• 6/12/2020 COVID-19 & Service Update:  We hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe.  Our temporary closure of non-essential services has been in place since March 18th.  Very recently, MN Department of Human Services (MN DHS) issued new guidance on allowing limited capacity services to start, including community employment services, remote services, and in-center licensed services (very limited scope).  MN DHS requires a specific and enhanced COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in order to provide these services, which you can find on this site.  We are gradually resuming a narrow range of services to a limited number of program participants beginning 6/15/20, in order to best ensure and promote the safety and health of everyone while we all get used to practicing new safety protocols and habits.  After nearly three months, we look forward to welcoming back program participants and support team members in our careful and gradual ramp-up of services.

    We continue to monitor and use fact-based and up-to-date information and recommendations from public health officials, MN Department of Health, MN Department of Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others.  Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is a dynamic document, and will be updated regularly to reflect newly learned information and changes in best practices.

    To all of you, please stay safe and healthy.

    Below is our latest COVID-19 Program Preparedness Plan


    PHASE-Industries COVID-19 Program Preparedness Plan

    Written April 2020/ Revised June 2020

    1. Introduction

    PHASE-Industries is committed to providing a safe and healthy program and workplace for our program participants and staff. To ensure that, we have developed the following Preparedness Plan in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This Plan is designed to be a dynamic document, meaning that it will be updated and modified as new information and “best practices” emerge specific to COVID-19.  Managers and staff members are all responsible for implementing and monitoring this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of Covid-19 in our workplaces, and that requires full cooperation among staff and management. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our workforce and workplaces.


    COVID-19 is a new and highly infectious respiratory disease, which began spreading in the U.S. in early 2020.  This plan outlines new policies and procedures for both workforce and program participants to minimize exposure risks, promptly identify COVID-19 symptoms, and safely respond when exposure/infection is suspected.  As more information is learned about COVID-19, this Plan will incorporate this new information, as applicable.  This Plan is posted at each PHASE-Industries licensed site, and is available on our webpage (www.pinehab.org).  Please look for any updates to the Plan at either of these locations.


    Our Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards related to Covid-19 and addresses:


    • hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
    • engineering and administrative controls for social distancing;
    • housekeeping – cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination;
    • prompt identification and isolation of sick persons;
    • communications and training that will be provided to managers and staff; and
    • management and supervision oversight necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan.


    A copy of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan will be offered to each person receiving services, their legal representative, if any, and their case manager.

    This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan will be available to the Commissioner upon request.

    This Action and Prevention Plan supplements the existing PHASE-Industries policies and procedures .


    1. COVID-19 Background

    The outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a new (novel) coronavirus that was first detected in China and has now been detected across the globe, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).


    On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the United States to aid the nation’s health care community in responding to COVID-19.


    On March 11, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic as the number of infected countries grew. 


    On March 27, Governor Walz “Stay-at-Home” Order began, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.  The Stay-at-Home order expired on May 18, with the gradual re-opening of non-essential businesses and community activities.  Further restrictions were lifted on June 1.  However, MN DHS continued to maintain significant restrictions and limitations on re-opening of day & employment services. 


    1. How COVID-19 Spreads:
    • People can spread the COVID-19 disease to each other.
    • The disease is thought to spread by nose and mouth droplets when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes or exhales.
    • The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. It may be possible for people to breathe the droplets into their lungs. It is important to stay 6 feet away from other people in public. At home, someone who is sick should stay alone, in one room, as much as possible.
    • Droplets can land on surfaces and objects that other people then touch. It is important to wash your hands before you touch your mouth, nose, face or eyes. Clean surfaces that are touched often. Clean surfaces often if someone in the house is sick.
    • Infected people may be able to spread the disease before they have symptoms or feel sick.


    1. COVID-19 Symptoms, Severity & High Risk Factors:


    1. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea


    • These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms.
    • Many people with COVID-19 have mild illness. However, anyone can become severely ill from this virus.
    • Based on current information and experience, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions have a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Ask your health care provider if you have greater risk of getting sicker.


    1. People at higher risk & Peacetime Emergency as Declared by MN Governor:

    Pursuant to Emergency Executive Order 20-55, “at-risk persons are strongly urged to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in necessary activities for health and wellbeing…” At-risk persons are defined in paragraph 2 of the Order as follows:   Consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), “at-risk persons” include people who are:


    • Age 65 and older.
    • Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
    • Any age if they have underlying health conditions, especially if the conditions are not well controlled:
      • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
      • Serious heart conditions.
      • Severe obesity with body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
      • Diabetes.
      • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
      • Liver disease.
      • Immunocompromised. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.


