Memo to: People we Support, Families, Guardians, and Skill Society Employees
Re: Stay Safe and Best Wishes for the Holidays
From: Executive Director and Senior Leadership of Skills Society
December 21, 2021
Message from Executive Director, Ben Weinlick
Happy Holidays Everyone.
As much as we truly are wishing everyone peace, happiness and having meaningful connection with family and friends during this holiday season, we also recognize that once again we and our community need to be cautious. The ups and downs, the multiple waves of the pandemic, the hope that it’s truly ending and then a new wave pops up is exhausting for everyone. In particular, for the stellar citizens we serve, these ups and downs can further create isolation and stress. In tough times and especially during these darker days this time of year, I try to remember that the light in these times is really about generosity of spirit. For example, I’m proud of our Skills Society community that just came together recently for our 6th annual day of giving to raise a significant amount of food and donations for the Edmonton Food Bank. This shared generosity of our Skills collective is light in the uncertainty. Reaching out to someone, checking in with someone, sharing a kind word or what you’re grateful to someone for, is light and helps make things a bit better-It matters. This light, kind gestures and generosity of spirit we can all strive as best we can to bring to our families, to our co-workers, to roommates, to our neighbors and fellow citizens we share community with.
The truth is, these are still not easy times and we don’t know how long the ups and downs of the pandemic will really last, but we do know that compassion, kindness, gratitude, and looking out for each other, will always make things a bit better as we continue together.
From Skills leadership, we are wishing everyone safe times during the holiday season and that you are both able to receive the holiday spirit of generosity and be part of creating holiday spirit for others you’re connected with.
Take care of yourselves. Take care of others. Thank you for looking out for each other.
Ben Weinlick and Senior Leadership of Skills
Below we are sharing what the Government Alberta and Health officials have recommended to help stay safe during the holiday season.
Public Health Restrictions to Reduce Transmission
On December 17th, 2021 the Government of Alberta made changes to the mandatory public health restrictions for social gatherings. More details below. With the emergence of the Omicron variant and it’s spread here in our province and country, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated and continue to follow public health guidelines. Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, posted an article sharing tips for staying safe this holiday season, as well as ways to take care of mental health, and supports available. Tips for staying safe include:
It is absolutely critical that if you feel even a little unwell, you stay home and get tested
- Monitor yourself and your children for symptoms. No matter how mild symptoms may be, seek COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.
- If you’re hosting an event, you need to cancel it and isolate away from others.
Limit the number of in-person contacts you have
- While you can gather in groups up to 10 adults, it’s a good idea to keep gatherings as small as possible and limit the number of get-togethers you host and attend.
- If you plan to attend multiple gatherings, leave as many days between them as possible.
Talk to guests about options for gathering to ensure everyone is comfortable
- Encourage guests to receive all vaccine doses available to them and request they wear masks when not eating or drinking. Masks should be well-fitting and high-quality to have the greatest benefit.
- Whenever possible, have a virtual option to keep in-person attendance low.
- Consider outdoor gathering options.
- Increase ventilation indoors whenever possible.
You can read Dr. Hinshaw’s article in full at the Government of Alberta website here.
Indoor social gatherings – Mandatory public health restrictions
The following public health restrictions are in place for indoor social gatherings:
- Indoor private social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people 18 and older.
- There are no limits on people 17 and under if accompanied by their parent or guardian. If attending the gathering by themselves, they will count towards the maximum limit of 10 people.
- The indoor gathering restriction does not apply to mutual support groups, or to workers who need to access your home to provide caregiving support or home repairs and maintenance.
COVID-19 Vaccine – Third Doses (Boosters)
Third doses (boosters) are now available for all Albertans 18+ if it has been at least 5 months since their 2nd dose. We strongly encourage people we support and employees to book an appointment; family members and Guardians of the people we support are also encouraged to reach out to their loved one to book an appointment. Ensure doctors are consulted where appropriate.
For more information about Alberta’s booster vaccine rollout visit the Alberta Government website here – https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx
COVID-19 Rapid Testing at Home
Starting December 17th, 2021 the Government of Alberta made rapid test kits available free to Albertans while supplies last. More information on eligibility and where kits can be picked up can be found at the Government of Alberta website here.
As per Skills Society Policy 2.13, Skills Society employees cannot support with administering rapid testing of individuals we serve.
Thank you all.
Note: What’s happening with COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We become aware of new information from the provincial and federal governments and health authorities on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We are working hard to be responsive to this new information as it becomes available. As such, information in this memo may change and quickly become outdated. We are doing our best to communicate new information to the people we support, families, guardians, and staff in a timely manner.