COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease Information

What You Should Know

  • AIDB has extensive expertise and systems in place to monitor and address possible infectious diseases, and  has comprehensive plans to address emergencies, including infectious disease. AIDB Health and Clinical Services is prepared to act quickly to protect the health and safety of AIDB students, consumers, staff and their families. AIDB has developed Pandemic Procedures which will operate within our existing Emergency Operations Plan. The Pandemic Procdures will be updated as necessary. To view the Pandemic Procedures, please click here: Pandemic Procedures.

    AIDB personnel are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health and would continue this communication throughout any implementation of the plan.

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AIDB Updates

  • June 19, 2020 UPDATE: Working On-Site

    Dear A.I.D.B. Employee,

    One of A.I.D.B.’s core values is that we will aspire to excellence. I want to thank each and every one of you who have worked so hard to maintain A.I.D.B.’s critical work while we have experienced the COVID-19 crisis. Your commitment to excellence during this time has been an inspiration to me and, most importantly, those that we are called to serve.

    I am writing to you today to update you on our plans regarding bringing all A.I.D.B. workers back to work at their worksite. Currently, some AI.D.B. employees are working on-site while others continue to work from home. If you are working from home, the President’s Staff is in the process of designing a plan that will bring you back to work on-site on July 16, 2020.  If you have pre-existing conditions that make you feel unsafe to return to work on-site, please contact the A.I.D.B. Human Resources department for guidance.

    If you are already working on-site, please continue to follow the work schedule given to you by your supervisor. All Alabama Industries for the Blind employees should follow the schedule that you have been given by Mike Challender.  

    Please understand that this plan is a work in progress and as such, the plan may change if we receive new guidance from the Alabama Department of Health. However, I want to give all employees who are working from home notice that, as of today, you will be required to return to work on-site on July 16, 2020.

    You will notice various changes in the way our workplace looks as well as new COVID-19 Infection Control Practices that must be followed. Our goal is to make sure that you feel safe and secure while you are at work. Keeping our workplace safe will be a group effort – we must all accept our personal responsibility to do our part to keep our coworkers, students and consumers safe.

    Thank you for your commitment to A.I.D.B.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D., President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

     


    May 29, 2020 UPDATE: Employee Safety Protocols

    Dear AIDB Employee,

    Wow! What a wonderful graduation ceremony our seniors and their families were able to enjoy yesterday! I am so thankful that we were able to give this special Class of 2020 a graduation ceremony. Their pride upon accomplishing this goal and their excitement for the future was a great reminder of why we all work so hard every day!

    As we continue to gradually bring the AIDB workforce back to campus, I want to share with you some of the processes and procedures that we will use to help ensure everyone’s safety while at work. If you have any questions please reach out to your supervisor.

    Moving forward, there will only be one entry door on each campus. The first time you enter campus you will be asked to answer qualifying questions and submit to a temperature check. If your temperature is at, or over, 99.1; you will not be able to enter the building. If your temperature is below 99.1 and the qualifying questions have been cleared; you will be asked to sanitize your hands and you will receive a sticker to wear indicating that you have been screened and are OK to enter. You will also be given a mask to wear. You will only need to go through this process once upon the first time you enter the building. If you need to exit and then re-enter the building, your sticker showing that you have already been checked will allow you to re-enter without being checked. Please note: while there will only be one entry door on each campus, ALL exit doors will remain usable in the event of an emergency and you need to evacuate the building.

    Please wear a mask while you are in all common areas on campus. AIDB will provide masks for employees. You are also welcome to wear your own mask. If you have an office with a door, you may remove your mask while you are working in your office. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, please contact AIDB Human Resources to receive further guidance.

    Thank you for your ongoing support during this time and for your help in ensuring our workplace is safe. 

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D., President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

     


    May 6, 2020 UPDATE RE: Increasing Staff Coverage

    Dear AIDB Employee,

    Even in the challenging time we find ourselves, AIDB employees have shown what “Limitless’ means.  Students and teachers at ASB, ASD, HKS and EHG are adapting to distance learning, consumers are receiving hot meals, therapists and counselors at HCS are finding ways to provide services… the list goes on!

    I have asked the President’s Staff to design a plan that will allow us to slowly and, most importantly, safely increase staff coverage on all campuses and at the regional centers. Beginning this week, administrators and a limited number of employees will be working in their offices on a part-time basis. When these employees are not in the office, they will be working remotely. If you have not been directed by your supervisor to return to work on campus, you are expected to continue to work remotely. Those who have job functions that are unable to be completed from home may be asked to fulfill other duties as appropriate. While safety will be our top priority, we need everyone to be available for possible temporary reassignments. Your supervisor will be contacting you this week to explain what this means for you.

