COVID-19 Protocols

Returning After a COVID-19 Infection

If a participant has had COVID-19, their caregiver should speak with the nurse regarding their particular infection for proper return protocol instructions.

New Castle County
Erin Chandler, RN 
302-731-0301, x 105 
[email protected]

Kent County
Darlene Myers, RN  
302-731-0301, x 210 
[email protected]

DDDS Requirements for Service Recipients

  • DDDS requires all service recipients to take temperatures at their homes before gaining access to programs. If a temperature over 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit is present, the service recipient may not come to the program.
  • If any of the following symptoms are present, the service recipient should not attend the day program: chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell, difficulty breathing, fatigue, diarrhea, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or muscle/body aches.
  • Service recipients with any of the aforementioned symptoms will not be readmitted to the day program until they have received a negative COVID-19 test.

Forward Journey Requests of Group Homes/Families

  • If your participant uses a Hoyer lift, please send in a sling for his/her personal use during the program day. Send several changes of clothes. We do not have extra clothes on hand.
  • Send wipes, attends, liners, tube feeding supplies (if needed), and any other necessary personal items.
  • Frequently wash clothes, coats/jackets, and or blankets used during transport.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect bookbags or backpacks.
  • Clean and disinfect wheelchairs and/or any transport equipment.
  • If we call you because your participant is exhibiting signs of illness, please make arrangements to pick up immediately to avoid spreading the sickness. If your participant is not picked up in a timely manner, we may call 911 and have them taken to the ER for the participant’s safety and that of the other participants/staff.

Creating a Safe Environment

Our protocols are based on guidance from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control.

  • Since returning to services after the pandemic, the staff is regularly reminded about best practices such as the importance of handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, not touching one’s face, sneezing/coughing into the elbow, staying home when sick, and making alternative child care plans in the event of daycare or school closures.
  • We conduct routine testing of staff and participants using Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) at least once per week at this time. Anyone testing positive must leave the building immediately and not return until the quarantine period is complete. Guests must submit to the RAT and remain in their vehicles until the 15-minute results indicate a negative test.
  • Maintaining a social distance of six feet is no longer required by DDDS for the day program. However, staff continues to ensure as much distance as possible between participants. Activities may not look the same as they did prior to the pandemic. For example, groups of people will not be working on an art project gathered around a table. They will not eat lunch sitting side by side.
  • We have modified our participant arrival/departure process as follows: In the morning, employees receive participants at the front door. In the afternoon, we bring the participant to the front door for departure. Bus drivers, parents, and caregivers cannot accompany the participant to the program area upon arrival or departure. While waiting for entrance into the building and upon entrance, everyone must wear a face covering. Those without a face covering must remain outside of the building.  
  • We take the temperatures of ANY PERSON entering the building beyond the front door area. Any person with a temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or greater is not allowed to remain in the building. Participants will not join in program activities but will instead be monitored by staff in a separate area away from their peers until picked up by a caregiver. If the participant is not picked up in a timely manner, we may call 911 and have him/her sent to the hospital for the protection of other participants and staff. 
  • We continue to use hospital-grade disinfectant on tables, furniture, and equipment in between uses and after the personal care of participants. This is done every two hours, as per DDDS requirements.
  • We are completing extra cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as door handles, telephones, light switches, and keypads.
  • We have an advisory sign at the front door, warning anyone exhibiting signs of any illness to keep out of the building.
  • We are holding meetings via teleconference instead of on-site.

Planning for Operational Continuity

The Forward Journey senior management team has developed a plan for operational continuity in the event of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases or staffing shortages. The plan accounts for staff absenteeism and determines the minimum number of employees required at each site daily in order to safely conduct programming. In the event that the minimum staffing requirement cannot be met, we will cancel operations at that site, close the program for that day, and post closure information on Facebook and on this website. Alternatively, we may work with families/group homes to reduce attendance to match available staffing levels. We will also contact families/group homes by phone before 7:00 a.m. IF YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION HAS CHANGED, PLEASE ADVISE OF THE NEW NUMBER IMMEDIATELY TO ENSURE YOU CAN RECEIVE A MESSAGE IF NECESSARY.

Anyone with questions about COVID 19 should find their answers at RELIABLE sources such as:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 
  • DPH Public Call Center 1-866-408-1899. The call center is currently staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a recorded message after hours.
  • DPH will also receive public email inquiries and questions at [email protected]

We realize this is uncharted territory and ask for your patience, understanding, and compliance as we take the above steps to ensure your loved one and those involved with Forward Journey make it through this time without incident.