Updated Dec. 17, 2020
Covid-19 restrictions which came into effect in Saskatchewan on Monday, Nov. 16 and more recent changes announced Dec. 14 did not require changes to SIGN programs and services, which allowed in-person meetings as long as all precautions are taken.
The requirement for face masks had been in effect at SIGN buildings and programs prior to the provincial mandate for all public areas in all communities.
Many SIGN programs continue to provide services online. In-person meetings and services require the use of masks, hand hygiene, intensive sanitization of spaces, spacing of two meters, screening questions and temperature checks. If someone has been exposed to Covid-19 or displays any possible symptoms, the meeting or visit must be postponed.
If you have any questions about programs and services offered by SIGN and how they are conducted during the pandemic, please contact the program directly.
SIGN's re-opening plan, released in May, strictly follows the provincial government’s guidelines for getting back to business as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic but with the implementation of Phase 4 in July, some carefully-planned changes are being rolled out.
“Public Health has asked that we remain cautious in our approach to re-opening, and we recognize that our plans may need to be re-evaluated based on community transmissions or if an outbreak happens in communities we serve,” SIGN Executive Director Andrew Sedley says.
SIGN on Broadway and the Elton Davidge Building on North Street have started to open for meetings only, with gatherings of up to 30 persons now allowed. Public meetings up to that size are allowed but meeting spaces are set up to ensure physical distancing, and enhanced sanitation methods are in place, as follows:
"We are doing our very best and following all protocols to ensure the safety of everyone entering our building by cleaning washrooms more frequently and sanitizing all door handles, chairs and tables in the meeting rooms", SIGN on Broadway building manager Marlene Markham notes. As a result, only the three larger meeting rooms are available for use, because the smaller rooms do not allow for social distancing, she adds.
Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, SIGN staff has been primarily working from home, meeting with clients and providing programs and services by telephone and video conferences.
Since the start of work-from-home, three SIGN programs have continued to operate face-to-face, although with many precautions in place. There is no other way to provide the services of Senior Mobility, SIGN Early Learning Centre (daycare) and the Adolescent Group home, and those services were essential to maintain.
The government’s Phase 2, effective May 19 did not result in any changes to the way SIGN operates.
At the start of Phase 3 on June 8, some staff were able to go to their offices for short periods of time if the work they need to do could not be done from home, but staff was generally encouraged to continue to work from home whenever possible.
Physical distancing is maintained when staff is working in the office or in public. Waiting areas in all SIGN facilities have chairs placed at least six feet apart, and all clients are screened before any in-person meetings take place. Clients and staff are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
Staff must stay at home if they are sick or if they demonstrate or report Covid-19 symptoms. Regular practice of hand washing, and enhanced sanitization of workspaces continue.
The major change in Phase 3 was that the Early Learning Centre was able to expand the number of children who can attend the daycare, doubling the previous limit, resulting in additional spaces being available.
Mr. Sedley expects that staff will primarily continue to work from home whenever practical until the final Phase 5 is implemented by the provincial government. At that time, all SIGN services will resume to operate as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, additional precautions will remain in place.
Hand hygiene stations will be available at all entrances of SIGN facilities and all staff and visitors will be expected to use them. Hand hygiene posters will remain in all public washrooms. A staff member who is sick will be expected to stay home, and SIGN will follow the government of Saskatchewan’s guidance on size limits on public gatherings.
“It’s been a challenging five months, and that will continue for some time yet,” Mr. Sedley adds. “We are committed to ensuring the safety and health of our clients, our staff, and all those who we come in contact with as we continue to support individuals and families in many ways."
Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours
83 North St. Yorkton SK S3N 0G9 | Tel 306-783-9409 | Fax 306-786-7116