    It is of no secret that our economy has been negatively impacted due to COVID-19.  However, we work for an organization that has had uninterrupted payroll cycles and with that blessing also comes responsibility. It is important that you, and all of us together, honor our commitment to our mission and continue to fulfill our job duties to the best of our ability.

    Thank you for ALL that you do to show what it means to be limitless!

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D., President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    April 3, 2020 UPDATE RE: STAY AT HOME ORDER BY GOV. IVEY

    Dear AIDB Employee,

    As you know, today Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order that will go into effect at 5:00 PM tomorrow, April 4, 2020. This does not affect AIDB’s plan that was announced earlier this week. That announcement can be found below.

    The majority of AIDB staff from all units will be working from home. The only exceptions are those who have been approved to come to work in the office. Those who are working in the office are expected to follow strict social distancing guidelines as directed by the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

    Alabama Industries for the Blind workers will NOT begin work on April 6. We do not yet know when production at AIB will resume. Food deliveries to AIB workers will continue as already scheduled.

    We must continue to provide services to our students and consumers but that work should be done in such a way that you are able to remain safe. All work that can be done at home, should be done at home. Working in the office should be kept to a minimum. I have asked the President’s staff to work within their units to design a work plan and schedule that will keep AIDB employees safe. 

    If you have any questions about what this means to you or when you will work next week, please contact your supervisor. 

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    April 2, 2020 UPDATE FOR ALABAMA INDUSTRIES FOR THE BLIND 

    Dear AIB Workers,

    I want to update you regarding our plans for resuming work at Alabama Industries for the Blind. Your health and safety is always my top priority, and we are taking extra steps to ensure that you will have a safe workplace during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    We will not begin production on Monday, April, 6 2020. This means that you will not come to work. We do not yet know when we will begin production. While production is stopped due to COVID-19, you will be paid your full paycheck.

    I am working with AIDB Health and Clinical Services and Physical Plant to put systems in place that will make sure that our workstations remain sanitized and safe and to help make sure our staff members are healthy when they are at work. We are also working on how we can transport workers to and from work while keeping a safe distance from each other and how we can continue to serve good, hot meals once production restarts. We will not begin production until I am sure that you will have a safe and healthy workplace. 

    If you need help obtaining food while AIB is closed please call the Talladega Regional Center at (256) 761-3370.

    According to the Alabama Department of Public Health all elective dental and medical procedures should be rescheduled and when possible, appointments should be conducted via telephone. If you have a medical appointment between now and April 30, 2020, please call your doctor to find out if you are required to come in. If your doctor has told you that you must come to the office, please call the Talladega Regional Center at (256) 761-3370 to schedule transportation.

    We have a great team of workers at AIB and I am looking forward to the day that we can be back in operation.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Challender
    Executive Manager, Alabama Industries for the Blind


    March 30, 2020 UPDATE FOR STAFF

    Dear AIDB Staff, 

    I often say that AIDB has a world-class staff and you have all, once again, shown this to be true. Many of you are already directly involved in addressing the great challenge of COVID-19 for our community. I am grateful for your dedication, high standards and caring. Each of you is essential to AIDB’s mission – and never more so than in this intense and difficult time. Thank you for all of the ways in which you are looking after your AIDB community and each other.

    I am writing today to share with you some important information about how we will move forward.

    Beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020, AIDB will be open for business in the “new normal” in which we find ourselves. Employees whose work can be done remotely will begin working from home. For those whose work cannot be done remotely, we are developing individualized workplans that will minimize close contact by utilizing staggered scheduling, limiting time on campus and implementing social distancing best practices.

    This week will be spent preparing our workforce for the shift. During this unprecedented time our staff will do what it takes to meet the need of our consumers. This means that you will have duties assigned to you that may be different from your normal work. Your supervisor will be in contact with you this week to discuss the details of how your unit or department will function. I encourage you to take an active role in this transition and ask yourself what YOU can do to support the mission of AIDB. Be creative and share your ideas with your team! We will encounter challenges as we move forward and we need each of you to help us find solutions to those challenges. 

    Let’s stay diligent, focused and aware of the world around us. I know that COVID-19 is also affecting all of you outside of your work at AIDB. This is a stressful time for all of us. If you need anything please do not hesitate to let me know.

    Our students and consumers are Deaf. Blind. Limitless. through your work and because you believe in them. I believe in YOU. You are limitless. Together we are paving the way to our future.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.

    President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    March 26, 2020 UPDATE FOR STUDENTS, PARENTS & GUARDIANS

    Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,

    Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced today that in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, schools will remain closed through the end of the school year and students will complete the year through alternate means of instruction. Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will be aligning our schools with that decision and will also remain closed for the health and safety of our students, staff and their families. Students will not return to our school campuses this school year.

