Lasell Village: COVID-19 Policies & Updates

Welcome to Lasell Village’s Coronavirus update page.  We are committed to providing residents, their families and friends with up-to-date and transparent information about our COVID policies and community health status.  We wish you all strength, health and comfort in challenging times.

  • Below you will find updates from the past month, as well as
    general Q & A’s posted since March.
  • On the COVID-19 Archive page, find all prior communications about Village policies as our community has continually adapted to the evolving understanding of coronavirus risk and prevention.
  • Every Tuesday, we post a case update on a dedicated page.

September 21: Testing Update and Friends and Family Visits

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

As we begin a new season, we are grateful for a healthy summer at Lasell Village. It has been three months since Lasell Village has had a known positive Covid-19 case among residents and staff. We continue to test staff weekly, and recently joined the rapid testing program through the Broad Institute. Even as we embrace this good news, we mourn the loss of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who lived her long life fully: contributing, questioning, reasoning, making an enormous difference in our world and doing so with intelligence and wit.

Last week we notified residents that we are making Broad Institute testing available directly to them for their convenience.  Asymptomatic Village residents and aides may make an appointment to be tested in our Wellness Center. Test results are available approximately 24 hours after testing.  We are able to pass along our cost savings as part of the University and Village contract with the Broad Institute.  The cost for residents is $50 per test, billed directly to the resident in their monthly bill.  (We are not set up to bill insurance.)  Residents who are experiencing symptoms or who feel ill should reach out to their Primary Care Physician and/or Newton Wellesley Hospital immediately to seek medical advice and appropriate testing and care.

With cooler weather, we continue to adapt our protocols balancing social engagement and safety.  The community has been extremely conscientious and supportive of the steps we have taken. 

Beginning September 28th, we will offer indoor visits by friends and family in common areas at identified times and locations at Lasell Village.  Indoor visits in resident apartments are not permitted at this time.  Stay tuned for more details.  We will proceed very carefully, within state and federal guidelines, sustaining our culture of caring for each other.  We are determined to continue our Covid-free record as long as possible with continued assessment and careful revisions to our protocols.

Several weeks ago, we expanded the Buddy Program to permit up to four households to form a “pod.”  We encourage residents to consider creating or joining a pod to enjoy activities and dining together in each other’s apartment.  As I mentioned previously, selecting pod-mates necessitates agreeing to ground rules to reduce risks, while allowing residents to choose closer contact with members of their pod to help chase off social isolation. If one buddy tests positive, then the members of the pod must quarantine.  Changing pods is possible after a fourteen-day break between pods.  The Buddy Program allows greater sociability as we adapt to living with Covid-19 over the coming fall and winter months. 

Autumn brings back to school at Lasell, with approximately 1,500 undergraduate students enrolled.  Just over half of those students are living on campus, one third are living off campus, and the balance are commuting.  Students are taking a mix of in-person and online classes. Lasell Village residents are adapting well to a comprehensive roster of entirely online classes organized by our talented Village Education team, complemented by an ongoing “Morning Show” of resident presentations. Fall offerings also include a University intergenerational class taught by resident Stan Buchin, and projects organized by the University’s Fuss Center for Research on Aging and Intergenerational Studies.

For those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I wish you a very happy new year, and for everyone, a year of bright promise and new beginnings. 

Best wishes,
Anne

Anne Doyle
President, Lasell Village, Inc.

August 26: Expanded Village Protocols

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

This week on our regular “Morning Show,” the management team and I dedicated time to review the many Covid-19 protocols in place and to introduce two new protocols to permit greater social engagement.  Our priority this summer, and as we head into the fall, is to balance social and mental health of our residents with physical health and safety. We compiled a handy summary of Village Covid-19 Protocols in the attached document.  We continue to adjust and adapt our operations in response to the Covid-19 environment and feedback.

