Letter from Kathryn du Pree 8/19/2020

Dear Family and Friends of Benhaven,

Hello to all of you. We are each facing the impact and implications of the COVID 19 on a daily basis. I know many of you have children home from school, loved ones who may be temporarily unemployed, and concerns for your own health and that of your family. We appreciate the stress this uncertainty causes and hope we can remain supportive of all of our participants and their families.

I wanted to reach out to give you a sense of our progress supporting individuals during this pandemic. We are trying to make the best decisions possible for all concerned while heeding direction from the CDC, CT Public Health, and the state agencies that fund us. We are grateful for the direction and advice we receive from our Medical Director, Dr. Avni-Singer. I know your Program Director, or their Managers continue discuss specific program changes and answer your individual questions.

The School and the Academy provided remote learning to their students starting in early April. Students received daily instruction from their teachers and instructional aides. Our clinicians worked creatively to continue to provide occupational and speech therapy for those students whose Individualized Education Plan (IEP) included these specialized services. The Directors with their teachers and instructional aides designed alternative methods to continue to provide learning opportunities remotely to help our students achieve the educational goals in each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). We so appreciate the involvement of all of you who have students at the Academy or School. Remote learning was only successful because of your involvement and commitment. Thankfully both the Academy and the School have reopened offering in-person educational instruction. We were able to enhance our ventilation systems at both locations to improve the air quality and provide greater protection against the spread of any virus including COVID-19. We have put all expected protocols and precautions in place at the direction of the State Departments of Education and Public Health, and following the guidance of the CDC.

 

The Career and Transition Program continues to operate with individuals back at their job sites and others participating in small group activities at the program site in Wallingford. Staff also work with participants in their homes as appropriate. We were also able to enhance the ventilation system at 60 Church Street where transition support occurs.

Individual and Family Support (IFS) and Children’s Behavioral Services (CBS) are continuing services for those individuals and families who want their in-home support to continue. So many families have become comfortable with staff returning to work directly in their homes after weeks of tele-health and remote support. Much of the support occurs in individual’s homes but our IFS staff are able to take advantage of the weather to engage participants outdoors in their communities. We strive to provide exercise and fitness activities whenever possible.

Residential Services continues to operate our eight group homes. To date our staff are generally healthy as are our residents. We so appreciate staff’s efforts to stay well during the worst period of the pandemic in Connecticut. For many months the residents could not visit with their families in their homes or our residences. Some of these restrictions have been lifted so residents are meeting family members outdoors or visiting in their family’s home. We understand what a hardship this has been for many family members who are accustomed to visiting regularly and we thank you for your patience and support.

We continue to be blessed to have healthy staff and healthy program participants. We follow all of the guidelines for social distancing as appropriate, and for hand washing. Staff are asked a series of questions before working in any program site or family home to make sure they are well and have not been recently exposed to COVID 19. Staff have been supplied with the necessary protective equipment to keep everyone safe to the extent possible.

For the latest information about keeping yourself or your family safe go to cdc.gov/coronavirus. For resources and information about Connecticut’s response visit ct.gov/coronavirus. DDS has information for families as well. Use https://portal.ct.gov/DDS. Go to the following section of our website

COVID-19 Updates for Individuals and Families for additional resources.

We have a new email for staff and families to use if you have any questions that Benhaven needs to answer for you. I will monitor this email address and respond to all emails I receive. The email address is:  continuedoperations@benhaven.org

 

This is the most current information I have. I will do my best to keep all families informed as some of the decisions we have already made may need to be changed. Please reach out at any time to your school director, program director or residential director. They often have the most relevant information for their specific program and can readily address your concerns.

I want to close by letting you know what an incredible workforce Benhaven has. The Directors are working tirelessly to provide leadership to their staff and to keep our operations running using flexibility, resourcefulness and experience. Our employees have been wonderful as they juggle personal and family responsibility with their deep commitment to your children and relatives. We continue to maintain employment for our staff We are asking them to do more at a time when they also have personal concerns and issues to address. We hope you are experiencing their dedication.

Stay well,

Kathryn du Pree

August 2020

 


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Benhaven

187 Half Mile Road
North Haven, CT 06473

Administrative Offices

tel (203) 239.6425
fax (203) 239.1318