Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Massachusetts in early March 2020, Lasell Village has continually introduced policies and updates to protect the health of patients, staff, residents and visitors.  This page provides a summary of  cases and an archive of previous posts dating back to early March, 2020.

As of May, 2021, with 99% of our residents and over 91% of employees vaccinated and consequently, no new cases to report for several weeks, we are suspending weekly case reporting.

 

March – April 2021 Covid Case Summary: 

  • One independent living resident tested positive, asymptomatic
  • One unvaccinated staff member tested positive and recovered at home.

March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021 Covid Case Summary

Village Residents tested positive :

  • (15) independent living residents, (1) passed away
  • (13) Lasell House (Skilled Nursing Facility) residents: (2) recovered, (9) no longer patients, (2) passed away
  • Six Studio (Supported Living) residents, (5) passed away

 Staff tested positive:

  • (11) at Lasell Village, (10) returned to work.
  • (16) at Lasell House, (14) returned to work.
  • (3) at Lasell Studios, all returned to work.

 

Archived Posts and Updates

December 21, 2020: Solstice Testing Update

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

Lasell Village’s approach to testing has been a layered one to provide multiple channels of information.  Most importantly, we conduct frequent individual staff Covid-19 PCR testing, and we have increased the frequency since Thanksgiving.  In addition, over the last two months we have added pooled surface testing.

Surface testing is intended to identify the prevalence of Covid-19 on frequently used surfaces, such as elevator buttons, time clocks, and mail centers.  Pooled surface testing does not indicate an active Covid-19 case, but it does provide information that someone who has touched the tested surface may have come in contact with Covid-19.  Armed with this information, we are then able to proactively administer additional individual PCR testing and update Village protocols as appropriate.

This past weekend’s surface testing results suggest that there may be some prevalence of the virus in residential building 70, “Mead.”  Acting quickly, we are testing, at no cost to the individuals, all residents and caregivers in Building 70.

We continue to offer proactive testing and protocols to keep Lasell Village a step ahead of Covid-19, even as we recognize that the best approach is to prevent infection through mask wearing, physical distancing, and good hygiene.

As we celebrate the Winter Solstice and the brighter days ahead, thank you for supporting Lasell Village. Together we are using all the tools in our arsenal to keep the community safe until everyone can be vaccinated.

Warm wishes,

Anne

December 18, 2020: Lasell Village COVID-19 Vaccine News

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

 Good news!  I am pleased to report that Lasell Village been notified of the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out schedule.  CVS will administer the two-part Pfizer vaccine on December 29, 2020 and January 19, 2021, prioritizing Lasell House skilled nursing and long-term care residents and Lasell Studios’ supported living residents, as well as all staff associated with both areas.  At this point, we do not yet know when Independent Living residents will be scheduled for the vaccine. Our goal is to have all residents and staff vaccinated as soon as possible.

Today I have just the headlines — there will be more to come!  We await further guidance on distribution of the vaccine. As new information is available, I will share it with all of you.

 Best wishes,

Anne

December 15, 2020: COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Update

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

 What a time of anticipation as we look with hope to 2021, including implementing the Covid-19 vaccine and looking forward to the time when we may resume community activities in person.  We are excited about the prospect of hearing the date from our vaccination partner, CVS, when in the next several months they will be on-site to administer the Covid-19 vaccine. We expect initial vaccines to be prioritized for Lasell House short-term patients and long-term residents, Lasell Studios residents, and many employees.  We have joined other life plan communities (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) in advocating for early vaccination of independent living residents.

 As soon as we learn more, we will share the information with the community. Until then, we are urging caution, mask-wearing, physical distancing, and good decision-making.

 Since Thanksgiving, the Commonwealth has experienced a steady increase in the prevalence of Covid-19, and Lasell has also had new cases. Our ongoing Covid-19 employee testing program continues to help Lasell Village be proactive by identifying positive asymptomatic cases.  In the recent round of testing, one Lasell House patient and two Lasell House employees tested positive. All are asymptomatic. Contact tracing documented that both employees have had minimal contact with other employees: one has already been quarantining due to a known exposure, and the other is a new Lasell House employee still in orientation. All other test results this week have been negative.  Per Department of Public Health guidance, Lasell House employees will be tested every three days, and we have increased the frequency of testing for all employees during the higher-risk holiday weeks ahead through January.

 We have made a small protocol change to comply with the City of Newton’s recent order: Exercising in the Neill and Pestalozzi Fitness Centers will be limited to one household at a time. Appointments will continue to be available between 5:00 AM and 6:30 PM seven days each week. We are glad that residents can continue staying physically active whether solo or with our Fitness Instructor’s guidance, playing ping pong, walking, or possibly later this week, enjoying early winter snow.

