Featured Team Members: Aaron Fernandes, BA
The core of Open Sky’s COVID-19 risk-management plan is prevention. To this end, we have all the systems in place outlined in our Navigating the Pandemic Response Timeline, including health symptom screening, social distancing, rigorous hygiene practices, education, and more.
In addition, we recognized early on that an essential part of any successful action plan to prevail against this virus must also include an aggressive testing program. With this in mind, we worked tirelessly in the early weeks of the pandemic to secure a testing program for Open Sky staff and students.
Due to our status as a licensed behavioral healthcare program, Open Sky was fortunate to partner with a lab who values the critical mental healthcare services we provide. Through this partnership, we have been able to not only secure testing for Open Sky but also source critically needed test kits for our local community.
On April 15, 2020, Open Sky launched our antibody testing program with the goal of identifying past infection and/or asymptomatic carriers in our otherwise healthy population of students and staff. Since then, we have administered over 350 rapid antibody tests for students and staff, all negative. We will continue an aggressive antibody testing program moving forward.
At the core of the Open Sky testing program is the PCR Swab, the gold standard for identifying current COVID-19 infection. Since April 7, we have had PCR Swab tests at the ready for any presenting symptoms of concern in the staff or student body.
As the concern of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers has become clear in recent weeks, we have moved to a PCR Swab testing program for all incoming students. We are pleased to say that all students who enrolled as of April 9, 2020, have now participated in our PCR Swab testing program, all with negative results. We will continue this testing for new students moving forward.
The life-changing wilderness therapy work happening in the field is precious and worthy of fierce protection. The Open Sky testing program is designed to do just that: support students in focusing on their important work and support staff in facilitating the powerful, family-centered wilderness therapy experience that is Open Sky.