As the COVID-19 virus continues to dominate the headlines, many of our centers are connecting with the National Office asking for more information about how they should respond during the days and weeks ahead. The National Office has placed several updates on our website, social media pages, and on Basecamp.
Additionally, the National Office would like to make the following recommendations, in addition to any guidelines or mandates made by your local authorities. Please bear in mind that this is a very dynamic situation and we will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Recommendations from the Adult & Teen Challenge National Office
- Check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website EACH DAY for updates on the spread of COVID-19, official recommendations on how to avoid exposure, and other very helpful information. The CDC are the experts and their recommendations should be followed by all of our staff across the country.
- Consult your Emergency Action Plan (EAP). ATC National Standards require each site to have an EAP on location within reach of all staff. It is recommended that you revisit your EAP and review what has likely already been put in place at your center for several years. Updating that plan to reflect current information is also essential. Make sure all emergency contact names, phone numbers, and websites for local resources are still valid.
- Consider postponing social gatherings (i.e. Family Day, Public Chapel Services, etc.) at least through April 1, 2020. Limiting the number of off-site visitors visiting your campus will also limit risk of exposure to your students and staff.
- Reinforce your supply chain.
- Many states are reporting a shortage of toiletries in their local stores. Does your center have enough supplies to sustain students and staff for at least the next 30-45 days? What are your contingency plans should your usual sources become unable to supply your campus needs?
- We recommend communicating your needs with local churches, donors, and even families of students who can help by purchasing and sending you supplies from areas outside of your locale. People generally want to assist in times of challenge, so engage them!
- Carefully consider travel plans and strongly consider avoiding travel to areas that are already highly impacted by the outbreak. The National Office has already postponed several trips cross country in an effort to minimize risk. Rescheduling trips that are not time-sensitive, is a simple step we can take to limit exposure to ATC centers, staff, and students.
What if a staff member or student is exposed to COVID-19?
- The National Office highly recommends that each center reads, reviews, and posts the following information distributed by the CDC regarding COVID-19 illness and containment: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
- Determine, with the help of your local authorities, an appropriate place where any exposed or diagnosed students can be housed during a complete a 14-day quarantine.
- Staff who are ill, or who have been exposed, should plan to stay home from work until they have been cleared by a medical professional to return to work. When in doubt, contact your medical provider to seek advice.
Please note: If a student should feel the need to temporarily leave the premises to seek medical treatment, or to quarantine for a short period of time, please extend grace and support to them. Students having to temporarily leave the program for an approved COVID-19-related issue should not be penalized for doing so (e.g. they should be able to resume their program of recovery right where they left off upon being medically cleared to return, rather than requiring them to start over). ATC staff are encouraged to be helpful and encouraging, especially as former substance abusers frequently have additional medical problems that may make them more vulnerable to this virus. Please exercise good judgement and treat each student as a precious child of God entrusted to your care
*This resource is provided by Adult & Teen Challenge as a courtesy only. Adult & Teen Challenge recommends that you consult authoritative sources for up-to-date information on COVID-19. We hope these links and ideas are helpful, but we do not intend for this to be a substitute for authoritative data and information put out by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and other agencies.