Below are important updates for staff on Hull Services’ response to COVID-19.
If you would like to receive these COVID-19 updates via our Hull Services News email (firstname.lastname@example.org) please complete the form below and provide us with your personal email.
As a reminder, staff should conduct twice daily self-checks (like all Albertans) for signs of COVID-19, for their own health prior to coming to work, and while at work. Any staff member that determines they are symptomatic at any time should notify their supervisor, immediately leave the facility, remain off work for 10 days or until symptoms resolve in conjunction with the online Self Assessment Tool. Remember, sometimes we get so busy at work that we forget to stop to think about ourselves. During this outbreak, we must pay attention to screening ourselves.
We must also remember to pay attention to our youth’s potential symptoms by asking/checking on them once per shift (twice daily) whether they are experiencing any CVOD-19 symptoms.
At this time, facilities licensed under Children Services are not required to have staff wear masks continuously while working.
The only time you should wear a mask while at work is:
If you are required to wear a mask for any of the reasons above, below is the proper procedure for donning and doffing a mask:
Important note about wearing masks:
Alberta has expanded access to laboratory tests to better trace the spread of COVID-19. Testing is now available to any person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat. You also no longer need to call 811 to determine if you need testing. It is now all done through the online assessment.
To determine if you need to be tested and next steps, complete the online assessment:
As the situation evolves, Alberta’s testing approach and priorities will adjust according to need and direction from the chief medical officer of health.
Hull Services will be using homemade masks for training purposes and we are in need of materials to produce the masks. Specifically, we are in need of materials to secure the masks, such as elastic, bias tape, and shoelaces.
If you have materials at home that could work for securing the masks and would like to donate it to Hull Services, there is a box outside of Admin the materials can be dropped into. Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
I am worried about catching COVID-19. Should I wear a mask if I have to leave my house or when in public?
It is critical that these measures continue.
Healthcare workers need medical masks, including surgical, medical procedure masks and respirators such as N95 masks. It is extremely important that we keep the supply of medical masks for healthcare workers where it is urgently needed for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.
Wearing a non-medical mask (e.g., homemade cloth mask) in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, the use of a non-medical mask or facial covering can be an additional measure you can take to protect others around you.
Wearing a non-medical mask is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces. A cloth mask or face covering can reduce the chance that others are coming into contact with your respiratory droplets, in the same way that our recommendation to cover your cough with tissues or your sleeve can reduce that chance.
For short periods of time when physical distancing is not possible in public settings (e.g., grocery shopping, in close settings such as public transit), wearing a non-medical mask is one way to protect those around you.
If you choose to wear a non-medical mask or face covering:
Should employees wear protective masks at all times while at work?
At this point, staff are not required to wear a protective mask at all times while they are at work. Hull Services is following the recommendations of the Chief Public Health Officer that masks should only be worn when in public, high volume locations (i.e., grocery stores, public transit).
When a staff member is required to go to a high volume public location as part of work (i.e., running errands in public), they can choose to wear a mask to protect others from potential exposure. These will be provided by Hull Services. Programs will be advised when masks are available for this purpose.
If there is a positive COVID-19 case at Hull, all Staff who will be working with the youth who test positive as well as staff working with youth where Nursing determines PPE is required, will receive training on proper donning and doffing of PPE. Nursing will contact staff that require this training and provide further direction.
Meanwhile, as we do not know which programs may require staff to have donning and doffing skills, we would appreciate that most staff become familiar with the process as it will be much easier to learn if it isn’t completely new.” Below is a link to a video by AHS on properly donning and doffing PPE.
We have updated our screening protocols for entry into our programs during the COVID19 pandemic. These apply to every person entering a program (including staff) and they must be completed each time a person enters a program, even if they have already gone through screening that day.
Please ensure at all times you follow these protocols and proper protocols for hand hygiene and to clean your keys, phone, computers and other personal items.
If you have any questions, please contact your program leadership.
The Government of Alberta recently issued new operational protocols, which include limited visitations for facilities like Hull Services.
The current visitation protocols we already have in place are in line with the government’s new operational protocols. As a reminder:
To continue to maintain healthy and safe environments at Hull, the following visitation protocols have been implemented:
If you have any questions regarding these protocols or require clarification, please speak with your program leadership.