Two new opportunities allow residents to expand engagement with other residents:

  1. We expanded “buddy pods” to include up to four households to permit residents closer contact with more Village friends, including meeting and eating in their apartments without masks or social distancing. Well before the New York Times began reporting on pods for school-age children and their families, Lasell Village introduced this concept having read about New Zealand’s success with a closed-loop bubble strategy.  Selecting pod-mates necessitates agreeing to ground rules to reduce risks, while allowing residents to choose closer contact with members of their pod to help chase off social isolation.  Now we are permitting pods of up to eight people in no more than four households, increasing the benefits, but also with the agreement that each member must quarantine should any member of the team test positive for Covid-19.  Should a resident want to change pods, we simply ask the resident to take a quarantine break for 14 days before joining a new pod.
  2. Residents may now gather indoors in the Village libraries and common areas, masked and socially distanced.  We ask that groups be limited to four residents.  This option is open to everyone, whether a member of a pod or not, and is especially beneficial when weather interferes with the preferred outdoor gathering option.  We continue to recommend meeting outside whenever possible; we are making plans to have outdoor heaters available in our courtyard for when the weather grows cooler.

Village residents love visitors!  Currently, visitors from outside Lasell Village are permitted to meet outside, not indoors. We hope to invite visitors inside the Village property later this fall as we await Department of Public Health guidelines. Data continues to support that outside visits are more effective at reducing the spread of Covid-19 than indoors.  We appreciate your help by visiting outdoors.

Next week, the students begin returning to campus. Both the Village and University management are working to actively mitigate any risks this could pose to residents and staff. Our shared culture of caring for each other supports these efforts.  As always, I appreciate your feedback and questions.

Warmly,

Anne Doyle, President
Lasell Village, Inc.

 

 

August 16: Happy 20th Anniversary

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

I’m writing to share highlights from our busy summer at Lasell Village.

Happy 20th Anniversary

The entire Lasell Village community continues to be on a high after our virtual Village 20th Anniversary celebration held last week.  The event reflected the joy in our community, while recognizing our 11 resident “pioneers” and 7 original staff.  We are grateful to the creative minds that helped to imagine and build our one-of-a-kind living and learning model twenty years ago.  In addition to hearing congratulatory remarks from city and state elected officials and seeing a sample of remarkable resident presentations, the entire community contributed messages and photos responding to the prompt, “We’re happy to be part of Lasell Village because…”  Our dining team delivered cakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and sparkling wine and cider to each resident, as we raised our glasses to toast the Village.  Click here to watch a video reflecting how staff feel about the Village community on our 20th anniversary.  This is a community that continues to live, learn and laugh, even during Covid. 

Covid Update

We consider ourselves very fortunate that our summer has been a safe one as we’ve gradually introduced new protocols for residents to socialize, visit hair salons, exercise in our fitness center and pool, and visit family and friends on and off campus, with no uptick in Covid cases. I am pleased to report that the Village remains Covid-free:  Lasell Village, Lasell Studios, and Lasell House have zero positive cases among staff and residents.  We continue to conduct frequent staff testing with excellent results; in our most recent staff testing this week, all test results were negative. The entire Village community continues to maintain a culture of caring, being proactive and responsible to prevent the introduction and spread of Covid.

With Lasell University welcoming students back on campus on September 1st, the entire campus is carefully preparing policies to ensure that all members of our community follow best practices to prevent the spread of Covid.  Lasell University has partnered with the Broad Institute to provide rapid testing to undergraduate students and staff.  The Village is fortunate to join the rapid testing program with the Broad Institute. Over the next two weeks, the Village and University will pilot the new testing program, replacing other testing vendors that the Village has used since the inception of Covid.  The benefits of the Broad partnership are faster response time at a lower cost.  We hope to make Covid testing available at cost to residents by late September. More to come as we work through the logistics with the Broad Institute and Lasell University.

 Governor Baker, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Department of Public Health continue to issue updated guidelines, and we are paying careful attention and adjusting our protocols as necessary.  We are grateful beyond measure as we celebrate this caring community marking 20 years of living and learning together.

 Warm wishes,

Anne

July 17: Updated Protocols

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

We are pleased to update you around steps towards a fuller community life at Lasell Village. Wednesday, we met with residents in a virtual meeting where we discussed updated protocols for the following items:

• Housecleaning – plan for increased frequency
• Hair Salon – expanded hours
• Family and Friend Visits – off campus, outdoor visits permitted and clarification of overnight travel
• IT Resident Support – as-needed house calls
• Buddy program expansion
• Grocery shopping options
• Swimming Pool opening following state guidelines
• Fitness Center opening following state guidelines
• Art Studio opening

What has NOT changed is our commitment to carefully managing Covid risks. We will continue to wear masks, to maintain distance, to wash hands frequently, and to conduct health screenings. These four preventive steps have enabled us to keep our infection rate low as we continue to reinforce a culture that cares about each other.