 Lasell Village continues to balance resident engagement with safety within the limitations of city, state and federal guidelines. Thank you for your partnership.

 Best,

Anne

November 13: Making 2020 Holiday Plans

Dear Residents, Staff, Family, and Friends,

As cooler weather approaches, and visits with family and friends move indoors, the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Massachusetts is increasing. While we would prefer to be together in person, this community has demonstrated enormous resilience and creativity.  Our philosophy of learning is flourishing, even as we double down on careful preparations and protocols for the months ahead.

Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays are difficult to navigate. The virus does not take the holidays off. We encourage all residents to celebrate the holidays through virtual visits and gatherings. For residents staying onsite, we hope you will enjoy the festive meals and events the Village team is planning for the community.

All in-person visits pose some risk. The attached Protocol Update for the Holidays helps to identify the relative risks of visits with family and friends in different situations. Higher-risk visits will require residents to quarantine upon their return to Lasell Village for fourteen days. This quarantine can be shortened if the resident receives a negative test result after testing three to five days after their return.

Massachusetts has declared that all visits to certain states (currently this includes Connecticut and Rhode Island) are considered high-risk, and travelers must comply with all state requirements. See the latest information at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order.

For those visiting friends or relatives at Lasell House, our long-term and short-term skilled nursing facility, please refer to the Lasell House Visitation Policy based on the current Massachusetts Department of Public Health requirements.

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are grateful to this community for the many ways that you have supported each other.  This year we urge you to express your love for friends, family, and community by making careful choices about how you spend your holidays.

Best wishes,

Anne

 

October 27: Meeting the COVID Challenge

Dear Family and Friends,

 Lasell Village is constantly reviewing covid-19 protocols while taking into consideration the trends and number of cases locally, statewide andnationally.  The Village team draws from a wealth of resources to develop best practices, including frequent virtual meetings with my fellow CEOs from many local Continuing Care Retirement Communities, calls with leaders at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and LeadingAge, as well as consulting with our own Medical Advisory Committee and other medical experts to help us guide our protocols.

 In the coming weeks and months, please be prepared for ongoing adjustments to our protocols as we consider best practices in recognition of changes in the prevalence.  This week we are adjusting existing protocols around the Buddy system (also known as “pods”) and introducing a new testing requirement for private aides. 

 Updated guidelines related to the Lasell Village Buddy system (Effective immediately):

  • Moving forward, Buddy groups or pods will be limited to no more than four individuals. For example, four single households may become buddies, or one household with a couple and two households with individuals.  Current larger pods can remain at their current sizes until they change composition. Any pod changing its composition must wait 14 days after dissolving before its members can join or form another pod.
  • At most four individuals may gather in a resident apartment at one time.  This applies to both existing and new pods.

New requirement for private aides (Effective Monday, November 2nd):

  • All private aides must be tested every two weeks either through their agency or through Lasell Village’s arrangement with the Broad Institute at the resident’s own cost ($50 per test).  Testing aides every two weeks matches the standard implemented by our preferred home care partner, Deaconess Abundant Life Services (DALS). We recognize that some agencies are already testing their aides, and we request that they report their results to the Wellness Center each time the aide is tested.
  • Contact the Wellness Center to arrange for testing of aides beginning November 2nd.  The team has begun reaching out to impacted residents to answer questions around this new requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • May residents eat outside with guests? There is no eating outside in public spaces at any time with residents or with outside visitors.  Last week we revised our previous protocol to ensure that masks are worn at all times.
  • How many people may gather in groups?
    • Indoors in common areas: 4 people (visitors limited to Town Hall)
    • Outdoors: Up to 6 people
  • What should residents do if they have an aide and would like to join a Buddy group? Please consult with Robin Scully, Director of Wellness, if you have an aide and would like to join a Buddy group.
  • When will the Village open indoor ping pong? We are assessing the air exchange in different locations before offering indoor ping pong again. Stay tuned.

 As always, the team and I appreciate the collaboration and caring of the entire community in keeping Lasell Village safe and engaged.

Best,

Anne

 

September 25: Updated Visitor Protocols

Good afternoon,

Lasell Village has been Covid-free for three months! We know that it can be difficult to keep track of rapidly changing protocols. Management works hard to ensure the Village follows best practices and we are prepared to adjust these if necessary. Attached you will find a copy of our most recent summary of Village protocols.

We are pleased to announce that following Department of Public Health recommendations, Lasell Village will be allowing residents limited indoor visits for family and friends, beginning Monday, September 28. These visits can only take place in designated Town Hall spaces, as visitors are not allowed in the residential buildings. All visitors must go through the health screening at the front desk.