    1. Individuals’ Rights

    The Commissioner is temporarily modifying Minnesota Statutes, section 245D.04, subdivision 2 pertaining to a person’s service-related rights by adding a new clause:

    A person's service-related rights include the right to: . . .

    (10) make an informed choice about whether to receive day services in the licensed facility/community or to “stay-at-home” and receive no day services or receive services remotely during the peacetime emergency to minimize their exposure to COVID-19. This right exists even if the person does not meet the definition of an “at-risk person” under Emergency Executive Order 20-55, paragraph 2.


    1. Date PHASE-Industries Will Resume Services

    PHASE-Industries will resume services at such date when all revised guidelines set forth by the Commissioner dated June 1, 2020 can be implemented and PHASE-Industries program participants can be served in a safe manner. These modifications to PHASE-Industries services include:

    1. Services provided in a MS245D licensed facility will only be provided to persons who live in their own home or who live with family members in non-congregate licensed or unlicensed settings.


    1. Pursuant to Emergency Executive Orders 20-55 and 20-63, the Commissioner is requiring license holders of a day services facility license under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245D, to adhere to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on COVID-19. This is an ongoing requirement, as the guidance will evolve during the pandemic. DHS will communicate current guidance and any updated guidance to providers via email and on the DHS website. 


    1. If a person receiving services or a staff person tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, the license holder must follow the MDH and CDC guidelines specific to the situation and program capabilities. 


    1. This Response Action and Prevention Plan meets the requirement that license holders of day services for adults with disabilities must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as set forth in Emergency Executive Order 20-63, paragraph 7.e. The plan must provide for the business’s implementation of Minnesota OSHA Standards and MDH and CDC Guidelines in their workplaces. These requirements are set forth in guidance published by DEED and DLI available on DEED’s website (https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/business/).


    1. Remote Work and Services for Individuals
      1. PHASE-Industries requires that all employees who are able to work from home do so whenever possible.


    1. A separate plan regarding PHASE-Industries’ plan to provide remote services will be written and distributed when those services are developed and become available.  


    1. Staff Training

    All PHASE-Industries staff will be trained on all current COVID-19 Preparedness and related Policies and Procedures during orientation, prior to re-opening licensed sites, and as needed thereafter.


    1. Health and Safety Modifications

    According to the temporarily modified Minnesota Statutes, section 245D.29 , PHASE-Industries will adhere to the following guidelines:

    1. All employees and program participants (or residential providers) shall provide notice of any individual who develops symptoms or are confirmed for Covid-19 for up to 7 days following their visit to PHASE-Industries. If individuals are determined to have been potentially contagious while at the PHASE-Industries site, protocol for confirmed cases will be followed as laid out in this document.


    1. All community sites at which PHASE-Industries provides services shall provide notice of any employee or customer who develops symptoms or are confirmed for Covid-19 for up to 7 days following their visit to the community site. If individuals are determined to have been potentially contagious while at the community site, protocol for confirmed cases will be followed as laid out in this document.


    1. Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while in the PHASE-Industries building will be isolated with staff supervision in the identified isolation room (per site) located within the facility.  Only one staff shall support the individual, and will ensure they and the program participant utilize use of the site’s N95 mask.  Arrangements will be made by staff immediately upon noticing symptoms to have the individual transported home or to another predetermined, safe location away from the PHASE-Industries facility/program site.


    The staff shall ensure a supervisor is immediately notified when an individual exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, or has been potentially exposed, and the supervisor will communicate with legal representatives, case managers, and residential providers when service recipients have been potentially exposed.


    1. Face coverings shall be required for all individuals who enter the PHASE-Industries facility and for the duration services on-site, community employment and transportation when in any shared or publicly used space (e.g., hallways), and in the presence of any other individual.  Cases will be handled on an individual level in circumstances where a program participant may have a medical exception to the use of a face covering, or if use of a face covering impedes communication. Staff will encourage breaks from face coverings by going outside, and ensuring a minimum of 12 feet of distance between each individual.  The following mask types will be allowed:
      • N95 respirator without exhaust valve (because of very limited supply, company-issued N95 masks are only used in the event an individual exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, and must be isolated from others until such time as they can leave the premise).
      • Cloth or medical masks
      • Employer supplied face covering (if applicable and available)
      • Employee supplied face covering approved by the Employer in the event other mask types listed are not available due to shortages


