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 as we move forward with hope.

  • Below you will find our most recent updates.
  • On the COVID-19 Archive page, find all prior communications about Village policies as our community has continually and proactively adapted to the evolving understanding of coronavirus risk and prevention.

September 8, 2021: Covid Protocol Reminders: We Offer Testing if Concerned

 

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

With the Jewish New Year reminding us to reflect on the past and look forward to the coming months, our team is grateful to be working with our caring community as we collectively negotiate the evolving Covid-19 virus and Delta variant. The Lasell Village team wants to remind you of our protocols:

1.  Masks: Masks are required at all times inside the Village when around others, except when eating in the Café or Dining Room. Outdoor visits (mask-free) are encouraged!

2.  Testing: There are many reasons for residents, staff, and guests to be tested:

a.  Close contact with a positive individual:       

i.  Vaccinated individuals: The CDC does not require vaccinated individuals to quarantine after close contact with an infected individual. Continue to wear a mask at all times and be tested: If exposed, please contact the Wellness Center to be tested immediately, as well as on the third and fifth day after exposure                                       
 ii.   Unvaccinated individuals:Unvaccinated individuals who have had close contact with an infected person need to self-quarantine for ten days, wear a mask around others, and test on the tenth day. While nearly everyone at Lasell Village is vaccinated, if concerned about possible exposure as an unvaccinated individual, please contact the Wellness Center immediately.

b. After travel out of state: Residents and staff need to be tested upon return to the Village, and again on the third and fifth day.

c. Working at Lasell House: Staff will be tested weekly, following Department of Public Health protocols.

d. Concerned individuals: We offer – at no cost – BinaxNow rapid testing (15 minutes) to everyone in the community, including guests. Contact the Wellness Center at 617-663-7071 to schedule an appointment.

3. Classes: All Village faculty are vaccinated. Residents are required to wear masks in all classrooms, including Voices of Experience. If you feel ill, please stay home; several classes have 918 and Zoom options. Lasell University has also instituted a set of Covid protocols for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Residents participating in Lasell University courses or visiting University buildings should refer to https://www.lasell.edu/covid-19-information.html for current information.

4.  Visitors: It continues to be important that ALL visitors go through health screening at the front desk.

Unvaccinated visitors are not allowed in Lasell House, per Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations.
Per Department of Public Health regulations, newly admitted Lasell House patients are not permitted to have visitors within the first ten days, unless it is a compassionate care visit. To schedule a visit, call either Lasell House Administrator Robert Fondi (617-663-7059) or Director of Nursing Andrea Rando-Blaha (617-663-7101).

An excellent article in today’s New York Times provides timely information: Breakthrough Infections: How to Navigate. We look forward to updating you when we hear from CVS about distribution of a third dose of the Covid vaccine.

Best,

Anne Doyle and Robin Scully, Director of Wellness

August 26, 2021 Update on COVID-19 Booster Vaccines

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

The question on everyone’s mind is, “When will Lasell Village offer a vaccine clinic for Covid-19 booster shots?”  The short answer is, stay tuned! This note provides an update on what we know today.

What’s a booster shot? What’s a third dose? Is there a difference?

The CDC recommends:

“People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.”

The CDC explains the difference between  a booster shot and an additional (third) dose:

“This additional dose intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series is not the same as a booster dose, given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.”

What should you do if you think you qualify for a third dose?

The CDC recommends a third dose for individuals with certain medical conditions who initially received the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. You may want to check with your Primary Care Physician. Residents who qualify medically can contact Walgreens or CVS directly and schedule an appointment.  

If you receive an additional Covid-19 vaccine dose, please let the Wellness Center know by calling 617-663-7071.

Who is eligible for a Covid-19 booster shot, and when will they be offered?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that the booster program is planned to start in the end of September, prioritizing those who received their initial Covid-19 vaccines earliest in the vaccine rollout.  This plan is subject to further FDA review and evaluation.

