Lasell Village: COVID-19 Precaution Policies & Updates

In order to protect the health of patients, staff, residents and visitors, we have made precautionary adjustments to our visiting policy and life at Lasell Village during the fast-moving days of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Updates from Village president Anne Doyle will be posted frequently on this page.  Each update is DATED so that residents, staff and concerned families will be able to track both recent and cumulative policies we are enacting in order to safeguard the health of our community. 

April 7, 2020: Alert

Dear Residents, Staff, and family and friends of the Lasell Community,

Lasell Village remains a welcoming, supportive and vibrant community even during these difficult times. Our commitment is to communicate with you as often as necessary to bring you the most current information which will impact our community. Today, a positive case of the coronavirus was reported at Lasell Village.

The resident was in their apartment when they began experiencing symptoms and is now being cared for at a hospital.  Our Wellness Department is reaching out to those whom the resident indicated they were in close contact with to discuss prudent next steps. This afternoon, we were in contact with the Newton Board of Health and continue to follow their guidance. We ask for your continued support of our efforts to make Lasell Village as safe as possible. 

We have taken many actions to create a safe environment for our residents and our staff.

 Here is what you should remember:

  • It is critical to refrain from in-person contact.
  • Stay home. Only leave the campus for emergencies or critical treatments. 
  • Wear a mask when you are not in your apartment alone.
  • Please make sure that all aides and any other medical professionals involved in your health care are screened at the front desk each and every day they come to the Village.
  • Have family members drop off food or other deliveries at the front desk.  Staff will bring them directly to your apartment.
  • Social connection is important.  Please interact electronically with friends and family, and participate in Chanel 918 programming and fitness classes.
  • You may take a walk, but not with your neighbor. Have a mask handy if there is anyone near you.
  • Place your meal orders online or by phone.  Starting tomorrow we are not accepting in-person meal orders.

Please know, we are here to support you as we manage through this crisis together. I’m so proud of the community’s commitment to each of these protocols. I know we all look forward to the day we can return to our normal interactions and activities.

Be well,

Anne

 

April 6, 2020: Masks For All

Dear Residents and Staff,

It is so good to be back at the Village. I am happy to report I have received a clean bill of health and a negative coronavirus test result. I have been working continuously from my home office, but as of today, I will be able to join some other members of the team in rotating office time both remotely and at the Village, as recommended.

First and foremost, I want to again thank everyone for your continued vigilance to stay one step ahead of the coronavirus.

Using Masks:

Several days ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidelines to suggest that individuals begin wearing masks, since, as the CDC reported, “…the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”

With thanks to a myriad group of kind seamstresses, Lasell Village has enough washable cloth masks to distribute one to each resident. We are grateful to these volunteers, including “The Sewing Bee,” whose membership includes Erica Gorn (Bob’s and Julie’s daughter), and Peter Stringham and a group of talented resident seamstresses, for making a beautiful array of cloth masks for our residents. We have supplemented them with cloth masks that the Village has purchased.

There is a grab bag of colors and styles. No matter what design you have, PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK WHEN CIRCULATING throughout the Village. Join staff who have already been wearing masks each day for the protection of the community.

  • If you ordered dinner this evening, a cloth mask will be delivered with your dinner tonight. Otherwise, staff will deliver tomorrow to anyone who doesn’t receive one tonight.
  • One mask per resident! If you already have a mask, please return any extra mask(s) to the Wellness Center. We are carefully monitoring our supply and re-using them as long as possible.
  • If you have a mask, please wear it when you are out of your apartment, including walking outdoors with another person, at a safe 6-foot distance. It is not necessary to wear a mask while alone in your apartment, or while walking outside by yourself.

Using Elevators:

More than one resident has suggested riding elevators solo (or with your spouse/ partner). We ask you to please continue to use good judgment to maintain a safe distance.

Supporting the Dining Team:

The best way to support our dining team is to order your meal for the next day as early as possible: from 3pm the previous day, until 11am the day of the meal delivery.  David and Armando and their teams are working hard to serve you well, and last-minute orders make that challenging. There are multiple ordering options: through the easy-to-use form on LasellVillageNet.com, or by calling 617-663-7085.