Independent Living: Visiting hours are from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and proper distance must be maintained between residents and visitors.

Indoor Visits Outdoor Visits

·        Limit two adults and two (supervised) children per household

·        No eating or drinking

·        100% mask wearing

·        Only in designated Town Hall common spaces

·        Limit four visitors including children, who must be supervised.

·        May include meals, but no shared food or utensils.

·        Masks on immediately after the meal

·        At any outdoor space in the Village

Lasell House: Department of Public Health regulations limit visits to two adults and two children at one time. To pre‐register, contact the Social Worker at 617‐663‐7087.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lasell Village, and ask you to continue to follow our precautionary guidelines that have worked well for the Village to-date.  We encourage you to visit, preferentially outdoors, as long as good weather holds.

Thank you for your support,

Lasell Village Management

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, 2020: Video Summer Message from President Anne Doyle

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.

 

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

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

June 11: Keep Your Guard Up and Your Mask On

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends, and Family,

I am writing with a testing update. As we introduced new Covid-19 protocols to increase socialization at Lasell Village, we also made it a top priority to test every staff person.  We were provided the opportunity by the National Guard to create a testing baseline to prevent the inadvertent spread from those who provide services to residents every day. I am pleased that our request of the National Guard was granted just one week before the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will discontinue this free testing service. This was the National Guard’s fourth visit to Lasell Village, and this time they tested all Village staff, all Lasell House residents, and all Studios residents. Although we requested it, testing for independent residents is not available through the National Guard.

All told, over 160 people were tested.  Yesterday we learned (and shared with the residents on Channel 918) the excellent results: Only four tested positive.  The positive Covid-19 results were for four asymptomatic staff persons from different departments.  These team members will remain at home for a minimum of seven days, longer if they develop symptoms, and return to work after they have received a negative test result.  

Lasell House is Covid-free with no cases among staff or residents.  Lasell House is pleased to be a preferred short-term rehabilitation provider for referrals from our hospital partners as they begin to offer elective procedures.  This news is tremendously heartening. 

Media outlets are announcing an increase in Covid cases around the country coinciding with the relaxation of protocols in many states.  This just serves as a reminder to do whatever we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Our Resident Advisory Council Chair said it best:  “As we begin to increase social interactions at Lasell Village, we all have a responsibility to protect our neighbor.”  Please continue to keep your guard up and your mask on!

Best,

Anne

June 9: We Are Not Out of the Woods Yet

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends, and Family,

Since I updated you yesterday about new protocols to encourage social engagement outdoors, I am sorry to report that we have a new asymptomatic COVID positive resident in independent living. This resident was tested recently following their private aide reporting being exposed to Covid-19; this private aide has not been at Lasell Village for over one week.  The resident is isolating in their apartment and receiving care from agency aides, who have been tested, are wearing full PPE, and are under close clinical supervision.

We encourage all residents to remain alert to potential exposure and to possible Covid-19 symptoms.  Our Wellness Center advises residents that if they feel unwell to reach out to their PCP.  For questions, please call the Wellness Center and our team is happy to provide more information about safe practices. 

Keeping with our commitment to open and transparent communication, I will continue to keep you up-to-date.  We are not out of the woods yet.  As residents begin to circulate with friends and family, please remember that the best defense is to wash your hands, maintain physical distance, and always wear your mask.  Lasell Village is known for our culture of caring.  Practicing these simple but effective steps are the best ways to support your neighbor and yourself. 

Best regards,

Anne

June 8: We Need Family & Friends More Than Ever

Dear Lasell Village Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

We have good news to share. Today is day 31 without a positive Covid case at Lasell Village among staff and residents across all levels of care. Today is also the beginning of some revised protocols including permitting family and friends to visit outdoors with residents of Lasell Village, Lasell Studios, and Lasell House.  Our new protocols focus on activities that increase social engagement, and favor those activities that allow for distancing, mask usage, low density, and outside activities.

Family visits
Family and friends play a big part in infection control as our community re-opens.  Guidelines for your visits are attached. We welcome Lasell Village and Studios visitors outside (two per household at a time), between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Visitors must follow our front desk screening and wear masks.  Please let us know in advance when you plan to be on campus by calling or emailing the front desk. We have located over 16 seating arrangements throughout the Village to provide comfortable settings that permit physical distancing during visits. Lasell House guidelines are governed by the CDC and Department of Public Health, and have additional requirements (attached).  We are pleased to welcome friends and family to the Lasell Village campus. Enjoy your visits safely!

Buddy Program
We invite residents who live alone to designate one other specific resident as their buddy. A buddy would be considered to be a member of the resident’s household, and could eat, play games, watch TV, and visit in each other’s apartment. If one of the buddies, or anyone he or she has been in contact with, tests positive for COVID, then both buddies would need to quarantine. This approach borrows from successful ‘buddy programs’ in other countries and other venues.