    Throughout the COVID-19 situation I have been in constant communication with Vera Hendrix, Vice President of Instructional Programs, and our school administrators and teachers to ensure that we are providing the best education and service to our students at Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf and Helen Keller School. I want to reassure you that even though this is a very unusual situation, our commitment to our students and their families remains strong.

    I know that right now we have students who are missing their friends and teachers, graduating seniors whose final year in school is not finishing in the way they planned, and parents and guardians who are unsure about how they will be able to help with their child’s education. At AIDB we often use the phrase: Deaf.Blind.Limitless. We will once again show ourselves, and the rest of the world, what it means to be LIMITLESS.

    Our students are LIMITLESS.

    Our teachers are LIMITLESS.

    Our staff is LIMITLESS.

    Our teachers and administrators have already begun working on individualized plans for each of our students, including an inventory of what supplies and devices each student will need. By April 1, 2020, our plans will be finalized and we will be reaching out to every student and their family to put in place what they need to begin distance learning. We will also have a plan in place to deliver each student’s personal belongings. Decisions regarding the reopening of other AIDB programs will be made in accordance with the Alabama Department of Public Health and communicated as soon as possible.

    Together, we will finish this school year successfully.

    Together, we are LIMITLESS.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.

    President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    March 23, 2020 UPDATE

    Dear AIDB Family,

    I want to provide you with updates to our plan to move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in constant communication with healthcare authorities to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect the health and safety of AIDB students, consumers, employees and their families.

    In accordance with the Alabama State Department of Education we are extending our closure due to COVID-19. AIDB will remain closed until Monday, April 6, 2020.

    Buses will run on Sunday, April 5th, on the regular schedule to bring students back to school. School staff must return to work on their regularly scheduled shift on Sunday, April 5th. This includes bus drivers, nurses, dorm staff and cafeteria staff. THIS RETURN DATE FOR SCHOOL IS OUTDATED INFORMATION. PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE POSTED ABOVE ON MARCH 26, 2020.

    All other AIDB employees will return to work on Monday, April 6, 2020.

    Please understand that we are operating in a situation that is very fluid. As more information about our state’s response to COVID-19 becomes available, our plans may adjust. We remain committed to our mission to provide comprehensive education and service programs of superior quality to children and adults who are deaf, blind, deafblind and multidisabled and their families.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.

    President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    March 12, 2020 UPDATE

    Dear AIDB Family,

    AIDB has been notified that one of our students has been potentially exposed to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) while off campus. We currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19. We currently do not have any students or staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19

    Since AIDB is a residential facility in which most of our students and staff live in close proximity in dormitories; out of an abundance of caution we have decided to extend spring break by one week. All students will be sent home tomorrow, Friday 13, 2020. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation while our students are off campus and will remain in contact with parents and guardians. We expect students to return, as normally scheduled, on Sunday, March 29th to begin class on Monday, March 30thTHIS RETURN DATE IS OUTDATED INFORMATION. PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE POSTED ABOVE ON MARCH 26, 2020.

    We have also decided, in an effort to keep AIDB employees safe, that we will be closing all AIDB campuses in Talladega and all statewide regional centers. Base Supply Stores will follow base protocol. This closure will go into effect on Friday, March 13, 2020. Workers will return to work on Monday, March 30, at their normal time. THIS RETURN DATE IS OUTDATED INFORMATION. PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE POSTED ABOVE ON MARCH 26, 2020. All employees will receive their regular pay at the regular time. Employees do not have to use leave during this time.

    AIDB will conduct a deep, thorough cleaning of every building, school bus and transportation van while our students and staff are away.

    Please visit the Centers for Disease Control website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html to learn what symptoms you should watch for, and what to do if symptoms appear.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.

    President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind


    March 5, 2020 UPDATE

    Dear AIDB Family,

    During the past few weeks discussion about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has increased at the local, state and national levels. At AIDB we have been monitoring the situation and have been in discussion with the appropriate healthcare authorities to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect the health and safety of our students, consumers, staff and their families.

    We are receiving guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). According to the information currently available, COVID-19 symptoms and transmission are similar to the flu. As such, the following practices are in effect and will continue:

    • Continuous cleaning and disinfecting of commonly shared surfaces
    • Encouraging/teaching good hand washing and cough/sneeze etiquette.
    • Staying home when sick and until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours after the last administration of fever-reducing medicine as advised by both the CDC and ADPH.
    • Encouraging staff and students to avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    Be assured that we will remain in constant communication with our state and local partners and will be responsive to their guidance. Our Executive Director of Health and Clinical Services, Karissa Twymon, and Director of Nursing, Dee Fuller, will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves and closely advise AIDB staff in regard to COVID-19.

    Sincerely,
    John Mascia, Au.D.

    President
    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

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