Memo to: People we Support, Families, Guardians and Skills Society Employees
Re: Stay Safe and Best Wishes for the Holidays
From: Senior Leadership of Skills Society
December 22, 2020
Message from Executive Director, Ben Weinlick
Dear Skills Society Community,
In these difficult times, we’re wishing everybody a safe holiday time full of light and kindness. 2020 has been one of the tougher years in history and we want to thank you all for doing your part to protect yourselves, protect people we serve, protect your families, protect co-workers and neighbors we share community with. Your sacrifices to stay home makes a difference and could be the reason a family member, friend, roommate or neighbour stays healthy- That is always worth it. What’s hard is we won’t always know how our sacrifices to be part of reducing the spread of COVID-19 worked out. But we want you to know we see you, we thank you and value you for being part of protecting each other and especially protecting the amazing citizens with disabilities we exist to support and help to have good lives.
Thank you for creatively exploring ways to stay safe, follow provincial and municipal health orders. It’s heartening to hear like in some of the stories below how people we support and staff are making the best of these times through virtual events and technology.
Remember that the pandemic won’t last forever and we’ll start to see some light and good things happening in the new year.
Wishing everyone good health, joy and kindness in your lives.
Staying Connected with Loved Ones & Community
We have heard stories of how individuals and families have found safe and creative ways to stay connected during these unprecedented times. A mother and son decorated their family Christmas tree together virtually through Facetime – choosing where ornaments should be hung and sharing stories about each ornament, its history and significance. Others have gathered virtually for a holiday meal and participated in holiday festivities online.
Dr. Hinshaw posted an article, ‘Holidays during COVID-19: Celebrating safely during this festive time of year’ which also includes ideas for how we can show kindness to others during this time and ways to take care of mental health, and supports available.
Holiday Message from Skills Society Board and Senior Leadership
On December 3rd the Skills Society Board and Senior Leadership sent a holiday message to our Skills community sending a heartfelt thank you for the greatest gifts of all – your time, energy and participation in our Skills community. We wish you all the warmest holiday greetings and best wishes for a New Year.
Click here to read the full holiday letter.
COVID-19 Cases in Alberta and at Skills Society
As of December 21, Alberta has 19,165 active cases (9,147 in the Edmonton zone), and 1,240 new cases were identified on December 20th.
To date and since the beginning of the pandemic 21 individuals we serve and 33 employees have tested positive with COVID-19.
Mandatory Public Health Measures
On December 8th stronger public health measures were implemented by the Government of Alberta. These measures will be in place and enforced by the province and municipalities at least until January 12, 2021. For more information visit alberta.ca/COVID19.
We recognize this is very challenging but critical that everyone does their part to keep loved ones and community safe and protect our health care system. We and Health officials encourage people to continue connecting virtually or by phone. As per the mandatory public health measures put in place by the province, Skills is strongly recommending that your loved ones not go to family members’ homes over the holidays unless it’s deemed an emergency, such as a staffing crisis due to mandatory isolations. The recommended (by the Chief Medical Officer of Health) and safest way to connect is virtually or by phone. Dr. Hinshaw has asked all Albertans to embrace not only the rules in place, but the spirit of them as well – “These orders are not recommendations, they are legal restrictions, and for them to be effective, we need everyone to do their part.”
In letters on December 18th, 2020 to licensed supportive living, long-term care and hospice residents and families, Dr. Hinshaw urged individuals to stay home except in the case of necessity and encouraged individuals and families to connect virtually or over the phone, as all indoor and outdoor social gatherings are prohibited. These are measures our sector is also strongly recommended to follow.
Virtual CommuniTEA Connection Events
We are offering weekly facilitated Virtual Events that the people we support can join in on. These include things like preparing a recipe together, having a conversation around a specific topic, or doing a guided art project. These events are hosted by Jessica, community volunteers, or people we serve – anyone who has a special skill or talent they would like to share with the Skills community! Everyone we support is welcome to register for these events!
- December 30th, Zumba with Emily at 1:00 pm
- December 31st, New Year’s Eve Celebration at 9:00 pm
- January 5th, Art project (memory jar for 2022) at 4:00 pm
- January 14th, Baking at 4:00 pm
- January 19th, Workout at 4:00 pm
- January 28th, Name that tune at 4:00 pm
Want to Sign Up or Learn More?
If you would like to participate in one or more of the CommuniTEA Connection events please RSVP to Jessica the Virtual Community Building Initiative Coordinator (email@example.com).
Senior Leadership Team of Skills Society
For More Information
- If you are a family or guardian and require additional information please be in touch with the manager associated with your loved one’s support.
- If you are a Skills Employee and require additional information you can be in touch with your supervisor or Pandemic Coordinators, Linda or Ed at 780-496-9686.
- Keep up to date on our COVID-19 Resources section on our website: https://skillssociety.ca/covid19-resources/.
Previous Public Memos
Public Memos are available on our website under the ‘news’ tab.
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.