COVID-19 EMPLOYEE RESOURCES
Scroll down to find information on:Managing Anxiety & Stress
The COVID-19 Outbreak has the potential to increase stress and anxiety, both because of the fear of catching the virus and also because of uncertainty about how the outbreak will affect us socially and economically. There are practical steps you can take to manage stress and improve your well-being:
- Take care of your body– Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Learn more about WELLNESS STRATEGIES for mental health.
- Connect with others– Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system. Be flexible and creative in accessing support via phone, email, text messaging and video calls.
- Take breaks– Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy. Headspace has partnered with New York State to create a collection of meditation, sleep, and movement exercises to support you through stressful and challenging times. These resources are free to access at headspace.com/ny.
- Stay informed– When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
- Avoid too much exposure to the news– Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
- Seek help when needed– If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, doctor, or contact the District’s Employee Assistance Provider, ComPsych for free and confidential support. SCROLL DOWN TO EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR MORE DETAILS.
Information found at https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp
Flyer to Print and Distribute: Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is committed to helping prevent the spread and impact of the COVID-19 in our community. As part of this commitment, we are taking the following immediate measures in the interest of the health and safety of our members, you and your employees:
- You pay the same for Doctor on Demand telemedicine visits
- The cost for Doctor on Demand telemedicine visits is the same as visiting your primary care physician or specialist, based on the type of appointment you make. As the pandemic continues, we strongly recommend that BCBS members first use telehealth or telemedicine to connect with a doctor when possible.
- Instructions on how to set up an account are below. This process typically takes less than 10 minutes.
- $0 cost-share / waived deductible for COVID-19 diagnostic tests
- BlueCross BlueShield will waive the cost-share for COVID-19 diagnostic tests for members who meet the NYS Department of Health guidelines for testing AND is prescribed by your provider through March 31, 2021
- Any testing done without a provider's prescription, and that does not meet the NYS Department of Health guidelines is not covered
- Broad public health testing to identify individuals who may have been exposed, or surveillance testing for employment purposes are also excluded from coverage
- If applicable, we encourage members to use their mail order benefit to obtain a 90-day supply of current prescriptions
- Most drug plans cover up to a 30 or 34-day supply of medications at a retail pharmacy; however, some plans may allow certain medications to be dispensed for up to a 90-day supply at a retail pharmacy. If you would like to know if your drug plan covers up to a 90-day supply of your medication through a retail pharmacy, please contact the number on the back of your ID card to speak with a pharmacy member service representative.
- Members with 25% of their current prescription remaining should refill or renew their medication at retail pharmacies, consistent with CDC’s recommendation
The following is a message from Dr. Thomas Schenk, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, explaining why we are taking these measures:
“We all have a shared responsibility to keep our community healthy, and we want our employer groups and our members to know that we’re here for them. Our focus now is on slowing the spread of this illness and making sure that if a person does become seriously ill, they are able to access the care that they need in a timely way.”
Visit the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York for timely information and updates on their continued response to COVID-19.
- You pay the same for Doctor on Demand telemedicine visits
The Buffalo City School District is pleased to offer all employees and their families access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through ComPSych Guidance Resources. They have many services available that provide support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues.
There is no cost to employees or their families and all information is confidential. No personally identifiable information is sent to the District. This support is designed to assist employees and their families in resolving issues such as:
- Financial &/or Legal
- Emotional problems
- Family issues
- Substance/Alcohol abuse
- Work & Education
On the web: www.guidanceresources.com you can find articles, trainings, and get in touch with a GuidanceConsultant to speak with about the issues that you personally are facing.
By Phone: 866-645-1757
Click HERE for more information.
Crisis Services & Text Helpline:
Crisis Services for Buffalo and Erie County provide services for those who are in a state of emotional crisis.
- Buffalo & Erie County
- 24 Hour Addiction Hotline
- Kids Helpline
- Chautauqua County Hotline
- 24 Hour Erie County Domestic Violence Hotline
For Shelter: 716-884-6000
- 24 Hour NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline
- Hearing Impaired?
Use 711 (National Relay Service)
Text line www.crisistextline.org/
As many of our BPS staff are now working from home due to school closures, you may want to consider the following information when setting up your home workspace. It doesn't matter if you have a dedicated room to act as an office, of you have cleared out a corner of your kitchen table, understanding some basic ergonomics will go a long way to ensuring a safe and comfortable work environment.
Establish a neutral working position such that:
* Find a comfortable, stable and supportive chair that allows you to fit comfortably under a desk or table,
* Your feet are supported by a foot rest or the floor.
* Your hands, wrists, and forearms are straight and roughly parallel to the floor
* Your head is level, forward-facing, balanced and generally in-line with the torso
* Your shoulders are relaxed and your elbow are bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees.
Find more detailed information on establishing an ergonomically-friendly workspace HERE
Tips on Working from Home
Ergonomics are just one consideration while working from home. Here are some other tips from SPEDXCHANGE for you to be successful.
*Start you day right - get up at the same time each day, get dressed and have breakfast. Creating a morning routine will prepare you for the rest of the day.
*Make a to-do and create a schedule - keeping yourself organized and focused may be a challenge for some of us right now. Prioritizing what needs to be done, not only for work but for your family as well, will ensure the important items get done and creating a schedule will help you find the time to do it all. Our focus right now should be the most important items and it's okay to have a conversation with your supervisor about days that you may need flexibility on your availability.
*Limit your distractions and create a positive workspace - during the time you have scheduled for working, put away your phone, turn off the computer and limit your social media. Also, look around your house to see if you want to rearrange artwork or plants to make your work area aesthetically pleasing. This effort will make it easier to sit down to work in your designated area.
*Take purposeful breaks - during your normal work schedule, break times were naturally built in. This may not be the case while working from home. Make sure to schedule times to get up and move away from work in your day. Try to make this time purposeful, like going for a walk or eating a healthy snack rather than grabbing your phone and mindlessly scrolling through social media.
*Stay connected - take steps to decrease the feeling of isolation during this time of social distancing. Research different technological options available to you for virtual meet-ups with family and friends.