Lasell Village was fortunate to be in the initial Pfizer vaccine rollout, and we are hopeful for good news around the booster schedule. Our team is in close contact with CVS to schedule our community booster vaccine clinics.  They have not yet established their booster clinic dates.

What’s the plan for Village flu and Covid-19 community vaccine booster clinics?

We will arrange clinics this fall at Lasell Village for both a flu vaccine and the Pfizer Covid-19 booster vaccine with medical guidance informing the timing of these clinics.

What is the vaccine rate at Lasell Village?

We are very proud to be approaching 100% vaccination of all Village employees. In May, we set the date of September 1st for full vaccination to continue employment at Lasell Village. Our team has been a leader in requiring vaccinations for the safety of our entire community. As of February, 98% of our residents have also been fully vaccinated.  

Questions?

If you have specific medical questions, please reach out to your Primary Care Physician. Both Robert Fondi, Administrator of Lasell House, 617-663-7059, and Robin Scully, Director of Wellness, 617-663-7050, are available for other questions.

We will keep you updated on the plan for vaccine clinics.  

Enjoy these late summer days,

Anne

August 3, 2021 Update: Masks are back and rapid tests are available

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

The Covid Delta variant is changing our world quickly and Lasell Village is adapting quickly, too.  Beginning right away, we are asking everyone to help us maintain a healthy community by wearing a mask.

Residents: Please wear a mask when others are present. This recommendation applies outside our community and on our campus, including, but not limited to, the Village fitness rooms, classrooms, transportation, common areas, and the Café and dining room (when not eating).

  • Please remind guests, vendors, and aides to wear a mask and continue to check-in at the front desk.
  • At this time, only vaccinated persons are allowed to eat in the dining room and Cafe. Masks should be worn when not eating.  The take-out option is still available in the Café.
  • All staff are wearing masks.
  • We are happy to be able to offer free rapid tests from the Wellness Center for all residents, staff, guests, vendors, and aides by calling 617-663-7071 during regular Wellness Center hours (M-F 7am – 8pm, and weekends and holidays 9am – 3pm unless otherwise posted). Testing is a great tool to use immediately if experiencing any symptoms or if concerned about Covid exposure.

What about upcoming concerts?

  • We are asking all Voices of Experience members to wear masks during rehearsals. Prior to the final concerts, we will administer a rapid test to each member of the Voices of Experience.  We plan to hold the concerts in the Ballroom with masked audience members, and we will also make the Voices concerts available via Channel 918.
  • Thursday evening’s “Paul Broadnax Tribute concert” will follow similar guidelines, with all musicians tested prior to the concert and audience members wearing masks.

Thank you for being flexible and responsive to evolving information and guidelines. We are working hard to mitigate Covid risks while continuing to maintain a social and engaged community.

Best wishes,

Anne

July 30, 2021: COVID Update re: Delta Variant and mask-wearing

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

 Lasell Village has continued to have success in 2021 as one of the first vaccinated communities and the first senior living community in the state to mandate staff vaccines. As a result we have happily resumed so many of our beloved educational and social activities. When we met as a community on Wednesday, we talked about the need to continue to follow up-to-the-minute science, state and federal guidelines, and best-practices. 

Today I write to share updated guidelines just issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regarding mask-wearing given the risk of the Delta variant. Based on this new guidance and given the higher-risk population who lives at Lasell Village, along with the designated “high risk” status of Middlesex county, we strongly recommend that all residents, staff, visitors and vendors resume wearing masks indoors.

On Monday, the management team will assemble to review evolving CDC and DPH guidelines to provide more specific advice around possible requirements, and the impact on other upcoming events and activities.

DPH reported:

“In light of the information provided by the CDC, and in order to maximize protection of vulnerable individuals from the Delta variant, the Department of Public Health now advises that a fully vaccinated person should wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.”