If you are going to visit friends or family at Lasell Village, you are also an important part of our risk strategy. Please help us by enjoying socially-distanced outdoor visits and always wearing a mask. As a learning organization, we carefully follow public health research which underscores that aerosol transfer of the virus makes outdoor proximity less risky than indoors.

While Massachusetts is experiencing a reduction in daily Covid cases, we are well aware of the increased cases around the country, and the need to remain alert, flexible and ready to adapt to new information. Thank you for your partnership.

Warm wishes,
Anne

COVID-19 Q & A #5 (June 26)

Questions and Answers
Regarding COVID-19
June 26, 2020

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. My apartment needs to be cleaned.
Housekeeping will resume beginning on Monday, July 6, with deep-cleaning of all apartments. Housekeeping Manager Everton Caetano and his staff will be in touch with you to schedule a cleaning.
This deep cleaning is expected to take a couple of hours. During the deep-cleaning, we would ask you to be out of your apartment if possible; you could take a walk, visit a library, or stay with your designated buddy.

2. Are we resuming regular housekeeping?
After the deep cleaning, housekeeping will resume every other week. When possible, Everton will allow you to retain your former housekeeper.

3. Can we extend the visiting hours?
Visiting hours for Lasell Village and Lasell Studios family and friends are now 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

4. Can you refresh me on the visitor guidelines?
Scheduling an appointment for a visit is no longer required, but every visitor MUST go through the health screening at the Welcome Desk when they arrive.
Visits must take place outdoors. There is no eating or drinking with visitors (you can eat and drink with your designated buddy inside either of your apartments).
Each household is limited to two (2) visitors, whether family or friends, at a time.
• In addition, one child under 12 years of age per adult visitor is allowed. All children over 2 years old must wear a mask.
• Adults must supervise children to keep them away from residents.

5. When will the Beauty Spot re-open?
The Beauty Spot will re-open on July 7, following the strict government protocols. To start, they will offer only haircuts and treatments, and no manicures.
This will be by appointment only, there will be no walk-ins. Only one resident will be allowed into the room at a time. Please do not come early for your appointment but come on time. Your mask must be on the entire time.

6. How do I make an appointment to get my hair cut?
You may call the Beauty Spot at 617-663-7082 on July 1 or later to leave a message requesting an appointment. Salon staff will call you back to confirm your appointment.

7. Can I go to my favorite salon off-campus?
You may go to any salon which is following the strict government protocols for a haircut. Remember to wear your mask over your nose and mouth, and check in via the Welcome Desk when you return.

8. How does the Buddy System work?
We heard from a few residents that the buddy system has been a delight! Any resident who lives alone can designate another specific resident as their buddy, so that they can eat, play games, watch TV, and visit in each other’s apartment if they wish. Forms are available at the Concierge Desk.

9. When can the pool re-open?
We are continuing to review guidance from the state, and presently the state government has not yet allowed indoor pools to re-open.

June 22: Hope

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

This week I bring you these words from Václav Havel, whose rich life included serving as an essayist, statesman, dissident, and former Czech President.

Hope … I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, and it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, and orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons …

Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more propitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper the hope is. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out… It is also this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.

~from Václav Havel, (circa 1985)

What beautiful words and a deeply reflective passage.

Thank you for continuing to hold steadfast in supporting each other. Lasell Village is a community that cares, stretches, listens, learns, adapts, hopes, and acts. Let us know how we can continue to support you.

Warmly,

Anne

* In Czech, the book resulting from a series of interviews, was called Long Distance Interrogation. The English translation was published in the Spring of 1990, and called Disturbing the Peace.

 

June 15: Welcome Family and Friends

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

I am sharing the slides from yesterday’s monthly virtual “Town Hall” meeting with residents.  Members of the management team updated residents on our first week’s experience of revised Covid protocols.  Thank you all for your support as we continue to adapt our protocols with your feedback.

