Everyone wants to come back to enjoy their friends, activities, and programs. The safety of our participants and staff is of the utmost importance. We are making accommodations, preparing, and adhering to new safety protocols and looking forward to the day when we are able to reopen.
Until we can be together, we will stay connected, via zoom, while apart.