Here is today’s full DPH mask advisory: https://www.mass.gov/doc/updated-advisory-regarding-masks-and-face-coverings-july-30-2021-0/download

 Stay tuned for more specific information in the days to come. Thank you all for caring so much about our community and being great partners as we work hard to continue to keep our community Covid-free.

 Best,

Anne

June 14, 2021: Revised Protocols at Lasell Village

As the world continues to relax covid practices, we are doing the same at the Village.  It feels wonderful to be with each other in person again and enjoying activities.  We are particularly excited to reopen the dining areas for dinner in a week.

Please review the attached revised protocols.

Take care,

Cheryl Sacks
Director of Sales and Marketing

May 21, 2021: Vaccination Priority

Dear Residents, Employees, Family, and Friends,

The Lasell Village community cares deeply about the health and wellbeing of its residents, employees and entire community.

Over the past year, we have made many proactive decisions that would increase the safety and decrease the risks for everyone who lives, works and visits the Village. In early 2021, we were pleased to enable access to the Covid-19 vaccine for our residents and prospective residents, employees, companions, aides, faculty, and vendors, and we achieved a 99% vaccination rate for Villagers.

This week, we informed all employees that by September 1st, Lasell Village is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated, except those with medical conditions or religious exemptions. We are one of the first senior communities in Massachusetts to implement this policy because we believe it is important for the health and well-being of our community. Our management team and clinical leaders have worked hard to address employee concerns and questions about the vaccine. We are pleased that Lasell Village has one of the highest staff vaccination rates in the industry, more than 91.5%, and with this policy, we will approach 100%.  Already, new employee candidates are vaccinated before beginning employment.  We are aware that new variants of the virus are likely to continue to circulate, and that vaccination is the best form of protection.  By giving more than three-months’ notice, we hope that everyone makes the decision to be vaccinated, and are providing support toward that end.

As we have throughout the past year, Lasell Village will continue to find ways to address the needs of all in a caring and thoughtful manner. For example, with the mask mandate ending, we are able to offer residents the choice of virtual or in-person classes, expanded dining and fitness options, and a resumption of evening in-person programming by mid-June.  All of these changes are possible because of the culture of caring that our community continues to embrace.  Lasell House will continue to follow Department of Public Health guidelines for Lasell House employees, residents, and guests.  All Village visitors should continue to check-in at the Welcome Desk.

Warm spring-time wishes,

Anne

April 1, 2021: Opening Days

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

 Tomorrow is opening day for the Red Sox, this year with fewer fans in the stands. Like the Red Sox, Lasell Village is experiencing our opening days, too; while we are not roping off seats, we are carefully offering musical events, visits, and exercise classes with appropriate distancing. I concur with Red Sox executive, Pete Nesbit’s, advice:

 “A lot of the camaraderie, a lot of the high-fives and hugs that you would see for a home run or for a walk-off, those are things we’re trying to discourage.” 

 Likewise, while there were no hugs and high fives in Margaret’s Café today when I stopped by, there were lots of smiles and conversation between bites of sandwich (with masks on when not eating). 

 Lasell Village’s strong vaccination rate remains among the highest in the Commonwealth: 99% of all residents and 89% of all employees are vaccinated. Given our vaccination partnership with CVS, new employees joining since February are able to be quickly vaccinated, allowing us to reduce Covid-19 risks. As a result, we updated protocols, highlighted in the attached document. Residents may now join hybrid exercise classes (in-person and online), visit and share meals in apartments, meet resident friends for lunch in the Café (and soon in the dining room), and hear live music.

 Even as we carefully re-open activities, we are attentive to risks in the broader community: the U.K. variant is becoming widespread and there has been an uptick in infection rates in some parts of the country and in the Commonwealth over the last week.  We await further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health regarding protocols for vaccinated individuals.

 It has been delightful to welcome so many new residents in the last month to the Village, Studios, and Lasell House. The “class of 2020/21” has bonded over their shared experience of making masked friends. The entire community is abuzz with new in-person opportunities and the lure of springtime weather for many outdoor activities.