Staff Appreciation:
Many of you have emailed me to express your gratitude to the staff for their hard work and attention to our community’s well-being. Staff so appreciate your good words. I’ll continue to share your compliments. Thank you!

Days and Weeks Ahead:
The days and weeks ahead are predicted by the Governor to be the peak of new coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. Harriet Sirof in her ‘20 for the 20th’ presentation on Chanel 918 this morning, talked about the making of a novel, with its beginning, a statement of a problem(s), the often complicated resolution, and the ending.  I couldn’t help but think that the arc of this coronavirus will follow a similar path as a novel. We are all hopeful for the resolution, knowing that there will be many chapters before we are at that point.

These are challenging times, but we know that the staff and residents of Lasell Village are and will continue to rise to meet the challenge.

Be well,

Anne

 

March 30, 2020: Ten Tips for Healthy Living during Stay-at-Home Advisory

Dear Residents,

As we all adapt to leading more of our lives virtually, the Village’s mission of living and learning is adding a whole new definition!

Today the Lasell campus welcomed students back ‘virtually’ from spring break via online classes. Friday, I enjoyed my first online Zoom coffee and conversation with six residents. Some residents are learning to play online chess with their grandchildren and neighbors.   Our education and programming team has brought you creative online fitness, programming and remote learning offerings.

You have all been resourceful, cheerful, and understanding as we have layered on daily community safety steps, and ‘stay-well’ limitations to your social interactions, just as the CDC has recommended, to stem the spread of this virus.

Below are today’s 10 top tips we hope you will keep top of mind as we travel these uncertain times together.

Here’s how you can help – TEN TIPS:

1.       Do not congregate.  Group-gatherings in the courtyard or in libraries or common areas are off limits.  Staff will begin circulating throughout our community to help us all “do the right thing” and ensure that social interactions are minimized. Do enjoy these common spaces, but just not in groups.

2.       Stay on campus and please encourage your family to help with errands.  Ask family to please drop off groceries and other necessities at the front door.  We are working to stock Pete’s with your favorite items and soon you’ll be able to place orders for Pete’s online, too. Staff will delivery to your door. The Concierge Desk and VillageNet.com also have info on online grocery options.

3.       Order lunch and dinner using the new online Cognito form. You’ll finding it on VillageNet.com.

4.       Please put biodegradable food containers in your trash bags. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the containers will biodegrade in the trash. Remember, food waste gums up recycling content, so do not recycle these containers.

5.       Let us know if you or a friend would welcome an additional call each week from a friendly staff member.  In addition to our social worker, Rebecca Priest, we have a team of staff who are reaching out to every resident each week for a check-in.

6.       Keep moving inside.

a.       The fitness rooms, like gyms state-wide, are now closed due to difficulty of keeping fitness equipment scrupulously clean amidst research around the likely duration that the virus can linger on surfaces.  The pool will be closed for this time (per Newton Public Health and our Medical Director’s guidelines).  The idea behind this is to limit opportunity for contact with other people and with pool railings, and surfaces in the dressing rooms.  Our lifeguard, Adam, has helpfully agreed to be redeployed to support the dining team and others.

b.       Enjoy fitness classes with all of our talented instructors: Derek (balance), Britta (group exercise and strength), Ruth (yoga),  Jim (Tai Chi), and Paul (variety!) on 918.

c.       Paul’s popular fitness instruction is moving from the fitness rooms to online group fitness classes, and will include short one-on-one fitness sessions.  Paul can assist with specific exercise programs. With Paul’s direction, even simple home equipment can feel like a whole gym!

7.       Keep moving outside. Continue to take walks around campus and get fresh air.

8.       Remind privately-hired companions or aides to complete the daily front-desk check-in procedures.  Visitors (except for those related to your healthcare) are not permitted within Lasell Village, so please do not buzz them in.  Please call the front desk for assistance.

9.       Avoid touching community surfaces, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands. As vigilant as our housekeepers are, every touch to a door, or public space, offers the opportunity to pick up someone else’s germs. (Note: we are prioritizing hand sanitizer for our health care settings, so some hand sanitizer dispensers may be empty when you need them.  Keep a small bottle in your pocket for times like those.) The front desk always has hand sanitizer.

