SBEC: From the Inside

What are the most common words and phrases heard at Saint Benedict Education Center (SBEC) these days? “Moment by moment”. “Expect changes”. “Constant state of flux”. “Protocols”. “Remote”.

In the midst of such a “constant state of flux” can anything get done? The short answer is “yes”. A few comments on two areas of current focus may serve to illustrate. One is the work being done to put the COVID-19 Protocols in place and maintain them. The second is work being done to develop effective methods of remote connections between staff and participants.

The protocols that are in place at SBEC were developed by Nancy Sabol, Executive Director, with guidance from the PA Department of Health and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Clearly the intent is to keep everyone safe, as far as that is possible, while moving forward to re-opening and staying open.

Presently, work times of staff in the building are staggered and shifts are generally 4-4.5 hours. This responds to the guidance offered that encourages limited occupancy in the building. Additional work hours are completed in a variety of ways at home.

Upon arrival all staff are to report to a designated pod where they have their temperatures taken and logged. Anyone registering a temperature of 100.4 will be sent home and anything they touched will be sanitized. Anyone who feels ill is to stay home regardless of their symptoms.

A recent reminder to the staff clearly indicates the seriousness with which this is being considered. “PLEASE REMEMBER: YOU MAY NOT REPORT TO WORK EARLY….DO NOT GO ANYWHERE OTHER THAN [the designated pod] UPON ARRIVAL…..Wait in the hallway, 6 feet apart, until you are screened. You may then go to your office.”

Masks are required to be worn by staff throughout their shift, unless they are eating or alone in their office. They must be worn in all common areas and hallways and when meeting with others. Gloves are used for specific purposes. Staff are to wash their hands at least every hour.

Social distancing is to be observed at all times, in all circumstances. Staff should avoid congregating or carrying on conversations in the hallway….avoid extended interactions. The Mending Place is closed for now.

Staff are encouraged to utilize a Kleenex, paper towel, or some other material when opening doors, grasping door knobs, etc. to reduce the risk. Staff are asked to carry with them a pencil or pen, or some other tool that they can use to press the buttons/operate the touch screen on the copier.

There are many additional protocols for the staff; this is only a sampling. There are additional, specific protocols for SBEC clients. There are directives concerning entrance and movement through the building as well as handling of mail and deliveries. And many others.

Perhaps the most significant work in this present moment is remembering all the details of the COVID-19 Protocols and becoming as comfortable as possible with them so they don’t impede the job staff are here to do. They do this with the knowledge and experience that these details continue to be in flux because it is “moment by moment” as the situation continues to change.

A second area of intense focus has been exploring the possibilities with remote interactions, which the state is strongly encouraging. Staff are looking at the kinds of teaching and variety of activities they have been engaged in with their clients and exploring what could continue to be done remotely. They are also searching for new creative endeavors. Part of this process involves determining the types of required resources that would be most effective and available for the SBEC context.

Much is getting done at Saint Benedict Education Center during this time of transition. Surely getting “comfortable” with a protocol that seems in many ways to be the opposite of our preferred manner of being and discovering the ways and promise of remote engagement.

Perhaps something else is also happening. Perhaps in the midst of this flux SBEC is offering clients a source of stability rooted in a care for them and a commitment to continue responding to their needs.

Click here to read this story and more on the SBEC web page.

Photo: Nancy Sabol, Executive Director, reviews COVID-19 Protocols