 For those of you lucky enough to have Red Sox tickets, enjoy with masks on!  For everyone spending time together this weekend with friends and family, please continue to take Covid-19 precautions.

 Happy spring,

Anne 

 

February 26, 2021: One Year with Covid

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

Listening to President Biden’s solemn and heartfelt remarks on Monday night honoring the more than 500,000 lives lost to Covid in the United States, I joined the world in a reflective moment.  A year ago most of us had no idea what would hit us, no idea that “you’re on mute” would seemingly become the most common phrase in the English language (at a time when having a voice is ever more important), no idea that loneliness and pain would define too many lives. Now, as we round the corner on one year with Covid, together we are remembering the friends, neighbors, family members, and those we never knew, but whose stories we read, imagining the lives they left behind.

Even as we have been physically distant, togetherness has defined the Lasell Village community.  The links in our circle have grown stronger as we have supported each other and looked out for each other; we’ve celebrated our 20th anniversary together, and we have mourned together.

Over the last 365 days, I have grown accustomed to the staccato rhythm of writing email updates, remaining open and transparent about what we knew, what we didn’t know, what we were learning.  Sending frequent emails opened up a new communication pathway and meant the joy of two-way communication, hearing back from many of you with questions, concerns, suggestions, and notes of appreciation, all of which helped the team and me to prioritize steps to support living through Covid, not just coping through Covid.

Vaccination Success:

This week we held our final vaccination clinic: we are delighted to report that 99% of residents and patients and 89% of all staff have received two doses.  In addition, on-site vendors and caregivers were also vaccinated.  We are proud to have a vaccination rate that far exceeds the average in our industry.

New Protocols:

With vaccinations and new guidelines from the Governor, Lasell Village is introducing several new protocols to focus on resident wellbeing and socialization. We ask all members of our community to use good judgment, visit outside establishments at times when they are not crowded, and continue to take protective steps, even with those who have been vaccinated.

We are glad to begin to open the Village in small ways. Beginning right away, the following new Lasell Village protocols will permit greater socialization. In groups of up to four individuals, wearing masks and social distancing:

  1. Residents may visit with each other in their apartments with food and drink permitted (masks on when not eating/drinking);
  2. Guests, family and friends may visit in apartments without food or drink permitted;
  3. Guests, family and friends are invited to join ping pong and table games at the Village;
  4. Residents may visit family and friends outside of the Village.

Guests need to continue to complete the health screening at the Welcome Desk.

Togetherness has defined Lasell Village and will continue to do so as we adapt our protocols in the coming months. The team is continuing to assess in-person dining options, activities, and more. Lasell Village has demonstrated that we are a community that prioritizes residents’ wellbeing, engagement, intellectual curiosity AND health.  Thank you for continuing to bring out the best in each other as we round the corner on one year with Covid.

Best,

Anne

January 14, 2021: Lasell Village Vaccination Clinics off to a Great Start

 

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

Congratulations to all who were vaccinated this week! With careful preparation and the full attention of the Village team, this week’s two on-site clinics moved along without a hitch and with a celebratory feel.  CVS told me that this was their smoothest vaccination clinic site yet, thanks to the team’s planning and pre-work and to residents’ cheerful cooperation.  As one resident said, she never knew that a shot in the arm could be the best present ever!  A special bonus was the chance for staff and residents to enjoy live – and lively – conversations, even with masks on and at the appropriate distance.

Vaccinations by the numbers:

Nearly 400 first doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine have been administered across the entire Village, Lasell House, and Studios!  We are thrilled with the results: 100% of Lasell House and Studios’ residents and over 98% of independent residents have received the vaccine along with aides and some on-site vendors who have frequent community contact. At our first clinic in late December, 75% of all staff were vaccinated.  Additional staff are being vaccinated next week.

