Statement from The Village Family Service Center regarding COVID-19 | The Village Family Service Center

The Village Family Service Center

Statement from The Village Family Service Center regarding COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020

We recognize it takes a Village to stay healthy! The well-being of our employees and clients is of highest importance to us. Announcements related to our operations during the pandemic are posted below. To access telehealth services, contact your local office or you can request an appointment online.

If you are a Village EAP client company seeking resources regarding COVID-19, please click here.

JUNE 7, 2021 UPDATE:

In-person financial counseling appointments will resume at 1201 25th St. S., Fargo, beginning Monday, June 14. Web-based and telephonic appointments will still be available. Call 1-800-450-4019 to schedule.

MAY 27, 2021 UPDATE:

The Village's Intensive Outpatient Program for mental health will resume in-person group sessions on Tuesday, June 1, at 2701 12th Ave. S., Fargo. Fully vaccinated clients may choose whether they wear a mask or social distance. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are advised to wear masks, per CDC guidelines. Clientele will not be asked if they have been vaccinated or to show proof of vaccination. 

MAY 19, 2021 UPDATE:

The Village Family Service Center continues to follow CDC recommendations as it pertains to stopping the spread of COVID-19. As such, the following practices will go into effect at all Village offices beginning Monday, May 24:

  • Fully vaccinated staff will no longer be required to wear masks or socially distance. Staff who are not fully vaccinated are advised to wear masks when at work. Any staff member experiencing symptoms should wear a mask or stay home until well.
  • Clients who are fully vaccinated may choose whether they wear a mask or social distance. Unvaccinated clients are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask at all times. Clients will not be asked to show proof of vaccination.
  • All clients are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and socially distance in common areas, such as the lobby, restrooms, hallways, and group settings. 
  • Clients may request their provider wear a mask during session.
  • Plexiglass barriers and sanitization schedules will remain in place.

Additional offices will open their doors to the public Tuesday, June 1. Please contact your local office regarding operating procedures.

APRIL 30, 2021 UPDATE:

The Village Family Service Center is slowly returning to normal operations. More client appointments are being scheduled in person, and certain Village offices will begin to reopen their physical doors May 1. Please check with your local office as to its current operating procedures. Mask-wearing is still required in all common areas. Social distance guidelines are in place in office lobbies and group rooms. Virtual options are still available.

MARCH 23, 2021 UPDATE:

Please note that masks are still required to be worn inside Village offices, and social distancing guidelines should be observed.


All First Step Recovery groups are meeting in-person at 2701 12th Ave. S., Fargo. COVID-19 safety precautions, including mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing, must be followed.


Limited in-person services have resumed at The Village's office at 2701 12th Ave. S., Fargo, however most groups and appointments will be provided via Zoom until further notice.


The Village office at 2701 12th Ave. S., Fargo, will be closed to clients and staff from noon Wednesday, Oct. 28, through Sunday, Nov. 15. Any appointments and groups at that location during this time will transition to telehealth via Zoom. This includes all First Step Recovery groups. For more information, call 701-451-4900.

The building will reopen to staff and clients on Monday, Nov. 16. This decision was made to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health and well-being of Village employees and clients.


With the adoption of mask mandates in North Dakota cities where The Village Family Service Center operates, please note that all staff and clients in these offices must wear masks at all times unless 6 feet of distance can be maintained or staff are working in individual offices alone. Individuals participating in group sessions must maintain 6 feet of separation and wear a mask at all times. Employees are encouraged to limit exposure to others through the use of telehealth, rotating shifts or work-from-home arrangements. 

JULY 2, 2020 UPDATE:

First Step Recovery's Partial Hospitalization Program has resumed in-person services. Additional First Step Recovery groups will begin meeting in-person throughout the month of July.