Governor Baker reminded us all this week to “guard against a second wave of infections.” Please help Lasell Village continue to keep Covid-19 at bay by exercising precautions in your daily lives.

We are pleased that many family and friends visited the Village during the first week of opening our campus to outside visitors, and we encourage you to take advantage of these beautiful days to sit or walk outside, wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.  Please call the front desk to alert us to your planned visit (date/ time), especially with Father’s Day coming up, so that we can spread out visitors over the course of the weekend.

When you arrive on campus, be sure to check in at the Welcome Desk for your health screening, and to check out upon your departure.

At the Welcome Desk, you’ll see a new staff-selected banner with MLK’s powerful words: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Our community is learning, participating, speaking, and identifying ways to act to address racial injustices.  We are open to your thoughts, to your questions, to your experiences to continue to make us a supportive community for all.

Happy Father’s Day to our dads, and warm regards,

Anne

COVID 19 Q&A #4 (May 1)

Questions and Answers – 3
Regarding COVID-19

May 1, 2020

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

  1. Now that the weather is nice, can I go visit my family vacation home?

Please wait until after May 18 to take this trip, if it is not an emergency. After that time, it is likely that some restrictions would be loosened. At the present time, our policy remains that any resident leaving the campus overnight will need to be quarantined for two weeks upon their return. 

  1. Can we open up the gardens again?

We recognize the benefits of pursuing hobbies and enjoying being outside. The garden has always been a sense of pride and beauty for the whole community. We are working with the garden committee to find a safe way to allow the gardens to be used and enjoyed. The garden committee is coming up with protocols for management to review.

  1. Is it all right to walk in the halls for exercise when the weather is bad outside?

Sadly, we do not recommend this practice, even with a mask. It is counter-productive to the purpose of the quarantine.

  1. Is it safe for me to sit on my patio while wearing a mask?

Like taking a solitary walk, this is a great idea. Enjoy the view and the arrival of spring from your patio or balcony. Remember to wash your hands when you return inside. 

  1. When will housekeeping services resume?

With the shutdown extended to May 18, we will not be sending housekeepers into resident units through that date or later. We will need to be thoughtful and thorough in lifting our restrictions, and are looking to the CDC and LeadingAge for best practices. Please continue to maintain your vigilance during these last weeks of quarantine. If you have immediate housekeeping concerns, please contact the Housekeeping Manager, Everton Caetano at 617-663-7049.

  1. How has Lasell Village modified its policies regarding aides to reduce the contagion risk?

As a policy, we have asked that live-in aides follow the same protocols as residents, and daily aides must follow the same policies as staff.

Recently, Parker Small and Mitch Rabkin created an educational document to advise aides, whether live-in or daily arrival, how to lessen their risks. Just as we tell staff that their choices during personal time matter, we want all aides to make well-informed choices about going to stores (we prefer you wouldn’t), wearing masks (required of staff and daily aides while at Lasell Village), and frequent hand-washing (yes, please). These policies are being communicated by phone to residents, their aides, and the agencies. We are also sharing the document with family members. 

  1. My aides have been doing grocery shopping for me. What are my alternatives for obtaining groceries, since you would prefer they not go to the store?

Remember that every time an aide or staff person goes to the store they are increasing their exposure, and potentially bringing that increased risk to the Village.

Here are some suggested alternatives for residents to obtain groceries.

  • Have a family member shop and deliver the groceries to the front desk
  • Use an online service, such as Instacart
  • Use either Beth Gordon or Glen Bloom to grocery shop (their information is in News and Notes)
  • Order groceries through Pete’s Store in Town Hall.

COVID 19 Q&A #3 (April 28)

Questions and Answers – 3
Regarding COVID-19

April 28, 2020

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks,csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Now that the weather is nice, can I work in the gardens?
We recognize that working in the garden can be a solitary activity similar to taking a walk that is nourishing for so many of our residents. We have asked the gardening committee to suggest a fair means to allow access, while maintaining physical distancing. We hope to finalize the protocols and open the gardens soon with reasonable guidelines established in collaboration with the gardening committee.