    1. Site Entry & Work Location Screening
      1. Every staff will conduct the Daily health screening to include no-touch temperature checks for themselves, participants and visitors at the designated entry points for all buildings and upon initial boarding of a program vehicle.  Staff shall document results on the Health Screening & Exposure Risk Form, and submit this documentation in the designated area (Need to identify this area for each site/service)


    • The Health Screening & Exposure Risk form serves to confirm and document:
      • that they are not experiencing a fever
      • that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms
      • have not been with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 14 days nor are living with anyone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and is under quarantine
      • Commitment to immediately notify Organization of any change in circumstances listed in a-c above.  If so, will not report to work until …(enter criteria). 


    1. Prior to obtaining access to the PHASE-Industries facility or vehicles (company, employee or public transit), all employees and program participants shall:
      1.   Enter at only designated entry points, and
      2. If entry point is a vehicle, check in with the vehicle driver BEFORE entering vehicle, and
      3.   Sanitize hands, and
      4. Complete Health Screening & Exposure Risk Form, which includes a body temperature check (see Exhibit A), and
      5.   Personnel and/or program participants with symptoms matching those with Covid-19 will not be granted access to the PHASE-Industries licensed facility and/or vehicles.


    1. Visitors

    PHASE-Industries licensed facilities and vehicles will remain closed to all non-essential visitors and volunteers. All visitors (e.g., deliveries) and volunteers will be directed via signage at the building’s entrance to call (or ring doorbell) prior to entering.  Items that need to be dropped off for a program participant can be left at the building’s designated “no-contact” drop-off location at building entrance. People arriving to pick up program participants must use doorbell or call building prior to entrance, and will be directed where to pick up the program participant.  


    1. Physical plant and space requirements
      1. A 6-foot minimum distance shall be maintained between all individuals while onsite, to the best extent possible in relation to support for the program participant.


    1. A maximum of 10 individuals in each individual assigned area within the facility will be maintained. To minimize cross-contamination between areas, individuals will be assigned to a specific area for the day and should remain in that area, with the exception of using the restroom. Individuals will not be allowed to walk freely throughout the building, including those who work in offices.


    1. A maximum of 50 individuals including both program participants and staff will be allowed in a given facility at one time.


    1. Program Scheduling at Licensed Sites
      1. PHASE-Industries will schedule all program participant services to be delivered in shifts, with a maximum duration of three hours throughout the day for each person receiving services at a licensed site (the three hours does not include transportation or employment services in the community).  The staff providing the services must document the start and end time of each shift and indicate with his/her name and signature or electronic signature that he/she is the staff providing the services.


    1. The schedule of staff and program participants will be designed to ensure staggered activity schedules that minimize contact with others outside of assigned cohorts.


    1. Every effort will be made to maintain a schedule of consistent cohorts of the same staff and persons receiving services.  Cohorts will consist of 10 or fewer people, including staff.  Cohorts must be maintained throughout the program day, including meal times, and should also be maintained during the programming week whenever possible.


    1. PHASE-Industries will ensure the facility is cleaned and disinfected between shifts.


    1. The schedule will incorporate arrival and departure protocols for persons receiving services that include social distancing strategies and other mitigation efforts. Only one individual served will enter the building at one time allowing enough time to sanitize hands and any other items necessary before the next individual enters the building.


    1. PHASE-Industries will have areas specified to be occupied by each cohort of not more than 10 individuals including staff and program participants. These areas will be protected from other cohorts using separate rooms or other physical barriers.


    1. Traffic flow and appropriate spacing to support social distancing will be identified using signs and tape on the floors/walls/doors throughout the PHASE-Industries buildings.


    1. All seating in the PHASE-Industries building is spaced to maximize the space between persons receiving services with at least six feet between seats. Whenever possible, seating will be turned in the same direction (rather than facing each other) to reduce transmission caused from virus-containing droplets created when people talk, cough, or sneeze.


    1. During meal times, staff who work directly with individuals will eat at different times and in a separate area at least 6 feet away from others.


    1.   Transportation:
      1. Transportation will be provided to PHASE-Industries program participants using the current MnDOT guidelines on the number of individuals each vehicle can safely accommodate paired with maintaining maximum distance between all individuals within a given vehicle.  Generally, no more than one individual per row of seats will be allowed, and the seating arrangement between rows will promote maximum physical distancing.  Approved face coverings will be worn by all individuals while in the vehicle including program participants and driver, except in the case when wearing an approved face covering may present imminent risk to self or others. Each vehicle will be sanitized between transportation routes following current CDC guidelines. Staff will ensure each vehicle is equipped with a fully stocked PPE kit, including 10 face masks, 1 face shield, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, no touch or one-use thermometer and a small trash receptacle.