Next steps:

Residents who received their first dose on Monday, January 11 will receive a second dose on Monday, February 1. Residents who received their first dose on Tuesday, January 12 will receive their second dose on Tuesday, February 2.

We all need to keep our guard up, as a recent Sunday New York Time’s article articulated. It reminds us that even when people are fully vaccinated (a week or two after the second dose), they still may become virus carriers, and we must remain careful.  We have over a month to adjust protocols at the Village.  By the end of February, when nearly everyone in the community has received their second dose and there is protection, we will update protocols based on CDC and Department of Public Health guidance and the then-available best medical evidence.

The team is delighted that this week we were able to deliver peace of mind. I loved seeing so many smiling eyes above masks on our vaccination days!

As we approach our national day to honor The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., his words remind us of the power of love: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  These are words to carry us into the New Year.

Warm wishes,

Anne

 

January 5, 2021: Exciting New Years Vaccination News

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

Great news for the start of the New Year: Lasell Village has been given the green light to vaccinate all independent residents!

In my last note, I announced that 75% of all employees and 100% of all Lasell House and Studios residents had been vaccinated last Tuesday.  We are delighted to be able to offer the vaccine to the rest of our community next week, on Monday, January 11 and Tuesday, January 12.  We are pleased to be at the front of the vaccination schedule in Massachusetts, even though it is with short notice.

Residents will receive a hard-copy packet including the consent form, the vaccination schedule, and Frequently Asked Questions. Read the instructions carefully and fill out your consent form right away.  My advice: settle in with a cup of tea, read all of the materials, and complete the homework below as soon as possible, but no later than Thursday, January 7 at noon.

We learned from the first CVS clinic to expect the unexpected as the team works hard to make the process move along smoothly. Bring patience, your smart phone, and a smile under your mask.  Being one of the first Continuing Care Retirement Communities in the state to vaccinate all our residents is a wonderful New Year’s gift!

Best,

Anne

LASELL VILLAGE RESIDENT COVID-19 VACCINATION INSTRUCTIONS

WHEN:  CVS will vaccinate residents over two days next week, followed by two additional vaccination dates three weeks later to administer the second dose. Each resident is assigned to a Monday clinic or a Tuesday clinic.

Monday: First vaccine: Monday, January 11; second vaccine: Monday, February 1
Tuesday: First vaccine: Tuesday, January 12; second vaccine: Tuesday, February 2

Each resident’s assignment is listed by building. The schedule is tight! Arrive on time but expect this to be a bit like the opening of your favorite store.  The line may move quickly or there may be delays; the line may be long since CVS is still working out the process….so bring patience!

WHO: CVS will administer the vaccine to all independent residents, employees not previously vaccinated, and others who have been part of the Village testing program. We are delighted to be able to extend the vaccination program to residents’ private aides, whether working for an agency or privately, since they have been part of our testing program. Aides and their residents should plan to be vaccinated at the same time if possible.

—Which vaccine? CVS will administer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

WHERE: CVS will administer the vaccine in one half of the Lasell Village Ballroom, with post-vaccination observation (15 minutes) held in the adjacent Ballroom space. On the day of vaccination: proceed to the Great Room for registration and further instructions.

Homework:

  1. CVS Covid-19 Vaccination Consent form:
    1. Please fill out the consent form immediately, but no later than noon on Thursday, January 7 and return to the Wellness Center.  Each person must fill out the consent form to receive the vaccination (each resident, each aide, each employee).
    2. Note!  Our team is entering the data into the CVS system, and this is a time-consuming process. For the prior vaccination clinic, CVS entered the consent form data themselves, and they are now asking for our help.  Your quick response will help the Lasell Village team and allow the day to run more smoothly.
    3. In order to complete your consent form, you must attach a copy of your insurance card and your Medicare Part A/B card. If you do not have the physical Medicare card, you must provide the Medicare Part A/B ID Number (MBI). The Concierge Desk can assist if you are unable to make copies with your home printer.
    4. CDC v-safe smartphone vaccination tool:  On the day of the vaccine, please bring your smart phone to sign up for the CDC Covid-19 vaccination check-in site.  It takes 2 minutes to sign up and is an important way for the CDC to conduct health check-ins after you receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Participation is voluntary but helps to keep everyone safe.  We will provide assistance in the observation room for those who would appreciate the extra help to sign up.

