NW Works Holds Community Update

CEO Debera Taylor spoke with clients and other stakeholders via videoconference.

NW Works held a virtual community town hall on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to update clients, guardians, family members, and other stakeholders on a number of issues, including COVID guidance. A video recording of the session with subtitles can be viewed via Youtube using the embedded video player below or by going to our Youtube page using this link.

Don’t want to watch the video? We have a summarized version of the meeting below:


Vaccine Availability: NW Works falls into the 1b category and we will be scheduling a date with the Department of Health for them to come on site to administer the vaccine. If you are interested in being vaccinated at NW Works, we will be registering home based clients as requested. Residential properties are being contacted for their vaccinations individually. 

Mandated Vaccine: There will be no mandated vaccine for NW Works staff at this time; however, we will be strongly recommending the vaccine. All staff and clients are required to wear a mask unless given a doctor’s note. If there is a case where masks are unable to be worn, we will work with individuals and assign an individual work area. We continue to work with everyone on a case by case basis. We have partnered with our businesses to secure their safety protocols and provide staff and clients with their guidelines.

In-house Safety Precautions:  We require temperature checks upon arrival for all staff, clients and visitors. When clients arrive, they have their temperature checked by a staff member who is equipped with a face mask, face shield, gloves and gown. If symptoms are exhibited, staff and clients will be asked to return home. We are working on installing an electronic elevated temperature system.  We are investing $39k on an air purification system that will be added to our HVAC system that will block 99% of all airborne pollutants. Our social area has been divided to where 3-4 clients are socially distanced at each table. Those who work on off-sites go directly to their work instead of coming into the NW Works building to eliminate exposures and high touch points. 

We follow CDC, DOL and DBHDS guidelines. We have a 32 page plan document that outlines actions we take when there is a confirmed exposure and/or confirmed case. We will have this plan available on our website soon. Previous to today, when there was a confirmed exposure, we would spray the area and close for three days. An amendment via the CDC guidelines states that the area will be closed for 24 hours and disinfected goes into effect today.

Our building rooms are labeled with the amount of people who can safely social distance in each room. We will continue to take into account the Governors guidance as we move forward.

Transportation: Winchester Trans continues to run, those who are working at enclaves are responsible for traveling to their work themselves. Our internal transportation ceased during COVID.  If you have an individual need, please reach out to your case manager so that we can talk through specifics. 

Government Day Waiver Funds: NW Works received retainer payments from April –June 2020. The Government provided 65% of our regular billing rate for only 90 days. The second round of retainer payments that were discussed were canceled and never received. From a financial position, we have applied for the PPP Loan and grants. We were issued a Rebuild Virginia grant and will be applying for the second round of PPP Loan. Yesterday, a Medicaid memo was issued stating that January 14th through  March of 2021, Medicaid will allow virtual group day services and work with clients through Telehealth.  More information on that will come.

Internal Planning: We are working on our strategic plan that includes five goals to achieve in the next 18 months. Those goals revolve around growing our client base, our individual supported employment and working with our client’s plans to achieve their goals. 

Upcoming Changes: Our website will be updated shortly to ensure we are able to communicate with the community effectively. 

Communication: For communication on closures, we use our Alert Now system. We stress the importance of having updated contact information available to contact clients, guardians and residential homes. 

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