    1. Staff will ensure vehicle ventilation settings maximize outside air exchange, and keep the ventilation on at all times while in vehicle.  Further, staff will ensure windows are open fully or partially when feasible in order to maximize outside air exchange. 


    1. PHASE-Industries shall follow the COVID-19 Plan of each public transit agency used for transportation.  Prior to entry onto a route vehicle, staff shall conduct a health screening of each individual preparing to board the vehicle.  An individual who presents a COVID-19 exposure risk and/or symptoms will be denied access to the vehicle.


    1.  Work Location Procedures & Precautions

    The following are the procedures and precautionary measures that will be implemented in the work location to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19 to all personnel.


    1. Any individual presenting respiratory symptoms, fever, and/or meet the criteria developed by PHASE-Industries to be categorized as a risk to human health, as it relates to Covid-19, will be denied access to the PHASE-Industries site and vehicles. Affected individuals will be directed to proceed with recommended precautions and subject to a 14-day quarantine.


    1. Each individual entering the PHASE-Industries site, PHASE-Industries vehicle, or PHASE-Industries community site shall complete the Health & Exposure Risk form prior to gaining access to the PHASE-Industries site, vehicle, or community site each day.



    1. Individuals will be directed to take breaks, lunch, and meetings in non-congregated areas, such as their vehicle or assigned area of the PHASE-Industries site.


    1. Staff who are required to assist individuals served with eating lunch or break will be required to eat at a different time ensuring social distancing is maintained.


    1. Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation

    All areas of each facility and PHASE-Industries vehicles (in use) will be thoroughly cleaned at least daily or as often as required in other areas of this policy, licensing requirements, and recommendations by CDC. All individuals will be required to participate in cleaning and sanitizing common areas.


    Current cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilation guidelines as set forth by the CDC will be followed. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html


    The Transportation and Maintenance Manager shall use MN OSHA and MN DOLI guidelines (https://mn.gov/deed/assets/general-industry-guidance-ACC_tcm1045-432880.pdf) to inspect and upgrade, as needed, facility and vehicle ventilation filters and systems (See Exhibit B for guidelines)


    1. Response & Reporting Procedures and Confirmed Cases
      1. In the event of any of the following, reporting and response policies will be followed to minimize exposure and transmission of Covid-19. Notification of any of these events shall be conducted immediately.
        1. A confirmed case of Covid-19 for a program participant, employee, or person living with a program participant or employee.


    1. An individual is denied access to an PHASE-Industries vehicle, facility or community site or removed from the site for fever or symptoms associated with Covid-19.


    1. Notice of an individual being otherwise impacted by Covid-19 (e.g. elevated exposure risk).


    The internal reporting procedure requires the following PHASE-Industries leadership to be immediately notified:

    Assigned Supervisor (DC, DM, Lead)

    Chief Operating Officer (COO)

    Human Resource Director (HRD)

    Executive Director


    1. In the event of a positively confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19:
      1. If the affected person is offsite, the affected person will be instructed to stay home and will not be allowed onsite.


    1. If the affected person had been onsite in the last 48 hours, protocols below for “onsite affected person” will also be implemented.


    1. The affected person will immediately isolate in designated space away from others or immediately leave the premises if feasible.  If the affected person is a program participant, staff will put the N95 mask on themselves first, and provide the program participant with an N95 mask with instructions to use.  Staff will immediately notify other staff and supervisor using remote/phone technology (if available).  No more than one staff will support the affected program participant, in order to minimize infection risk. 


    1. The COO or designee will gain an understanding of potential locations and individuals the affected person had been in contact with over the last 5 days through a phone conversation with the individual or the individual’s residential provider/guardian.


    1. All individuals who had prolonged close contact (less than 6 feet apart for more than 10 min per day) with positively tested person within the last 48 hours will be directed and supported to immediately leave from site (and isolate on-site if immediate departure is not possible), and will self-monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 for 14 days prior to being allowed back on site, symptom free.


    1. After an orderly and safe shutdown of the PHASE-Industries affected area, the site will be locked down while it is determined what areas may have been impacted and who may have been exposed. PHASE-Industries COO and HRD will lead this investigation and decision-making process, providing a written summary with actions taken and further recommendation to the Executive Director.


