While CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership will not be traveling through the rest of 2021 involving our core services of accreditation, training, and certification, we have developed protocols to help protect the health of organizational partners, their staff, people receiving services, and our own employees when we do resume travel. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these measures aim to ensure that all stakeholders feel comfortable and safe during focus groups, meetings, interviews, visits, etc. When CQL reviews the reintroduction of in-person activities in 2022, the following precautions will help CQL and our partners in determining if the service should be conducted in-person, virtually, or a combination of both.
“There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of those we work with,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, president and chief executive officer, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “We can’t wait to start interacting with people face-to-face, and these protocols will help us when that becomes a reality.”
CQL has been conducting all of its services virtually since Spring 2020, and will continue to follow the latest developments involving COVID-19 and adapt as the situation demands. Due to the realities of the pandemic, travel has been suspended through 2021 and CQL is transitioning previously scheduled in-person activities to strictly virtual platforms. When CQL does travel, there are a number of specific steps that CQL will be taking as safeguards related to the pandemic:
- CQL will follow guidelines issued at the national, provincial/state, or local level – whichever is the strictest. This includes mask wearing, social distancing, handwashing, etc.
- CQL will take various factors into consideration in decisions about travel and on-site activities, such as if the location has a high transmission rate or a spike in COVID cases.
- If it is safe to travel, CQL will only send the staff member(s) necessary to conduct the specific in-person activities. Through CQL’s successful experiences in conducting virtual activities, we can work with organizations on carrying out our services through a hybrid or fully virtual model.
- CQL will only send staff for in-person activities who are fully-vaccinated.
- If CQL’s on-site staff begin to display any COVID-related symptoms (colds, fevers, etc.), they will not participate in any of the in-person activities.
- If CQL’s staff who are scheduled to be on-site test positive for COVID within two weeks of the in-person activity, they will not be able to travel. The activities will then need to be rescheduled or conducted virtually.
- If CQL’s on-site staff have been potentially exposed to COVID within two weeks of the on-site activity, they will not be able to travel. The activities will then need to be rescheduled or conducted virtually.
- If within two weeks following CQL’s participation in an in-person activity, the CQL on-site staff member either displays COVID-related symptoms or tests positive for COVID, CQL will notify the organizational contact via email within one business day.
- CQL will be aware of, and sensitive to, COVID-related risks as well as people’s comfort level with direct interactions.
- CQL reserves the right to change any in-person activity to a virtual activity.
In addition to the safeguards that CQL will be implementing, there are also expectations we have for our partners that will help protect their staff, people receiving services, as well as CQL employees:
- The organization needs to follow guidelines issued at the national, provincial/state, or local level – whichever is the strictest. This includes mask wearing, social distancing, handwashing, etc.
- Organizations are welcome to request information about the vaccination status of CQL’s on-site staff.
- For the purpose of contact tracing in the event that someone tests positive for COVID, the organization needs to keep records of who was present (employees, people supported, other stakeholders, etc.) for all in-person activities.
- If within two weeks following the in-person activity, anyone from the organization – who the CQL on-site staff member has come into contact with – either displays COVID-related symptoms or tests positive for COVID, the organization will notify Gretchen Block, CQL’s Director of Partner Engagement, via email within one business day.
Looking Ahead In 2021
As we have been since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, we are closely monitoring the situation and will make adjustments to our plans and protocols in order to remain responsive to the pandemic. CQL will post additional information, including updates to our protocols and travel plans, as soon as possible.
CQL will continue to be flexible in how we carry out the activities related to our core services of accreditation, training, and certification. We appreciate how understanding our partners have been throughout these unprecedented times.
If you have any questions, comments, and/or concerns specific to your service activities, please contact Gretchen Block, CQL’s Director of Partner Engagement.
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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.
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