Friendship Center to Roll Out Hybrid Schedule

By Laurie Mason
Program & Communications Coordinator

As the State of California inches toward a comprehensive reopening plan, Friendship Center members and caregivers will be heartened to know that our own reopening plan has been in the works for months. The new hybrid plan incorporates both onsite and Zoom activities as it transitions toward fully re-opening.

“We’re pleased to announce that our plan has been approved by the California State Licensing Board,” says Operations Director Ellen Willis-Conger, emphasizing that Friendship Center does not yet know the reopening date. “The California Department of Public Health, the state licensor and the County Public Health Department have all given guidance, and we will continue to follow their guidance as we determine the safest time for reopening.”

Member Safety Is Top Priority
Keeping loved ones healthy is FC’s first consideration in both creating the plan’s structure, which was the hard part, and now determining the best implementation date. “We have the plan’s structure in place and approved, but now we need to focus on the best timing,” says Ellen, adding that the timing is key to a safe roll out.

Before opening, all current and former participants will receive letters detailing specific reopening plans, dates, sanitation practices as well as information about how to register. In the meantime, we are able to give this overview of our plan to provide members with the plan’s the broad strokes, but also comfort knowing reopening is on the near horizon.

Alternating Weeks, Half Days in Beginning
“We’re asking people back for an intermittent half-day program that will help us determine how safely we can open up,” explains Ellen. “The initial reopening will be smaller in scope than Friendship Center’s pre-pandemic program, with fewer members participating on site than is our regular participant population.”

To reduce any risk of infection, the plan builds in time between onsite activities for Covid-19 testing. “We will further mitigate risk by alternating weeks,” says Ellen.

The Zoom program in some form will be available to members in their off-site weeks as well as to those who are not yet able to participate at the Friendship Center facility.

Fun with a Purpose
In the beginning, all onsite activities will be located at Friendship Center Montecito.

As always, fun with a purpose is the goal. “Exercising the four pillars of healthy human existence —the social, physical, cognitive and emotional—will be incorporated into all activities whether they participate via Zoom or on site,” says Program Manager Rachel Graef.

For more information, contact Family Services Manager Kim Larsen at: kim@friendshipcentersb.org or (805) 969-0859, ext. 2.