    1. After the investigation has been completed, individuals determined to not have been affected can continue working onsite so long as it does not impact sanitizing efforts, there are adequate staff to meet program participant/staff ratios, and it is approved by PHASE-Industries leadership.


    1. All affected or potentially affected areas will be thoroughly wiped with an approved bleach/water (1:10 ratio) solution. Additionally, the affected area/site/vehicle will be locked down and not entered for a period of seven (7) calendar days.


    1. Confirmed and suspected cases may attempt to return to the PHASE-Industries or community site with the following criteria:


    1. No fever within 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication), and
    2. Symptoms improved, and
    3. At least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared.


    1. The following criteria will be used to individually evaluate workplace safety:
      1. If a staff or program participant has indirect contact with someone or is living with someone who tests positive for Covid-19, current guidance states you should self-quarantine for 14 days.


    1. If an employee or other member of a community site tests positive, all program participants and staff will be immediately removed from the site. Return to the site will be determined on an individual basis.


    1. Best Practices Being Continuously Implemented at PHASE-Industries Sites
    1. Encourage sick employees and program participants to stay home: Anyone with symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
    2. Wear an Approved Face Mask/Face Covering.
    3. Social Distancing: Avoid congregating, large gatherings, and always maintain a minimum distance of approximately 6 feet from others.
    4. Meetings: Large mass meetings will continue to be held through Microsoft Teams, Go-To-Meeting, Zoom or another virtual meeting provider
    5. Mobile Devices/Shared Computers: Mobile devices and computers will not be shared by anyone and should be sanitized before and after each visit to the site.
    6. Lunch/Break:
    1. All individuals must maintain a distance of 6 feet from other individuals while eating lunch or taking breaks.
    2. No communal food shall be permitted on the jobsite until further notice (donuts, pizza, potluck, etc.)
    1. Hygiene: The following processes will be implemented at PHASE-Industries:
    1. Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily
    2. Workers responsible for trash removal will maintain proper PPE/hand washing practices
    3. Handwash stations will be maintained with soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels
    4. All individuals on site will be expected to participate in extra cleanings for frequently touched surfaces (light switches, tables, chairs, door handles, etc.)
    1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    1. Do not share PPE.
    2. Sanitize reusable PPE per manufacturer’s recommendation before and after each use.
    3. Ensure used PPE is disposed of properly.





    Air Ventilation Guidelines

    Ventilation System Start-up:

    Businesses must evaluate the operational capacity, and increase, improve, and maintain ventilation provided throughout the building.

    1. Increase the outdoor air-percentage to increase dilution of contaminants, and eliminate recirculating, whenever possible, while maintaining indoor air-conditions.

    2. For heating-ventilation-air-conditioning systems that recirculate air, businesses need to improve centralair filtration to at least the MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack (at least MERV-14 3 GENERAL INDUSTRY GUIDANCE | Minnesota Employer Preparedness Plan Requirements Checklist preferred), and seal the edges of filters to further limit by-pass around the filters.

    3. Replace and upgrade air filters prior to re-occupancy.

    4. Run systems on full economizer as outside airconditions allow.

    5. Consult an HVAC professional to ensure proper ventilation is maintained.


    Day-To-Day Operations:

    Once systems are in a safe operational status, businesses should ensure the following practices and protocols are maintained:

    1. Continuously maximize fresh-air into the workplace, and eliminate air recirculation.

    2. Maintain relative humidity levels of RH 40-60%

    3. Keep systems running longer hours (24/7 if possible) to enhance the ability to filter contaminants out of the air.

    4. Add a flush cycle to the controls of the HVAC system, and run HVAC systems for 2-hours before and after occupancy.

    5. Check and rebalance the HVAC system to provide negative air-pressure whenever possible.

    6. Supplement ventilation-system with the use of portable HEPA filter units whenever possible.

    7. Minimize air-flow from blowing across people. 8. Consult an HVAC professional or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to ensure proper ventilation is provided, and ventilation-systems are properly maintained. See ASHRAE’s COVID-19 Preparedness Resources (www. ashrae.org/technical-resources/resources).



