Last update: August 14 at 2:42 p.m.

The arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta has created some distress for families and staff about how best to respond and what precautions to take. The situation continues to evolve and change quickly. Our primary concern is everybody’s safety.

EDMONTON OFFICE HOURS UPDATE

The Centre office is allowing limited access to the public (program participants). Most staff are working remotely and available to assist you via email. All staff have access to their voicemails as well, so feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

If you’re unsure who to contact for your inquiry, please visit our Contact Page for a list of staff contact information and contact form.

Because this situation is always changing, we will be providing regular updates about future programming and are available to answer any questions you may have. Please keep an eye on your email for future communications from the Centre.

Support Resources

The Centre has compiled several online resources to support your family during this time. Continue checking back for more!


Specialized Services Update [August 14]

With child, family and staff safety as a priority, Specialized Services continues to be offered during COVID and is available for families who qualify for this service.

In order to be in compliance with COVID related AHS regulations, the Centre has made the following modification to its SS program:

  • Families are now able to choose between virtual or in-person visits (or a combination)
  • All staff are trained in appropriate use of PPE, physical distancing, and other COVID-related safety measures
  • Mandatory daily COVID screening for all families receiving any in-person services (center or home-based)
  • Mandatory daily COVID screening for all staff providing any in-person services or coming into the Centre
  • Prohibition on any type of in-person service delivery if a staff or family member does not pass the COVID screener
  • Mandatory masking when at the Centre or in a home-based situation where staff or family members are within 6 feet of each other (masking is optional for children and is a family decision)
  • Access to the Centre by appointment only
  • The majority of staff are working from home to limit peer-to-peer and family-to-family exposure

For virtual visits, the Centre is able to offer secure and encrypted video conferencing solutions along with traditional phone and email support. This is the safest option and is strongly encouraged whenever possible. The majority of SS families are currently receiving some portion of their services via secure video link.

For in-person visits, Centre staff have been trained on wide range of safety protocols including PPE, physical distancing measures, sanitation procedures, and screening measures. An orientation is provided for any families that request in-person services before in-person services begin (SLP, OT, or Behavior Consultation & Interventionist Sessions) to ensure everyone understands and agrees to these expectations.

These rules are subject to change based on direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health in Alberta, Dr. Hinshaw. Your patience and understanding is deeply appreciated.

Community Program Registration for Fall 2020 [August 12]

Due to COVID-19 limitations, the following community programs have been cancelled for the Fall 2020 session:

  • Fun with Art
  • Junior Chef
  • Shop, Cook and Learn
  • Active for Life

Future sessions for these programs in 2020-2021 are currently under review. We are working hard to find a safe way to offer these great programs later in the year! Stay tuned for updates.

All other community programs (sports, art and social programs) will run for the Fall 2020 session with COVID-19 precautions in place. Registration for the Fall 2020 session opens Monday, August 24!

IMPORTANT SUMMER CAMP UPDATE [June 24]

Summer camp is now open to the general public! Register your child today! 

Changes to Centre Summer Camps Due to COVID-19
To meet AHS standards and COVID-19 recommendations, the Centre has made the several adjustments to Summer Camp to ensure the safety of our campers and staff.

Firstly, registration for all 2020 Summer Camps is only open to current Centre members and not to the general public. Registration priority will be given to those families who were previously registered for the 2020 Summer Camp season.

Camp Format Changes:

  • 3 hour morning sessions, 3 days per week.
  • Maximum 6 campers per camp session and 3 staff (no more than 10 people in the space per session in order to maintain physical distancing).
  • Daily COVID-19 screening will take place, including temperature checks. Parents will be asked to keep campers home if they are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Regular sanitization of all surfaces and objects will take place before and after each session; camp support materials will not be shared between sessions. Regular hand-washing will be implemented.
  • DROP-OFF & PICK-UP PROCEDURES: Parents may come into the Centre for drop-off and pick-up, with a maximum of a 15 minute stay during drop-off. 3 campers will be assigned drop-off at the front door and 3 at the back. Parents will be notified which door they’re assigned ahead of time. Staff will bring children to parents at pick-up.
  • Each day, campers will be divided into age groups in order to maintain proper physical distancing and ensure age-appropriate activities.
  • Campers are required to bring their own snack, full water bottle and indoor shoes.
  • Campers must be independent in their toileting hygiene (*with the exception of Little Aces). 
  • Individuals requiring 1:1 support will be unable to attend camp this year.

Families that were previously registered for the 2020 camp season will be contacted by our team with registration information and given first choice of camps.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding as our team works to navigate these changes.

—–

CAMP UPDATE, RE: 1:1 Support Concerns [MAY 29]:

We hear and completely understand your frustrations around the camp changes, particularly the 1:1 support adjustments. As we stated earlier, the health and safety of our campers and staff will always be our first priority, thus there are many changes we had to make to our programming in order to meet AHS COVID-19 recommendations.