JUNE 9, 2020, UPDATE:

As of Monday, June 15, the following programs will resume in-person services based on the accompanying guidelines:

  • Bigs Brothers Big Sisters mentors may meet with their "Little" provided the meeting is outside and social distancing is maintained. Masks are optional if social distancing is practiced. Both parties must sign a waiver in order to resume in-person meetings.
  • In-Home Family Therapists may meet with families if both parties agree, the meeting is outside, and social distancing is maintained.
  • School-Based Mental Health Therapists may meet students at the school while observing any requirements of the school. If the meeting is outside, social distancing must be maintained. If the meeting is inside, social distancing should be attempted as space allows. Proper sanitizing protocols will be followed before and after sessions.
  • Youth Cultural Liaison Program can resume meeting. If the meeting is outside, social distancing must be maintained. If the meeting is inside, social distancing should be attempted as space allows. Proper sanitizing protocols will be followed before and after sessions.

The Partial Hospitalization Program at First Step Recovery in Fargo will begin meeting in-person Wednesday, July 1. Masks must be worn by both clients and staff. Clients will follow a check-in procedure. Social distancing must be maintained. All spaces will be properly sanitized. You must have had an assessment and been referred into the group to attend.

Re-opening plans for additional programs and regions are being developed, with the potential for some offices to open as soon as July 1. In the meantime, all Village services remain accessible via telehealth or over the phone.

MAY 28, 2020, UPDATE:

Village President and CEO Jeff Pederson announced today that, as a precautionary measure for the wellbeing of staff and clients, services will continue to be provided via telehealth through at least Tuesday, June 30. All Village offices remain closed to the general public, with the exception of appointment-only urinary assessments at First Step Recovery in Fargo. Protocols to allow for a safe reopening are being developed and will be communicated once finalized.

MAY 21, 2020, UPDATE:

All Village offices will remain closed to the general public through at least Friday, June 5, to protect staff and clients from the spread of the coronavirus. All services continue to be provided via telehealth. Urinary assessments are being offered at First Step Recovery by appointment only.

MAY 14, 2020, UPDATE:

The Village Family Service Center's Moorhead office received $3,000 in emergency funding for COVID-19 expenses from the West Central Initiative Resiliency Fund. Thank you to WCI for this support. 

MAY 7, 2020, UPDATE:

In the best interest of the health of our clients and staff, Village offices will remain closed to the general public through May 31. All services continue to be provided via telehealth with the exception of appointment-only urinary assessments at First Step Recovery, which begin May 18. The Village's Senior Leadership Team is creating protocols for the eventual return to in-person services. 

MAY 6, 2020, UPDATE:

Beginning May 18, The Village's First Step Recovery program in Fargo will again provide urinary assessments (UAs) on site. These assessments will be by appointment only and scheduled to ensure only one client is in the building at a time. Doors will remain locked, and clients must answer a series of screening questions, wear a mask, and sanitize hands before entering.

The Village's Leadership team continues to evaluate circumstances and develop protocols under which additional offices and programs would re-open to the general public. All services are being provided via telehealth until further notice.

APRIL 27, 2020, UPDATE:

The Village Family Service Center was awarded $2,500 to purchase technology for its Grand Forks office staff to assist with remote work arrangements during the COVID-19 crisis. The funds came from the Nonprofit Relief Fund, distributed in the Grand Forks area by the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region. The Village is grateful for this support.

APRIL 23, 2020, UPDATE:

All Village offices will remain closed to the public through at least Friday, May 15, 2020. Services continue to be provided via telehealth, including mental health counseling, in-home family therapy, addiction treatment, debt management, and adoption. Phone calls are being answered at all locations during regular business hours.

APRIL 21, 2020, UPDATE:

The Alexandria Area Community Foundation awarded $5,000 in emergency grant funding to The Village Family Service Center for telehealth (video) or telephonic services provided by the Alexandria office. These funds support expenses related to providing these services that are not reimbursable by third-party payers. The Village is grateful for the support of the Alexandria Area Community Foundation.

APRIL 16, 2020, UPDATE:

Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation awarded The Village Family Service Center a $5,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant. The funds will be used during the pandemic to provide telehealth and other services that are not reimbursable by third-party payers. The Village thanks DMF and the Impact Foundation for their generous support. 