    Cleaning & Disinfectant Protocols

    Workplace cleaning and disinfection protocols

    1. Establish a documented sanitation schedule and checklist, identifying surfaces/equipment to be sanitized, the agent to be used, and the frequency at which sanitation occurs.
    2. Routinely clean and disinfect all areas, such as offices, restrooms, locker and changing rooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment, machinery, tools, controls, etc.
    3. Frequently clean all high-touch items, such as doorknobs, countertops, barriers, railings, handles, and other surfaces.
    4. Electronic devices (e.g. light-switches, circuit-breakers) should not be sanitized with a liquid agent. Consider covering switches/devices with a poly-covering that allows the user to manipulate the device without touching the switch, and change out the poly-covering frequently. Electronic devices must be sanitized only when disconnected from the power-source, and sanitized in accordance with the listing/labeling requirements.
    5. Personal equipment, tools and phones should not be shared or, if shared, should be disinfected after each use.
    6. Implement immediate cleaning and disinfecting  of the workplace if a worker, client or visitor becomes ill with COVID-19. See CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ community/disinfecting-building-facility.html).
    7. Select appropriate and ensure the needed supply of disinfectants – consider effectiveness and safety. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List N has identified a list of products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. See EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (www.epa.gov/pesticide- registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2).
    8. Review product labels and Safety Data Sheets, follow manufacturer specifications, and use required personal protective equipment for the product.





    5/29/2020 COVID-19 Update:  We hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe.  Our temporary closure of program participant day & employment services provided in our licensed facilities continues, per the order issued by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (please see the order below).    We are working with and awaiting specific guidance from the Minnesota Department of Human Services for a reopening timeline and enhanced safety protocol requirements. 

    We continue to provide essential services, and will begin providing additional employment supports at community businesses (as they begin to open up) and other community jobs (not located within a licensed site).  Further, we are developing virtual learning and remote support curriculum, which will become available by mid-June.

    Our primary commitment is ensuring the safest support and workplace environments.  Not all services will re-open on the same date, and we continue to evaluate the order of service resumption and explore new ways to deliver services creatively and safely.   We are monitoring and using fact-based and up-to-date information and recommendations from public health officials, MN Department of Health, MN Department of Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others. 

    To our program participants, thank you for your continued patience as we plan for the ramp-up to services.  We look forward to, once again supporting and engaging with you so you can thrive in your employment and occupational goals! 

    To our Team Members, thank you for your patience, as well.  Please remember to regularly check your company-issued email for important updates, communications and schedules as we gradually, safely and responsibly implement return-to-service plans.  We are especially grateful to our Team Members who have continued working and providing essential services since the beginning of the pandemic!

    To all of you, please stay safe and healthy.


    Message from MN Department of Human Services 5/20/2020

    Dear Partner:

    As I wrote last week, when Governor Walz announced the shift from Stay at Home MN to Stay Safe MN we began to explore the steps necessary to re-open day center services for people with disabilities.

    We have been working with the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) to develop the strongest guidelines possible to protect the health of employees and people we support. This included hygiene, distancing, masking, screening, operating at 50% capacity, allowing twice the space per person, and creating cohorts of less than 10 people that don’t intermix with other cohorts.

    We have also worked with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to develop appropriate masking strategies for people with disabilities, consider guidance for what to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19, and look at the possibilities of allowing center-based and remote services.

    In consultation with MDH, we have identified two important health and safety considerations we have not been able to mitigate in order to open day services for people with disabilities at this time.

    The first issue – and the greatest at this time – is the recent number of positive COVID-19 cases in group homes for people with disabilities. After COVID-19 first appeared in nursing and assisted living facilities, some 5% of small congregate care sites like group homes have now also experienced positive COVID-19 cases.

    Many of the individuals who use day services live in group homes. While we are trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 in group homes, it would be a mistake to bring people together into day centers every day and send them back to their homes potentially exposed to the virus. This could undermine our mitigation strategies in those residential settings.

    Our second issue is the increased risk of COVID-19 when we have more, closer and longer exposures to people who are COVID-19 positive. We are just beginning to understand that another risk factor in contracting COVID-19 is the length of time we are exposed to people who are positive. There is a difference between moving around a grocery store for 20 minutes and sitting in a restaurant for 2 hours.  Day services facilities have people interacting with each other for 6 hours a day. If anyone shares a cohort with a COVID-19 positive colleague, their risk of contracting the virus is greater.

    So, while I apologize for raising the hopes of our day services providers and staff that we might be able to support their reopening, it is our best judgement, based on the best health advice we have, that it would be too risky to re-open day centers at this time. While we understand the many challenges this creates for you and the people you serve, protecting the health and safety of vulnerable Minnesotans is our first priority.

