Vaughn-Blumberg Center stays COVID-19 free

The center’s day program was forced to close on March 16 due to the virus and opened their doors back up on September 1.
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:42 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - COVID-19 has made numerous changes to schools, day cares and care facilities. That includes the Vaughn-Blumberg Center right here in Houston County. COVID-19 forced the Vaughn-Blumberg Center day program to close their doors on March 16.

“We continued contact with them via phone throughout those months we were closed," Sheri Maupin, Director of Day Programs, said. "That allowed family members and us to keep in touch and it prompted them to practice social distancing and getting used to wearing masks.”

On September 1st, individuals were finally able to return to the day program.

“We did not know what to expect from our individuals coming in, if they have gotten out of their routine, but it was like they never left, like we never closed,” Maupin said.

“Some of us were in tears we were so excited to see them, and them too,” Maupin said.

The Vaughn-Blumberg Center went six months with no in person day program, keeping in touch with individuals remotely, this is what they missed the most.

“We work on goals, personalized goals with each individual at the day program, so that came to a halt for our people in the community,” Maupin said,

The center provides care for intellectual disabled adults in Houston County.

“We promote the handwashing, the hand sanitizing, throughout the day as we did anyway but we’ve even bumped that up," Maupin said. "To our knowledge we have no cases of covid-19 in our residential programs nor our day programs.”

Maupin said their day programs have changed quite a bit since returning back in house.

“We come in, run our transportation at half capacity to follow CDC guidelines and social distancing, wearing masks," Maupin said. "We have visuals in the classroom like painter tape so our individuals have a visual of their personal space.”

Transportation may be at half capacity, but…

“That does not mean our individuals cannot come, it just means that their parents, guardians, providers, have to bring them in on those days that we do not pick them up,” Maupin said.

Buses are sanitized after each route and the building is professionally sanitized each day. Maupin said they have enough space in the facility to provide social distancing when at full capacity.

“We practice universal precautions anyway, every day, before COVID-19 we just bumped our precautions up quite a bit,” Maupin said.

Individuals are assigned within a group and stay with that same group each day.

“We’re following CDC guidelines, in an effort of keeping our people healthy and safe," Maupin said. "Our staff, our individuals first and foremost, they are dear to our heart. We want them healthy we want them to continue to come see us that’s why we are not allowing visitors in the building.”

Large gatherings, including in the cafeteria, are prohibited at the time. Maupin said it is a work in process and the center will be changing as CDC guidelines change.

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