Presidential Perspective: Responding to the coronavirus

The safety and protection of those we serve and our staff are the highest priorities for Buckner International. We are implementing strategic plans and precautions across all Buckner ministries addressing the coronavirus.

Buckner Retirement Services:
Because senior adults appear to be most vulnerable to the virus, Buckner Retirement Services is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and the BRS team is reinforcing health readiness. Under the guidance of Brian Robbins, vice president, BRS is:

  1. Activating its Emergency Preparedness and Operations teams at each of the six campuses and holding a regular conference call with the teams from the six campuses. This process includes coordinating with local first responders and health care facilities in case emergency response for a resident or staff is necessary.
  2. Reviewing the Emergency Preparedness Manual and re-educating staff about infectious disease policies and procedures.
  3. Reviewing the BRS infection control protocol, inventorying supplies, and preparing employees through information and education.
  4. Launching a communications campaign internally for all stakeholders, including signs and posters in all communities. These Buckner-themed posters contain specific information about stopping the spread of germs and viruses.
  5. Directing staff exhibiting signs of sickness to stay home.
  6. Communicating with residents and family members that Buckner is taking this seriously and we are taking every reasonable precaution. 

Buckner Children and Family Services:
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services issued a recommended response to the coronavirus that is being followed by Buckner Children and Family Services. TDFPS states that “because the risk remains low and there are no cases outside the federal quarantine, state health officials are urging awareness and prevention.”

BCFS is reminding our staff, foster families and everyone we serve that the best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus – similar to the precautions to avoid the flu. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

BCFS will also display Buckner communications signs and posters in all our facilities.

International Travel:
Following federal and local guidelines recommended to prevent infection and the spread of the coronavirus, Buckner is temporarily halting all nonessential international travel not already scheduled. The Security Assessment Team (SAT) will provide an ongoing assessment of international travel and will provide recommendations going forward for future trips. All trips currently planned will go forward at this point.

This approach is in keeping with new guidelines issued March 1 by the Centers for Disease Control encouraging higher education institutions to consider temporary measures, given the speed with which the virus is spreading and the number of countries reporting human-to-human transmission. 

While few of the countries served by Buckner are directly affected by the virus, the nature of international travel causes us to respond cautiously at this point for the safety of staff who travel internationally. 

Our leadership at Buckner is committed to responding as needed to the virus situation. We want to be both thorough and wise in our planning and implementation.

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