10.       Join me for a Zoom coffee!  Email Nancy Snow to join a group of six residents and me every Friday in April at 9:30am. Bring your own mug! This online gathering was a highlight for me last week, with residents sharing stories and wise words, including advice to approach each day as an explorer would, full of curiosity and possibility.

Many of you have sent “hope you are feeling better” notes – thank you.  I miss our connecting and truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kind words.  For the last few weeks, I have been working hard from home, following the CDC guidelines of staying at home and isolating from others as I have recovered from cold and related symptoms; I have recently been able to be tested for the coronavirus, and expect to hear good news.  I should be able to soon be at the Village, and waving at as many of you as I see.

Thank you for your vigilance and support. What makes me happiest is knowing we are a strong and supportive community, and so often having the opportunity during this time to share with staff your heartfelt compliments.

Be well,

Anne

March 25, 2020: Angels Exist

March 25, 2020

Dear Residents,

Your Village team continues to adjust our protocols to reduce contact and possibilities for transmission. In the next few days, we are implementing the following for our community’s health:

 Resident Support:

1.       Meals will be delivered to all residents beginning Thursday. To minimize contact, we are discontinuing the option to “pick up” meals at this time. See delivery time details in News and Notes and on VillageNet.

2.       Village employees will begin to wear surgical face masks. The purpose of this measure is to protect our residents against droplet spread.

3.       Our front desk will begin taking the temperature of all residents who have circulated outside of the Village. As you know, we have already implemented protocols to take the temperature of all employees and vendors who enter Lasell Village per CDC guidelines, and now we are extending that practice to residents who have circulated outside of Lasell Village for an additional cautionary step.

Instructions: If you go outside the Village and visit any location where you may be exposed to others, (such as visiting a grocery store, post office, or pharmacy), please return to the front entrance at Building 120 to have your temperature taken.

Employee Support:

1.       We are offering all on-site staff free lunch on Wednesdays as a small way to extend our thanks for their care and commitment to the community.

2.       We introduced Telehealth visits through our employee’s health insurer, Tufts Health Plan, to ensure that staff and their families are able to see their physician efficiently, and without putting themselves or others at risk by entering a health facility.

3.       We are providing essential employees with frequent training for their and our residents’ protections.

Angels exist:

We received a generous gift of surgical masks through our relationship with Bank of America. One of their clients, a local business, had purchased the masks, but no longer needed them as all of their employees are working from home. Our Bank of America colleague thought of the Village when this company was looking for a worthy nonprofit!

Getting a call with a donation of needed masks was magical! Our team had been discussing how to provide employees with surgical masks given our limited supply when this gift arrived.

As we know from the many examples throughout our Village community, kindness is everywhere.

Thank you for your continued vigilance in maintaining social distancing.  Pick up the phone and call a friend, or send a hand-written note!  Take a walk and wave to your friend across the street. I love hearing how much you are enjoying the daily remote educational, fitness and entertainment programs provided by our talented residents and education & programming department.

Be well,

Anne

March 23, 2020: Zoom Coffee with Anne

March 23, 2020

Dear Residents,

 Hello! I’ve heard from many of you that you are venturing out for fresh air on these early spring days, whether the day offers snow, sleet, or warm sun. With the Governor’s announcement today requiring greater restrictions on our activities, I encourage you to continue to follow our Channel 918 exercise offerings from your living rooms, and augment that with walks around the neighborhood, in between engaging in our Education team’s remote creative offerings.

 Lasell Village is already following the advice provided in today’s Governor’s Order to ensure that non-essential employees are working from home, and that our community is being vigilant about not gathering in groups.  Please note the new restriction on the size of any gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The greatest challenge to our community is staying connected, even as we are apart.  One of the aspects I value most at Lasell Village is the daily contact that I have with so many of you – a conversation on the sidewalk, in the Linkway on your way to class, or a chat in the Café.

 To continue that interaction, (as we all practice social distancing), I would like to introduce:

ZOOM COFFEE WITH ANNE.

