• PHASE-Industries COVID-19 Program Preparedness Plan

    Revised April 9, 2021 (Version 9)

    Note 1: 4/9/2021- Additions are in green font 


    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. All statements in this Plan represent the organization’s formal COVID-19 related Policies & Procedures. 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 Plan supplements 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 March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency related to COVID-19.

    On March 27, 2020, 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 partially lifted on June 1, July 13, August 12, October 16, and February 17, 2021. The February 17th changes can be found in this DHS link:


    The new modifications (i.e., partial lifting of restrictions) effective February 17, 2021 include:

    • Removing the current licensing capacity limitation of 50%, allowing day & employment support facilities to resume operations at 100% of licensed capacity, as long as the provider can maintain cohorts, social distancing, face covering, infection control and other elements of the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and other temporary licensing requirements.
    • Removing the limits on hours that services may be delivered each day (up to six hours per day).
    • Removing staff from the 10 person cohort limit.
    • All other temporary restrictions and requirements remain, including maintaining throughout the day consistent cohorts of the same staff and persons receiving services throughout the day (i.e., no cross-over of people between cohorts), cleaning and disinfecting the facility between shifts and at the end of the day, face covering & social distancing requirements, health screening and all other protocols identified in this Plan.

    The December 4, 2020 DHS additional guidance remains in full effect, which requires providers to:

    • Inform staff and service recipients if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 at the facility, and require them to quarantine for the required amount of time as outlined in MDH guidance;
    • Ensure all members of a cohort are considered “in close contact”, and not attend a program for 14-days in the event that any member of that cohort has a confirmed case of COVID-19;
    • Update the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to include circumstances related to COVID-19 under which the license holder will temporarily close programs until services can again be delivered safely;
    • Formalize policies for responding to confirmed COVID-19 cases as part of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, including the plan to inform staff and program participants if they have been exposed (i.e., “close contact”) to someone with COVID-19 at a facility, and requirements to quarantine for the required amount of time outlined in MDH guidance.


    On March 3, 2021, MDH released updated guidance for facilities providing transportation services during COVID-19, which are incorporated into this Plan. (link to 3/3/2021 updated guidance: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/guidetransport.pdf.

    On March 23, 2021, the CDC issued a facemask requirement of drivers and riders of public transportation, with limited exceptions (e.g., child under the age of two years, person with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety or job duty as determined by relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations, a person taking medication, eating or drinking for a brief period of time, persons communicating for a brief period of time with a person which is hearing impaired and the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication, a person who is unconscious, unable to be awakened, has a medical emergency requiring removal of mask, otherwise unable to remove mask without assistance).



    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 & Other Considerations

    PHASE-Industries is resuming services at a pace that person-centered, safe and consistent with Governor’s Orders and requirements/guidance from MN DHS and MDH. These modifications to PHASE-Industries services include:

    1. Effective 7/13/20 (with further modifications on 8/12/20, 10/16/20, 12/4/20, 2/17/21 and 3/3/21), services provided in a MS245D licensed facility may be provided, in limited capacity, to individuals who live in any setting and receive day training and habilitation (DT&H), prevocational or structured day services, as long as the license holder follows all licensing requirements, as outlined in this plan. PHASE is beginning to expand each licensed site to six-hour days, dependent upon the interest of persons served, safety considerations, and coordination of scheduling and safe transportation.  Designated Managers and Designated Coordinators are communicating directly with persons served, guardians and case managers to determine scheduling of services.


    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, as outlined in this Plan.  In the event MDH or MN-DHS guidelines are more stringent than CDC guidelines in this area, PHASE-Industries will adhere to MDH or MN-DHS guidelines.


    1. This 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/


    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 Remote Services option is available for individuals interested in this option (contact the assigned Designated Manager if interested).


    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 , as well as current MN DHS guidance, PHASE-Industries will adhere to the following guidelines:


    1. Ensure those who are sick stay home.  Any program participant, staff member or volunteer should stay home or seek the attention of a healthcare professional if they are sick.  Do not enter a PHASE-Industries site, vehicle or program if sick.


    1. Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81 issued on July 22, 2020 requires the wearing of approved face coverings by those over the age of five (5) years old in indoor businesses and indoor public settings (Link to Executive Order: https://mn.gov/governor/assets/EO%2020-81%20Final%20Filed_tcm1055-441323.pdf.  This requirement applies to all PHASE-Industries settings.  The Executive Order does outline exempt individuals (such as those with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering, children who are five years old and under, or individuals at their workplace when earing a face covering would create a job hazard as determined by regulators).  Alternatives to face coverings, such as use of a clear face shield, may be considered in these circumstances.


