March 27, 2020

To:  All WACOSA stakeholders

From:  Steve Howard, Executive Director

Re:  Update on current response to COVID-19

WACOSA appreciates the effort all of the individuals we serve, our staff and our stakeholders are expending to deal with the many complex issues presented by the current COVID-19 crisis. We feel it important to provide occasional updates regarding WACOSA’s plans to manage this issue as concerns deepen and persist.  Beginning Friday, March 27, 2020, we will be honoring Governor Walz’s most recent directive to stay at home or “shelter in place”, to do our part to protect our community and stop the spread of this pandemic.  This means that all WACOSA offices will be closed entirely to both staff and the public.  Aside from our need to sustain a few administrative functions, staff will be unavailable to take calls or receive visitors during normal office hours.  Those staff whose duties allow may work remotely for a period.  Additionally, until further notice, both our ThriftWorks! and DocuShed businesses will be closed with tentative reopening dates of April 13, 2020.  This includes both our DocuShred storefront, as well as our shred pick-up services.

In spite of the immediate challenges, WACOSA continues to do its best to respond to the needs of our community.  Many of our direct support professionals are continuing to work in group homes during this time.  This allows the people we serve to continue receiving supports from the safety of their own homes, while also allowing many of our staff to earn their same wages and benefits, and granting residential providers much-needed help.  We continue to hold a weekly conference call with many of our key residential providers to collaborate whenever possible.  Our sincerest respect goes out to all of our residential providers right now who are doing their best under very difficult circumstances.

WACOSA staff who have questions related to their individual employment situation should contact HR Director, Sandie Westergren at or 320-257-5181.  If you are unable to reach her, please leave a message and she will return your call as soon as possible.

We understand how difficult our being closed continues to be for persons served, families and residential providers.   We thank you for your hard work and partnering with us during this unprecedented time in our history.  Please continue to follow the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH –,  the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO – WHO).  Since this remains a rapidly evolving situation, please continue to monitor WACOSA’s various points of social media including our website (, our Facebook page and our recorded phone line for the most up-to-date information we can share regarding the current state of WACOSA’s services.  You may also contact our informational email at

We appreciate this time continues to be filled with uncertainty and concern. The many kind emails, calls and positive messages we have received from so many of you have been much appreciated.  Rest assured we would resume services once we receive guidance by our state and federal authorities that doing so will not jeopardize the health and well-being of our clients, staff, stakeholders and/or community. Thank you for your support and patience during this time.  I am confident we will get through this COVID-19 crisis soon and will be stronger for our efforts and for the great partnerships we have forged during this time.