COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Procedures

AS OF March 18, 2022

This is a time of change as the province moves forward with a phased approach to its COVID-19 reopening plan. This can also be a confusing time as different protocols and guidelines apply to different settings.
 
We are providing the following update regarding the precautions that remain in place at Niagara Children’s Centre.
 
Niagara Children’s Centre continues to operate under provincial Health Directives and Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) Guidelines.
 
We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of the children and youth we serve, our employees and our community while minimizing the disruption to the services our clients need.
 
If you are uncomfortable attending your in-person appointment, have any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, or if you have come into contact with a probable/confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact your therapist as soon as possible to reschedule or change your appointment to a virtual appointment.

 

Visiting the Centre


NOTE: 

Masking continues to be required for all employees, children 2 years of age and older, caregivers and visitors to Niagara Children’s Centre.
 
All clients, caregiver and visitors will be screened prior to entering the building.  
 
Scheduled appointments Only: Any client/ visitor coming to the Centre MUST have a scheduled appointment.  Please do not drop in to the Centre without an in-person appointment, as we will need to turn you away.  If you need to speak to anyone at the Centre, please phone us at
 
905 688 3550 (General Inquiries) 
905 688 1890 (Direct inquiries; you can find a staff directory here:
General Health: Please contact us to cancel your in-person appointment, if your child, or the caregiver who is attending your child’s appointment is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or is a close contact of someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19. Symptoms include:  (fever/chills), cough, difficulty breathing, decrease or loss of taste of smell, runny nose/nasal congestion, headache, extreme fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches/joint pain or gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea)  or any other illness. 
 
Active Screening: We will continue to screen for our in-person appointments prior to entering the building. All visitors are required to be screened before entering the building regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.  We will be asking you a series of questions about your health and those you have been in close contact with. If you or anyone in your household has symptoms of any type or have recently had symptoms, you may be re-directed and the appointment cancelled. 
 
Please review our Centre Client Health Screening Checklist before coming for your appointment. If you are not able to pass our health screening, you will not be allowed in the building and/or to receive in-person services. In-person appointments can be rescheduled once you are able to pass screening. Please review our Health Screening Checklist here
 
Arrival Time: Please arrive 5 minutes before your appointment time to allow for screening upon arrival.  Please wait in your car if you arrive earlier as we have eliminated our waiting area.   We will make waiting accommodations for those who arrive by public transit. If you arrive late for your appointment, we may not be able to accommodate you.
 
Masking Policy: All clients (age 2 and over) and their caregiver will be required to wear a mask when onsite for an appointment.  We will provide you with a medical surgical mask to wear while on our premises.  The mask must be worn at all times and no eating or drinking will be permitted during appointments. If you are unable to wear a mask, please speak to the person scheduling your appointment or your therapist so that alternative appointment arrangements can be made in advance.
 
Handwashing/ Sanitizing: Clients and visitors will be asked to sanitize their hands upon arrival and when leaving the Centre.  All employees are following our handwashing/sanitizing procedures, including before and after each client appointment.
 
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):  All staff members are required to wear a mask onsite.  Staff members may also be required to wear enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, face shields, gloves and gowns, depending on the type of care provided to clients.
 
Physical Distancing:  We ask that visitors respect all physical distancing procedures and associated safety guidelines.  You may be required to wait in line to complete the screening process and before entering and exiting the building. Our waiting area has been eliminated and clients/families will be escorted directly to their treatment area. Given that the many of our clients are unable to be vaccinated, we also discourage families from allowing their children to interact with other children while on-site unless they are in a supervised program.
 
Cancellation:  As per our usual process, if you are unable to attend your appointment, we ask that you notify us as early as possible.
 
We recognize that these changes may have an impact on your child’s experience.  The best way to prepare your child is to discuss these changes before coming to the Centre.

Programs and Services

Which Programs and Services are Operating?

All programs and services are now operating, with most now available for in-person, with the exception of large group services and satellite services.
 
In Person Services - Centre Based
Families are able to indicate their preference for in-person versus virtual services for most models of intervention. In some cases, services provided to children and families may continue to be a combination of virtual and in-person.  Our pool has reopened to individual and small group intervention. Our satellite sites continue to be unavailable for in-person appointments. 
 
Small group programs will be offered with public health recommendations remaining in place. Large group programs will continue to be offered virtually until further notice.
 
Virtual Care (Telepractice)
We continue to make virtual appointments (video tele practice, phone) available to all clients. For families who need support to set up virtual care and/or require appropriate technology, clinicians are available to assist families and we have a technology loaner program that is generously supported by a Niagara Community Foundations grant.
 
Special Services at Home
Families can continue to submit invoices as per usual process: by fax (905-688-3489), by mail or by dropping off in the mail slot in the door to the left of the main entrance.  It is not necessary to be screened, as you are not entering the building.  If you need to speak with someone about SSAH, please email Jill.Cole@niagarachildrenscentre.com or leave a voice mail at 905-688-1890 Ext 121.  We are not able to accommodate drop-ins.
 
School-Based Services
Therapists are providing visits on-site at all schools.   Virtual appointments are also available for those families who have opted for virtual learning or who would prefer to continue to have their child’s appointments delivered virtually. 
 
If you have any questions, please speak to your therapist or school special education consultant.
 

Niagara Children’s Centre’s Vaccination Requirement in Full Effect as of November 5, 2021

We take our commitment to safety, including protecting our clients and our co-workers from the risk of infections and transmission of infectious diseases seriously. As of November 5, all employees and volunteers must be fully vaccinated, unless valid medical exemption is provided. 
 
We are proud to share that at this time, 97% of employees are meeting our requirement, and we expect that number to rise in the coming weeks. The policy also ensures that any newly hired employees, volunteers and students must be fully vaccinated or medically exempt, along with any contractors or 3rd party vendors entering our building.
 
The majority of Niagara Children’s Centre’s clients cannot be vaccinated and many have medical complexities. The safety of our clients and families remains our top priority, and as such all employees, visitors and volunteers, regardless of vaccination status are still required to wear personal protective equipment. Enhanced cleaning protocols remain in place and active screening for employees, visitors and clients remains in effect.
 
We are not requiring proof of vaccination or testing for clients, parents or caregivers attending appointments. We do still require masking as per our policy, and we are continuing to allow only one caregiver to attend per visit.  We thank everyone for their patience as we continue to adapt to this ongoing pandemic.
 
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Oksana Fisher, CEO

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