Aspire’s Response to Coronavirus

At Aspire, we continue to closely monitor communications from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government agencies to stay on top of the evolving situation with coronavirus. Help us respond in these trying times and keep our participants with disabilities safe! Click here for how to help.

To make it as easy as possible, please find the most up-to-date information on precautions Aspire is taking here. We’ll keep you updated.

The health and well-being of our participants, team members, volunteers and community is our highest priority at Aspire, we are putting into effect a number of practices to be even more vigilant in our preventative strategies.

While we are all eager to jump back in and are comforted by the reduced risks that vaccines provide, we are all seeing in the news that COVID cases are once again spiking upward. We’ve been monitoring this trend closely, and we are keeping a close eye on the status as we take measured steps forward. We ask that we all continue working together through the next phases.

As Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) encouraged, we’ve strategically opened day program services. 

Soft Reopening of Aspire Facilities:
For participants that live in Aspire Community Homes, the Career and Life Enrichment Academies (Killian Center in Zion and Litt Drive in Hillside) will be open to them starting the week of April 12, 2021. Community Home Participants will be able to attend the Academy at least once a week with their housemates.

Structured academy type activities will continue from home the other days of the week. As we monitor community COVID status and our soft reopening experiences, we will work to increase time at our Academies and eventually welcome others back.

For those who do not live in our community homes, we have paused in person day services at our Litt location in Hillside and at the Kilian Center in Zion. We are eager to resume these programs and will do so as soon as it is deemed safe.

We create safe spaces and follow guidelines around temperature taking, mask wearing, cleaning, glove wearing, hand sanitizing, and often use our best defense – good old-fashioned hand soap.

We are excited to start welcoming family visits at our Community Homes. 

We’re able to welcome family and friends for outdoor visits at our community homes! Although community cases are on the rise again, with our vaccine progress and the option to meet outdoors with milder weather, we can maintain our safety practices while returning to in-person visits. To continue moving forward while exercising care and caution, we are returning the visit plans we had last summer and fall.

Here is what those visits will look like. It is our hope that these strategies will create a safe environment for you to connect in person with your loved one while minimizing exposure risk for your loved one, others who live in the home, and team members who provide care to your loved one.

For Outdoor Visits at Community Homes:

  • Families can contact the Life Consultant to schedule 1-hour visits during evenings and weekends – please plan to schedule a few days in advance.
  • One family at a time will visit a home.
  • Visits will be outside at the Community Home using pre-marked areas for social distancing.
  • All parties will verify health status, sanitize hands, and wear masks during the visit.

For Visits in Your Own Home:
Contact the Life Consultant to discuss plans that meet you your loved one’s visit desires while minimizing risk for you, your loved one, others who live in their home, and team members who provide essential supports.

For Video Visits:
For those that cannot make in-person visit arrangements, video chats are still an option. If you are having any difficulty arranging video chats, please check-in with the Life Consultant for assistance.

Limiting Trips
We are working with individuals to arrange priority trips for services in the community like doctors appointments, essential banking, and returning to community jobs.

Aspire is limiting trips and encouraging alternatives for life’s necessities. All of our community home residents are staying home as much as possible to limit their chance of exposure. Community home residents will still leave for medical services and similar essential needs and return home.

In cases like returning home from the hospital or any case where a community home resident may have been at higher risk of exposure, even if it’s unlikely, we are taking extra precautions.

  • We’ll provide top notch care and closely monitor that person’s health while they self-isolate as applicable.
  • Our dedicated team members will take extra precautions with personal protective equipment and intense cleaning.
  • Once a team member works in a home where someone potentially had exposure, they are strictly limited to only working at only that house to avoid possible exposure of others.

 

Team Member Precautions

  • We are continuing to remind team members on safe and hygienic program practices. This is an important preventative measure beyond our typical annual training.
  • We’re taking the temperature of our team members when they arrive at work at the community home.
    • If any employee has a temperature above 100 degrees or other symptoms, they will be advised to go home immediately for self-care and will not return to work without being symptom free or clearance from a doctor.
  • Whenever and wherever possible, we will assign team members to only work in one singular location (i.e. community home) and with the same people. We see this as a social distancing best practice.
    • There are instances when this is not possible. We are making every effort to minimize the number of locations and people a team member supports.
  • We are providing team members masks while working in the homes.
  • While our office buildings are beginning to reopen, we are strategically scheduling amount of time and frequency onsite, limiting building capacity, wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing. Some team members continue to provide remote support.

 

Vaccine Roll-Out
The Living and People Teams coordinated multiple vaccine clinics onsite in our Academy building in Hillside for Community Home participants and all team members. The Living team coordinated with the Lake County Health Department to create drive-through clinics for Community Home participants as well. All Community Home participants who would like to be vaccinated have received both shots of the two dose vaccine. Many team members participated in our clinics, have worked with their healthcare provider, or visited one of the many vaccination sites throughout Cook and Lake Counties. We see vaccination as one more tool in our COVID prevention tool kit and continue to encourage remaining team members to get their shots.

Monitoring Health
We are monitoring for signs of potential illness, and any risks of potential exposures in our community. To better monitor health, we’re now taking the following precautions:

  • We’re monitoring for signs and symptoms of illness.
  • We are taking the temperatures of our residents daily.
  • If there is a temperature above 100 degrees, or other symptoms, our team will be reporting that to their doctor immediately to get further instructions.

We need your help to keep our Aspire community and our larger world safe and well!

  • If you have had contact with Aspire or someone at Aspire AND… If you have tested positive for coronavirus or been notified of coronavirus exposure, we ask you notify Aspire’s team immediately.
  • Practice and encourage regular hand washing, avoid close contact with others, cover your mouth and nose with a face cover when you leave your house, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and of course staying home when you are sick.
  • Help us respond in these strange times and keep the individuals we serve safe! Donate to Aspire’s Response Fund today and learn more ways to help here.

 

Thank you for helping us create a community of health and wellness.

Again, we are monitoring our status and guidance from the CDC regularly and continue to discuss options for responses in preparation as the situation evolves. Above all, rest assured that we are staying vigilant.

We will continue to keep you updated as needed. If you have questions, please reach out to:

  • For families, please reach out to your life consultant.

  • For volunteers, please reach out to Julia Garcia.

  • For team members, please reach out to your supervisor or your respective Vison Team leader: Becky Jackson,Chief Program Strategy Officer, Herb Washington,Chief Innovation Officer, Sharon Lawrence, Chief People Officer, Serena Alaily, Chief Financial Officer, and Dina Donohue, Chief Mission Officer.

  • For vendors and partners, please reach out to your regular contact.

  • For general inquiries, please reach out to Maggie Hassler.

 

Please stay strong, stay well, and stay kind. Remember, together, we’re better.

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