Due to the higher per cent positive rate in lab testing in Calgary Zone, AHS is expanding testing to include all area residents who have a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath. Please contact 811 or visit https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/HWAssessLanding.aspx
We would like to remind staff that we qualify as “health care workers in congregate care settings” and, therefore, will receive quicker COVID-19 testing. When calling 811 to request testing, let them know you are a “health care worker in a congregate care setting.”
Hull is currently taking all the necessary steps to prepare for a COVID-19 positive case. If Hull has a COVID-19 positive case, Communicable Disease Control will step in and we will take direction from them.
Hull is setting-up an isolation area at The Web where positive COVID-19 youth would reside and have one-to-one staffing from their programs. The Web will be stocked with all required PPE and staff will be trained in how to use it. Additional nursing support has been hired and will be available to assist.
Additional information on the guidelines and processes for the isolation area are being developed and will be made available in due course.
As most programs are already aware, in an effort to increase social distancing and reduce risk in our relatively small maintenance team, we have staggered our shifts. This means that only half of our maintenance team will be available at any one time during the work week.
All maintenance requests (from both campus and community programs) should be submitted through by phone at 403-312-2265. Requests will be prioritized and addressed as soon as we are able.
We have learned that, because of our work supporting vulnerable youth and children, we are considered “health care providers”, which makes our staff eligible for COVID-19 testing in cases where the general population is not eligible. Due to the importance of needing to be available to work, it can also expedite the testing time.
If staff are calling 811 to determine if they require a COVID-19 test, let AHS know that you work in a 24/7 mental health agency for vulnerable children and youth and are considered a “health care provider” and that you need to be available to work as soon as possible.
When does an employee receive Short Term Disability versus EI if they cannot work due to COVID-19?
Staff qualify for Short Term Disability if they have tested positive for COVID-19. For COVID-19 positive cases, the one-week waiting period is waived.
If staff have COVID-19 like symptoms (but are not positive for COVID-19) and must self-isolate, and their work cannot be done from home, they can apply for Short Term Disability; the one-week waiting period is NOT waived. For this one week, staff will need to use available sick time or vacation time.
If staff live with someone who is immunocompromised, they do not qualify for Short Term Disability. They will have to use their available sick time, vacation time and/or apply for EI.
EI has waived the one-week waiting period.
Since Hull is considered an essential service, will staff receive danger pay?
Hull Services has given consideration to providing a pay increase to our front line staff at this critical time; however, Hull is limited by its contract funding to provide additional pay. We do not have the same financial latitude as for-profit businesses.
Discussions with the Development team are taking place to determine if this is something for which they are able to fundraise.
With the recent information in the media regarding the security of Zoom, staff are wondering if it is a secure platform that we should be using for Agency meetings.
IT has confirmed that Zoom is a safe platform to continue to use for Agency meetings and has advised that, if your meeting is interrupted, you should just close the meeting and have the host set-up a new meeting.
IT will continue to monitor the information coming out about Zoom.
Our N95 masks have only been temporarily moved from programs in order to assess what we have, preserve what we have, and assure we use our stock correctly and effectively.
We are working with Occupational Health to best distribute the right kind of mask for the right purpose, to keep our staff and youth safe. Some masks don’t work effectively for some situations or if not the right fit. As we currently have no presumptive positive, or positive COVID-19 youth in our programs, it is imperative that we take stock and manage this resource carefully.
New guidelines from AHS have been provided on Social Distancing and other preventative measures for congregate care facilities. We continue to encourage you to take youth outside and engage in recreation and social activities. There are several areas we have designated for our youth to be able to exercise and play, however it is now a maximum of two youth per area, with staff supervision according to their needs (one or two staff usually). Physical distancing MUST be adhered to during these activities.
Our gym, training room, social room, and recreation program room will be made available with booking through our intranet. The Recreation Department, who is organizing some activities as per their emails to programs, will have priority for these spaces. However, the use of these rooms when Recreation has not organized the activity is the responsibility of the program which uses it.
It is imperative that, following use, all items touched by staff and youth are sprayed with Virox. This includes equipment, floors, benches, tables, chairs, door handles, light switches, walls, etc. Our Stores will supply the Virox that will be locked in an area accessible from the room you are using. There will be a sign in each area directing you to where they have placed the Virox. This is NOT to be handled by our Persons Served, and the spraying is to be done once they have vacated the room. We request that you notify Stores if the Virox is getting low, so they can replace it before it is empty. They will be checking the supply daily M – F.
