Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order July 2 mandating face masks and other face coverings in public to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Johnson County Board of County Commissions then voted to support the mask requirement. Since April, JCDS has required all staff to use masks while providing direct support or interacting with the public.
Due to the mask mandates, we request that family members wear a mask when picking someone up from our residential program. We ask that friends and family members continue to wear a mask, indoors or outdoors, when unable to maintain physical distancing. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue our efforts to reduce the risk of exposure while supporting visits with family and friends. As an organization, we are always evaluating our health and safety protocols and need to adjust accordingly as community spread increases.
People in Service
In certain instances, it can be difficult for individuals in service to wear masks. When this is the case, staff and the circle of support should work with the individual to minimize their risk for exposure, and their risk for exposing others, if they are unable to wear a mask.
In some cases, however, learning to wear a mask is an opportunity for personal growth. An individual in service at JCDS, Scott, had a hard time wearing a mask at first. Since this spring, it had been a struggle to get him to keep one on. Without a mask, it is a risk to engage in activities where physical distancing is not possible, so it was important for Scott to develop comfort with the new policy. DSP Mary Jones patiently worked with him and supported him as he built up a tolerance to wearing it. After a few months, he was able to wear a mask comfortably.
Many DSPs support individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, and a mask can make lip reading or facial expressions hard to see. Fortunately, you can purchase and make masks with a see-through window.
There is no question that wearing a mask saves lives. We all have a responsibility to do our part during this pandemic to minimize harm. Luckily, JCDS and the CDDO have many partners who have donated masks to distribute to local agencies and our staff. Thank you to the following partners for your donations:
If you're looking for awesome masks, JCDS Emerging Artists are selling one-of-a-kind facemasks. Brad, a participant in the program pictured above, is showing off some of his designs.