Attached are slides from today’s Channel 918 presentation outlining these and several other new protocols including Village library privileges, curbside pickup at off-campus stores, and outdoor ping pong.  As always, we value your partnership as we adapt our protocols and prepare to  introduce others.

These are deeply troubling times as we face sharply-etched racial inequalities and the impact of Covid19 globally.  As a living and learning community on a university campus, we are joining with students, faculty and staff to seek to understand, and as we are able, to take action. More than ever, we need the comfort and ballast of our friends and family.  Please let us know how the Village team can support you.

Best,

Anne

June 1: Some revised protocols

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

This morning when I spoke on Channel 918, I acknowledged the deep anguish we collectively feel as we struggle together at the injustices around George Floyd’s brutal death.  The rawness of last week’s brutality and the resulting responses across the country, require us to come together, even as we are separated by Covid-19.  We cannot dismiss racism and social inequities. Many of you have worked for decades to support people across every strata of society, and you inspire us to continue. 

This morning, when Will Carter, Welcome Desk Manager, and I spoke about the state of the world, Will shared heartfelt advice:

  • Be vocal. Speak up when you see injustice.
  • Stand together. Do not accept injustice.
  • Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends’ children.
  • Keep learning and have a conversation.

On our internal resident website, LasellVillageNet.com, we are posting relevant articles, essays, and letters along with book recommendations. If you have something to contribute, please share with Nancy Snow or John Dixon to post on VillageNet.   These resources will help to keep us informed, to spark meaningful dialogue, and to speak up. 

As Will reminded me, it is hard to know what to say, but starting is what matters.

***

Covid-19 protocols:

With our need to connect even more urgent, the Village management team has been working hard on revising some of our Covid-19 protocols balancing risk and benefit. Next Monday, June 8, at 10:00 AM, the team will be on Channel 918 to introduce some revised protocols. 

Today we are introducing two changes ahead of next week’s meeting.

  1. Beginning today, we permit and encourage residents to walk outside with one other Village resident, provided both are wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.

Lasell Village has not yet opened to family or outside visitors.  Why not? Those who are circulating outside the Village are more likely to bring the virus to Lasell Village.  It is distressing for Village residents to know that some other residents are inviting family and outsiders to our Village campus and putting them at risk, and even more distressing to hear that some of these visitors are not wearing masks.  Each of our actions has an impact on our neighbors. 

  1. Mail delivery and outgoing mail pickup has resumed. You may now pick up your mail at your personal mail box each day.

Please follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands and put on your mask.
  • Only one person in the mail center at a time (use the markings to keep six feet away from other residents).
  • Wash your hands after returning home and opening your mail. 

Warm thanks to the flexible and cheerful team of staff who have sorted, carried, and delivered heavy bags and boxes of mail for many weeks.  They pivoted from their primary roles to jump in and help with a smile.

 We are happy to be able to take these small steps and look forward to introducing other revised protocols, beginning on June 8th.  Thank you for your care and understanding, and for standing together where it matters, here at the Village and in our world.

 Anne

May 26: Please Don't Let Your Guard Down

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

I hope that everyone enjoyed a lovely Memorial Day weekend. This note provides an update on our approach to Village protocols.

Please don’t let your guard down:

Springing free from Village Covid-19 protocols may be tempting, but please stay the course. From the notes I received over the weekend, it seems that a few of you are finding it hard to adhere to Village protocols, putting you and your neighbors at heightened risk. I know that sticking to our guidelines is challenging, especially as you hear more about reopening plans from the Governor. Please remember: Even though you may want to invite your family and friends to visit on or off-campus, now is not the time to let your guard down.

Celebrating 19 days:

We have not had a resident or staff test positive for Covid-19 at Lasell Village for the past 19 days. Much of that success has come from purposefully reducing resident  contact with those who are circulating in the outside world. Staff, aides, and vendors follow strict health screening protocols every day and are referred for testing if there is any indication of exposure, or if they themselves are experiencing symptoms. Our staff are trained to behave as though they are asymptomatic  and to maintain strict hygiene, mask, and distancing protocols in the workplace and at home. Nearly all frontline staff have been tested at least once, and those who have been exposed or have experienced symptoms have been tested and quarantined as appropriate. All staff who previously tested positive have recovered.

Lasell House now has ZERO positive cases after Lasell House’s one positive asymptomatic patient tested negative. This is remarkable given the impact of Covid-19 on skilled nursing facilities across the United States.

