I hope you and your families are doing well. I have much to update you on since my communication last month.
The month of March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day. During this time of year, we celebrate the lives of individuals with disabilities and bring awareness to the vital work, love, and care provided by so many to support them. Our work empowering the individuals we serve to live as part of their communities raises awareness for people with developmental disabilities every day.
Thank you for all that you do to help spread the word about Evergreen. Something as simple as telling a neighbor or colleague about our amazing programs and services makes a difference. Every voice brings us one step closer to a world where people with developmental disabilities enjoy the same equity and opportunity as you and I do.
Texas Winter Storm
Forty-one individuals in our North Central Texas Division remain displaced due to significant damage to their community homes. These individuals are currently living in hotels and at our Day Program Offices, which have accommodations for day-to-day living. Eight community homes are now in the process of being repaired. Repairs are delayed due to supply and labor shortages.
The cost of providing alternative, socially distant housing accommodations to 41 people is several thousands of dollars a day, even with insurance coverage. As always, we are committed to providing quality care to our residents who are displaced while they wait to return home. Your donations help us rebuild as fast as possible and support our residents returning to their homes. We appreciate anything you can do to help.
COVID-19, Vaccination Progress and Reopening Strategies
I am pleased to report that approximately 90% of the people we serve have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Just over 50% of our staff members have received the vaccine. However, we are continuing to see COVID-19 cases in staff members, but these have slowed down significantly. We have rolled out an incentive program to encourage all staff members to get the vaccine as soon as it is made available.
As a result of the high vaccination percentage among those we serve, we are pleased to announce that we are setting our sights on reopening. Our new reopening plan loosens visitation rules and allows Day Services to reopen for all individuals and staff who have been vaccinated. It also allows for more community outings for them.
For the time being, vocational services will remain reduced. If we do not experience any increase in exposures or infections from the above revisions to protocol, the vocational program activities will be reviewed by the end of April, 2021.
The people we serve are excited to be taking the first steps to return to a post-pandemic world. I will keep you updated on our progress and on any changes we make to our reopening plan. Please stay safe and have a wonderful weekend.
Sue Buchholtz, President & CEO