This is the fourth installment in our series of blogs highlighting the early work of our providers as they tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19.
The Arc of North Carolina shared what they’ve been doing to prepare for and address the unique challenges of our current situation.
Essential staff only in open offices: The Arc of North Carolina has offices across the state. In the open offices, only essential staff are allowed and they are practicing physical distancing of 6 feet.
Keep in touch: They called every staff member, every individual, and every family member to keep people aware of what is happening. One of the biggest reminders they provide is that this will end one day; it is not forever. Directors are meeting three times a week by conference call to share updates from the different areas across the state. Similarly, meetings are being held on the local level with supervisors. Communications, sit reps (situation reports), are being sent every day so that everyone is kept in the loop and aware of the constant changes.
Combat isolation with other activities: There are lots of distractions and alternative activities people can do safely during this time. The Arc of North Carolina is reminding people that they can still go outside and go for a walk, as long as they are maintaining the physical 6-foot minimum distance. There are options to take virtual tours of museums, zoos, and parks.
Switch to virtual meetings and expand use of technology: The leadership team is using Zoom for video meetings as their staff is spread across the state. The agency is rolling out Microsoft Teams to allow for greater collaboration in this remote setting. Additionally, they’ve been using other online tools like DocuSign and Formstack for essential HR documentation.
Replace face-to-face requirements with virtual or telephonic options: The face-to-face requirements for various services have been waived and are able to be delivered over the phone or via video chat.
Employment continues: The agency is still supporting people to get to work. For example, Lowes is still open and the employees are expected to show up.
Share information regarding unemployment: The governor in North Carolina has changed the rules surrounding unemployment. The Arc of North Carolina is sharing this information with their staff and individuals who it might apply to.
Engagement is more important than ever: They recommend “Stay engaged, keep engaging staff and individuals, keep those connections.”
About The Arc of North Carolina:
The Arc of North Carolina has been providing advocacy and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1953. There are more than 20 chapters of The Arc across the state of North Carolina. Learn more here.
Share your experience!
We know there’s a lot of great work happening across our Provider communities to stay connected and deliver critical services and supports during this pandemic. Do you have a story or tips to share? Let us know!