Due to the changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, the answers to these questions and others may change at any time. These answers are accurate as of Thursday, April 30, 2020.
Where can I get the most up-to-date information about precautions taken by Buckner programs and communities?
For the most current information related to Buckner’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, visit Buckner.org/coronavirus-blog.
I heard Texas is beginning to re-open. What about Buckner?
On the one hand, we never closed. We have continued serving senior adults, children and families throughout the pandemic. Many of our staff are working remotely, since we closed offices for Buckner Children and Family Services and the Buckner International Support Center in Dallas. These offices will remain closed and staff that is able will continue working from home.
Albert Reyes, president/CEO has appointed a "Workplace Re-Entry Task Force" to provide a plan for Buckner as we move forward. We do not anticipate any immediate changes. The task force is working to compile data and information that will help us make the right decisions at the right time.
When can we expect for this to be over?
While no one knows how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, we are prepared to continue all necessary precautions to help keep our clients, residents and staff healthy for as long as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends. Please continue checking CDC.gov for the most up-to-date information.
Has Buckner developed a long-term ministry strategy to include the coronavirus?
Buckner leadership quickly adapted our ministry strategies to provide uninterrupted ministry in the face of social distancing and some site closures. Buckner is still providing uninterrupted services through our focus ministries, including Family Hope Centers, Family Pathways, foster care and adoption and senior living communities. We’re keeping up to date on the coronavirus’s trajectory and adjusting our strategies to continue operations through the pandemic and remain strong past it.
What resources is Buckner making available?
In addition to providing response updates via Buckner.org/coronavirus-blog, the site includes educational resources and tips for staff and clients. Buckner also launched a virtual counseling platform for clients, and Buckner staff are assessing the needs of clients on a case-by-case basis and connecting them with local resources and services available to help.
Regarding Buckner Children and Family Services:
How is Buckner still working with clients?
Due to shelter-in-place policies, many Buckner employees, such as Support Center staff, are working from home to continue our mission. Our Family Hope Center family coaches and counselors and our Family Pathways teams are still in contact with their clients by phone, email, text and teleconferencing and offering assistance on a case-by-case basis. Foster Care and Adoption teams are in regular contact with foster children and families.
What can I do to help the people Buckner serves?
We understand this pandemic is one of the rare things that impacts every single one of us. If you are able to take a moment to pray for our clients who may have lost their jobs or are feeling the financial and emotional stress of the situation, that is a meaningful way to help. Financial contributions also greatly help Buckner as we continue serving clients through virtual methods, such as online counseling and education, and prepare for increased needs the longer clients are without employment.
You can support those we serve by giving online at Buckner.org. Right now, we’re not accepting gift-in-kind donations from the general public because of the risk of contamination. The Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid has cancelled all volunteer shifts until further notice. The center is working with a reduced crew and is still shipping aid and providing food distribution one day a week to pre-qualified families.
You can also write a letter of support to a Buckner foster child or foster parent. We’ll make sure your note gets delivered. Please send only electronic communications to email@example.com.
I’ve heard there is an increase in child abuse and neglect due to COVID-19. Why?
One in every five child-mistreatment claims are reported by educational professionals, but with schools moving to online coursework in order to support shelter-in-place policies, children are losing one of their biggest advocates. Additionally, financial stress is one of the biggest causes of neglect, and the economic shutdown is causing many to lose their source of income. With that in mind, Buckner staff is working diligently to connect with clients on a regular basis by phone, email, teleconferencing and social media in order to provide educational resources and support.
When will international missions trips resume?
We have canceled all international mission trips until June 1, 2020 and will re-evaluate the situation at that time.
Is humanitarian aid being shipped internationally?
A. Yes, we are shipping aid to our ministries in the six countries we serve for distribution through our Buckner Family Hope Centers. We were blessed to have aid pre-positioned to send prior to the crisis and international ports remain open and aid shipments are receiving priority status. We have already shipped aid to Kenya, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and the Dominican Republic and are ready to ship aid to our Honduras ministry when needed.
When will Camp Buckner re-open?
Camp Buckner is currently closed to the public for retreats and conferences until further notice. If you had a retreat or conference planned in the near future, you can contact camp staff at 512-756-7540 for the status of your event.
Regarding Buckner Retirement Services:
What are the steps Buckner is taking to protect senior adults?
In early March, Buckner made the decision to put temporary visitation restrictions in place. Everyone entering the communities, including staff and essential caregivers are screened (including a temperature check) on a daily basis, and personal protection equipment (PPE) is required for all caregivers throughout the community. We also initiated emergency preparedness calls on a regular basis with executive directors and other leaders to monitor the situation and quickly adapt plans. Leadership is constantly communicating with staff about precautions and monitoring questions from staff about self-quarantining based on symptoms or contact with friends and family who may have come in contact with the virus. We continue to ensure our communities adhere to all guidelines and best practices outlined by the CDC and CMS.
What happens if a Buckner resident tests positive for COVID-19?
In the event of a positive case of COVID-19 in a Buckner senior living community, family and residents will be notified as we follow detailed procedures outlined by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. These procedures represent a best-practice response to preserve the health of anyone who contracts the coronavirus and the continued safety of non-affected residents and staff.
How will I receive information about possible virus infections at a Buckner community?
In the event a resident or associate at a Buckner community receive the COVID-19 test, he or she will be considered a Person Under Investigation (PUI). Residents will be notified of a PUI in writing and the Buckner COVID-19 Transparency chart at bucknerretirement.org/buckner-retirement-services-coronavirus-precautions/ will display real-time status updates at each Buckner community. Families should check the website often for the most up-to-date information.
What's the best way I can stay connected to my relative?
With temporary visitation restrictions in place, we encourage frequent and regular communication with your loved one using technology (i.e. phone, FaceTime, Skype). Our community teams are happy to assist in finding the best method for you and your loved one.
What can I do to help the seniors Buckner serves?
If you have a loved one residing at a Buckner community, the best way to help is to stay in touch with them through safe, virtual methods: telecommunications, phone calls, emails, texts. Our residents would also love to hear from anyone who is interested in writing them a letter or sending an email through our “Inspiring Happiness” letter writing program. Find information on sending letters to seniors at Buckner communities here.
Do the communities have enough food and supplies?
Each Buckner community has enough food and supplies for an extended period of time. Our suppliers have assured us there are no issues with their supply and ability to continue providing us service.