I’m sure that if you are like me in anyway, you are probably thinking…"What and how am I going to protect myself and still be able to manage my life as a person with a disability with all this heightened alertness regarding the coronavirus?"
Well, let me share with you some things we at WNYIL are doing, and things that you can do to minimize exposure to yourself and the people around you:
- Many of the services that WNYIL has can be accomplished over the telephone, internet, or through email. Give it a thought and instead of fighting public transportation and/or traffic, finding someone to give you a ride, or spend your own gas money, call your service provider at one of the WNYIL “Family of Agencies” and make an electronic appointment, and communicate via phone, skype, facetime or any other medium of choice. We have access to many of them and we can work with you in the comfort of your home.
- WNYIL is expanding its sick-time policy. Staff will be able to stay out longer if sick without having to seek a doctor’s note, and if necessary can borrow time from the future so not to come to work ill and possibly spread whatever they are currently dealing with.
- If a visitor comes to the one of the agencies and appears to be sick, we will ask them to leave and make an appointment at a later date. This way visitors, volunteers, and staff will not be interacting with any person who appears to be ill.
- WNYIL has instituted a practice to wipe down all public areas (door handles, elevators, grab bars, sinks, public phones etc.) twice a day to maximize our efforts to stop the spread of the virus through touch. We have also added additional maintenance personnel to further clean and sanitize our facilities.
- WNYIL is installing public use sanitizers in all our lobby areas, and we are asking for any person coming into our facilities to please sanitize their hands before going any further into the office.
- WNYIL has put together a plan of service continuity, by identifying and providing staff that can work from home in the event that we are forced to close the offices.
- While we have cancelled a couple upcoming events like the annual Policymakers’ Breakfasts, and postponed our annual Night for Independence Gala until later in the year, other events are being planned with the assumption, The Show Must Go On, such as Disability Pride in July and Summit on Aging in September.
- You can help yourself keep healthy by practicing proper handwashing techniques (20 seconds with soap and water), using hand sanitizer, keeping hard surfaces in your residence clean, and throwing out used tissues.
- Our website: www.wnyil.org has resources, links and tips on what you can do and where to find up to date information about the spread of the coronavirus. Please feel free to start there when you are seeking to find out what is happening locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.
These are just a few of the activities that our Board and staff have put together to keep all of us as safe as possible as you continue to work with WNYIL, and exercise your rights to live in our communities. WNYIL pledges to do all it can do to make sure that as our communities move forward in combating this virus that the needs of people with disabilities are heard and incorporated into the planning.
Until my next message, be safe, and we will all get through this together.