Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women is taking serious steps to ensure as much safety and comfort as possible for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leadership understands that the field staff specifically is being asked to put themselves at risk by associating closely with clients, and as such believes that proper protocols must be practiced to ensure safety at the wilderness recovery program.
One action that the leadership at Legacy Treatment Center and Juniper Canyon took within days of the publication of CDC guidelines regarding social distancing was to procure and provide free housing for staff members. If staff members working directly with clients are being asked to stay socially distant and avoid travel and unnecessary social interactions while off shift to prevent bringing in the virus when coming on shift, then safe and comfortable housing close to work should be provided. Legacy and Juniper Canyon staff are currently staying at lodges and the Sky View Inn, a local bed and breakfast in Wayne County, where both programs are located. There, they can practice social distancing and return to work for each shift as confident as possible that they avoided exposure to the virus. As an added bonus, they are able to enjoy living and playing in and around the Legacy field area during downtime. It is worth noting that Wayne County has, as of April 30, seen zero cases of COVID-19.
In addition to providing housing for staff who need it in order to keep up the social distancing measures and remain safe to come to work, Legacy is also providing hazard pay for those who work as direct care staff to our clients. Especially considering that some guides and therapists (not to mention transport and medical staff) are working with clients who are coming into recent-admit quarantine groups, this is an extremely important step and not only provides extra compensation for their efforts, but also incentivizes the rigor to which safety protocols are upheld by all.
Lastly, led by the founders of Legacy and Juniper Canyon as well as the executive team, spaces of emotional safety and support are being offered more regularly. All staff members are encouraged to seek support in the form of extra meetings (offered virtually) and individual therapy. Says founder Derek Daley, “This is a time for us to double down on our values and culture. As a program, we are committed to our entire community and need to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and treated like family. The values that we put in place as an organization are more important now than ever. While we are also trying to encourage everyone to stay positive and present and are hopeful that we will be back to business as usual as soon as possible, we also need to be taking a pandemic extremely seriously… We need to be implementing extra safety measures rather than increasing anxiety.”