What the data tells us:

The virus still has a high presence in Massachusetts. According to the Department of Public Health Covid-19 dashboard, cases in our county (Middlesex), are continuing to increase. Further, Middlesex county has the highest number of cases in Massachusetts, 20,500 to-date, nearly 22% of the state’s positive cases.  Introducing new people – friends or family- into the Village at this time invites the possibility of new infections. That is a risk that our community is NOT willing to take. Each of our individual choices has a lot to do with our ability to reduce our risk of positive cases. We are counting on you!

Updated protocols will lag the state:

Just as the Governor is carefully rolling out new guidelines, Lasell Village is also preparing to introduce some updated protocols.  We have been proactive and out front in introducing protections, and now we will revise these carefully and thoughtfully.  As I reported on channel 918 on Friday, beginning on June 8th, the management team will roll out some revisions to our protocols specifically designed to permit some in-person, mask-wearing, appropriately distanced, social interactions among and between Village residents. Given that our Village residents have been isolating and following precautions, we believe that the gain in permitting greater interactions between Villagers, with appropriate protections, outweighs the risk.  More to come on June 8th!

There is no “new normal.”  These times are not normal.  We cannot hug each other, we cannot sit and share a cup of tea in our living rooms, or enjoy a class sitting side-by-side in a classroom.  Our staff cannot socialize over lunch. We can focus on what we are able to do together as a community: bring intention to each day, keep our bright internal lights burning by participating in the wide variety of Village educational, fitness, and entertainment offerings, and do our part to continue to keep our community safe together in the months ahead.

Warmly,

Anne

May 18: It's All About the Culture

Dear Lasell Village Residents, Family, Friends and Staff,

 The questions on everyone’s mind at this afternoon’s monthly Residents and Managers meeting was when and how we will begin to revise Lasell Village’s Covid-19 protocols. Lasell Village will follow Governor Baker’s data-driven, methodical approach and be even more cautious, balancing social needs with safety.  We have established a set of principles to guide our decisions.

The Village will be conservative while we:

  • Prioritize social engagement
  • Balance gain with risk
  • Take it slowly and lag behind the state’s plan for reopening
  • Focus on actions that allow for distancing, mask usage, low density, and outside opportunities.

There are many ways we are pursuing best practices, including reviewing medical and public health research along with national and global experiences and recommendations.  Our involvement includes:

  • Membership on the Massachusetts LeadingAge Task Force for reentry
  • Participating in daily calls with the Department of Public Health, Genesis Healthcare, and national LeadingAge, and
  • Engaging the Village’s Resident Medical Advisory Committee and Resident Advisory Council.

Most of all, we will continue to reinforce a culture of caring about each other.  As Atul Gawande highlighted in his superb New Yorker Magazine article last week, “Culture is the fifth, and arguably the most difficult, pillar of a new combination therapy to stop the coronavirus.”  At Lasell Village, our residents and staff have risen to the challenge, and will continue to adapt in the months ahead as we carefully adjust our protocols.

At today’s community meeting, we concluded by playing Facility Director Ben Bailey’s original video, Lasell Village: Heroes Work Here, highlighting behind the scenes photos of many members of our team at work. Some residents saw a sneak preview on Friday, and had this to say: “The Lean on Me Video…is a fun look at all the folks who make Lasell Village the special place that it is.” And, “You brought great joy and delight to us via video and 918.”

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend as much as I did, admiring the burst of color everywhere. Our woodland yard is dotted with fragrant Lily of the Valley, making a welcome magical yearly appearance. Gardeners describe this plant as “tough”, and symbolizing “a return to happiness.” That describes our community perfectly!

Warmly,

Anne

May 11: Taking it slow

As the Commonwealth begins to envision opening up some parts of the economy, our management team at Lasell Village has been discussing the criteria for reviewing our protocols under Covid-19.  We are following the Governor’s advice, and that of our peers, so that we are careful and deliberate in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our community before we begin to revise any of our current protocols. 

 We are examining many resources in our deliberations, including the Commonwealth’s multi-phase guidelines issued today, the federal government’s guidelines that provide for three phases of reopening with senior living facilities in the third phase, as well as learning from the experiences of other countries.  This week, I have been asked to participate in a LeadingAge Task Force of senior living leaders to address the process of gradual and thoughtful reopening of senior living communities.  We know from historical data, and the advice of epidemiologists, that opening too soon can provoke a second outbreak and a subsequent sustained period of isolation.  We ask for your patience as we work hard to balance your engagement in the world, with safety.  The Village’s resident Medical Advisory Committee has been, and will continue to be, a great source of information and guidance for our management team’s deliberations.

 Please send updates on how you celebrated Mother’s Day virtually.  We would love to share your stories.

 Anne

May 7: Stay Vigilant, PLEASE!