Questions about…

Vaccination schedule: Please call the Studios (Elena Ceban) at 617-663-7123 if you need to change your assigned vaccination date/ time.

Making photocopies of insurance cards: If you need assistance copying your insurance cared and Medicare Part A/B ID Number (MBI), please bring your cards to the Concierge Desk. The copies must be attached to the consent form.

Vaccine: Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in your hard copy packet.

Clinical questions related to your health status and Covid-19 vaccination: Please speak to your Primary Care Physician.  If you cannot reach your PCP prior to next week’s dates, we will work with you to include you in a future vaccination clinic.

Personal Aide(s)’ vaccinations: Please call your home care agency directly to enlist their help in getting each of your aides vaccinated and in ensuring that Consent Forms are completed.  The Wellness Center is also a resource, but very busy preparing for the vaccination clinics, and you may need to be patient!

 

December 29, 2020: Successful Vaccination Day #1

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

 Today was an exciting and very busy day at Lasell Village!  I am thrilled to report our vaccination results: CVS vaccinated 75% of all Village employees across every department, along with all Lasell House residents/patients, all Lasell Studios residents, and a few of our vulnerable residents.  Huge thanks to the entire Village team for patience and good humor on what was a successful and momentous day. Together we took a huge step forward in our fight against Covid-19.  CVS will return on January 19th to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.  We anxiously await news of the date for vaccination of Village independent residents. 

 Along with the rest of the Commonwealth, results of frequent Covid-19 testing are continuing to yield positive cases. Positive results from testing this week are below, and we send wishes for good health soon.

Two Lasell House patients, one asymptomatic and one with recent symptoms;

Two Lasell House employees, both quarantining at home;

One independent resident who is in the hospital.

Finally, it is with sadness that I share that Gil Loo, former Lasell Village resident and Lasell House resident, passed away from Covid-related pneumonia. Gil was known for his warm smile, upbeat outlook on life, sharp mind, and formidable hiking skills.  He and his wife summitted all 48 of the 4000 foot mountains in New England in all four seasons, joining an elite group who can claim this feat. Gil was always happy to share stories with his Village friends of his beloved birth state of Hawaii and his adventures. Gil died a half year shy of 101 years. We will miss him.

 Thank you for being a part of our strong and caring community as we look forward to 2021 together.

Anne

December 28, 2020: LV's First Wave of Vaccinations Begins December 29

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

 This is an exciting and historic moment for Lasell. Tuesday, December 29th, CVS will be on-site to vaccinate the first wave of recipients with the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine. Lasell Village Town Hall will be a very busy place and we request that Lasell Village residents stay clear of Town Hall all day. That will help us to ensure that there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out.  The vaccine will be administered in Lasell House and in the Ballroom, with registration staged on the first and second floors of Town Hall.

 As you know, the Commonwealth has prioritized long-term care (Lasell House) and supported living (Lasell Studios) residents/patients and staff.  CVS will be on-site from approximately 10am to 6pm tomorrow. We have not yet received a vaccination date for our Lasell Village independent residents. We are anxiously awaiting information on when all of our independent residents will be vaccinated. We are looking forward to that day!

Lasell is one of the first senior living communities to roll out the vaccine in Massachusetts.  We are learning in real time as few others have paved the way before us.  The team has been working very hard and tomorrow we are prepared to process many people through registration, vaccination, and observation. We are excited and ready to go!

 Here’s to finishing 2020 on a good note as an early vaccination site!

 Best,

Anne

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

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:

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