After 75 days of sheltering-in-place with residents at a Georgia life plan community to reduce COVID-19 exposure on its campus, 75 staff members returned home to their own families.

On March 30, the independent living and health services staff voluntarily began moving in at Park Springs’ 61-acre campus in Stone Mountain, GA. Nurses and employees from the food and beverage services, environmental services, plant operations departments and from the administration locked in with residents to ensure that basic services continued while potential exposure to COVID-19 was reduced.

Teisha Roberts and her family.

Staff members were able to isolate and quarantine according to levels of service, living in furnished apartments, guest suites or villas, or sleeping on air mattresses in tents. 

Park Springs said it implemented a variety of programs to engage residents and provide services while maintaining social distancing and avoiding social isolation. Staff members routinely checked on residents’ well-being, monitored nutritional health and offered programming, including virtual museum tours, live Broadway shows, fitness classes and a range of educational options via its in-house TV service, TouchTown.

June 13 and 14, the employees headed home to their families. 

“Our decision to lock in was purely based on the fact that limiting human traffic into Park Springs was the best way to keep COVID-19 off our campus to protect our members and our staff,” said Donna Moore, chief operating officer at Isakson Living, which owns and operates Park Springs. “Over the last 75 days, these 75 heroes have been our mission in action.”

Now Park Springs has entered the second phase of its coronavirus response plan, which includes testing and screening all staff, limiting and screening visitors, continuation of meal delivery services, enhanced infection control protocols, social distancing and personal protective equipment. 

Some services previously suspended, including dining room service and limited in-person programming, will be available with heightened safety protocols.

“During Phase One, it was vital that we limit traffic to and from Park Springs,” Moore said. “Although we are entering Phase Two of our COVID-19 response on June 13, we are constantly evaluating and fine-tuning our plan to stay on top of the most recent developments.”

Moore said Phase Two specifications were developed after monitoring recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, government officials and its own medical advisors.

“We are proud of the actions we have taken to be at the forefront of protecting our staff and members while continuing to provide much-needed services,” Moore said. “Naturally, we are all happy to be returning to our families. However, it has been such a privilege to serve our members in this capacity and have them become a part of our extended families. None of us will ever forget this experience.”

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