bona vista

STAYING BUSY — As services at Bona Vista Programs start to re-open, Harold M. dons a mask while glazing pottery and remaining socially-distant from others in his day programming class. The organization is returning to services in phases with new practices and procedures in place.

If you’ve watched or read any news in the past two months, you’re probably pretty familiar with the words surge, phase, plan, PPE, etc. We have all talked about the COVID-19 pandemic for months now and rightfully so.

We've talked about the virus itself, the prevention of contracting it, the stories of those who have survived it, the heart-wrenching testimonials from family members of those who did not, and so on.

We have been in the midst of all of those buzz words at Bona Vista, as well. Along with many other businesses and organizations across the state, we are starting to phase back in to programming slowly but surely. We have talked, planned, prepared, and we are so ready to see all of our friends again.

This was our first week back with more children (not all of them) and adults (not all of them). And, thanks to our strong executive leadership team that worked so diligently on processes and procedures, it has been pretty uneventful – in the best way! Now, don’t confuse uneventful with easy.

One of the things that I always have loved the most about our adults is how friendly they are. They want to shake your hand, give you a high five, or come in with a big hug. Teaching them to socially distance and not to do all of those friendly greetings has been anything but easy, but they are doing it!

Much like the staff, though, they are ready to see the rest of their friends. And, they will soon enough. We are re-entering those we serve in waves. If all goes as optimistically planned, every two weeks a new group of adults is getting added to the mix. This gives everyone time to get into the routine of the new normal without overwhelming staff before a new group comes back to services. With the new practices that have been implanted – mask wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, personal space, smaller groups, etc. – it definitely takes some getting used to right now.

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In addition to our adult programs, our Early Childhood and our Positive Results for Kids Therapies programs have also been hard at work re-introducing face-to-face care. Our Early Head Start and Keys for Kids Preschool programs have both re-opened for working families.

It will still be a few weeks before they re-open at full capacity, but hearing children and teachers singing in the hallways or seeing them when they come in from a walk outside has been heartwarming. They have been waiting to see their friends and teachers for quite some time, and they are all very excited!

Our center-based and First Steps therapists are all slowly starting to meet with clients again, too! They have been performing tele-therapy services at a level we are more than proud of. They’ve adapted and accommodated with the best of them. It’s been nice to see some of the therapists faces in the building this week as they’ve started treating children who are currently enrolled in our Early Childhood services.

Sure, would we have loved to have brought everyone back in at once? Absolutely! Would that have been responsible? Absolutely not! So, with a ton of input from health providers, other agencies like ours, our State trade association, and so on, we came up with a five-phase plan for returning to all of our services that is – at any time – subject to change.

We appreciate how patient everyone has been during this process. We know it hasn’t been easy. Believe me when I tell you that it hasn’t been easy on us either. But, we are ready to safely and slowly return to services, and we can’t wait to show you and tell you all that transpires in the days and weeks to come!