For the next four Friday’s (March 27th, April 3rd, April 10th, April 17th) for 30 minutes (9:30am-10:00am), I’m hoping that a small group will join me virtually for “Coffee with Anne.”  We’ll schedule about six residents at a time so that we can have a conversation. I’ll have my mug and I hope you will join me with your favorite mug, and together we will spend a bit of time together before the Village’s variety of morning remote educational offerings begin and get to know each other better.

Please contact Nancy Snow at nsnow@lasell.edu or 617-663-7129 to let her know if you will join me on one of these Fridays. Nancy will send you the simple instructions for us to gather virtually, by computer or by phone, for coffee and conversation.

And please let me know your ideas for how to continue connecting with staff and residents.

Our first virtual residents and managers Town Meeting last Friday exceeded expectations with more than a hundred watching from your apartments as John Dixon served as the capable Master of Ceremonies in the ballroom.  Thank you to all who made this technically possible to synch Zoom, our 918 internal TV channel, and our presenters, Board of Trustees Chair Margery Silver, Resident Advisory Council Chair, Bill Hamilton, Wellness Director, Robin Scully and me.   The resident call-in questions were terrific, allowing for real-time answers. This additional means of community communication will help augment our multiple written updates in email, News and Notes, and posted on VillageNet.

Please know that the Village team is working hard to plan for our present and future together facing the coronavirus.  Thank you all for your support!

Warm early spring wishes,

Anne

 

March 18, 2020: Less is Better—Minimize Contact to Avoid Risk

March 18, 2020

Dear Residents,

Thank you all for your flexibility and responsiveness to the changes that we have adopted in recent days. As hard as it is to minimize contact with your friends and family, we are all adopting the “less is better” approach. The less you expose yourself to other people, the lower the risk that you will bring the virus back to the Village. Many of our administrative staff are now working from home for this reason.  We have made decisions that impact personal interactions, but the day-to-day choices remain in your hands. Thank you for doing all you can to reduce your contact with others.

Our team strongly suggests that you:

  • Do not visit friends and family outside the Village.
  • Do not host Villagers in your apartment.
  • Cancel all non-essential appointments (including haircuts, automobile maintenance and non-urgent health visits). Transportation for essential health visits will continue.
  • Avoid shopping in stores.

What to do:

  • Take fitness classes with Britta on channel 918 (call Carla Pepka for equipment).
  • Participate in our Education Department’s offerings on-line.
  • Offer to share a talent on channel 918 for our “20 for the 20th anniversary” challenge.
  • Call your neighbor and discuss a movie or 918 entertainment after you have both watched it from the comfort of your own apartments.
  • Get fresh air. Take walks.
  • Keep exercising! Go to the fitness rooms when there are four or fewer people there, (and of course, wipe down the machines before and after you use them).
  • Order your groceries on-line or pick-up necessities at Pete’s Store.

What is changing around the Village:

  • The Village Bank is closed, but the ATM is available. Sue Ryan would welcome your call at 617-340-1297 or 617-969-4300.
  • The Beauty Spot will remain closed for a minimum of two weeks.
  • The ping-pong tables are off limits for now.
  • Fitness equipment is being spread across Neill and Pestalozzi rooms, to enable more people to exercise while maintaining social distancing (limit four persons per room).
  • We will no longer provide transportation to the grocery store.
  • Our maintenance, housekeeping, and IT departments will provide services for essential visits (e.g. your toilet is overflowing or your faucet won’t shut off).  Non-essential visits to resident apartments will stop for now, for the protection of residents and staff. We are evaluating our weekly housekeeping services to apartments.

Ordering food:

In order to keep the flow of dinner service as smooth as possible in the café, David has requested that all dinner orders be placed promptly. You can send orders as early as 8:00 AM, but no later than 2 PM.

We would prefer that you not order from restaurants, but if you do choose to do so, the order must be delivered to the Welcome Desk (120 Seminary Avenue). Please use your credit card and add the tip on the card. Runners will be available at the front desk until 7:30 PM to help deliver your take-out order directly to your apartment.

