HOME > Little City Town Hall + Q&A Follow-up

Little City Town Hall

Watch the recording of the Town Hall, originally live on April 9, 2020, about Little City’s response to COVID-19. Below are questions that were asked, but were not answered due to time constraints.


How will residents receive care if there is a shortage of staff?
We have contingency plans in place and under review to ensure all participants will receive care.

How would a resident be handled if they were to exhibit symptoms? Would they be tested and if tested prove positive for the virus who would monitor and make decisions about next steps including hospitalization?
We have partnered with the COVID clinic through Northwest Community Hospital for assessment to determine if treatment is necessary. If necessary, separate quarantine areas for both children and adults have been established while assessment is completed. If test returns positive and an individual is able to recover outside a hospital, resident advances to an isolation unit (separate one for adults, one for children) within Little City for care through recovery and defined separation time while home that they came from is quarantined for no less than 14 days while other residents are under observation.

Is LC getting enough PPE?
We are comfortable with our current supply to meet forecasted need. If there is a change, we will continue to pursue existing supply chain. We would appreciate immediate support in the sewing of cloth masks to keep a continuous supply for both staff and participants.

I’m hearing reports of statutes in other states of individuals with ID/DD of being triaged, not receiving aggressive care when resources are scarce. Has that been a concern or potential concern?
Not a concern at this time, we have strong partnerships with current medical suppliers.

Have there been supply chain issues with getting food, household goods & cleaning supplies, medications in the group homes? Are staff going to the grocery stores, or has it been possible to set up delivery?
Similar to the community, we are challenged with difficult to acquire traditional cleaning supplies (lysol, clorox wipes), however we have been able to turn to alternatives to ensure the safety of our environments. Children’s program continues to operate under normal procedures and has not experienced supply chain shortages related to food or daily operation. Adult’s residential, which typically relies on individual homes and participants involved in shopping for their needs as part of ongoing skill development, is currently utilizing a newly created supply chain to distribute food, medical and other supplies to reduce the opportunity of exposure of those closest to our residents.

How are meals being handled by our DSP’s?
We are practicing the same food handling actions. As part of our support program, Little City’s kitchen has begun to prepare dinner for our 19 adult residential environments throughout the community two times a week for delivery with their supplies. All other meals are prepared in the homes, utilizing food handling practices.

If a resident gets covid-19, how are they isolated in the CILA homes?
Quarantine within an adult home is achieved through separation of residents, with encouragement to stay in their individual rooms as much as possible.

What procedures are being taken to ensure that staff are not at risk for exposing residents to Coronavirus?
At the start of a shift, team members are required to take their temperatures and complete a questionnaire related to known COIVID-19 symptoms; if displaying any symptoms they are sent home. Additionally, all staff that work with residents are required to wear masks and are utilizing universal precautions to minimize risk of exposure. All environments remain closed to visitors and unnecessary interactions.

For the many children who are non-verbal, how is staff (both in and outside of the home) able to assess the overall health of non-verbal residents?
Children’s residential program is taking youth temperatures twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This data is logged into AWARDS and we’re pulling daily reports twice per day, in which management receives to monitor all youth temps. Additionally, they’re being monitored for the same CDC self-monitoring symptoms cough, shortness of breath, lethargy, etc.

What about the residents who travel offsite to their jobs. Are any precautions being taken to ensure transportation is safe?
No LCF residents, supported by agency employment programs, are currently traveling to community work sites. All residents, regardless of affiliation with employment program, have received outreach, support and assistance in baselining needs, assessing degree of safety and welfare (risk) and developing a stay at home self-care plan.

Do we have enough staff to care for our kids?
For CGH, we’ve been operating in 3:1 ratio most of the time with the exception of a couple homes who have youth who have greater independence, but even those homes are running with 2 staff with 7 kids.

Are the homes/buildings that the employees and residents with COVID-19 were in being deep cleaned? If so, how?
Little City is following CDC recommended cleaning and sanitizing.

Will Little City shut down a residential home if the residents and/or staff in that home test positive for COVID-19?
At this time, based on identified protocol and relationships with the medical community there is no plan to shut down homes.

For how long are we going to have our residents in isolation home after hospital release 2 weeks or more?
Following CDC recommendations of 14 days.

Are the kids, specifically the challenging ones for transitions, being motivated to go outside?
Yes, as much as possible weather permitting, youth are going in the backyards and have gone on walks on campus.

