Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Personal Care Assistants, COVID safety protocols, and paralympians

 Here are comments from the Tokyo Association of the Deaf-Blind about Becca Meyers being refused permission to bring her mother as her Personal Care Assistant.  Media reports are confusing about the situation for PCA's for other athletes but the prospect of one PCA for 33 or so other athletes also sounds very alarming. 

Tokyo Association of the Deaf-Blind statement

RantWoman has been around enough international events to imagine that there is probably lots of hemming and hawing and fingerpointing going on in conference rooms and Zoom spaces. RantWoman is also aware of the quite orderly street protests in Japan where people are chanting "Go to Hell IOC." So RantWoman really appreciates this statement's call for constructive dialogue among whoever needs to be involved.

RantWoman would like to offer the following further comments about COVID safety and COVID precautions.  Many usual global activities are trying to open up. Access to vaccines is very uneven around the world. The Delta Variant is orders of magnitude more transmissible than other variants. So getting COVID safety protocols right is critical  

A number of principles from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization apply here. PCA's should expect the same testing as required for everyone and quarantine of anyone who tests positive. Everyone needs to mask up in public. Everyone also needs as much as possible social distancing and to think of bubbles, limiting the number of people each athlete or PCA has close contact with and limiting the amount of time people spend in situations outside their bubble. 

The entire athlete contingent cannot observe the social distance and bubble principles if there is only one PCA trying to help 40 or so people as they do needed travel around various venues. That ratio of athletes to PCA's is certainly not a bubble for the PCA and conversations about the accessibility measure of PCA's also needs to take into account the heightened need for the right number of PCA's in order to fully observe  COVID precautions.

RantWoman wants to support people with disabilities standing up for our rights. RantWoman also believes  people of good will can handle the challenge of meeting PCA needs for all paraolympians.

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