We are in the midst of organizing this, as all moveable items must first be removed from the areas we are designating as available for this use, and the Virox must be put in place. We are also planning to have a sign for the door that indicates the room has been sanitized. Once you have sprayed all of the surfaces, as the Virox dries and evaporates, it will kill viruses, so you may leave the area and post the sign.
Currently, only the gym is set up for this, with the Virox locked in the ball storage room. When the other spaces have been safe and the Virox placed (early next week) programs will be notified.
To continue to maintain healthy and safe environments at Hull, the following visitation protocols have been implemented:
If you have any questions regarding these protocols or require clarification, please speak with your program leadership.
At this time, we must continue to let AWOL youth return to program. Please continue to follow the protocols we have put in place and use the checklist when a youth returns.
When a youth chooses to leave a program, this is a good opportunity to educate them on the public health orders in place regarding social distancing expectations in the community and the consequences for violating the orders.
When a youth chooses to leave a program, staff can inform the youth that due to the rapidly changing circumstances and decisions being made surrounding COVID-19, we cannot guarantee they will be able to return to the program when they decide to come back.
Hull has been asked by Children’s Services to submit all receipts for COVID-19 related expenses as quickly as possible so please ensure you are submitting all your receipts to accounting weekly.
There have been questions regarding self-isolation when people become ill with upper respiratory symptoms. Our Nursing department has spoken directly with AHS again this afternoon and confirmed the following protocols for self-isolation:
Who should self-isolate?
You must self-isolate for 14 days if you:
If you become sick, you must self-isolate from all other members of your household for 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
We have also had questions about what staff should do if they have received a negative test result for COVID-19.
If staff have received a negative test result for COVID-19, they must continue to self-isolate for 14 days from onset of symptoms, unless their only symptom is a sore throat. If an individual has symptoms AND travelled outside Canada, they must self-isolate for 14 days OR 10 days after symptoms are gone, whichever is longer.
Please visit the Government of Alberta website for COVID-19 information for Albertans: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
The provincial Rapid Response Team is working to get some of our programs officially declared essential. This has not happened yet, although we know that many of our services are — especially the programs where kids live.
We deeply appreciate our staff continuing to work, either within programs or from home, even as they see so many services and businesses closing down throughout our city. We know this will be increasingly challenging as you seek to manage your own family’s needs, including child care and protecting those you live with from the risk of COVID-19. Your dedication and commitment to each other within your teams and to the vulnerable people we serve is admirable. Hull Services can only meet its mandate because of the heroic efforts of our amazing people, and that has never been truer than it is during this time of global emergency.
The Government of Alberta has released the following information regarding Alberta Support Centres and regional program offices, which will impact many of the families that our programs support.
“To protect the health of all Albertans, Alberta Supports Centres and regional program offices are temporarily suspending in-person services until further notice.
People who currently receive supports can call their caseworker or local program office directly for assistance. Staff will be available to provide help over the phone during regular business hours, Monday to Friday. Contact information for local Alberta Supports Centres and other program offices is available online.
As you know, Alberta Supports helps people access more than 30 programs and 120 services for seniors, people with disabilities, job seekers, parents and families, homelessness, financial assistance, abuse, and family violence prevention.
Albertans who need to access these supports can also call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1-877-644-9992. The Income Support Contact Centre (1-866-644-5135) will continue to be available 24/7 to provide emergency benefits to eligible Albertans.
Please note: the Alberta Supports Contact Centre is not able to provide assistance accessing the provincial Emergency Isolation Support payment or federal COVID-19 benefits. Please direct Albertans to visit alberta.ca/covid19 or the Government of Canada website for information.
Thank you for your understanding. If your organization has any questions, I encourage you to contact your Contract and Procurement Specialist or designated outreach services worker.”
April training is postponed until further notice. If you have any questions, please contact Pennie Sibbald at email@example.com or 403-585-0266.
The Pandemic Committee ensured that the use of Zoom for videoconferencing with persons served and their families is:
Please ask your Program Directors for the consent form you should be using and if you have any questions or concerns. They can reach their representatives on the Pandemic Committee to get answers for you.
Please ensure to indicate “COVID” on banked time or relief timesheets so that Payroll can track those hours for billing our funders.
Please do not flush Lysol wipes down the toilet. The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has issued this reminder to all Calgarians, as the wipes do not break down and will cause havoc with the sewer system.