May 7, 2020

Dear Lasell Village Community,

Massachusetts is still in the grip of Covid-19. We are not done with this virus yet. We are not even close. We continue to follow the CDC’s, the Governor’s and Newton Public Health’s guidance closely, and we need everyone in this community to follow our protocols, for yourself, and your neighbors. With a resident in our independent living residences notifying us yesterday that he has tested positive (and is recovering in his apartment), every decision each of us makes impacts our ability to contain the spread.

We know this can be hard, but this situation requires serious attention:

  1. Please stay in your apartment with the exception of solo walks and urgent doctors’ appointments—NO food shopping or pharmacy runs. Our team is happy to bring to your apartment any packages or food deliveries that you order online. Further, we know many families have dropped off groceries to our Welcome Desk, and we encourage them to continue doing so. We have dedicated more staff to deliveries to support your needs.
  2. NO VISITORS! Do not sit outside on a bench with your Village friends; do not gather on your patios; do not meet with other friends and family (even at 6 feet apart); and do not walk with your friends, neighbors or family members (unless you live together). It is tempting, but you risk your health and the health of the community.
  3. Wear a mask anytime you are outside your unit.
  4. Wash your hands often.
  5. If you have an aide, please remind them that they must enter through the main entrance to be screened EVERY time they leave and return to the Village.

These actions will save lives. We can’t stress this enough. Physical distancing is the one thing we know will prevent the spread of Covid-19, and we are doing everything we can to contain the limited cases currently at Lasell Village.

The weather turned delightful and it is wonderful to be outdoors, but we all must remain vigilant even outdoors. Please observe physical distancing. Some research suggests that 6 feet is not great enough. Remember, you are putting yourself, and perhaps more importantly, others in the community at risk when you circulate. These restrictions won’t be forever, but please help our community in the weeks to come by following these protocols.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we know that this is a time when many families gather together. This year’s Mother’s Day will be like none other, and we encourage you to get creative with conversations and celebrations over FaceTime, Zoom gatherings, and phone calls. As our Medical Advisory Committee reminds your families, stay away on Mother’s Day and keep your mother safe! Clearly, this is not a time for complacency.

Please join me on Channel 918 at 10 AM on Friday.

Happy Mother’s Day and I look forward to hearing how you celebrate virtually.

Anne

Anne Doyle, President

May 1: Here, Now, and into the Future

Dear Residents, Staff, and Friends, 

This communication provides two updates.  One is focused on our here and now regarding the COVID-19 situation, and the other is forward looking to our programming for the spring and summer.

COVID-19 Update:

The Village has sadly experienced two losses this week. Two centenarians, one from Lasell Studios and one from independent living, have passed away from COVID-19.  One loss was of the independent resident who was most recently diagnosed and was receiving hospice care at home.  This resident was a long-term, vivacious member of our community who will be missed.  Our Studios resident passed away yesterday evening at the hospital. The resident was proud of their Boston heritage and “special” accent. Studios friends recall a sweet smile and kind disposition.  We send our community’s heartfelt wishes to the families of both of these residents.

 I am happy to share good news regarding two Village residents.  The Village’s first independent COVID-19 positive resident is being discharged this week to NewBridge and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Village soon.  In other good news, the remaining Studios resident who tested positive for the coronavirus, was discharged from the hospital to a different rehabilitation facility, and is recuperating before a return to the Studios.  Please continue to keep both of these residents in your prayers.

 You may have seen members of our dedicated National Guard at the Village yesterday.  They returned to do additional testing at Lasell House.  As of this writing, we have not received results. There are presently no new COVID positive staff this week. 

 Educational Update:

As April spills into May and we enter our ninth week of adjusting to COVID-19, the Commonwealth listened with great anticipation to the Governor’s announcement this week: not unexpectedly, the Governor extended the “Stay at Home” order until May 18th.   At this time, we ask everyone for patience (and good humor) as we all continue to follow the Village’s current protocols.   

 Our spring education program kicked off today.  The team has enlisted three favorite faculty to teach courses scheduled to begin on May 7th,12th, and 21st .  You’ll find further information in News and Notes on these courses taught by resident and former genetics professor, Judith Tsipis, military historian, Dr. Lawrence Clifford, and art historian, Brooke Mullins. The Education Department is piloting a new registration process that doesn’t involve signing up in-person in the usual animated (and crowded) Village way. 

 Even as we anticipate that Lasell Village will have some restrictions eased this summer, we are planning for all classes to be remote for physical distancing purposes. While this creates logistical complexity, it also offers the opportunity to draw on a much wider network of faculty for on-line classes. 