    Face coverings, consistent with Executive Order 20-81 and this Plan, 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, bathrooms, program areas, conference rooms, etc.), and in the presence of any other individual.Cases will be handled on an individual level in circumstances where a program participant or employee may have a medical or other exception to the use of a face covering, or if use of a face covering impedes communication. Staff may encourage breaks from face coverings by going outside, and ensuring a minimum of six (6) feet of distance between each individual while outside.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).
    • KN95 masks
    • Cloth or medical masks
    • Employer supplied face covering
    • Employee supplied face covering approved by the Employer in the event other mask types listed are not available due to shortages.


    1. Provide accommodations for “high risk” and vulnerable populations.  Vulnerable individuals are encouraged to self-identify (however, PHASE-Industries will avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries).  PHASE-Industries will take particular care to reduce risk of exposure to these individuals.


    1. Ensure program participants, staff, volunteers and visitors regularly wash their hands.  PHASE-Industries will reinforce handwashing routines upon entering a program, as well as after having been in a public place, prior to & after eating, after using the toilet, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  Handwashing should consist of washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Handwashing and “cover your cough” signs shall be posted within licensed sites.


    1. Community drinking stations and water fountains will not be available for use.  Personal bottled water, touchless water-filling stations or water filled from the faucet are acceptable.


    1. Site Entry & Work Location Screening
      1. Instructions shall be posted at entrances informing people:
    2. Not to enter if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
    3. To wash or sanitize their hands upon arrival;
    4. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms by staff is required prior to or immediately upon entering the program;
    5. To wear face covering, as required; and
    6. To adhere to hygiene and social distancing instructions, signage and markings.


    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.


    The Health Screening & Exposure Risk form serves to confirm and document:

    1. that they are not experiencing a fever
    2. that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms
    3. 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
    4. Commitment to immediately notify Organization of any change in circumstances listed in i-iii above.  If so, the person will not report to work until authorized by the organization to do so.


    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 will limit visitors to licensed sites to the extent feasible.  All visitors (e.g., deliveries) and volunteers will be directed via signage at the building’s entrance on safe protocols for that site.  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 follow building safety protocols, 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. Program Scheduling at Licensed Sites
      1. PHASE-Industries will schedule all program participant services to be delivered in shifts, with maximum durations not to exceed current MN DHS/MDH guidance.  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, excluding staff.  These areas will be protected from other cohorts using separate rooms, signage or other physical barriers.  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. 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 program sites.


    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.  In the event the public transit agency’s COVID-19 requirements are less stringent than those of PHASE-Industries, we will follow the public agency’s COVID-19 requirements, as long as they are compliant with regulatory agencies and health guidelines.  Prior to entry onto a route vehicle that are staffed with PHASE-Industries employee, the employee 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.


    PHASE shall establish and follow a documented sanitation schedule and checklist (including identifying surfaces/equipment to be sanitized, the agent to be used, and the frequency at which sanitation occurs).  High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, stair rails, counters, tables and chairs, phones, keyboards, program equipment and other shared items shall be regularly cleaned and disinfected.  Use of shared supplies shall be minimized.


    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 to inspect and upgrade, as needed, facility and vehicle ventilation filters and systems (See Exhibit B for guidelines).  More information from MN-MDH is available at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/hcp/hvac.pdf


    1. Response & Notification Procedures for Confirmed Cases, Exposures, Symptoms): In the event of any of the following, response & notification procedures will be followed to minimize exposure and transmission of Covid-19. Notification of any of these events shall be conducted immediately.


    1. Program Participant Exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms:  If a program participant exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while in the PHASE-Industries building or program, then staff will isolate the individual, with appropriate supervision, in the identified isolation room (per site) located within the facility.  Only one staff shall support the individual, and ensure they and the program participant utilize use of the site’s N95 mask.  Staff shall work to arrange the transport home or to another predetermined safe location away from the PHASE-Industries facility/program site.


    The staff shall ensure a supervisor is notified immediately when an individual exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. The supervisor will immediately report to the Designated Contact below.  The Designated Contact will ensure notification to individuals served, staff, legal representatives, case managers, and residential providers.  Notifications must adhere to data privacy policies and HIPAA. 


    If a program participant is denied access to a PHASE-Industries vehicle, facility or community site, staff shall follow notification procedure in the preceding paragraph.


