I have started to receive inquiries about my reopening my office for in person visits for speech and voice therapy services. I realize that more therapy
offices are starting to reopen for in person services. I have not yet made specific plans to reopen my office to in person visits. There are several factors that are involved in my
determining, if and when, I will feel that I can safely reopen my office.
The governor’s indoor mask mandate is to continue until 70% of the population is fully vaccinated. According to the
current data, the Twin
Cities Metro of Hennepin and Ramsey counties is still less than 60% fully vaccinated. Statewide, the vaccination rate is even lower.
Many of my clients are under age 12 years. The vaccines are only currently available for ages 12 and
The SARS Cov2 is an airborne spread infection. Use of plexiglass
barriers does not fully prevent the airborne spread to every part of a room.
I have discussed the current ventilation in my office building with building management. They have no plans to modify the ventilation system to provide better management of air quality or safety.
The type of therapy work that I provide requires that both my clients and I are unmasked for most of the time. Therapy time periods are 30 minutes to 60 minutes or more. Being unmasked for that length of time takes away a
significant protection for younger clients, unvaccinated clients, and for me.
Because our reception area is of limited size, family members and clients awaiting appointments would not be allowed.
We would have to provide more barrier time between appointments to allow some ventilation to occur. This would reduce the efficiency of client scheduling.
I also have to consider my own personal risks, even though I am fully vaccinated. We
do not yet know how long the vaccine immunity lasts and the efficacy against some of the variant strains that are occurring.
I may reopen a few appointment times for clients who would benefit from myofascial release, which requires
hands on care. I am still considering how this might happen.
In the next few weeks I will be discussing with my colleagues who are in other settings
what types of plans they have for reopening and what kinds of steps they are taking to ensure a safe office environment. I am still anticipating that I will still only be doing
telepractice visits for the immediate future and quite likely until the fall.
Robert B. Grider, M. S./C. C. C.-SP
May 27, 2021