    At the request of the MOHR association, we are looking at allowing day services providers to provide more remote services to residents of group homes. We will communicate more as soon as we can, and we will continue to work with MOHR to explore other solutions to support these important community-based services.

    We will continue to assess the situation regularly throughout the pandemic and we’ve agreed to discuss the current situation with MOHR every other week to see what new guidance we can develop to allow you to support Minnesotans with disabilities.

    Thank you for who you are for your neighbors in Minnesota.


    Jodi Harpstead, Commissioner
    Minnesota Department Human Services 


    5/14/2020 COVID-19 Update:  We hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe.  Our temporary closure of program participant day, center-based, group and shared transportation services due to COVID-19 has been extended through the end of May.  While the most recent Governor’s Executive Orders allows the gradual reopening of certain non-essential businesses beginning May 18th, the Orders do identify circumstances and conditions where continued precautionary measures are warranted.  The Minnesota Department of Human Services has indicated that they will provide specific guidance and direction on the re-opening of day services. 

    As we continue to modify and test our new COVID-19 Program Preparedness Plans, our primary commitment is ensuring the safest support and workplace environments.  Not all services will re-open on the same date, and we continue to evaluate the order of service resumption and explore new ways to deliver services creatively and safely.   We are monitoring and using fact-based and up-to-date information and recommendations from public health officials, MN Department of Health, MN Department of Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others. 

    To our program participants, thank you for your continued patience as we plan for the ramp-up to services.  We look forward to, once again supporting and engaging with you so you can thrive in your employment and occupational goals!  One of your Team Members from PHASE-Industries will be in contact with you early next week for your input on safe service delivery options and how we can best plan your support in partnership with you.

    To our Team Members not currently working in essential function assignments, thank you for your patience, as well.  Please remember to regularly check your company-issued email for important updates, communications and schedules as we gradually, safely and responsibly implement return-to-service plans.

    To all of you, please stay safe and healthy.


    5/1/2020 COVID-19 Update:

    We at PHASE-Industries hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe. Our temporary closure of non-essential services due to COVID-19 and set to expire on May 4th has been extended through at least May 17th. This is consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-48, extending the Stay at Home Order. We are taking this time to develop and test new COVID-19 protocols, so when we fully re-open, we are able to best ensure the health and safety of all program participants, staff and stakeholders. We are working diligently on creating the safest support environments and procedures in preparation for our ramp-up to services. Not all services will re-open on the same date. We are evaluating daily the order of service resumption, and actively exploring new ways to safely deliver services as we all continue to navigate a world with the presence of COVID-19. We are monitoring and using fact-based and up-to-date information and recommendations from public health officials, MN Department of Health, MN Department of Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

    To our program participants, we miss supporting and engaging with you every day, and look forward with hope and optimism to supporting you again soon. To all of you, stay safe and healthy.


    COVID-19 Message from PHASE-Industries 4/8/20 Update

    4/8/20 Update: PHASE-Industries temporary closure of non-essential services extended through May 3, 2020.

    On April 8, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-33, which extended his directive for Minnesotans to Stay at Home through May 3, 2020 (Link to Executive Oder 20-33: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-33.pdf). Consistent with the Governor’s Executive Orders, and recommendations from public health officials on social distancing, PHASE-Industries will continue our temporary closure of all non-essential services through May 3, 2020.

    As we navigate through unprecedented times due to COVID-19, we at PHASE-Industries want to keep all of our valued stakeholders current with our response. We are continuously monitoring fact-based information and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), federal & state health and human service agencies, public health officials, and all governmental executive orders.

    To our program participants and Team Members not currently receiving PHASE-Industries services or working because of our partial closure of services, know that we miss and think of you every day. We are working hard to prepare for your return to services, supports and employment.

    A core group of the PHASE-Industries Team continues to work throughout each day to apply our Mission in action, balancing the protection of health of program participants and team members with the acute needs of those we support and the local communities. While we are not providing the majority of our traditional services, we are working as quickly as possible to offer expanded services in-home upon clearance & direction from the MN Department of Human Services. We also continue to provide essential services, including critical work for medical supply companies, recycling and emergency services for program participant in their home. Lastly, we stand ready and willing to support local healthcare in whatever manner we are able.

    If you are a service recipient, family member or guardian and need emergency and/or critical services provided to you in your home, please contact your assigned Designated Manager at PHASE-Industries so we can help plan and support you.

