October 6, 2020
Please note: the re-opening of SIGN described below has been suspended until at least Oct. 20 because of the current Covid-19 situation in Yorkton and surrounding area.
Updated September 21, 2020
Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours (SIGN) is taking the first steps to a careful and thoughtful re-opening of SIGN facilities and services to the community, in close collaboration with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“With the help of staff, renters and clients, we can help reduce the spread of Covid-19, protect each other, and our most vulnerable people,” SIGN Executive Director Andrew Sedley points out. “But even with our facilities and programs opening more to in-person meetings, we still recommend that our programs and staff continue virtual programming – video conferences and telephone -- to provide support where feasible and possible.”
SIGN has implemented a series of requirements that apply to all programs and facilities. Each program also has specific protocols in place for their staff and clients, which may vary depending on the program’s individual location and activities.
All programs, SIGN buildings and administration
The following apply to individual programs. Programs are listed in alphabetical order.
Adolescent Group Home
All meetings are only by appointment. Those attending must enter the home through the management entrance.
Before and After School
St. Michael’s / MC Knoll
The activities are held in the library, with MCKnoll students on one side, St. Michael’s on the other. Library fire exit doors are used on each side.
All program staff wears masks. Students in grade 4 and up are required to wear masks, and younger students are encouraged to also wear masks. Masks are provided to students.
Sanitizer are at the enter/exit doors. Children must wash/sanitize before and after snack and before and after masking/unmasking.
Atrium room is used as the sick room on the MCKnoll side and the phone room on St. Michael’s side. If a student becomes ill a staff member stays with the student in the sick room until a parent arrives to pick up the student.
Children are in small groups determined by classroom or family members. Each child has a personal activity bag and a paper bag for mask storage. Each child has a labeled area for backpacks. Staff stays with the same group from day to day.
To pick up students, parents must call or text to have the child sent out. If a parent needs to enter the program area they will sanitize when entering and wear a mask.
All Covid-19 rules of the school are followed.
The program follows the guidelines set by Christ The Teacher School Division. Hand sanitizing, wearing of masks, temperature checks and all other precautions set out by SIGN and the school are followed.
The doors are locked, so sending a text or phone call is required from parents who are dropping off or picking up their child.
Snacks are prepackaged items and handed out using proper food safe handling methods. Each family has its own spot for personal items such as jackets. Cohort groups are used to keep children from same classroom together, as required by the school.
Each child is given a bag labelled with their name for items for their own use, such as pencils, crayons, paper, etc. Baskets are provided to sanitize and quarantine items no longer being used.
Students and staff follow the arrows designated on the floors for traffic patterns within the school. Students are encouraged to stay six feet apart, with “airplane arms” used to help younger kids remember. Each student has a personal craft supply kit to avoid sharing.
Children are in three smaller cohorts within the program. Children are not bringing anything from home to avoid contamination.
Taking advantage of going outside is done as much as possible. There is a designated place for the children to keep their coats and bags, and those belongings stay in that area until it is time to go home.
All food is pre-packaged, and teachers delivering snack wear gloves. Proper hygiene is practiced before and after eating. Self-serve or family-style meals are not permitted.
Food brought from home may not be shared with other students and is stored with the student's belongings. Students do not participate in preparing food served to others.
Early Learning Centre
All children have a designated classroom where they eat, sleep, and play. Each classroom uses the outside playgrounds in rotation. After each group finishes, the playground is sanitized.
The locker room is sanitized regularly throughout the day. Only one family is allowed in the locker room at a time. Other families wait outside until the family leaves the locker room. Families must sanitize as they enter the locker room.
Staff signs children in and out. Families must wait at the halfway door to communicate, and take part in screening before the child can come in.
Services are provided outdoors when possible, and continue to utilize online meetings. Respite childcare services continues to be adapted to space availability and follow all government pandemic guidelines.
Meetings with clients in their homes follow all safety guidelines. Home visits in public spaces where public washrooms are not available requires case-by-case assessment and review of options.
All appointments, group meetings and scheduled individual meetings follow SIGN requirements.
Trustee office has continued to operate through Covid-19, and continues to issue client cheques on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. It continues to pay bills on a weekly basis.
Additional requested money is issued only on Mondays and Thursdays between 1:30 pm and 3 pm. If the trustee needs to meet with a client in person, this is done outside. If that is not possible for any reason, including the need for privacy, the client is asked to call the trustee.
Staff conducts client and landlord meetings by telephone as much as possible. Information is shared by email if the client has access to an email account and computer.
Meetings in the office at SIGN on Broadway are by appointment only. All meetings, including in-home meetings, follow SIGN requirements.
Indigenous Family Violence Program
Those who have appointments are asked to come to SIGN on Broadway at the time of their appointment, and use only the direct entrance to the office, Room 131 at the back of the building facing Bailey Drive.
Those who arrive early are asked to wait in their vehicle. Please advise ahead of time if a late arrival is expected.
Those who arrive at the building without an appointment are given a business card with the phone number to call to schedule an appointment at their convenience.
Kamsack Family Resource Centre
In-person services are again being provided within the Crowstand Centre location. Outdoor activities previously held in the nearby park have moved into the Centre.
Scheduled programs such as Storytime, Baby Tummy Time, arts and crafts, parenting programs and family play and connect take place at scheduled times and are limited to two family units at any given time. All services are provided only by pre-registration.
