Benedictine Executive Director Scott Evans has announced that the organization’s front-line employees received their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations on January 14, 2021. Unlike other educational facilities across the nation Benedictine remained open since the beginning of the pandemic to support the students and adults in their programs.
Evans stated that the availability of the vaccines to staff, students, and residents represented an important turning point for the organization and was a great first step and something to be celebrated, but he added, “it does not mean we can automatically flip the switch and get back to normal immediately. We must get through this first round of vaccinations for our employees, students and the adults we support. Then we can turn our efforts to getting the second dose for everyone and begin looking towards the future and reopening our programs in a smart way.”
Evans stated there are ongoing communications to employees about the continued importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and regularly sanitizing hands and surfaces, in accordance with the organization’s stated COVID-19 policies.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Benedictine has sought to minimize risk by closely following guidelines established by the Maryland Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Early on, employees received special training on how to properly clean and sanitize their workspaces, and Benedictine contracted with a third-party vendor to sanitize all areas of its campus and group homes. Employees have been allowed to work remotely when possible, and on-site employees are required to perform regular self-assessments of their current health condition prior to each shift and to continuously monitor the health of students and adult residents for any sudden changes. Temperature checks are performed regularly, visitations have been limited, and all staff and visitors are required to wear masks in all Benedictine-owned facilities.
Benedictine’s response to the pandemic has been made more challenging due to uncertainties around the availability of additional funding and resources to offset the significant expenses incurred. Benedictine leadership has been in regular contact with its funding agencies and is working diligently, along with other providers and advocates, to secure commitments for ongoing funding and reimbursement for added expenses.
Evans expressed great admiration for the way his staff has continued to work together over the past ten months to tackle the many challenges posed by the pandemic. “Throughout this crisis we have continued to show we are stronger together and the power of our mission and values has been our guide from day one. Soon we will be able to look back at this time and feel immense pride that we never stopped fulfilling our mission. We can be proud that we did everything in our power to keep everyone safe.”
For the latest information and updates on Benedictine’s COVID-19 response efforts, visit benschool.org.
About Benedictine: Benedictine is one of the most comprehensive providers of services for children and adults with developmental & intellectual disabilities and autism. We offer a year-round educational program and 365-day residential program for students ages 5-21. Our students come from throughout Maryland, as well as adjoining states. Benedictine’s adult program provides community living, meaningful day services, and employment opportunities on the Eastern Shore and Annapolis. Benedictine’s mission is to help each individual achieve their full potential. Our mission and values of Hospitality, Dignity of Work, and Compassionate Caring our rooted in our founding by the Sisters of St. Benedictine. Today, Benedictine is a non-denominational organization, but we continue to honor and celebrate these values.