Staying Open, Staying Safe
How We’re Addressing The COVID-19 Omicron Variant at The Dorm
As we confront a resurging COVID-19 wave and the fast-spreading Omicron variant, our community at The Dorm is facing a familiar call: to stay open and stay safe so we can meet the needs of our clients in the midst of a spiraling national youth mental health crisis.
Last month the Surgeon General issued a rare and frightening advisory on the state of youth mental health crisis with a call to action for a swift and coordinated response warning that it would be "a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place.”
“Our obligation to act is not just medical, but moral,” he wrote. This advisory came just weeks after a joint coalition of the nation’s leading experts in pediatric health declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.
Before March 2020, mental health challenges were already the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people. Between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates increased by 57% among youth ages 10-24. Now, the pandemic has further exacerbated pre-existing conditions, with an outsize impact on the most vulnerable in our society such as young people of color, young people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.
For us, the question of continuing to provide the same level of care we have for over a decade is never a question of if, but how.
Here is a summary of our current health and safety protocols:
Based on our organizational values and commitment to provide an unwavering focus on client safety and wellbeing, we are maintaining our consistent level of hybrid care that includes in-person treatment 4 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) because we know this is essential for our population. Tuesdays remain a virtual day.
Preliminary outcome data shows that The Dorm's robust and holistic model of care can improve outcomes for our clients. We are proud to be able to continue to offer groups and community programming in addition to individual therapy and health and wellness services safely.
All groups and in-person sessions are masked indoors and observe safe social distancing practices.
In-person groups are split into two smaller groups when necessary.
All parent and family groups remain virtual.
Meal groups are only available for vaccinated staff and clients and take place outside or in large, well-ventilated spaces.
Field trips have been temporarily paused.
Effective January 1, 2022, all staff and prospective clients must attest to being fully vaccinated in order to be admitted to The Dorm.
100% of our current in-person clients across sites have provided proof of vaccination.
Clients may admit for virtual services only if they are not vaccinated and in need of care.
Testing out is no longer an option for our client community.
Voluntary on-site testing has resumed twice weekly at all of our Dorm sites.
We look forward to also providing rapid antigen testing on-site later this month.
KN95 masks are currently stocked and available on-site for all staff and clients.
Starting February 1, 2022, we will be asking all employees and new hires to attest to receiving a COVID-19 booster shot upon eligibility.
Per CDC recommendations, it is strongly advised that community members receive a booster when eligible!
We are currently limiting on-site visits to essential family members and family tours.
These visitors and essential vendors to The Dorm must show proof of vaccination at check-in.
Outreach visits have been temporarily paused.
Masks are required on-site at all Dorm locations.
COVID-19 screenings and temperature checks take place during contactless check-in.
We continue to follow CDC guidelines for contact tracing.
We undergo daily deep cleaning and disinfection of our spaces following CDC guidelines.