The centre is closed when staff is creating online programming and providing deep cleaning of the centre including toys and materials.
Face-to-face home visits are resuming with all precautions in place. Screening of the staff member as well as the family/home which staff will be entering are completed prior to the meeting. If a visit cannot be held face-to-face, the KidsFirst staff member support the family with a visit by phone or video call.
The decision whether to resume in-person visiting is determined with each individual family. Considering family needs and preferences, KidsFirst will continue to use virtual visits by video conferencing or phone when requested.
When possible, visits are conducted outdoors when privacy and confidentiality can be accommodated. When meeting in the family’s home, planning and consideration is given to ensuring there is enough space for proper distancing, and how families can limit the number of people in the space.
The number of home visits per day is limited to ensure that proper hand-washing and sanitizing and vehicle sanitation takes place between all visits.
While the use of toys and resource material is often a significant part of the KidsFirst Home Visitors’ work, where possible Home Visitors rely only on equipment already available to the family in their home or take in items and supplies that can be left with the family after the visit.
Curriculum books and pages used during the visit must be sanitized. Any hard-to-clean items should be isolated for at least 72 hours before being used again.
KidsFirst families that need transportation receive that from Redline Taxi after receiving prior approval from KidsFirst. Families are no longer transported, at this time, in personal vehicles of KidsFirst staff.
Life Skills continues to offer virtual programing while transitioning cautiously back to face-to-face contact. Virtual and distance programming and mentorship is also provided based on client preference.
Life Without Barriers
In-person partnership group sessions continue to be on hold for now. Client reviews are conducted weekly or bi-weekly by telephone.
A schedule is posted for clients to see when the Impact social worker is available for drop-in appointments. Clients are encouraged to book appointments ahead of time and attend at their scheduled time.
If a client needs to use the staff computer or phone, hand sanitizing before and after use is required. Alternatively staff can do the typing for the client or make the phone call and use the speaker phone if the client agrees.
At Turning Point in Yorkton and Stepping Stones Wellness Clinic in Kamsack, clients are screened. At Turning Point, clients must use the east entrance at SIGN on Broadway. At Stepping Stones clients are screened at the front doors of the Kamsack Hospital and/or front doors of Stepping Stones.
When drop-in appointments are held at Kamsack Family Resource Centre, all KFRC protocols are followed. Drop-in appointments at other locations (such as band halls, New Beginnings, Friendship Centre, etc.) follow SIGN screening, mask and cleaning requirements as well as any additional facility-specific requirement.
Drop-in appointments at the Kamsack Regional Administration building are not available at this time.
When assisting with Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) or Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) events, SIGN guidelines are followed as well as any additional SHA or ISC guidelines.
The lunch program continues a month-by-month basis determined by need and finances. Lunches are prepared following Food Safe guidelines and delivered in downtown Kamsack. Time spent with clients is limited to less than one minute and may include scheduling an appointment for clients to meet in person.
Outreach programming such as ID clinics are suspended at this time. Partnership with the Salvation Army Christmas hamper program will be finalized at a later date.
Senior Mobility has continued to operate throughout Covid-19, with additional precautions in place.
Those precautions continue and include screening and temperature checks, thorough sanitation of the vehicle before and after providing a ride, screenings by the dispatcher and the driver, screening questions by the driver, and passengers sitting only in the back seat.
Drivers and clients must wear a mask at all times.
Sexual Assault Counselling
In-person meetings are not being held at this time. All meetings and presentations are done virtually.
Groups classes and seminars are again being held in person, following all SIGN protocols.
Group sessions are held in the former pool area room at SIGN on Broadway, using the direct outside door to this space. Participants are not allowed to leave this area once they have entered.
Childcare is not be provided and children are not permitted in the sessions. Only those parents who have pre-registered are permitted to enter.
Seminars are held in the Regency Room, lower level of SIGN on Broadway, following all guidelines. The same practitioner leads each group and the same screener screens the same group each week.
Discussion groups continue to be offered online as time permits.
Vocational Employment and Independent Living
Clients must enter and leave through the direct entry door to the program office (133) in the north wing of SIGN on Broadway, accessible from the parking lot, at the time of their appointment.
Standard SIGN requirements for screening, masks and cleaning are followed.
Virtual and telephone counselling continues to be an option for clients wanting counselling services. In-person counselling is available for the public on the following days and times:
At SIGN on Broadway, use the front door only. Front desk staff provide entry screening, temperature check and forms. Front desk staff advise the counsellor a client has arrived. If a counsellor is not immediately available, the client is asked to come back at an appointed time.
All standard SIGN precautions and protocols are in place at both SIGN on Broadway and the Crowstand Centre in Kamsack.
Yorkton Early Years Family Resource Centre
All activities are by appointment only. Pre-registration is required because the Centre can only accommodate half the normal number of people.
Families are asked to come to the front door of SIGN on Broadway at the time of their appointment where they are met by staff. Please advise staff if you are unable to come or expect to be late.
Two metre separation is required unless those attending are members of the same household. The wearing of masks at all times is strongly recommended for all participants.
For all group programs and classes, families are expected to complete the screening questionnaire online at the time of registration, and again when coming to the Centre. The reminder email sent to those attending pre-registered classes asks families to take their temperature prior to coming to their class. Temperature checks are done again when families arrive.
Revised July 30, 2020
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