    Close Contact is defined as:

    1. Within six (6) feet for 15 or more cumulative minutes per day, or
    2. Provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or
    3. Had direct physical contact (e.g., hugging or kissing) with someone sick with COVID-19, or
    4. Shared eating or drinking utensils with someone sick with COVID-19, or
    5. Coughed/sneezed on, or somehow got directly exposed to respiratory droplets by someone sick with COVID-19.
    6. Lives with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    7. All persons (staff and program participants) in a single cohort when any one person in the cohort tests positive for COVID-19.


    1. All employees and program participants (or residential providers) shall provide notice of any individual who develops symptoms and/or is 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 and/or is 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.  If an employee or other member of a community site tests positive, PHASE-Industries will ensure all program participants and employees who have been in “close contact” leave the site in a safe manner and quarantine as outlined in this Plan.   Return to the site will be determined on an individual basis


    1. Notice of an individual being otherwise impacted by Covid-19 (e.g. elevated exposure risk).  The Designated Contact shall investigate the circumstance, and respond & make notifications as required in this Plan.


    1. Confirmed case of COVID-19 for a program participant, employee, or person living with a program participant or employee: The Designated Contact shall ensure all staff and program participants who were in “close contact” are notified immediately, in addition to those required to be notified by MN MS245D standards.  All individuals in a cohort will be considered a “close contact” and notified in the event any one or more individuals in the cohort test positive for COVID-19.  All individuals will be prohibited from attending PHASE-Industries services for 14-days, and will be asked to quarantine and watch for and report COVID-19 symptoms during that time.  Notification procedures shall adhere to data privacy & HIPAA policies.


    1. If the affected person is offsite, the affected person will be instructed to stay home and will not be allowed onsite until isolation or quarantining standards are met. 


    1. The affected person is an employee, volunteer or visitor, they will immediately isolate in designated space away from others or immediately leave the premises as feasible.


    1. The Designated Contact 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 “close contact” 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 away from PHASE-Industries 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. As determined within the investigation process, individuals determined to not have been affected can continue working onsite so long as it does not affect 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 disinfected and sanitized per CDC guidelines with an EPA-approved solution only after a 24-hour lockdown of the affected area/site/vehicle (see CDC Guidance at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html).Those who have not been in close contact with the affected person and show no symptoms may return to the site upon completion of the disinfecting process.


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


    1. No fever within 24 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.


    The internal reporting procedure requires employees to immediately notify the supervisor (with live, two-way communication), following the chain of command and ensuring the Designated Contact below is immediately notified:


                             Non-Supervisory Personnel – Report immediately to Supervisor, using

                             Chain-of-Command to ensure a live, two-way communication occurs. 


    Assigned Supervisor (DC, DM, Lead) – Reports immediately to the Designated Contact Below:


    Designated Contact & Individual to maintain to communication with and gather information from staff or volunteers who may be ill or exposed to COVID-19:

    Human Resource Director (HRD) – Joyce LaMere

    (O) 320-245-2246 ext. 1126

    (C) 952-994-3836

    Email: jlamere@pinehab.org


    Designated Contact & individual to maintain communication with and gather information from program participants or others who may be ill or exposed to COVID-19:

    Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Curt Mangan

    (O) 320-629-7805 ext. 1201

    (C) 612-618-3683

    Email: cmangan@pinehab.org


                                        Designated Contacts to report all notifications, quarantining/isolation,

                                        contact tracing, and a summary of actions and findings to:

    Executive Director – Tim Schmutzer

    (O) 320-245-2246 ext. 1131

    Email: tschmutzer@pinehab.org


    1. Voluntary Temporary Facility Closure

    In addition to circumstances identified elsewhere in this Plan, PHASE-Industries will temporarily close its facilities for COVID-19 related reasons when:

    1. COVID-19 exposure or infection occurs in multiple cohorts within the same facility;
    2. PHASE-Industries is unable to maintain minimum staffing ratios within a facility;
    3. There is significant non-participation by service recipients due to COVID-19 exposure or infection.

    In the event of a temporary closure of a facility for COVID-19 related reasons, PHASE-Industries will immediately notify program participants (and their expanded support team), employees, county personnel and MN DHS licensing.  PHASE-Industries will reopen the facility once services can again be delivered safely.


    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 events shall be permitted on the jobsite until further notice (shared donuts or pizza, potlucks, 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. Hand wash 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.



    Exhibit E: NOTE- while the CDC did update their guidance in December 2020 to potentially reduce length of time to quarantine, MN-DHS maintains the requirement of the previous, longer quarantine times, as outlined in Exhibit E.




    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 here: https://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 here: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19


    Review product labels and Safety Data Sheets, follow manufacturer specifications, and use required personal protective equipment for the product.









  • 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.