Groceries:

There are multiple on-line grocery shopping options and the Concierge Desk can assist you. Your groceries must be delivered ONLY to 120 Seminary Avenue (Welcome Desk). Runners will be available to deliver your groceries to your apartment.

Package and US Postal Service Mail Deliveries:

All incoming mail and packages are being delivered to the Welcome Desk and will be distributed by staff, given restrictions on mail carriers instituted by the US Postal Service. Please check your Village mail cubbies every day.

You may bring your outgoing mail to the Welcome Desk as mail slots are shut until further notice.

Communications:

Please watch for updates on email, at bulletin boards near the Concierge Desk, on LasellVillageNet.com and on the Lasell Village website.

Thank you for your continued support of each other and our staff.  Future updates will include additional tips on ways to stay engaged while we maintain our distance from one another.

Wishing you all the best,

Anne

March 16, 2020: New Dining & Take-Out Policies

MARCH 16, 2020

Dear residents,

Following announcements by the Governor and advice from the Department of Public Health, effective with breakfast Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Lasell Village will close the seating portion of the Dining Room and Café.  We will continue to provide the high-quality meal service that you expect – just with a new twist –either provided by delivery or pick-up. Delivery charges are waived at this time.

All take-out will be done through the Café.

Call 617-663-7085 for delivery.

Breakfast (7:00 AM to 9:30 AM):

  • Residents can come to the Café and place their order to take back to their homes OR residents can call 617-663-7085 for delivery. No change in menu.

Lunch (11:00 AM to 3:30 PM):

  • Residents can come to the Café and place their order to take back to their homes OR residents can call 617-663-7085 for delivery. No change in menu.

Dinner (5:00 PM to 7:00 PM):

  • Residents can come to the Café and place their order for pickup or call 617-663-7085 for delivery.
  • All orders should be placed by 3:00 PM.
  • Deliveries to buildings 60, 70, and 80 will go out between 5:30 and 6:00 PM. Deliveries for buildings 85, 125, and 130 will go out between 6:15 to 6:45 PM. Pickup is available between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM.
  • The menu will be adjusted daily. See note below.

Brunch (11:00 AM to 1:30 PM):

  • Sunday brunch will be available only through takeout or delivery from the Café (617-663-7085). Orders can be placed from 11 AM till 1:30 PM.  Delivery is available 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM.

The weekly menu

  • The weekly menu will be available through News and Notes, posted by the mailboxes, and at the Welcome and Concierge desks. The next day’s menu will be posted on the Bulletin Boards in individual buildings beginning Monday, March 16, as well as available in the Café and at the dining room podium.

Where to eat?

  • While it is pleasurable to have meals with friends, we strongly discourage group meals. Maintaining social distance is the safest way to stop the spread of the virus.

We encourage fresh air, exercise, and engaging with friends in as many creative ways as possible, as you maintain the recommended distance.  Watch for more updates tomorrow on ideas to reduce social isolation as we adapt on a daily basis to new guidelines.

Best wishes,

Anne Doyle and the Dining Team

March 13, 2020: Village Adopts New Steps

March 13, 2020

Dear Residents,

As the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) continues to evolve, Lasell Village management is swiftly implementing the latest guidance from the CDC, and the Department of Public Health.  The health and safety of our residents, staff and guests is our highest priority. It is important to note that no member of the Lasell community has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

At this time, to reduce risk to our community, we request that residents not have visitors. Exceptions to this include visitors supporting a resident’s health care needs, after they go through front desk screening protocol. Please reach out to your friends and family to alert them.  We know this is a big impact on your daily lives, and we encourage you to stay in touch via phone and video chat.

Beginning Monday, we are implementing a more stringent screening protocol by taking the temperature of all non-residents. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100.3°, or who is not able to meet the screening protocol requirements, will be refused entry. We encourage residents to stay in touch with friends and family through phone calls and video chats.

Dining: We ask that residents with compromised immune systems, those recovering from surgery, and those with any signs of illness such as coughing, shortness of breath or fever, to avoid all common areas, especially the dining room and café. At present, our dining room and café remain open. This may change in the near future.

