Headwaters, INC.
Empowering Work, Empowering Community, Empowering Lives

A not-for-profit community based services agency with 50 years of experience providing services for people with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, serious and persistent mental illness, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and children with special needs throughout northern Wisconsin. We provide a variety of support services that can be customized to fit someone’s specific needs, and we specialize in supporting people to live the kind of life they want in the communities where they want to live. Current counties being served include Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas.

Headwaters' Service Ramp Up Plan

May 2020

Hi everyone!  Even though we’ve been providing some in-person services (1:1 in-home, mental health and community employment) throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we feel like it’s time to restart our other in-person services such as our prevocational and day services.  While doing so, we’d like to ensure our staff and participants that we’re taking special precautions every day to ensure the safety of everyone. To that end, initially we will only be providing in-person services for individuals who can wear a mask for an extended period of time and have a good understanding of physical distancing requirements.

We will begin to ramp up our in-person services starting May 26th with individuals in our prevocational services initially, and then individuals in our day services later in the week.  We will support a limited number of individuals on a rotating basis so we can better manage our new practices and sanitation procedures.

Headwaters will continue following published pandemic related safety guidelines and best practices to include physical distancing, and using safety precautions such as wearing masks, frequent handwashing, sanitizing, and staying home when signs or symptoms of COVID-19 are present.

This restart of services is a coordinated approach between participants and families, funding agencies, and Headwaters.

The following are practices we’re adding and/or changing:

  1. Participants will be interviewed on their first day returning to in-person services (how they are feeling, how they spent their time while gone, if they have been near anyone who is ill recently).  If staff or participants have been in contact with a person who’s being treated for Covid-19, or if you have symptoms of Covid-19, you will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  2. We will provide an orientation/training session for everyone on their first day of resuming services to review operational changes due to COVID-19. We will continue to emphasize safe personal behaviors (e.g. cough etiquette) and provide instruction on proper use/care of PPE.
  3. Face masks will be required whenever individuals are within 6 feet of another person, whenever someone is moving from one area to another (such as going to the bathroom), and whenever someone is actively interacting with another person in the same work area (even if they are 6 feet apart).  We will provide clean cloth masks daily, and surgical disposable masks or face shields, if needed. 
  4. We will be doing daily temperature tracking of all employees and participants who enter our offices/buildings. Individuals who have a temperature over 100 degrees will not be allowed into our offices/buildings. If a person has a temperature of over 100 degrees, they will not be allowed to return to work/services until they have been fever free for more than 24 hours.
  5. Headwaters’ staff and participants who do not come to the office to start their day will monitor to assure they are fever free prior to working or starting services for the day.  Staff and participants will be required to not return to work or services until they have been fever free for more than 24 hours.
  6. All staff and participants will be expected to follow strict protocol for hand washing, and will wash their hands any time they change locations or activities. Examples: washing hands upon arrival, before and at the end of breaks, before and after eating, before and after any other activities where they will be interacting with others or touching common surfaces.
  7. We’re limiting visitors in our offices/buildings- only essential visitors will be allowed such as delivery personnel and repair/maintenance personnel.
  8. All work stations are at least 6 feet apart, and lunch table seats are marked with an X to identify where a person can sit and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
  9. All surfaces with regular contact in the office/building will be sanitized at the end of each work day, including bathrooms.
  10. Schedules may be modified to stagger when participants arrive to ensure we do not have too many people standing together waiting.
  11. We don’t plan to provide a lot of transportation services at this time, but we’ll assist families and caregivers in arranging transportation.   
  12. There will no longer be access to a soda machine or drinking fountain in our offices as it would be difficult to sanitize in between each use.  Please make sure to pack any beverages you will need for the day. 
  13. Day services will be held in community settings at all times- i.e. participants will not be in the Headwaters offices/building.
    • Participants should plan accordingly with food that doesn’t need to be heated, and with beverages that don’t need to be chilled.
    • Small groups (2-3 people typically, and no more than 4 people) will meet at a designated place in the community and continue their day from there.
    • Staff and participants will be required to wear masks at all times unless they’re able to practice physical distancing (outside at a park, etc.)
  14. We will continue to provide virtual services as an alternative to in-person services, and we will keep everyone apprised of additional virtual services offerings.

We realize there are some participants who will not be comfortable with our new practices and procedures, and I want to assure you that we’re actively discussing individualized plans for those participants, again while ensuring their safety and the safety of our staff. 

We all look forward to the day when all of this isn’t necessary anymore, but in the meantime we appreciate your support and partnership during this time.  Things may continue to change as we move forward, and we’ll continue to communicate with you throughout.  Feel free to reach out to me anytime with any questions or concerns (715-369-1337, ext. 1213).

Thank you!

Jenny Felty, Director

  • Safe and Free Classes

  •          through the WI BPDD's Living Well Project

July 2020

Dear Self Advocates:

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ashley Mathy, and I’m a Self-Advocate and Peer Coach/Mentor through Headwaters.  In this role, I’ve provided training and mentoring for other people who receive services from Headwaters on things like rights, understanding your strengths, and about getting jobs in the community.

Headwaters is part of a statewide project called Living Well through the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.  This five-year project seeks to strengthen Home and Community-Based Service (HCBS) systems and promote the health, safety, independence, andcommunity participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  Part of this project includes providing a self-advocacy training called Safe and Free.  Modules in the Safe and Free curriculum go over topics like understanding your rights, knowing your community, and being safe.

We’re in the process of organizing sessions for the first Module in Safe and Free and we hope you’re interested in being a part of it.  We plan on doing the sessions both in-person and virtually (face to face over the internet) for those who’d prefer that.  I’ll be leading the sessions, along-side someone from Headwaters.  If you are interested in joining this class, please let me or your Headwaters’ Service Coordinator know.  Looking forward to working with you.


Ashley Mathy


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