As mandated by the Government of Alberta, day camp cohorts must not exceed 10 people ( https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-day-camps.pdf ). This includes both staff and campers.

The Centre is allowing a maximum of 6 campers, 3 staff and 1 supervisor per camp session in order to meet these requirements. In trying to accommodate as many campers as possible this summer, including those who were previously registered for the 2020 Summer Camp season (these registrants have received first choice of this year’s redesigned camp), we made the difficult decision to restrict registration to 1) Centre members (with the exception of those in the general public who were previously registered for camp) and 2) campers who do not require 1:1 support. None of these decisions were easy ones to make, as the Centre works hard to make programming inclusive and accessible to all individuals on the autism spectrum. It must be understood that during these unprecedented times, difficult decisions must be made in order to adapt and be able to continue to serve as many individuals as we’re able while ensuring everybody’s safety.

We did not make this decision lightly, as all individuals with ASD deserve the chance to experience camp. The Centre has gone from running summer camps with 32 children per day in full-day camps, 5 days per week down to 12 children per day (2 groups of 6) in 3-hour camps, 3 days per week. This means that this year, with following AHS’s COVID-19 rules, we are only able to serve 25% of the children we usually support. With these smaller groups and camp being limited to on-site programming only, we have planned for a 2 camper to 1 staff ratio. This will ensure all campers are supported throughout their experience. If we were to include campers who require 1:1 support, that would mean reducing camper numbers in order to allow for more staff and still meet the AHS limitations outlined for day camps.

These are not ideal circumstances to be running our camps and we are fully aware of that. Our team is doing the best we can with the situation and rules at hand. We appreciate your passionate feedback on this topic and fully understand your frustration. We are feeling it too. Camp is everybody’s favourite time of year and we are saddened that it is being impacted so heavily by the global circumstances.

Thank you for your understanding and please know we are disappointed too.


PROGRAM UPDATES

Children’s Programming & Services

Community Programs
The following Fall 2020 community programs are CANCELLED:

  • Junior Chef
  • Fun with Art

Respite is currently under review
Kids Kloset is CANCELLED
Family Night is currently under review

Specialized Services 
Effective immediately, all in-home portions of specialized services will be suspended.  This means that if your program includes Interventionists, they will not be coming into your home.

Your clinical team will stay in touch with you to continue services remotely.

PUF (Program Unit Funding)
At this time we are unable to provide in-person programming with your educational team. The Centre is working to approach this situation creatively, focusing on the best interests of the student and exploring alternative delivery methods. Stay tuned for further updates!

Children’s Therapeutic Social Programs
Social Skills Program: CANCELLED until further notice
Start Program: Proceeding with online delivery methods

Teen & Young Adult Programming & Services

Community Programs

The following Fall 2020 community programs are CANCELLED:

  • Shop, Cook and Learn
  • Active for Life

Skills & Pre-Employment Programs
Quest for Independence – Centre sessions suspended. Alternative delivery methods in place!

CommunityWorks Canada – Fall 2020 session cancelled. Applications are still being accepted for future sessions

EmploymentWorks – Centre sessions are currently suspended and alternative delivery methods are in place. Contact your facilitator directly for further details! Applications are still being accepted for future sessions

Therapeutic Social Programs
PEERS for Teens and PEERS for Young Adults – Centre sessions are currently suspended and alternative delivery methods are in place! Applications are still being accepted for the next session.

————-

Thank you for your understanding, patience and flexibility during this time. Please know that the health and safety of our participants, families and staff is our first priority.

Please stay alert for further updates from the Centre.

————-

Safety at the Centre

To protect everyone, the Centre office is closed to the public and staff are working remotely as often as possible. If they need to go into the office for any reason, they are following these protocols:

  • Washing  hands at the beginning and end of each shift, as well as regularly during the workday
  • The Centre is taking precautionary measures and regularly sanitizing all high-traffic/high-touch areas in the office
  • Minimizing  touching their faces, or the faces of others
  • If they feel ill, self-isolating for the recommended 14 days: limiting interaction to phone, email or video link.
  • If staff have travelled internationally, they are restricted to consulting via phone, email and video link for the recommended 14-day period.
  • If staff present with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they are to contact Health Link 811 for further evaluation prior to any further physical contact with staff or families.

About COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). The most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and all recommendations are available on the Government of Alberta website.

According to Alberta Health Services, the best way to minimize and prevent the spread of any respiratory virus is to do the following:

  • Use good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing
  • Practice social distancing
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay at home and stay away from others if you are feeling ill
  • Contact your primary health provider or Health Link 811 if you have questions or concerns about your health

 

The Centre will continue to share information as updates are available and apologize in advance for any service disruption that may occur.