COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Keeping Families, Children, and Employees Safe

Updated June 15, 2020

At ChildServe, our number one priority is ensuring the health and safety of the children, young adults, and families we serve, and all our team members. Our COVID-19 Task Force has been closely monitoring recommendations from public health officials regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

To limit the spread of illness, we have implemented temporary visitor restrictions. Volunteers, tours and onsite meetings with external partners are not allowed at any ChildServe locations. Our inpatient programs (long-term care and inpatient rehabilitation) and ChildServe group homes are currently closed to all visitors and non-essential staff.  

The following visitor restrictions are in place for the children and families we serve in other services:

Only the child who receives care and primary caregivers are allowed entry. Primary caregivers include, but are not limited to:

  • Parents/stepparents
  • Spouse/significant other
  • Other defined caregiver (siblings are not allowed unless 16 years of age who are also identified as the defined caregiver)

Primary caregivers must:

  • Be 16 years of age and older (including sibling caregivers)
  • Limit movement within the facility
  • Remain in treatment rooms as appropriate
  • Be free from illness, such as fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, vomiting or runny nose

All children and families will be screened upon entry and asked the following questions:  

  1. In the last 14 days, have you, any member of your household, or anyone with you today tested positive for COVID-19?
  2. Are you, any member of your household, or anyone with you today currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? This symptom list is targeted at non-chronic symptoms that are a new onset, outside of your normal baseline, and not related to seasonal issues. Symptoms include of any ONE of the following:    
       – Fever greater than or equal to 100°F (37.8°C) without the use of fever-reducing medications like Tylenol or Motrin
       – Chills
       – Cough
       – Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

       – Muscle or body aches
       – Loss of taste or smell
       – Sore throat
       – Runny nose or congestion
       – Diarrhea
       – Fatigue
       – Headache
       – Nausea or Vomiting

  3. In the last 14 days, have you or anyone with you today traveled internationally to anywhere outside of the country, including taking a cruise?

Outpatient Families (Therapy, DME, Orthotics, Behavioral Health, Physician and Specialty Clinics, and Day Health Programs): If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, we will not hold your session that day, or until you and your child are in good health. We encourage you to self-screen at home and postpone your sessions ahead of time if you are ill or have been exposed to Coronavirus. Due to the unique health challenge that COVID-19 brings to our community, we will work around our normal attendance policy. Telehealth sessions are currently available for many outpatient services. Contact your provider for more information.

Residential Program Families (Group Homes, Long-term Care Unit and Inpatient Rehabilitation): Visitors of any kind are currently not allowed in ChildServe‘s long-term care unit, inpatient rehabilitation unit, and group homes. 

Community Service Families (Respite, SCL, Day Habilitation, Homecare, and Case Management): We encourage you to self-screen at home. If you, you answer “yes” to any of these questions, please postpone your services onsite, in the community and in your home. ChildServe‘s Day Habilitation and Group Respite services are temporarily suspended at this time, per the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Childcare Families: We encourage you to self-screen at home. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, we will not be able to provide childcare services for your child until he or she is in good health.

Visitor restrictions are temporary and subject to change as necessary. We understand these visitor restrictions may be difficult. While we are committed to providing a family-centered care environment, right now restricting visitors is in the best interest of the children we serve. 

Our thoughts are with all those affected by this virus, and we encourage you to join us in being careful, as well as mindful of others, during this time.  Please see the FAQ section below for more important information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ChildServe doing to protect my child?

ChildServe has a plan in place to continue to provide the safest care possible. We have been following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) since news of COVID-19 first broke earlier this year.

  • ChildServe’s Infection Control Council established a COVID-19 Task Force with dedicated resources and authority to implement change as the need arises. The task force is in frequent contact and continues to make recommendations to protect the health of those in our care as we navigate this global pandemic.
  • ChildServe has implemented visitor restrictions at the advice of the Iowa Department of Health. To limit the spread of illness, all non-essential visitors will be restricted from all ChildServe locations. Our long-term care program, inpatient rehabilitation program, and group homes are currently closed to all visitors and non-essential staff. In our outpatient services, only the child who receives care and primary caregivers are allowed entry. These temporary visitor restrictions are subject to change as necessary.
  • All children, family members, and staff will be screened upon entering any ChildServe location.
  • Our facility teams are following strict cleaning protocols in waiting room and high-touch areas.
I don’t feel well – should I still come to ChildServe? (How to Self-Screen)

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, please wait to visit until you are certain you are in good health.