We know this a stressful and uncertain time. Please use all the knowledge and information you have about Trauma-Informed Care, stress management, anxiety reduction and self-regulation to support the people you serve at Hull, yourself, your colleagues, your families and friends.
If you are experiencing a high degree of anxiety, please seek out support through management, HR, our Employee Assistance Program, Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142 or https://homeweb.ca/, or through flex benefits.
We have also set up a page on our website where we have posted tools and resources we recommend to support people’s mental well-being during times of stress, such as COVID-19.
It is important that employees are following the direction of their supervisors at all times; this includes going home when they are given direction to do so due to symptoms of illness. The Agency is following AHS direction to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, which includes 14-day self-isolation of anyone with any respiratory symptoms.
We have had some questions regarding the protocol for AWOL youth returning to programs during this pandemic.
During this time, employees may be called upon to work in a different program to assist where required. Employees and their supervisors will determine roles they can do based on their experience and skill level.
If an employee is called to work in another program, the employee will be compensated at their regular rate of pay. Given the current state of emergency we are experiencing, there may be exceptional circumstances that result in variations to typical pay. These decisions will be made in keeping with fair labour practices and HR policy.
Please also let your staff know that when they are contacted to work in another program, they need to first confirm this request with their usual supervisor. This will help us to ensure we are properly tracking staffing assignments.
The Calgary Food Bank has re-opened and emergency hamper distributions will start on March 19. To practice social distancing protocols and to ensure the safety of our community, they are switching to a drive-thru model of hamper distribution. Folks MUST call the Hamper Request Line (403-253-2055) first so that they can organize the emergency food hamper and assign the pick-up time.
It is extremely important that people arrive only at their assigned pick-up time. If they arrive earlier than the assigned time they will be asked to move back in the queue. If they are later than the assigned time, they will be asked to reschedule for another time.
Additional information can be found here: https://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/2020/healthycommunity/
Any employee that has traveled internationally is required, upon return home, to self isolate for 14 days. Likewise, any employee that has any upper respiratory symptoms must stay home and self isolate for 14 days, regardless of the symptoms.
The risk as per AHS is as follows:
A higher risk does currently apply to people who develop a fever and/or cough or shortness of breath AND meet any of the criteria below (please note that the presence of symptoms AND one of the below criteria must be present to warrant quarantine).
In the 14 days before illness onset, they:
* A close contact is defined as a person who provided care for the individual, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact with the person without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment OR who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact (within 2 metres) with the person while they were infectious OR had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids of the person (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
Anyone meeting the risk criteria above needs to complete the on-line assessment tool at this link COVID Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instruction provided.
Employment rule changes
We’re acting quickly to protect Albertans by implementing paid, job-protected leave. Details of how these changes will take effect will be provided in the coming days. Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow employees to take 14 days of paid, job-protected leave if they are:
To be eligible, employees:
This leave covers the self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer. We recognize this could put pressure on employers, and are working towards a solution to address these challenges.
At this time there has been no update to how the province is addressing pay. If you do not have sick time or vacation days as per the above criteria, you are eligible to apply for EI. This is initiated by the employee and you may contact EI directly with any questions. If an employee has the ability to work from home during these 14 days, their will be no use of sick or vacation time or loss in pay. However, if an employee does not have the ability to work from home, they will have to utilize the above mentioned measures.
If you are on self isolation because you are experiencing respiratory symptoms related to suspected COVID-19, then you may qualify for Short Term Disability. Please see the information below from our provider:
Coronavirus exceptions for Short Term Disability claims
We have updated our Short Term Disability (STD) claim handling process to support plan members during the spread of the coronavirus.
Where possible, we are asking employees to work from home. Please connect with your direct supervisor regarding these arrangements and to plan work during this time. For those employees that are working from home, please note that you may be called to come in and be redeployed to help at another program. This will be on an as-needed basis.
The Payroll/Benefits and most of the Accounting group are working remotely. Going forward, all timesheets must be sent to the Benefits group electronically by either scanning and emailing or taking a picture and texting/emailing it to the Benefits Group email.
Petty Cash – Please scan or photograph receipts and forward them via email for a supervisor’s approval and processing by accounting.
We are suspending all non-essential in-person meetings and gatherings until further notice. If meetings can be held via telephone or videoconferencing, please choose this option. This is consistent with direction from public health officials.