 We invite friends, family, and colleagues around the world to offer a varied and new set of courses for the summer.  Our community has an abundance of intellectual richness and connections.  Many of our residents’ children (and grandchildren) may be interested in teaching an abbreviated course, or a one-time talk, for our community. One does not have to be an academic to give a course or a talk. We can be very flexible with content and timing, and are excited by the opportunity to offer additional educational variety as we reach across the globe for talent to bring to Lasell Village’s remote learning program.  If you or a colleague is interested, please contact  John Dixon at 617-663-7055 or email him at jdixon@lasell.edu

 Thank you for continuing to forward your questions, which are incorporated into the latest Q and A (#4). I will be back on Channel 918 on Monday, May 4, at 10:00 AM and look forward to “seeing” you all. 

 To quote Robert Louis Stevenson, “Take care of each other.” 

 Anne 

Anne Doyle, President

 

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

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).

April 20: National Guard Testing Update

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

Patriots Day seems an appropriate day to thank our Massachusetts National Guard for their assistance in testing. On Friday, the MA National Guard tested 64 Lasell House residents and staff, all of whom were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Only three people tested positive for COVID-19: two staff and one resident.

Who was tested?

  • Staff tested included those with front-line care-giving responsibilities as well as those who support Lasell House. This included front-line nurses and certified nursing assistants, Lasell House administrative staff, Lasell Village welcome desk staff, housekeepers, nutritionists, facilities staff, and activities staff.
  • All Lasell House residents were tested. As previously reported, the three symptomatic Lasell House residents who were tested on Tuesday were all negative.
  • The only Lasell House resident who tested positive is asymptomatic and has already been on precautions as a new admission from a Boston hospital. This patient has been, and will continue to be, in isolation at Lasell House in a newly dedicated area where new patients and COVID-19 positive patients receive care from a dedicated care team.

Results

  • The two staff members who tested positive were asymptomatic and will not return to Lasell for 10 days from their positive diagnosis, assuming they do not subsequently develop symptoms. One other staff’s test was inconclusive; that staff person will be re-tested and will be quarantined until the results are confirmed.

We continue to follow strict protocols, including monitoring all residents at Lasell House for symptoms three times per day. Staff wear full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including gowns, face shields, masks and goggles each time they enter a Lasell House resident’s room.

We will continue to be vigilant across the entire organization in wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing. Thank you to our dedicated and caring staff and residents: everyone’s diligence is helping.

Best,

Anne

April 18: Lasell Studios Update

Dear Friends of Lasell Village,

I am deeply saddened to inform you that two Lasell Studio residents passed away. This is a tremendous loss to our community, and we extend our sincere condolences to their families as they mourn their very difficult loss.

In these quickly changing times, I’m fully committed to keeping you abreast of what is happening at Lasell Village while COVID-19 is in our midst.  I must ask you to kindly to be patient, since there are new developments daily or hourly in some cases, and I want you to have the most up to date information.  I’ve listed below our latest positive cases as of April 17:

– 5 staff members – 3 in Lasell House, 1 in the Studios, 1 in the Village,
all isolating at home
– 3 Studio residents – as previously mentioned, sadly 2 passed away
and 1 remains in the hospital
– 1 Independent living resident – being cared for in a hospital

We continue to put time and resources to getting testing. To share some good news amidst all our sadness,  the Lasell House residents who were symptomatic and tested on Tuesday were each negative.  Today the National Guard is testing additional Lasell House staff and residents.

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

Anne

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.

April 13: News from Lasell House

Dear Lasell Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

We have more news to share.

In the midst of a surge of this COVID-19 pandemic, we now have a full-time employee at Lasell House who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home. At this time there are no symptomatic patients in Lasell House.

The positive employee has not been at Lasell House for the past four days, and the employee will remain home for at least 14 days. We continue to take our guidance from the Newton Board of Health and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and we are monitoring the situation carefully and constantly. We are grateful to have Dr. Zabik, our talented Medical Director and Newton Wellesley Hospital physician, at Lasell House providing daily oversight and guidance.

Below are the immediate steps we have taken at Lasell House:

All staff in Lasell House are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

  • All Lasell House patients/residents are screened for temperature and symptoms six times per day.
  • All Lasell House residents have been provided face masks and wear them when they receive therapy, or if they have to leave their rooms.
  • We implemented new guidelines at the start of this pandemic ensuring that staff working at Lasell House are not working at other skilled nursing centers.
  • Maintenance will enter only under critical situations, and with personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • We have canceled all special activities provided by the activities staff.  We are providing daily programming on our internal TV channel 918 for residents to enjoy in their rooms.
  • We have increased surface cleaning.  We take hygiene very seriously.

We continue to enforce the no visitors policy.

We do not know how this employee became infected. We are treating all people living and working at Lasell House as presumed infected.