Please continue to keep a distance of 6 feet from others, wash hands frequently and refrain from crowds. We will continue to share tips on staying healthy.

Steps at the Village:

Sanitizing:

  • Increased hand sanitizer stations around the Village
  • Deep cleaning of Village vehicles and the Fitness Center on a regular basis
  • Frequent sanitizing of all common areas

Social distancing:

  • We are reducing the number of people attending any shopping trip.
  • Please see more details from John Dixon as to daily changes in the Education Department.
  • At the fitness center, leave one empty machine between each person. Wipe down your machine with the provided wipes BEFORE and AFTER you begin exercising. Housekeeping staff and Paul will be sanitizing the machines, as well.
  • Fitness classes will continue but will be capped at 20 students in the Ballroom to permit at least 6 feet between each attendee. For now, these classes will be first-come, first-served. Sign up in the event book at the concierge desk.
  • We are waiving the fees for meal delivery.

Avoiding Crowds:

The following are cancelled until further notice:

  • All Village-sponsored trips outside the village.
  • Large Village-based gatherings.
  • Transportation to religious services. (Contact your religious institutions to see if on-line services are available.)
  • All intergenerational modules, intergenerational programs and all events at Lasell University.
  • All cross-enrollment classes at Lifelong Learning at Regis College.
  • King Lear with Parkman Howe.
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Genetics with Judith Tsipis and Maud Chaplin will not meet for its last class.
  • Voices of Experience.

Thank you for your support.  Please stay alert to daily notices as we work together to reduce the risk of the coronavirus on our community. Our management team is ready to answer your questions.

Best wishes,

Anne

March 11, 2020: Lasell House No-Visitor Policy...Call Instead!

Coronavirus Precautions Lasell House Update:  3/11

March 11, 2020

Dear Village residents, staff, and friends,

Thank you to our entire community for adapting as we prepare and plan for potential impacts from the coronavirus.  I especially appreciate everyone following the protocol for visitors and staff checking-in at our welcome desk.

Given Department of Public Health guidance and increasing alerts, we are implementing a NEW protocol for Lasell House: We are asking Lasell House visitors to remain home and call rather than visit their friends and family at Lasell House.  At this time, only Lasell, Genesis, and approved healthcare staff are permitted to enter Lasell House.

We are grateful to everyone in our community for supporting our preparations around the coronavirus. We have not had any exposures to-date, and ask that if you have any symptoms to contact us immediately.

We are working on several additional ways to protect our residents. If a member of our community has contact with someone who is infected, then we will enforce quarantine for two weeks.  This is a key method for reducing contact. We have thought through how the coronavirus might impact our community, and we have plans for each of those scenarios.

We are evaluating our procedures to see whether there are further ways to reduce contact.  Here are a few steps underway:

·        Next week’s Residents and Managers meeting will be a VIRTUAL Meeting! Stay in the comfort of your apartment while listening in and calling with questions.  Please plan to attend via 918 on Friday, March 20th at 2pm. NOTE change of date to help us prepare for simultaneous call-ins by residents during our virtual meeting. Before the meeting, we will send an instruction sheet explaining how to call-in.
·        We will experiment with classroom and meeting seat arrangements to provide more space between attendees.
·        Thanks for supporting changes to brunch on Sunday as staff serve residents and guests, rather than a self-serve buffet.
·        Stay tuned for Café precautionary procedural changes to decrease contact between staff and guests.
·        Continue to remind your family and guests to sign-in at the front desk and to stay home if they are not feeling well.
·        Please provide your family contact information so that we may update them as appropriate.  There are forms at the Concierge desk.

We are tracking best practices and participating in the campus-wide planning committee.  Our team is carefully preparing back-up plans with guidance and support from members of the Medical Advisory Committee.  The staff and management team at Lasell Village are enormously dedicated and focused on the health of our community. I am grateful for our many partners who are supporting our efforts, and remaining flexible as we respond to daily updates.  We are always available for questions.

Thank you,
Anne

 

 

In addition to Lasell Village updates, Lasell University regularly posts COVID-19 information.  Click below to visit the University’s COVD-19 info page.

Other reliable sources of information you may find helpful:

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