Dear Friends,
Evergreen’s COVID-19 update as well as our pledge on equality and diversity is included below.
COVID-19 Update
Many of you are eager for Evergreen’s COVID-19 restrictions to loosen so that you can reunite with your loved one entrusted in our care. While the rate of new COVID-19 infections among the persons we serve and our staff have significantly slowed down, they have not disappeared. People are still getting sick. Last week, we tragically lost another person served, who had battled COVID-19 for several weeks. This was our third COVID-19 fatality.
Previous updates have mentioned that Evergreen will face unique challenges this year with the storm season. We update our extensive and detailed disaster plan annually. As Tropical Storm Cristobal threatens our Louisiana divisions, we have also completed hurricane preparation and evacuation plans. Our 2020 plans ensure that we are taking every precaution to protect our staff members and persons served.
We understand that everyone needs hope and something to look forward to right now and are pleased to announce that we are moving toward relaxing restrictions and settling into a new normal. Evergreen’s program operations team members have developed a detailed reopening plan. The plan has three phases, with each phase lifting more restrictions.
Divisions in all of our states, except for Louisiana, have been cleared to assess the risk of moving into phase one. Person-by-person and home-by-home risk assessments are to be conducted before entering into each phase. The assessment was created based on Evergreen’s experiences in battling COVID-19, which taught us that some people get very sick and others do not. Most of the time, an individual’s pre-existing conditions, age and ability to take preventative measures make a big difference in how critical his or her COVID-19 infection will be.
We recognize that socialization is extremely important to the health and well-being of many of the individuals we serve. Our individualized risk assessment includes scoring for each individual’s need for socialization, how important routine is for his or her mental health, and if daily activities outside of the home will help with behavioral issues.
Immediate family and supports will be able to have visits in outside areas when their loved one’s community home enters phase two. It is important to note that just because a state has entered phase two, does not mean that shelter-in-place orders have been lifted for vulnerable populations.
Statement of Evergreen’s Pledge on Equality and Diversity
Our brothers and sisters in the Black community are carrying a heavy burden. We are deeply disturbed with recent occurrences that are making national news and the challenge of overcoming racism within our country. We are hurting. We are troubled. We care.
More than 70% of Evergreen’s staff members are Black. The horrors that have plastered our social media feeds and televisions in the last two weeks are bringing about awareness to the disparities that people of color face every day. This awareness is long overdue, but it is not enough.
Evergreen has endeavored to provide equal opportunities for all­. Fifty-eight percent of our staff members in professional and management positions are Black.  As President and CEO of Evergreen, I am committing to using my position to advance racial justice in my personal and professional decisions and behaviors. I am listening. I will learn. And if you would like to share a suggestion or feedback for how I can improve Evergreen’s culture, we’ve created a way to do that here.
I want to ask you to join me in my prayers. Let us all pray for healing. Let us pray for change. Let us pray for love and respect to be shown to and from all. Let us pray for hearts to soften and to hear and understand beyond our own comfort zones. And finally, let us pray for peace.
With Gratitude,
Sue Buchholtz