2. Can I use the libraries to get a book?
It is too soon to encourage use of the indoor common areas. This will likely be one of the first areas that we open to residents. For now, if you have a specific book in mind, please reach out to the Education office to deliver it to you.

3. Can I pay my monthly fee by credit card?
For 60 days, the Finance Department has offered to process resident monthly fees by credit card (MasterCard and Visa) for those who were paying by check previously. We want to limit as much as possible the need for residents to leave their unit. After 60 days, residents will be allowed, under special circumstances only, to use a credit card for the monthly payment, but a 3% processing fee will be charged (which is the administrative charge that Lasell pays.)

Electronic payment through ACH (Automated Clearing House) continues to be the preferred method of payment for Lasell Village, with no charge to residents. We feel it is the easiest and most secure way to make a payment.

4. I continue to see aides coming and going. What steps has Lasell taken to remove aides and companions as a possible source of contagion?
Live-in aides and companions are treated the same as residents – required to wear a mask if outside an apartment, required to be screened if they leave the Village (for other than a walk) and not permitted to circulate in the hallways or any common areas.  All aides who are not living with residents, whether privately-hired or hired through a home care agency, must follow the same protocol that staff follow: they are required to wear masks, and to undergo screening at the front desk every day they are at the Village.

5. How do we ensure that the privately-hired and agency aides know the Village protocols?
Our Wellness Department has shared Village protocol with the agencies providing services at Lasell Village and is in communication with those agencies.  We ask that residents and families help to underscore the protocols we have put in place, most importantly staying at home.  Residents should not ask aides to grocery shop. It puts the resident and community at risk when aides circulate in public places.

With the help of resident Parker Small, we are also putting in place additional educational materials for all privately-hired aides and agency aides who are providing services at the Village. We will also share that material with the residents and their families who hire aides to reinforce the important protocols.

6. Was the independent living resident who was recently diagnosed being cared for by private aides before he/she got sick?
The independent living resident who tested positive was already receiving care from privately-hired agency aides prior to being infected. The agency is providing personal protection equipment (PPE) to the two aides caring for that resident, and the aides are following strict patient quarantine, PPE and trash removal protocols. The aides, like everyone who enters Lasell Village, follow our welcome desk health screenings.

As we have learned from current research, everyone you meet could potentially be carrying the virus even if they are asymptomatic. Your best defense remains the same three steps: maintain physical distancing, frequently wash your hands, and remain at home as much as possible. Health considerations prevent some residents from being alone, and we continue to encourage solo walks (or with a partner sharing living space).

7. How did the newly diagnosed independent living resident get tested?
The resident’s physician arranged for them to get a test off-site at a local hospital. Lasell Village did not provide the testing. The resident’s physician discharged them back to their home at Lasell Village.

8. What should I do if I feel unwell?
Symptoms vary for COVID-19. If you are not feeling well, please call your PCP to be tested, and call the Wellness Department 617-663-7071.

9. Do we have plans to open the Village soon?
The high likelihood is that restrictions will be lifted slowly and thoughtfully as we enter the next phase. Lasell Village must follow rules imposed by the state. We look forward to hearing how Governor Baker plans to move forward with opening businesses. We will also listen to the CDC’s best advice for keeping our residents and staff safe.  We work collaboratively with Leading Age to benefit from the shared knowledge of best practices of senior communities around the country. Please continue to maintain your vigilance.

Note: We welcome your questions and are glad to add family members to the email list for Village communications. Please send name and email address to Nancy Snow (nsnow@lasell.edu).

COVID-19 Q & A #2 (April 17)

Questions and Answers – 2

Regarding COVID-19

April 17, 2020

Thank you for your excellent questions. We will continue to update this question and answer document to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow,nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Can you clarify the details regarding resident trash pickup?
Please put your trash outside your apartment door by 10 AM on Mondays and Thursdays. Non-recyclable trash, extra food waste and food take-out containers should be in a closed or sealed plastic bag. Recyclables can be put in the white dinner delivery bag.

2. If I have extra trash, can I put on a mask to go put it down the chute?
Please stay in your apartment for now. If the Monday-Thursday trash collection is insufficient for the volume of trash, please call Housekeeping at 617-663-7049.

