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COVID-19 Updates

The health of the First Place community is our top priority. As the number of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, cases in the U.S. increases, we are adopting new daily—and in some cases hourly—protocols and contingency plans as we diligently monitor the situation and manage our home. We will continue issuing these updates to keep residents, students and families informed.

Keeping First Place Healthy – Update on Coronavirus & Protocols

Helpful Tools

Check out these new tools that residents—and families, too—can use to help with daily/weekly schedules.

Huge thanks to these Phoenix restaurants for delivering/donating meals to First Place–Phoenix!

Frequently Asked Questions

We have scanned the entire First Place before implementing physical distancing protocols for the ease and comfort of residents and staff. New visual supports have also been added—from new signage and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the property to decals and green footprints for optimum distancing on carpet and flooring. Daily cleaning crews continue diligent property maintenance, supplemented by UV light scanners. We have also established a designated package delivery area. These important steps represent constant reminders of our “new normal.”

In an effort to minimize potential exposure to the coronavirus, First Place requests guests be limited to family, individuals listed on Resident-Approved Entry Forms, essential providers and vendors.

All guests and vendors are required to follow these steps when entering the property:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at the convenient hand-washing station provided upon entering the building.
  • Complete the COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire.
  • Wear facemasks in common areas.
  • Utilize hand-sanitizer dispensers often while on property.

Residents must greet guest(s) upon arrival at the concierge desk. Guests must be escorted by a resident at all times. 

We have also established a designated package delivery area for residents and staff.

First Place is not a medical facility. No licensed medical personnel are on staff. We are also unable to transport a sick resident to a medical facility. If a resident shows symptoms of coronavirus infection, is advised by their healthcare provider to self-quarantine or receives a positive coronavirus test result, the resident and/or family must immediately notify the local health department and the CDC for guidance regarding appropriate next steps. Due to quarantine requirements, the resident would be unable to leave their apartment or use property amenities and common areas.

With the official pandemic declaration in March, all spring 2020 classes were promptly converted to an online platform and daily supports were provided in person by one staff member per apartment while following all physical distancing, handwashing and facemask protocols. Telehealth has also been offered remotely. 

The next Transition Academy class starts in August, with enrollment near capacity. In collaboration with GateWay Community College and our sister nonprofit, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), and consistent with our state universities and the community college system, incoming students will be attending online classes, consistent with new campus precautions and protocols. The graduating Class of 2020 celebrated their completion of the program via a virtual celebration in early June with the option of walking together with their graduating class at a future date.

Staff is offering technology-based supports that include an Alexa Echo for each resident (provided by First Place), along with several other community-based and in-home supports under the following conditions, provided the resident has responded NO to all COVID-19 screening questions:

  • Staff member washes hands for 20 seconds prior to entering the apartment.
  • When staff member enters apartment, resident is asked to wash their own hands for 20 seconds.
  • Staff member wears a face covering/mask while in the apartment and also asks resident to do the same.

Activities have been altered to include more structured on-site and outdoor activities. We have reduced public transportation requirements and are limiting group events to a maximum of 10 participants. During daily activities, we reinforce physical distancing, self-health checks and CDC-recommended hygiene protocols for all participants. The Community Life calendar is updated on a daily basis.

We are committed every day to nurturing and maintaining our unique community. This time of COVID-19 has pushed us all further to preserve and cherish the many aspects of daily life that make First Place–Phoenix and the greater Phoenix community so special.  
Management, staff, families, donors, community members and—most importantly—the residents themselves have all stepped up, time and again, to do what is in the best interests of “us” and not “me.” We are confident that we will emerge from this extraordinary and challenging time in our lives stronger—together.

Lounge Areas: open on every floor 

Fitness Room: open by reservation only through concierge; only one person per one-hour time slot

Pool & Patio: open for leisure use only; maximum occupancy limited to 10 individuals

Basketball Hoop: open for a maximum of two players at a time 

Yoga Room: closed and being renovated 

Game Room: closed

A concierge is on staff 24/7 to direct your inquiry to the appropriate person.

We encourage you to consider the everyday actions we can take together as individuals and communities:

  • Create an emergency contact list.
  • Identify aid and healthcare organizations in your area.
  • Talk with loved ones and friends to determine what steps everyone can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Is everyone doing their part?
  • Plan safe ways to care for those who might be at greatest risk.
  • Communicate with neighbors to ensure their well-being and how they might help you if needed.

For a community that has embraced an open culture of new friendships, inclusivity and diversity since the moment we opened our doors almost two years ago, we have come to understand the critical importance of this “new normal” and putting these restrictive protocols into practice for the overall health and well-being of our residents and staff.

We also value how our collective experiences at First Place influence how we return to favorite routines and destinations beyond our front doors. Contributing to the strength and resiliency of our broader community, we constantly reinforce these daily practices:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with foaming soap for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face, including eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Wipe down surfaces around your apartment regularly.
  • Wash clothing with germ-killing detergent.
  • Practice proper personal hygiene.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise when you can.
  • Pay attention to your health and seek help immediately if you detect any changes.

“Discover First Place–Phoenix” virtual tours are ongoing. Check our website for tour dates and times to reserve your spot.