CEO Anne Starr's Email Update for May 28, 2020

A Better Normal

Dear All, 

The campus COVID test results have been coming back and thus far,  none of the COVID tests on youth or staff who have been positive!  We are still waiting on a hand full of tests on staff.  

That’s great news and a tribute to the implementation of containment measures in the PMIC residential program.   The campus has made adaptations to deal with the pandemic and keep both themselves and clients safe.   We know now , after several weeks, that our precautions are effective and help to create a safer environment than pre-COVID measures.  

While the rest of the programs aren’t going back to the office tomorrow, we do need to prepare ourselves for the “new normal”.  I was on a call this morning with a consultant working with a statewide coalition on the Family First implementation.  She said she likes the term “better normal” instead of “new normal.”  I’m not much hung up on the verbiage but, am hung up on my own level of willingness to be uncomfortable in the different environment.  I don’t feel or perceive I’m  unsafe, but, I do feel uncomfortable with it.   Maybe the better word is “impatient” with all the steps to follow that we didn’t follow before.  Not sure what my hurry up is about.   I’ll deal with it and do my level best to not let it negatively impact my relationships.  

What about other discomfort (frustration, impatience) we experience in trying to build helping healing relationships with children and families from behind a mask?   We’re not unsafe, but it is not comfortable.  We will be closer, in the same room,  instead of over the internet , but part of our nonverbal communication will be hidden from view.   Weird and uncomfortable, but not unsafe.  

When will we reopen?  As we talk through this in teams across the organization, we know it will not be all at once, staff will return and then add back clients on a limited basis depending upon space in facilities.  We will continue to use telehealth for some of our families during the time we begin to have clients back into the facilities and some of that will be because some of our families will be uncomfortable.  Not unsafe, but uncomfortable.   

So, really, when will we reopen?     We are likely going to start sometime in mid-June on a limited basis and work incrementally back into  most returning to the offices as we see the progress.  Some programs will have special considerations related to those expectations depending upon their service sites.  Home and community based will look different than Substance Use.   School based will be different than Center based, and so on. Participate in your teams conversations about this and contribute and learn more about possible approaches.  

Use your tools and have faith that we will most assuredly get through this.  

Sanctuary on!  Anne