December 9, 2020

Dear Key family,                                                                    

Our number one priority at the Key Center has been helping to protect our residents, staff, retail customers, and volunteers from COVID-19. We moved swiftly to add additional measures on top of existing plans and infection control protocols related to preventing communicable disease spread. Our goal is to keep our community safe, continue to care for the individuals we serve, and do our part to control the spread of COVID-19. The Key Center has taken a committed stance on keeping our staff and clients as healthy and safe as possible and continues to follow all guidelines provided by the Florida Department of Health and the CDC.

Our business is essential, and we have worked hard to develop unique and innovative ways to continue services. Steps we are taking to ensure the safety of our staff and the individuals we serve:

•We are actively communicating with staff and residents regarding precautions they should take to protect themselves and the community.

•We asked staff members to take extra precautions in their personal lives, given the vulnerability of the residents we serve.

•We practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others (except caregiving cases that require closer contact with clients).

•We continue to be diligent in maintaining a clean environment to help reduce the spread of germs and implemented medical-grade safe cleaning products that kill Covid-19 for up to seven days on surfaces.

•We continue to follow our existing policies and procedures related to preventing infectious disease spread among clients and staff.

•We have urged all clients, staff, and visitors to report any symptoms (including fever, cough, and shortness of breath) or any other sign of illness.

•We proactively screen daily all staff, clients, and visitors for any symptoms of illness.

•We resumed staff bi-weekly Covid-19 testing in early November. As of this date, all results have been negative!

We moved to Phase-2 for the Day Services on November 5, expanding our single group home pods to consist of two group homes. Community client pods and our group home pods continue to be separated. We have some clients participating in telephonic Day Services via zoom.  No date has been determined for Phase-3 pre-covid-19 classes.  We are keeping an eye on our current staff testing and our community as a whole before we make that move.

Our 13th Annual Tree of Hope event scheduled for Friday, December 11, 2020, from 5 pm – 7 pm, at 5399 West Gulf to Lake Hwy, in Lecanto, was converted into a drive-through event.  All attendees can stay in the safety of their vehicle while listening to Christmas music, receive hot chocolate kits, goodie treat bags, and more!  Along with the lite 30 foot Christmas tree, spectators will see Santa and live official Disney characters to include Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Prince Charming, and Peter Pan and Tinker Bell on display along the decorated lane. This annual much sought out event by our clients and community will be a little different but promises to be full of holiday cheer.

On other exciting news, in an attempt to reap a more bountiful harvest, the Inverness City Council voted in November to allow the Key Center to take over operations of the City Garden that consists of twenty-two growing beds that initially opened in April 2018.  Our ADT team is gun-ho and has a good plan to proceed with the Inverness City Garden usage as a vocational program.  Ultimately, we will plant, cultivate, and harvest produce to sell for the Key Center and clients’ benefit.  We have entered a one-year Memorandum of Understanding agreement that took effect on December 1.  We are getting all seeds donated and working with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Extension. We plan to have the first round of veggies/herbs for our group homes, and then move on from there.  After approximately four months, we will proceed to grow products to be sold at the Inverness Farmers Market.  This is a wonderful opportunity for both our clients and the Key Training Center.

Unfortunately, our Residential Services Director, Cole Kiser, will be leaving us at the end of the year. In the short time that she has been with us, Cole has made our residential team stronger and brought about much-needed changes and accountability. We could not compete with her future educational and personal goals, so we wish her farewell and know she will be successful in all endeavors she attempts. We are currently conducting interviews for the Residential Services Director position.  In the meantime, Theresa Flick, Director of Program Operations, will oversee the program.

Our world changed in March of this year, and we are looking forward to a time where Covid-19 is not a health threat.  The Key Center is registered for vaccines that may soon be available. We wish everyone a festive and peaceful close of this year with the hopes of a brighter, normal, and safe 2021 year! 

Thank you for your continued trust in the Key Training Center to serve the ones you love. We will continue to update you and our community of any changes to our operations. Please visit our website www.keytrainingcenter.org or follow us on social media for the latest updates. If you any questions or concerns, call Melissa Walker, Executive Director 352.795-5541 ext. 203; Theresa Flick, Director of Program Operations ext. 224; Barbara Branch, Director of Day Services ext. 244; Cole Kiser, Director of Residential Services ext. 227, or Tinker Bowen, Director of Foundation ext. 106.

Melissa Walker
Executive Director

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