Skip to Main Content

Aug 14 Update on COVID-19 Edition

TO: All Families / Guardians / Staff

DATE: August 14th, 2020

FROM: Nathan Stallinga, Executive Director

SUBJECT: Update on COVID-19

We want to share updates in our response/plan to COVID-19. We continue to monitor and base decisions on information from the South Dakota Department of Health and the CDC. We pay particular attention to trends over a 14-day period and an increase or decrease in positive cases, especially in Minnehaha and surrounding counties. We take into account activities within our community that may cause a change in that trend. Activities such as large social gatherings or students returning to school would be examples that we feel will impact current COVID numbers and are primary reasons for our decisions.

In our last letter we talked about a slow transition in our day services where people supported would come to the Longfellow Center. We have seen positive results from this change of pace and scenery.

  • Each home has set days during the week to come to Longfellow.
  • Rooms are assigned to keep consistent staff and people supported together.
  • People supported who participate only in day services also returned to Longfellow.


The slow transition back allows people to adjust while providing opportunities to participate in a variety of activities. These include music, Creative Spirits art and Jesus Cares, with the hosts participating through Zoom.

We identified a list of activities that allows people to be more active in the life of our community, while maintaining safe social distancing. These include taking trips to parks, having a picnic, or going to a recreational area near Trent, South Dakota, where housemates and staff go together without close interactions from others.

Due to concerns of current community activity and trends in positive cases, we will continue with Step 2 of visitation. This gives families the opportunity to see each other while still taking precautions to limit exposure and risk.

Step 2 of visitation:

  • Family members will be required to call the Residential Manager of the home they want to visit to arrange a day and time. All visits must be prescheduled, no drop-ins.
  • Only 2 outside visitors, per family, will be allowed at any one time.
  • 60-minute visits between the hours of 9am-6pm.
  • Families will be allowed to visit people supported at the individual’s home and must remain onsite.
  • Visits will take place onsite, outside the home or in the open garage to limit exposure in the house. Individuals will not be allowed to sit in vehicles.
  • Masks are required to be worn by all who are coming to visit the person supported. People supported will be asked to wear masks too. Families are asked to bring their own masks and encouraged to bring their own chairs.
  • At the apartment settings (Trinity & Sycamore), visitors will also be required to be outside of the apartment. The community room will NOT be used for visits.
  • Those coming to visit will need to have temperatures taken as they arrive for the visit. If running a temperature or having symptoms, the visit will be postponed.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be available and used prior to and after the visit by all parties.
  • Food or drinks may be brought into the visitation area. Families who bring food or drink will be asked to follow prescribed diets, provide assistance as needed, including prepping and assisting to eat. When you are providing assistance to eat or drink, we ask that you continue to wear a mask.
  • Social distancing and avoiding personal contact is strongly encouraged.

Thank you ALL for your continued efforts. We understand how difficult this time has been and continues to be. It is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts.

DakotAbilities remains committed to protecting the health of individuals we support, our staff who support them and our community.



Nathan Stallinga CFRE

Executive Director

Director of Development

“Working together, we create opportunities and meaningful lives for people with disabilities”

Back to News & Events