  1. In the last 14 dayshave you, any member of your household, or anyone with you today tested positive for COVID-19?
  2. Are you, any member of your household, or anyone with you today currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? This symptom list is targeted at non-chronic symptoms that are a new onset, outside of your normal baseline, and not related to seasonal issues. Symptoms include any ONE of the following:    
        – Fever greater than or equal to 100°F (37.8°C) without the use of fever-reducing medications like Tylenol or Motrin
       – Chills
       – Cough
       – Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

       – Muscle or body aches
       – Loss of taste or smell
       – Sore throat
       – Runny nose or congestion
       – Diarrhea
       – Fatigue
       – Headache
       – Nausea or Vomiting

  3. In the last 14 days, have you or anyone with you today traveled internationally to anywhere outside of the country, including taking a cruise?
I have traveled recently – should I still come to ChildServe?

If you have traveled internationally to anywhere outside of the country or taken a cruise in the last 14 days you should not come to ChildServe

What should I do if I feel sick, or think I may be getting sick?

If you are sick, to keep from spreading your illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home and isolate from others until you are in good health.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, preferably into your elbow or sleeve. If a tissue is used, immediately throw the used tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, cups, toys, handles, countertops, etc.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you feel sick with mild symptoms and think you may have been exposed to a virus, you should call 211. The 211 medical call line is staffed with medical professionals daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and should be used the same way you  would contact your healthcare provider. The line will answer questions about mild symptoms and whether you need to be tested. Hospital emergency rooms and 911 should be reserved for patients who are in severe respiratory distress. If you have symptoms before or after the hours of the 211 medical phone line, then call your healthcare provider.

Visit the CDC website to learn more about best practices to keep your family healthy.

What can I do to avoid getting or spreading COVID-19?

The best way to prevent any viral illness is to avoid being exposed to a virus. These are a few actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Foundry Distilling Co. is offering free hand sanitizer to the community as of March 20th. The hand sanitizer is 60% alcohol by volume and is being produced daily at the company’s facility in West Des Moines. Guests can bring in their own container up to 12 ounces in size and the Foundry staff will refill it, with a limit to one refill per customer per day. A schedule of refill times is available on Facebook. 

Who should wear a mask?

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. However, cloth face coverings should NOT be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

ChildServe staff are required to wear masks while moving about our buildings or when in close contact with others inside our buildings. We also  strongly encourage families to wear masks while receiving services in our buildings.

Where can I get trustworthy information about COVID-19?

These organizations are the most-trusted places to get information about COVID-19:

Iowa has established the 2-1-1 hotline, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The 2-1-1 line is staffed with nurses to answer questions related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If you experience symptoms after hours that can’t wait until the next day, please call your primary care provider. In a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

How can I get tested for COVID-19 through TestIowa?

TestIowa is a new statewide initiative with the goal of dramatically increasing the rate of COVID-19 testing to help stem the spread of the virus and  get Iowa back to normal as quickly as possible. All Iowans are encouraged to visit testiowa.com to take a short health assessment and learn if you qualify at this time for free COVID-19 testing. Eventually, this drive-through testing will be available to all Iowans.

Why is ChildServe limiting visitors?

This was a decision we made after careful consideration. Based on guidance from the Polk County Health Department, the CDC, and following suit with all the local hospitals, ChildServe is restricting visitors to protect the children and families we serve and help reduce the spread of illness due to COVID-19.

When will the visitor restriction be lifted?

Unfortunately, we do not know. As long as public health experts perceive COVID-19 as a threat, it is likely that the visitor restriction will stay in place.

If I cannot attend appointments due to illness or childcare needs, will my child lose their spot?

If you do need to cancel services while this policy is in place, your child will be able to resume services immediately after our visitor restriction is lifted, without going back on the waitlist. That is our commitment to the families we serve during this uncertain time. We will keep families updated when our visitor restrictions are lifted. Telehealth services may also be available for your child. Feel free to reach out to your provider for more information.

How can I help my child prepare for their telehealth session?

ChildServe‘s therapy team created a social story to help children adjust to therapy sessions provided via telehealth instead of in-person visits. A simplified version for kids who prefer visual schedules is also included at the end of the story. Click here to download the social story and visual schedule. Feel free to share this resource with anyone who might need it!

How can I help ChildServe?

We are grateful to the many friends of ChildServe who have reached out to us asking how they can help during this unprecedented time. ChildServe is currently accepting homemade masks (see mask pattern here) and homemade gowns. Please contact Joy Batten for more information. If you are interested in giving financially to ChildServe, you can learn more at www.childserve.org/giving.

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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of more than 4,600 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, acquired injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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