If you are an Astor staff member and have questions or concerns about policies or procedures during this crisis, please feel free to CONTACT ASTOR using this form, and we will respond as quickly as possible.
Free Childcare for Essential Workers
The Early Care & Learning Council has collaborated with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and Governor Cuomo’s Administration to develop a plan to provide childcare to essential workers at no cost. Funding from the CARES Act to the State is being used to provide free childcare for essential workers. Essential workers using a regulated child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funds to support it are available. All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for essential workers are able to participate in this new program. Please see this CARES Letter for more information.
Within NYC, this is being administered by the New York City Child Care Resource and Referral Consortium. For the rest of state, contact the appropriate Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for details.
Essential workers can apply for the scholarship at the below links:
In order for your application to be considered complete, you will need to provide a letter as proof of employment at Astor Services. Please reach out to the Human Resources Department at (845) 871-1004 if you are interested in applying.
Total Care EAP Resource Center
During this challenging time, we would like to remind you that the Total Care EAP resource is available, at no cost to you. If you or a family member are anxious or stressed and need someone to talk to, you have free access to the counselors at EAP, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.You can call 1-800-252-4555.
TotalCare EAP has created a Covid-19 resource center on their ESI member website, www.theEAP.com/TotalCare-EAP. They continue to update the resource center with new information every few days so login to see what’s new.
Plus, they have added 5 new video trainings to help you and your family deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. The videos help educate employees on the virus. And for those who are working remotely, there are videos to help those employees and their managers.
You can access the resource center and the new videos by logging on to the ESI website www.theEAP.com/TotalCare-EAP. Links to each of the training videos can be found in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource & Training Center after you’ve logged in to the site.
The following is a brief summary of the training videos.
Preparing for an Epidemic
Epidemics can be really frightening, and with so much information swirling around, it’s easy to panic and spread false information. In this video, you’ll learn symptoms of COVID-19, how to prepare for an epidemic as an individual and an organization, how to prevent the spread of a virus in the workplace, good hygiene practices, and how to create a clear business plan to keep operations running.
Setting Up Your Remote Workspace
Working remotely has a lot of benefits, but your workspace can really impact your productivity. You want a place free of distractions, and you also want to make sure you have the right equipment. Learn how to set up a remote workspace that will help you maximize your productivity.
Conference Call Guidelines
Conference calls can be a great way to keep your dispersed team connected, but they can go south quickly. We’ve all had the experience of being on a conference call that wasn’t a good use of time, or a dog was barking in the background, or half the team had technical difficulties. Learn best practices for having effective conference calls.
Staying Productive While Working Remotely
Remote work gives you a lot of flexibility, but sometimes that flexibility makes it hard to stay focused and productive. There are several ways to help yourself stay on task, including making a schedule, taking breaks, and more. In this video, you’ll get tips on staying productive even if you’re working from the couch.
Enhancing Productivity With Remote Workers
Employees might love the idea of working remotely, while managers don’t like that they can’t monitor or check up on employees regularly. But remote workers can be just as productive, if not more, than employees in the office. In this video, you’ll learn how to manage remote employees, help them be their most productive, and the mutual benefits of remote work.
Virtual Mentoring & Parenting Group Available for Clients
I’RAISE Girls & Boys International Corp launched a new Virtual Mentor program, modeled after their Big Brother Big Sister Program, that uses social-emotional learning curriculum to help children and youth cope during COVID-19. The target population served by this program includes children and youth between the ages of 4 and 18 who reside in a low-income neighborhood anywhere in the U.S. This virtual mentor program is grounded in positive youth development and promotes social connection and social interaction between children and youth while learning remotely.
The young person or young adult must meet program eligibility to be referred to our program. Please complete the Mentor Referral Form and a representative will contact you as soon as possible. Learn more www.iraiseinc.org.
In addition, I’RAISE has launched a Parent Rise online parenting group. This group provides support and relief to parents impacted by COVID-19 and helps parents adjust to emergency situations such as social distancing, loss, financial hardship, as well as remote student learning. For parents to sign up, please share this online link
Home Visiting Screening Flowchart
When in-person client visits resume, please use the
COVID-19 Home Visiting Screening Flowchart as guidance.
A Message from Astor’s Medical Director
March 25, 2020
Dear Fellow Employees,
As we adjust to the new normal, let us take time to breathe in and out and move on, keeping our clients, our own families and ourselves safe. We need to remember to use our personal precautions: washing our hands vigorously for 20 seconds, using respiratory etiquette, avoiding touching our faces, avoiding close contact with sick people, staying home when we are sick and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (not forgetting doorknobs and light switches).
Most of us are working remotely, which brings another set of changes. We need to remind ourselves that routine needs to be established, so we don’t sit in front of our computers in our sleepwear. We need to remember to do some mindfulness and be prepared to return to our sites when the time comes.