3. How is incoming mail delivery being handled?
Dedicated staff are sorting and delivering mail Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They will put the mail in a plastic bag hanging from your doorknob. When you retrieve this mail, throw away the bag. You do not need to wipe down your mail or packages, but we recommend you wash your hands after handling these items.

4. How is outgoing mail being handled?
This week, staff will deliver to your door a bag with a large green sticker to use for outgoing mail. Place your outgoing mail in this bag, and hang it on your doorknob. Staff will remove the outgoing mail and leave the bag for your continued use.

5. How can I deliver a monthly bill payment?Put your payment in an envelope, address the envelope to the Business Office, and add it to your outgoing mail bag with the green sticker. Contact Carolyn Ortiz at 617-663-7069 and she will assist you.

6. How can I mail packages?
Contact the shipper to obtain a return label. Put the package outside your apartment door with your outgoing mail on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. We cannot provide boxes, packing materials or labels.

 7. How can I buy stamps?
Pete’s Store does have a supply of stamps, listed under “Everyday items” on the order form on LasellVillageNet. You can also buy stamps on the internet directly from the Post Office, by going to usps.com, by choosing QuickTools /Buy Stamps.

8. With no housekeeping or supplies at home, how can we clean our floors?
The Facilities Department has supplies, such as mops, Swiffers, bathroom cleaners and sponges. You can find the flyer on Lasellvillagenet.com or call 617-663-7076 to order supplies.

9. How can I participate in the “Twenty for the 20th” morning show without leaving my apartment?
The Education office can arrange for you to be a presenter remotely, through Zoom.

10. Information sharing: If a resident receives a positive diagnosis, will information be shared with other residents? Can Lasell Village tell us if the people who are showing symptoms in Lasell House are from Lasell Village?
According to HIPAA regulations, we cannot share any information on patients, their gender, or address, without their express permission. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a Wellness Center representative will contact you to ask if you would like to share your name, your health status, or both.

11. If I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week, should I cancel and how far out should I reschedule?
If you need to have this appointment because this is an urgent matter, please contact your physician to see if telehealth options are available. If this is a routine, or non-urgent matter, we recommend that you reschedule to late June, or July. Many doctors are cancelling non-urgent visits.

12. My car has not been driven in four weeks; may I take my car for a drive?
You can go to the garage and turn on your car for a minute, or move it outside the garage for about 15 minutes to ensure the battery is charged and the oil and fluids circulate properly. We do not recommend that you leave the campus except for an emergency.

 13. I have documents to notarize, how can I do this?
Although we do not recommend leaving the campus for any reason, we realize that there may be a need to act on official documents. Contact Sue at the Village Bank, she will arrange for you to meet a notary at the Auburndale office. You should wear a mask the entire time you are out of your apartment, bring hand sanitizer with you and frequently use it. When you return, you must come back through the screening at the Welcome Desk, and you should wash your hands immediately when you arrive home.

14. Can my daughter join me for a walk outside?
This conflicts with our no-visitor policy and safe social distancing.

15. Are chairs in the courtyard still usable? Are they being wiped down and cleaned?
The chairs are useable, but they are not being wiped down. Like anything else you touch frequently, you should consider wiping the chair with a disinfecting wipe. Don’t touch your face, and wash your hands.

16. Is it okay for a resident to go for a drive or be taken for a drive (by a spouse) even if nobody gets out of the car or interacts with the public? We do not recommend that you leave the campus except for an emergency.

17. Can I still go to the pharmacy to drive through and pick up my prescriptions?
We do not want residents to leave the campus. This is not only about individual actions, this is about the safety of the entire community. There are options to have the scripts delivered.

 18. If the smoke alarm goes off in the hall, should I evacuate?
Yes. You must always follow the proper evacuation procedure when any building alarm goes off. When you get outside, please adhere to the social distancing protocols.

19. Should I consider purchasing a UV handheld sanitizer?
These may be effective on places such as telephones and keyboards, if you do not have sanitizing wipes. However, these cannot be used on your hands – your best defense in all cases is handwashing.

20. Can rubbing alcohol could be used as a disinfectant?
Alcohol solutions must be at least 70% alcohol to be effective against the virus.

