We hope you are doing well and staying safe! St. Mary’s number one priority is keeping our staff and clients safe.This has been an extremely challenging task during the coronvirus crisis. In this special E-News, we want to tell you a bit about what we are doing because of the coronavirus situation - how we are working to keep our kids safe and educated, how we are serving families' new needs, and how creativity is making this time better. Plus - see the results of an Easter donation! Be well!
Life on campus

About half of our 180 staff are working at home and the only people coming onto campus are essential staff who are taking care of the residential youth 24/7. Employees that are still on campus include residential counselors, supervisors, managers and clinicians, maintenance, kitchen, front office staff, and a few members of administrative staff.

Staff have been instructed to self monitor, which includes taking their temperature and staying home if exhibiting any symptoms of the illness. Our 24/7 nursing staff is also monitoring all staff and children regularly for any signs of virus symptoms so we can react quickly. Staff are required to wear face masks and social distancing is reinforced as is good hygiene and cleaning practices.

Despite our following all CDC, Department of Health, and DCYF protocols, we have four staff and three youth who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The staff are all resting at home and will return when deemed clear by the RI Department of Health. The children who tested positive are resting in a special isolation unit where they are cared for 24/7.The majority of children in our care have tested negative for the virus.

We are working closely with the RI Department of Health and DCYF to ensure we are taking all necessary precautions to slow the spread of the disease.
Art as therapy

As important as their physical health is, so is the children's mental health. To help our residential children deal with being quarantined, many new art projects have been developed, including creating craft projects and using inspirational sayings to make driftwood or canvas paintings. (See photos for some of the results.) One of our nurses is an expert in yoga and mindfulness and is doing sessions with the kids.
Outpatient clients with new needs

We continue to fully support our clients clinically through telehealth. We are finding that our outpatient families are feeling isolated and anxious. They are trying to help their children with distance learning while also facing issues around basic human needs such as groceries and medicine – some have been laid off from their jobs. Clients state that being able to continue therapy and other St. Mary’s services helps them feel less alone. Because we are assessing basic needs and providing some assistance such as gift cards and cab rides to grocery stores, our clients are getting through the coronavirus isolation in a more connected and supported way. 
The journey to distance learning

The George N. Hunt School has 20 students who live on campus, and 16 day students who normally travel to the school each day. When the school closed, students received a packet of work to take home. Teachers, who are working from home, are in daily contact with all students to support them. School administrators are investigating supplemental learning such as Zoos who are doing YouTube sessions on animals. In the next week or so, our team and our students will transition to virtual learning using chromebooks.
A note from our Executive Director

St. Mary's recently received two grants: COVID-19 Response Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation and Rhode Island Foundation Basic Human Needs grant . Thank you to these funders and all our donors for allowing us to help meet the basic needs of our clients. Without this funding, many families in Rhode Island would be going without items such as food and cleaning supplies during this crisis. 

We want to continue to provide you transparent information about St. Mary’s and will update you again in the future. To keep apprised of developments, please see our new coronavirus update web page.

Be well and stay safe,
Carlene Casciano-McCann
Keeping as much normalcy as possible

While we are living in a strange time, it's important to keep as much normalcy as possible, especially for children. To help with this, Development Committee member Trisha Lynch supplied 27 Easter baskets, which were designed by Barrington Books , located in Cranston and Barringon, for our kids and JoAnn Fabrics in Warwick donated crafting supplies. Below you can see some of the thank you cards the children made based on these donations.
You can make a difference!
Support our Covid-19 Fund today.