If we need to return and we have gotten sick (with the COVID-19) or were exposed to someone suspected or had symptoms that were suspicious of the virus, but were not tested, we will need to call our supervisor and talk about what are the criteria for the return.
We are doing our best to comply with government mandates as well as following our sites Corona Virus Pandemic Preparedness Plans. It is a lot and overwhelming. There are tension and fear in the air, principally with the latest news coming out of New York City. Which brings us to the next topic. COVID-19 is spreading there much faster than expected and many city residents are leaving and going to other locations within the state and beyond including the Hudson Valley vicinity. We need to be vigilant and cautious with everyone with whom we come in contact whether they are symptomatic or not. Everyone leaving New York City is being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. We need to remember social distancing, also if we go to the grocery stores, pharmacies etc., we need to wear gloves and wipe down containers before bringing them inside our homes and most importantly we must remember to wash our hands with soap for a full 20 seconds. For those of us working at the Residence, we need to check ourselves prior to leaving home for any sign of fever (chills), sore throat, coughing and shortness of breath.
If you have ideas that might be helpful to all of us let us or a supervisor know. Stay Safe.
If you have questions, concerns or need guidance call the
Dutchess County Coronavirus Information Hotline: 845-486-3555
Orange County CoronavirusInformation Hotline: 845-643-3909
Ulster County Coronavirus Information Hotline: 845-443-8888
New York State Coronavirus Hotline 1(888) 364-306
Denize Da Silva-Siege, M.D., M.S.
NYC’s child care centers open to Essential Workers in NYC
Read more at https://bit.ly/2WIwaFi
Useful Tips for Tough Times
Below are several links that will be helpful to you and your family while coping in these challenging times.
April 2020 Newsletter
Disruption Is Stressful!
It’s normal to feel anxious, frightened, or worried about a public emergency, particularly when it concerns your health or that of your loved ones. It can be stressful to feel out of control, especially when normal routines are disrupted. The better informed you are, the more prepared you are. Make sure that you follow news from reputable sources and avoid rumors and panic-mongering that can some- times happen on social media. Keep phone numbers and emails handy for your family members, key work contacts, your doctor and your insurer. Keep a list of prescription drugs for every family member. With social disruption, it’s normal to be worried about work security and money issues. Many are experiencing temporary job disruptions or worry that they might in the future. Federal and state government agencies are planning packages that will provide helpful resources and financial assistance such as unemployment, but these are still in the early stages. The most immediate source of help is your state and local governments. To deal with stress, increase activities that calm you: Meditating or praying. Exercising. Reading. Watching movies. Engaging in home hobbies. Talking to a friend or loved one on the phone or writing letters. Limit exposure to news, particularly if it distresses you.
Remember, if you are anxious or stressed and need to talk to someone, you have access to counselors 24/7/365 at 800.252.4555. You also have thousands of resources on health, stress, anxiety, family matters, money matters, debt and more by logging in to www.theEAP.com/TotalCare-EAP.
Protecting your Health and Minimizing your Risk
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is your single greatest defense against coronavirus and many other illnesses.
- Wash your hands when you arrive at work or at home and repeat several times a day, particularly before eating or handling food.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- You don’t need a mask unless 1) you are caring for someone who is ill or 2) you are ill and you need to avoid spreading germs.
- Stop handshaking. Use other non-contact methods of greeting.
- Use gloves, a tissue or a sleeve to press elevator buttons, to hold handrails or to use shared work resources like copiers and file drawers.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Share electronic documents rather than paper ones.
- Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting the air conditioning
- Limit food sharing. Do not share cups, plates, or utensils.
- Follow advice from state and local public health officials.
- Should you or a loved one feel sick, call before going to a doctor, clinic or hospital.
What Is “Social Distancing?”
A few weeks ago, no one ever heard of the term “social distancing” and now everyone is talking about it. But what exactly is it? It comes down to this: Avoid crowds and busy public places. Keep a distance between yourself and other people – experts recommend 6 feet. It means limiting unnecessary travel, skipping social events and avoiding gathering places like restaurants, clubs, theatres, auditoriums, and even churches. In communities where COVID-19 is active, authorities are taking steps to ensure social distancing by closing or limiting public places like restaurants, bars, and museums.
The goal of social distancing is to prevent the spread of a disease for which there are not yet any antibodies or effective treatments. While young, healthy people may not be as susceptible or at as much risk, they can be carriers of illness. Social distancing helps protect our own health but also protects the most vulnerable people in our lives – people with diabetes, heart conditions, asthma, and other health conditions, and people over the age of 60. It’s also important to keep our healthcare workers and systems from being overwhelmed.
Listen to your local guidelines. Limit trips to the market. Go on only necessary errands. Keep a distance from others. Avoid groups. Use good sense in visiting family or friends, particularly any who are vulnerable. One way to work off stress is to take walks, exercise or ride your bike in natural, uncrowded spaces.
www.theEAP.com/TotalCare-EAP | 800.252.4555