21. Is it safe to make sanitizer at home?
Hand sanitizer is safe to make at home; however, you must be certain that it contains enough alcohol to kill the virus. The CDC says that “alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol … should be effective.” A safe ratio is about 4 parts of 90-91 percent alcohol to 1 part (total) of any other dilution (for example, 1 cup of 90 percent alcohol mixed with ¼ cup of aloe). Never mix alcohol with bleach.

 22. Are we eligible for any federal money to help cover Lasell Village expenses?
We received a payment (not a loan) of $155k from the initial distribution from the CARES Act. We can also defer the employer portion of the FICA payments through the end of the year, repaying this in 2021 and 2022. Restrictions on eligibility for some government COVID grants will prevent us from qualifying for all programs.

 23. What is happening with testing for COVID 19?
Lasell House, with our most vulnerable population, had a first round of testing by the National Guard on Tuesday, April 14th.  They tested symptomatic residents at that time.  The National Guard is returning on Friday to do additional testing of staff who interact with Lasell House residents including nursing staff, CNA’s, housekeepers and more. We continue to try to get all residents and staff of Lasell Studios tested. Testing for all other staff and independent residents remains challenging.

We recognize that there are a few residents without internet access. Please contact the Concierge Desk for assistance on general matters, or call the Café with your food orders, or Pete’s Store orders.

COVID-19 Q&A #1 (April 11)

Questions and Answers

Regarding COVID-19

April 11, 2020

We are working hard to provide answers to our community’s excellent questions. We will continue to update this question and answer document to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Can we test all the residents?
We are seeking testing for the entire community through multiple avenues. The state is prioritizing skilled nursing and assisted living facilities where there are symptomatic residents. We have already requested testing in Lasell Village Studios and the Newton Board of Health is assisting us in achieving this. This is a fast-evolving area with new information daily. We will keep you abreast of our progress.

2. Would I be called if I am exposed to a known, infectious person at Lasell Village?
The Newton Board of Health has provided guidance to us that we are following.

When we were made aware that residents within Lasell Village and Lasell Studios had received a positive diagnosis, Robin Scully, Director of Wellness, immediately called the Newton Board of Health, and followed their next steps. The Newton Board of Health asked us to contact anyone who had up-close contact with the infected person lasting longer than fifteen minutes. We contacted the people they advised are at increased risk.

 3. What should I do if I don’t feel well?
Should you feel unwell, please let your Primary Care Physician and our Wellness Department know immediately so that you can be tested.

4.  Can Lasell Village share the name of any resident or staff member who tests positive?
No. Under HIPAA rules, we are not allowed to share that person’s name, gender, or address.

5.  Are there additional housekeeping services performed in areas where there is a positive case?
If a resident is diagnosed or presumed positive, we have arranged with an outside contractor with the right equipment to do a deep cleaning 72 hours after the quarantine is complete, and as warranted.

6. What is Lasell Village doing for infection control and sanitizing?
We are continuing to maintain our practice of cleaning every common area four or more times throughout the day, including sanitizing of high-touch points such as door handles, handrails, and elevator buttons.

7. How did the Village independent living resident and Studios residents get the virus?
We do not know how the residents were infected. Please presume everyone is a carrier.

8. How can I minimize exposure?
The best way to minimize your exposure is to isolate as much as possible. Refrain from personal contact and stay home. Only leave your apartment for emergencies, critical treatments or walks outside. Wear a mask when you are not in your apartment alone.

 9. May I walk outdoors? What protection do I take?
Yes, we encourage you to get fresh air. You should wear a mask whenever you leave your apartment. Once outside, if there is no one around, you can remove the mask. Keep it handy, in case you encounter someone. Wash your hands when you leave your apartment and when you return.

 10. How is Lasell Village protecting the Studios staff?
All staff in the Studios are always wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), with specific staff assigned for symptomatic residents. Dietary, activities and housekeeping staff are not entering the Studios. Maintenance will enter only under critical situations, and with personal protective equipment. We have requested testing for all residents and staff in the Studios and are working with the Newton Board of Health to achieve this.

