November 18, 2021

To: All WACOSA stakeholders

From: Steve Howard, Executive Director

Re: Update on WACOSA’s services/COVID-19

Since it has been awhile since we had new information to update our many stakeholders, we thought it best to share the current situation regarding our services and the subsequent influences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past weeks, the number of positive COVID illnesses and exposures have increased for those we serve, as well as WACOSA staff. This has made an already challenging staffing situation even more so, both in terms of long-term, as well as day-to-day staffing concerns. Illness/exposure is happening at all of WACOSA’s six locations and on both shifts. Many of you have reached out to WACOSA to express concern about the length of time your loved ones have been without service. Please understand we appreciate the hardships this places on families and on our many residential partners. In some cases, these same hardships are also hitting WACOSA’s staff and family members.

WACOSA has always, and will continue to, place the health, safety and well-being of those we serve and our amazing staff above all things. The decisions we make during these times are designed so that everyone will weather current challenges and come out safe on the other side. We continue to believe that, regardless of how challenging the current times are, we will persevere and services will eventually return to a more normalized way of living and working. We know many of you feel that same way. We ask your continued patience as we wait for these times to come.

Difficult times often do require us to manage situations with more desperate measures. As a result, if the current situation does not improve quickly, we may need to adopt additional measures we know will create even greater hardship for our stakeholders. If these measures become necessary, we do apologize. Such things might include:

• Services for some individuals may need to be cancelled or significantly adjusted on short notice
• Shifts and/or routes may need to be cancelled or significantly adjusted on short notice

We will do everything we can to prevent such things from happening and, should they happen, to minimize the impact as much as possible. However, the current resurgence in COVID illness and exposure is making, what was a very challenging hiring and staffing environment even more so. Please understand this is NOT what we want to do, but what we must do to ensure the health and safety of all involved. Remember, remote services are still available to all clients, even if they are not attending in person – Here is a link to register Also, we continue to implement our COVID Preparedness Plan, as required, in order to mitigate our response to the variables that the pandemic presents every day.

Providing services safely has been, and will remain, WACOSA’s number one goal. It takes all of us working together to accomplish this. If you have not already, please consider becoming vaccinated and, if you are already, getting a booster shot as soon as you are able. We have personally witnessed how life-saving these vaccines can be.

Thank you.