    As a Mission-based organization, our obligation is to support our program participants to live, work and thrive in their communities. We best achieve this through a competent, engaged and well-supported team of staff members, especially at the point of service. We are working vigorously to find mechanisms to support team members and program participants through this crisis, as we know at some point, the crisis will conclude. Right now, we are advocating strongly for stopgap funding through the MN Department of Human Services, state legislature and Governor’s Office in order to navigate through the crisis and provide some piece-of-mind for all stakeholders. Further, we have applied for multiple lines of emergency funding, including the newly created Paycheck Protection Program, which if approved, will allow us to reinstate payroll for a period of eight weeks upon distribution of funds.

    Please check this website for additional communications and postings as new information becomes available. We will also continue to use our automated phone/text announcement system to communicate key information. We are in this together, and will persevere through it together. Stay safe and healthy.

    Tim Schmutzer

    Executive Director


  • PHASE empowers Program Participants to live, work and thrive

    through the discovery and development of their individual abilities.

  • PHASE is a private, non-profit corporation, incorporated in 1970 as a 501(c)3 in the state of Minnesota. PHASE primarily serves individuals with a developmental disability, brain injury and/or severe and persistent mental illness.  Services focus on employment development, community integration, skill-building, and social, recreational and therapeutic activities.  PHASE is a CARF Accredited organization, licensed under MS245D by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  In a given year, PHASE serves close to 500 program participants, and employs approximately 130 staff members.

    PHASE is a Home and Community Based Service, meaning that its primary mandate is to ensure access to the community while preventing institutionalization of individuals served. PHASE works to promote the legal and human rights of individuals with disabilities through its services, and in compliance with the 1999 Supreme Court Decision, referred to as the Olmstead Decision.  The Olmstead Decision provides the legal authority to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities, and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

    PHASE and Industries, Inc., a division of PHASE, serve individuals throughout Pine, Chisago, Kanabec, and Isanti counties. While the overall demand for services has steadily increased in recent years, the characteristics of new referrals and the quantity of service authorization have changed.  An increasing number of new referrals are presenting with severe and persistent mental illness, and many present with significant challenges in behavior.  Further, new referrals are commonly authorized for less than five-days of service per week, which has presented a challenge in striking a balance between resource allocation and service quantity.

    New regulations, including the implementation of MS245D, development of the MN Olmstead Plan, repeal of MN Rule 9525 - Rule 40, proposal of MN Rule 9544 - Positive Supports Rule, Moving Home Minnesota initiative, Federal HCBS Plan, Rate Restructuring, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and Employment-First Policy initiatives, have provided both a challenge and opportunity to enhance the overall service delivery to be more person-centered, person-first, and community-integrated.

    PHASE has adjusted its practices, structure and procedures to both comply with the new regulation, and meaningfully participate in the process of leading systematic changes in the field of supports for individuals with disabilities. PHASE has improved individualized planning of services, and moved to expand pathways for diversified employment opportunities to program participants.  PHASE has expanded its community employment contracts, as well as increased the number of program participant and staff positions available through the expansion of internal PHASE businesses, such as PHASE Recycling. These areas of service development, service quality and business growth are further addressed in PHASE's Strategic Plan.


  • Vision Vision

    PHASE is... a community where compassion, expertise and opportunity merge to create a world of discovery and success.


    PHASE empowers Program Participants to live, work, and thrive through the discovery and development of their individual abilities.


    Program Participant First - Considering openly how all processes, actions and decisions will affect program participants. Every decision must benefit program participants.

    Ethical Integrity - Acting at all times with only the highest of ethical integrity and scruples.

    Large Minded - Choosing an empowered state, seeing possibilities, creating solutions.

    Empowerment - Committing in action to individual and team -development, recognizing ompetence, and reinforcing excellence.

    Innovation - Committing to new ideas and creative solutions.

    Excellence - Promoting best practices, accountability and efficiency.

    Service for Social Good - Committing to improve society through service.

    Fun at Work - Promoting an enjoyable and fun workplace in the course of serving others.


  • A CARF Three-Year Accreditation was awarded to PHASE for the following services: Community Employment Services, including Employment Supports & Job Development, Employee Development and Employment Planning Services.

    CARF accreditation demonstrates PHASE's quality, accountability, and commitment to the satisfaction of the persons served.

    CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human service providers in the areas of Aging Services, Behavioral Health, Child and Youth Services, Durable Medical Equipment, Employment and Community Services, Medical Rehabilitation, Opioid Treatment Programs, and Vision Rehabilitation Services. For more information on CARF, visit www.carf.org.