 11. Can I leave Lasell Village to go spend time with my family?
This is not the time to visit family or friends. Our Medical Advisory Committee Chair says that this is risky behavior. Despite this recommendation, if you choose to leave the premises to visit family or friends, you will be required to go through the Welcome Desk health screening when you return to the Village. If the screening brings to light any symptoms, you will not be allowed to return to your apartment. If you are not symptomatic at that time, you will be required to quarantine in your apartment for 14 days upon your return.

12. Can we go out to “senior hours” at the grocery store? Or use drive-up windows to pick up items?
No. Every time you leave the building, you are putting yourself and others at risk. We ask that you stay home and only leave the campus for emergencies or critical treatments. We have expanded our offerings from Pete’s Store, and encourage you to order at LasellVillageNet.com.

 13. Where can I get housekeeping supplies? Borrow a vacuum?
Attached to this email is a flyer from the Facilities Department, which outlines how to purchase common cleaning materials such as mops, brooms, and cleaners. We will deliver purchases to your unit.

Vacuums are available for loan the same day of each resident’s regular cleaning day, for one hour. If requested, the vacuum will be dropped off outside your apartment door and then will be picked up in the same manner. The equipment will then be sanitized by a staff member before it is shared with the next resident. Please call 617-663-7049 to request a loan.

14. How is trash pick-up handled?
We will also pick up trash twice a week from your apartment door.  We are working on operationalizing this practice.  Stay tuned for additional information regarding what days the mail will be delivered and the trash will be picked up at your apartment.

 15. How is outgoing mail handled?
Call the Concierge Desk to arrange for pickup of outgoing mail.

16. How is incoming mail handled?
We are working on a plan to start delivering mail to your apartment door twice a week beginning next week. This is not a small thing, and several staff have volunteered to assist with this project. We appreciate your patience while we work out the details. Don’t worry if there is mail in your individual mailboxes. We’ll get it to you at the beginning of next week.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks,csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

 

A Resident's Gratitude

We are happy to share the following reflection from one of our residents, Inge Thorn Engler, who eloquently expresses gratitude and wisdom in the midst of the current chaotic and challenging time.  We are grateful to her for lifting our spirits!

Them’s Fightin’ Words

A neighbor from the street where we used to live wrote me the other day, saying: “You didn’t know what
you were getting into, did you?”

For some reason that raised my hackles: yes, senior residences are vulnerable in this time of peril, but one never knows what one is getting into in life anyway! Did we ask to be born into our families? We probably had a glimmer of an idea when we chose what would be our life’s work, but did we understand the full extent of it? Or how about when we chose our spouses? You make an educated guess, gather all the facts you have at your disposal, invite your heart in to second-guess your mind, and go for it with all you’ve got.

We didn’t choose Lasell Village lightly: location, education, size, mission, residents we knew or met while searching, the trees all around, underground parking, the proximity of the T — oh, there’s a check-list a mile long. When we arrived and settled in, we discovered how wonderfully the chef catered to one of humans’ basic needs. How concerts and lectures supplemented the course offerings, and how incredibly friendly everyone was. Unbelievably helpful staff! And the combined talent living here: quilters, gardeners, flower arrangers, poets, painters, authors, scientists….

So, let me get to the point and spell it out clearly: we are living in an unusual time of danger and the unknown. We, the older generation are most vulnerable to this new virus. I think I prefer it that way, rather than to have the flower of our humanity be snuffed out before future generations can be in place.

Which brings me back to Lasell Village: we are having more and more restrictions placed on our daily lives, but not out of pique or because we are a nuisance, but rather in a heroic plan to preserve our lives. I am endlessly grateful for all the care showered on us, for the energy the staff is expending, having never bargained for the tasks they are now assuming, The delicious and ample meals being delivered to our door by smiling (I think?) staff, the masks being distributed, the opening of Pete’s store so that, if we plan carefully and do not insist on having everything just as we have always had, we can stay here safely.

Did I know what I was getting into? It was only an educated guess, and I am grateful.

Inge Thorn Engler, Lasell Village Resident

Looking for an earlier update you don’t see here?  Click below to visit the COVID-19 archive page.

 A Summer Update From Lasell Village President Anne Doyle

 

In addition to Lasell Village updates, Lasell University regularly posts COVID-19 information.  Click below to visit the University’s Fall Reopening / COVID-19 Information Page:

Other reliable sources of information you may find helpful:

Skip to content