We are very glad to bring you our next COVID 19 update!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting the workshop safe to government and council guidelines. Our biggest task and holdback was ventilation in the workshop. To allow us to have our heating system on through the colder months we have to make sure we have suitable ventilation to reduce airborne transmission. This means we are having to change the windows in the workshop so they open to allow fresh air around the room. We will have builders in over the up and coming weeks to carry out taking measurements and the necessary work and once complete we can open our doors once again. We've had to wait on a council grant to aid us in these improvements, this has been another contributing factor in our delay in reopening.
To keep our staff and service users safe we will be implementing some other changes to our working day to ensure we have done everything possible in doing so.
1. The layout of the workshop will be different, the tables will have clear PVC screens between them and to the front of the table. This will keep everyone safe but will still allow our service users to communicate with their friends and the staff. No work will be shared between service users like we used to, staff will collect and deliver components to each service user as and when needed.
2. Due to social distancing and limited space and we will only be able to accommodate 9 service users a day. We are planning on having 2 phases on which service users may return to ASPiRES. We know this isn't ideal but at the moment this is the only way we can keep people safe.
Janice will be sending out letters soon informing parents and carers what phase they are in and what days each person will work.
3. We will be having staggered drop-off and pick up times this will help us limit the number of people in the smaller areas of the building such as the front room and locker area. Drivers, staff, and parents will no longer be allowed in the building instead, we will ask them to wait in their vehicles and the ASPiRES team will assist the service users in and out of the building. Temperature checks will be taken at the front door before entry to the building. If the service user's temperature too high they will have to be sent home until their temperature lowered.
3. The staff will be wearing face shields and other appropriate PPE to protect themselves. Service users will be asked to wear masks but we understand some may struggle with this. We would appreciate it if you could let the staff know beforehand if someone is unable to wear a mask so we can set up their workstation with alternative safety equipment. Handsainitser will be placed throughout the building and always to hand to aid keeping hands clean. The workshop staff will have a desk at the front of the room, there will be a screen on the front to give more protection. No service users will be allowed in the office but if they wish to speak to Janice or Beth they can from the office doorway.
4. Lunch and break times are going to be different also. The restroom will be out of bounds for the foreseeable future, this means we will no longer be able to heat up food in the microwave or serve hot or cold drinks. Cold packed lunches will only be allowed and service users will have to bring their own bottle of drink. We won't be able to give refills so please make sure the bottle is big enough to last the whole day.
5. Freetime will be used in taking part in actives that will be suitable to service users remaining in their individual booths. Unfortunately, we won't be able to allow service users to bring in any items from home. This is to limit cross-contamination in the workshop. Also, we won't be able to accommodate service users bring in large bags and items like they used to. We are asking that they only bring in their lunch and a drinks bottle into ASPiRES. If you have any questions regarding this please call the office for further assistance.
6. Toilet breaks will be supervised by a member of staff and only one service user may leave the workshop to go to the toilet. Staff will make sure hands are properly washed and sanitized before reentry into the workshop.
7. The workshop will be deep cleaned at the end of every day along with all work components used throughout the day.
We have to keep in mind that this may all change if the government changes the safety measures. If we have to make any changes or close our doors again we will personally communicate with staff and parents. Hopefully, things won’t come to that but as the last 6 months has thought us, things are never 100% set in stone.
The team knows this still isn’t a set date on when we can return but hopefully, this will help explain why things are taking a little longer than we expected. Once we’ve had the windows replaced we will be able to give a set date on when we will reopen and the first phase of service users can come back to work.
If you have any questions please see our COVID-19 FAQ page or contact the office. Alternatively, you can message Beth L on our Facebook or Website too. We understand these are worrying times and we want to remind you all we are here to make you feel confident in service users returning to ASPiRES.
We would like to take this time to thank everyone for being so patient with us and understanding through these strange times. Hopefully, this is the start of us getting some normality back into our lives! We cant wait to see our service users back into work and seeing their happy faces.
Thank you again
The ASPiRES Team