Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

March 23 Coronavirus Orchard Place Update from CEO Anne Starr

Orchard Place March 23 Update

Dear All,

All of the measures we've taken over the past two weeks will help contain the spread of COVID 19. The amount of planning and implementing new strategies has been impressive. Shout outs to supervisors, directors, VPs, IT, Val, and Accounting. It's incredible what's been accomplished in such a short time. This was able to happen so quickly because of clear communication, decisive action, prioritizing, and trust, among other skills, and so forth.

You all are amazing, and I can't imagine going through this with any other group of people.

Please please please use good self-care. What we are experiencing is more of a marathon than a sprint. We have a long way to go and are traveling a path that hasn't been mapped out before. Take care of yourselves today; don't put it off. Keep self-care at the forefront and hold each other accountable.


This weekend, the Governor gave a press conference. Governor Reynolds is not instituting "shelter in place," as eight other states are. "Shelter in place" means that nonessential employees must stay isolated to their homes and not venture out to work and stay home. Typically this type of order exempts health care personnel, gas stations, accountants, grocers and food producers, plumbers, electricians, convenience stores, etc. Governor Reynolds explained, when asked why she was not taking this measure, she is counting on Iowans to do the right thing, and if they don't need to go out of their homes, they will not, and, that we will diligently monitor our signs and symptoms for the virus.

OP is already moving to the "shelter in place" type of approach. We are striving to have all employees from PACE and CGC working from home as well as other nonessential personnel. The campus provides 24-hour care to mentally ill youth and is in the "essential healthcare facility" personnel category. For campus employees, we will be monitoring temperatures ( as soon as our order of thermometers arrives- hopefully, tomorrow) as well as other COVID 19 related symptoms and screening info to determine if the employee should be at work. Dr. Mandler is also available for consultations if a VP or supervisor needs to determine if an exception to our current screening should be made.

· As mentioned above, there are supplies on order that are needed during this time, such as thermometers. Other supplies on order include facemasks, gowns, and gloves. These are also to arrive this week. There are specific guidelines from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health related to the use of face masks. The CDC reports that just wearing a face mask is not an effective way to prevent catching the virus. We already know the best ways to contain this: hand washing, social distancing of six feet or more, and isolating if you have symptoms.

PACE specifics:

· Over the next 24-48 hours, PACE supervisors will be training BHIS staff on how to set up their telehealth capabilities to work from home.

· The PACE Summer Enrichment program is still planned. Referrals can be made to Jenna Turner at Referred youth will be entered as a waitlist episode in AVATAR so all team members can see the referral.

Campus specific:

· As mentioned in the organization-wide section, the campus staff reporting for work will have temperatures taken and other screening done before working a shift ( once the new thermometers arrive). This is consistent with the recommended protocol from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health for essential health care facility employees.

· There are specific protocols in place at campus should a child or employee test positive for the virus.

CGC specifics:

· Following along with the "shelter in place" strategy, CGC plans for all CGC employees to be ready and able to office from home within the next few days. More to come.