What steps are being taken to ensure the emotional well-being of residents, who may be vulnerable to depression due to isolation as a result of the lock-down?
In Children’s Residential, our mental health coordinator is meeting with youth individually and doing small group activities as well as yoga groups in the homes. For our adults, individuals assigned to the Clinical Mental Health Counselor have continued to receive services via phone, video or in person when necessary. Individuals who have outside therapists have been offered telehealth services through their providers. If any staff working with clients reports a concern with a client, the Clinical Mental Counselor will follow up with the client. From a behavior well-being perspective, the behavior team along with all of the other support teams (day program, etc.) are working at keeping clients engaged through activities as appropriate to help maintain as much normalcy within their day.

Are children able to socialize with children from other homes on campus during the shelter-in-place or has overall protocol changed due to COVID-19?
We are refraining from having the youth co-mingle between homes to minimize number of contacts with each other.

Are the residents in lock down in their rooms?
Residents are encouraged to practice social distancing and universal precautions and wearing of masks. They have the option to stay in their rooms and we are able to serve food in place if selected.

When will Countryside, day programs and school reopen?
Shortly after the Governor and the DHS Secretary authorize the opening of day program sites. The school however is closed for the remainder of the academic year, and summer school is yet to be determined.

Do we have an approximate time frame when residents can return home?
Not approximate timeframe, following guidance from the state regarding the shelter in place mandate.

How can we support the Little City staff members working tirelessly to keep our family members safe?
You can visit www.littlecity.org/waystohelp for more information.

How will this affect our jobs/income, especially if the shelter in place extends?
No one knows how this pandemic is going to affect the future of jobs or income. At this current point and time, we are not looking to furlough or lay-off employees. That is not to say, there may come a point whereby Little City may have to reconsider these options.

Can employees get tested to see if they had it already or have immunity to the virus?
As of this response, there is no test to determine if someone is already immune to the virus.

Will Little City employees be required to take any vaccine once it’s available?
No, unless it becomes a federal or state mandated.

If a staff member decides to take an unpaid leave of absence (unpaid) during the COVID-19 pandemic, can they apply for unemployment benefits?
No, as long as an employee is active, which would include an employee on a leave of absence, unemployment would consider the employee still employed.

Will Little City employees see an increase in pay during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Employees that work in a home where a resident(s) has tested positive will receive additional compensation for the quarantine period. For staff that volunteer to remain with a resident that has tested positive for the COVID-19 will receive additional compensation for the time period the resident is in isolation.

Are parents and/or guardians allowed to come into Little City property to see their loved ones during Illinois’ stay-at-home order?
Effective April 1st, Little City has suspended in-person visits to our homes. Communication with your loved one is encouraged via phone or video conferencing visits. This is to protect all staff and fellow residents who are in our care, and will continue to remain in effect until further guidance from the state regarding the shelter in place mandate.

Why aren’t employees informed that they may have had contact with a person who tested positive?
Little City was initially informed the Public Health Department (where the employee lived) would conduct a risk assessment and determine the level of risk of others being exposed and they (the Public Health Department) would be responsible for contacting individuals that may have had a high risk exposure. Due to changes at the Public Health Department, Little City will inform employees if they may have been potentially exposed to someone that has tested positive to the COVID-19 virus. However, due to privacy and confidentiality requirements the name of the person that tested positive will not be revealed.

Are there any programs that will be put in place for staff experiencing mental distress or PTSD after dealing with such a traumatic and unforeseeable ordeal?
Employees have access currently to Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Any employee that is experiencing stress or other mental health related issued due to the current pandemic can contact our EAP provider at 888/319-7819.

What is the policy for people who get sick and need to work from home?
Little City has a sick policy that remains in affect under the current circumstances. On the issue of working from home, the leadership for each program or department has the responsibility of evaluating which positions are able to work from home. Unfortunately, not all Little City positions can work from home.

Is there a way to limit the pulling of staff so staff is not going from home to home possibly putting other at risk?
It is preferably not to reassign (pull) employees. However, due to unexpected staff absences or other related issues, Little City must maintain certain staffing levels. Consequently, staff will need to be reassigned in order to meet the staffing and operational needs for any home or program.

If we as staff wear a mask, don’t we think kids should wear one too when they go out to a doctor’s appointment or anywhere outside or being in contact with other people who aren’t around them all the time?
To the best of their ability, Little City residents will be given masks to wear. However, not all residents are capable of wearing masks for various reasons.

"There are so many capable and caring staff at Little City, past and present, who have helped Clifford. He has made a lot of progress in mastering his behavior."

Colleen, Mother of a child living in a ChildBridge Group Home