The news from the Studios is that we have a third resident of the Studios who is in the hospital and has been tested positive. We are in daily contact regarding the care of the residents who have tested positive from the Studios and independent living. We are sharing the Lasell Village community’s good wishes for a speedy recovery.

We continue to work together to get through this difficult time. As partners in this effort, we appreciate your support. I will be on 918 on Tuesday morning at 10:00 am to provide an update.

We will continue to send communications but please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.  You can call Nancy Snow at 617 663 7129 or email at her nsnow@lasell.edu.

We hope you had a chance to look at the Q and A’s that the management team sent out on Saturday.  The team is working hard to respond to your excellent questions and comments.  Nancy will be the repository for questions which she will share with the management team. While a few days may pass for us to get back to you individually, be assured we are working on our responses and adding them to our general Questions and Answers. As a community, we all learn from each other’s questions.  The team will continue to update the Q and A and share the responses with you on a regular basis.

With appreciation,

Anne Doyle

President, Lasell Village

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.

 

April 10: Lasell Studios Cases Update

Dear Residents, Family, and Friends of Lasell Village,

As the Governor has stated in his daily updates, we are in the midst of a surge of this COVID-19 pandemic.  With your help, Lasell Village has been taking many steps to limit exposure and possible contamination.

Unfortunately, there are two new cases to report.

Two residents of Lasell Studios have tested positive for the coronavirus.  They are both being cared for in the hospital.  Two other residents in the Studios are symptomatic and they, and all Studios residents (even those without symptoms), are quarantined in the Studios. Because the Studios are a communal living environment, we are assuming that all residents and staff in Lasell Studios are exposed.  We are providing all of the protections that we would employ if all residents and staff tested positive.

We continue to take our guidance from the Newton Board of Health and Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we are monitoring the situation carefully and constantly.  

We have taken many immediate steps.

  • All Lasell Studios residents are quarantined.
  • All Studios residents and staff are wearing masks at all times.
  • All staff in the Studios are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • Specific staff are assigned for symptomatic residents.
  • We have temporarily cancelled housekeeping in the Studios and will be deploying specialized cleaning.
  • All meals are being delivered to the door of the Studios and dietary staff are not entering the unit. Paper products will be used for all food for the Studios.
  • We have canceled all special activities provided by the activities staff.  We are looking into in-house TV programming for the Studios residents to enjoy in their rooms.
  • Maintenance will enter only under critical situations, and with personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • We requested testing for all residents and staff in the Studios and are working with the Newton Board of Health to achieve this.

This is hard news to report.  Many will wonder how these residents become infected.  The answer is, we do not know.  This is why we are treating those who are living and working in the Studios as presumed infected.

US Postal Service Mail Delivery:  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 task, 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.

Trash Pick-up: 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.

What does this mean for Lasell Village Independent residents?

Please continue to do your part.  Stay home. Isolate as much as possible.  Be kind to your neighbors and yourself.  On my Zoom coffee and conversation call this morning, one of the residents recommended that residents share examples with the Education department of what you are grateful for each day, and we will share your thoughts with the community. Staff and residents all welcome small gestures to stay connected.  This is a modest way to stay in touch while we are all isolating.

In response to your many excellent questions over the past few days, we are sending a separate email with COVID-19 Q&As.

For those of you who are celebrating Passover and had Seders this week, I hope that you enjoyed virtual time with your family and friends.  For those of you celebrating Easter, may you enjoy time (virtually) with loved ones.

Be well,

Anne

April 9: Best Advice: STAY HOME

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me and my team with notes of appreciation and support since yesterday’s notification of our first COVID-19 case.  These certainly are unsettling times and we’re going to get through this together.  We all need to stay safe and well. 

Best Advice:

After many discussions with health officials, LeadingAge Massachusetts leaders, and our own Medical Advisory Committee here is what we recommend at this time:

  • Stay home.  Don’t go to the pharmacy, the grocery store, or anywhere else.  Not circulating is the best defense against COVID-19.   It is best to assume that we have this virus in our midst and act accordingly by isolating as much as possible.  This is difficult, I know, but being isolated will protect you and everyone in the community.

Resources:

If you are unwell, contact your health care provider .  Our team will support you during your recovery

Remember that you may call our social worker, Rebecca Priest, or join one of my Friday morning Zoom calls for coffee and conversation with other residents.  I look forward to connecting with many of you.  Contact Nancy Snow if you would like to join tomorrow or another Friday.

Thank you for your support, especially by minimizing exposure to others during this unprecedented challenge to our community.

Be well and be in touch (virtually),

Anne

 

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

Looking for the most recent COVID-19 updates?  Click below to return to the current update page.

 

 

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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