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Day-Service Delivery Modifications Due to COVID-19

By Rae van Seenus on Jul 10, 2020 at 02:51 PM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog

Since the start of California's shelter-in-place mandate on March 20th, 2020, UCP WORK, Inc.'s Applied Abilities programs have transitioned to virtual at-home day services to mitigate the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. 

Our agency has worked quickly and diligently to develop modifications to our service model to maximize opportunities for remote learning and enrichment, along with a protection plan to ensure the health and safety of direct-support staff and individuals served.  Our primary focus during this time of transition, has been to support our participants' comfort levels, prevent any feelings of isolation, boost morale, and to maintain connection with friends and the community.  The new modifications to Applied Abilities programs has been essential in giving individuals the personal, social, and vocational supports they need. 

Remote Cooking Class for Adults with Disabilities

Adhering to recommendations by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, UCP WORK, Inc. realized that even if day services were conducted in small groups at the program, it would likely be too challenging for participants to maintain social distancing and consistent hand washing.  Many individuals have specific disabilities or chronic medical conditions that make the illness more dangerous for them, so it has been critical for people who are high-risk to stay home and for our agency to modify day-services utilizing a remote platform, such as Zoom.  When remote contact is not feasible, day-services will always be delivered in-person using safety precautions. 

"A lot of our remote classes are pre-existing classes and activities at the Applied Abilities program, simply re-configured to work over Zoom.  A few staff members have come up with new ideas for remote classes, and so far, they're working great.  Ideally, we plan to encourage participants to conduct their own Zoom classes soon," shares Matt Dursum, Director of Applied Abilities in Santa Barbara. 

Remote Chair Yoga Class with Brianna Turpin

Currently, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria Applied Abilities programs have designed a variety of interactive classes online to enhance learning and enrichment from the safety of individuals' homes.  But due to limited access to computers and the internet, not all classes are currently up and running yet.  "So far, the biggest barrier has been accessing technology," states Matt Dursum, "many participants don't have internet access or adequate devices to participate.  We're setting up enrichment stations in the program so that at a minimum, staff have access to computers to lead classes."

UCP WORK, Inc. Remote Day-Services include:

  • Cooking Class
  • Chair Yoga
  • Spanish
  • Storytelling
  • Advocacy Meetups
  • Sewing & Beading
  • Creative Arts taught by Santa Barbara Art Works' Art Instructors: Painting, Caricature Drawing, and Watercolors
  • Life Skills such as Journaling, Budgeting, and Current Events
  • Dance Revolution & Hip Hop

In collaboration with the Tri-Counties Regional Center, UCP WORK, Inc. developed the following goals to effectively plan our remote day-service program and to provide one-on-one community engagement, using PPE safety measures, reather than going out in large groups. 

Remote Day-Service Goals:

  1. Create remote class schedules that are flexible and diverse.
  2. Provide opportunities in various settings within the community (utilizing PPE at all times).
  3. Prioritize participants' comfort levels and ability to adapt at home.
  4. Focus on individuals' interests, goals and objectives.
  5. Enhance principles of independence and self-determination.
  6. Support advanced technology to increase access to services.

"Staff are totally excited to start Zooming!  They are all happy to return to work and can't wait to interact, remotely, with people in our program.  It's very strange to not have everyone here at Applied Abilities, but we are making the best of the new changes," shares Maria Prince, Director of Applied Abilities in Santa Maria. 

Remote Cooking Class for Adults with Disabilities

UCP WORK, Inc. is indeed in a time of uncertainty and it could take months to fully resume our Applied Abilities programs as they were pre-pandemic, but we are confident that the adaptations of using the Zoom platform to deliver day-services, helps to establish a sense of "normalcy" and connection, and sparks creativity and joy for people served.   We are also very impressed with how well staff has adapted to thinking outside-the-box during this crisis, as well as, maintaining our mission of prioritizing participants' personal interests and independence within the community. 

Day-Service Delivery Modifications Due to COVID-19
For more information about Remote Day-Services or to obtain a current class schedule, email [email protected]

*Zoom classes are open to people served at UCP WORK, Inc. only.  Classes may change or be updated weekly.  

Find important COVID-19 Resources for people with developemental disabilities at The Arc California