APRIL 15, 2020, UPDATE:

The Otto Bremer Trust, a bank holding company and private charitable trust based in St. Paul, Minnesota, granted $25,000 to The Village Family Service Center from its Community Benefit Financial Company Emergency Fund. The funds will allow the organization to continue to provide telehealth services that may not be covered by third-party payers and will support other services in jeopardy due to a reduction in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Village is grateful to the Otto Bremer Trust for its support.

APRIL 8, 2020, UPDATE:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation has awarded The Village Family Service Center a $5,000 Community Crisis Response Grant to enhance the organization's telehealth delivery capabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Village services are being provided securely online or by phone. The Village extends its thanks to BCBSND Caring Foundation for this support.  

APRIL 6, 2020, UPDATE:

Services will continue to be provided online or via phone instead of in-person through at least April 30, at which point The Village's Leadership Team will re-evaluate when physical offices may reopen to the general public.

MARCH 30, 2020, UPDATE:

Providers are continuing to offer services online, including mental health counseling, addiction treatment and financial counseling, either from their homes or from The Village office. Intakes for new clients are available. Call The Village office most convenient to you, or request an appointment online.

MARCH 25, 2020, UPDATE:

Today, Gov. Tim Walz issued a "stay at home" order for all Minnesota residents from midnight March 27 through 5 pm April 10. Exemptions to this order include providers of mental health services, such as The Village Family Service Center. As not all Village employees are authorized to provide counseling services from their home, our Minnesota offices will remain open so staff can provide these essential services to clients either online or by phone. All offices are still closed to the general public, and employees are encouraged to practice social distancing, regularly disinfect their workspaces, and follow other guidance from the CDC and state health agencies to protect themselves. We will continue to monitor and follow developments organizationally as well.

MARCH 23, 2020, UPDATE:

Taking into consideration the best interest of The Village Family Service Center’s staff and clients and the safety of our community, Senior Leadership has decided to close all Village offices to the general public and cancel all in-person group therapy sessions beginning at 8 am Wednesday, March 25. We will continue to provide behavioral health services via telehealth (web-based appointments) and, in some circumstances, telephonically. Employees who are able to work from home may request permission to do so. Business hours will remain the same for each office.

This arrangement will be in effect until further notice, and we will continue to follow guidance from the CDC, state and local government, and local health departments. For more information, please contact your local Village office.

MARCH 20, 2020, UPDATE:

We are continuing to expand our ability to provide telehealth appointments to clients and are monitoring announcements made by the governors of North Dakota and Minnesota. Executive orders by both Gov. Doug Burgum and Gov. Tim Walz have expanded the ability for behavioral health professionals to provide mental health services.

MARCH 19, 2020, UPDATE:

The Village's response to COVID-19 continues to evolve with the changing situation. Due to community spread of the coronavirus in that area, The Village’s Bismarck office will close its doors to the public as of noon Thursday, March 19. Staff will continue to provide services from the office, but via telehealth instead of in person, as they are able. 

MARCH 18, 2020, UPDATE:

The Village Family Service Center's CEO and President Jeff Pederson, in conjunction with his leadership team, announced the following decisions today regarding Village operations:

  • As of noon March 18, in-home services are not being provided in person until further notice. In-home providers are communicating this change to their clients and offering to provide telehealth (i.e., web-based) services. Clients who do not have access to the technology necessary for telehealth and who are in need of services may receive telephonic services.
  • Also as of noon, The Village's St. Cloud office is closing its physical doors to the public. Therapists will continue to provide services to clients, but via telehealth from the office instead of in person. The decision is specific to St. Cloud due to the community spread of the virus in that area.
  • Clients who exhibit signs of the illness – coughing, shortness of breath or who have self-identified as having a fever – are being asked to reschedule their appointment and/or meet via telehealth.
  • All therapy groups will be kept to 10 people or fewer, with larger groups being split to adhere to these guidelines. Social distancing (maintaining 6 feet between individuals) is encouraged.

MARCH 16, 2020, UPDATE:

The following announcements were made today by The Village Family Service Center:

  • Lunch and Learn: Authentic Communication, planned for Wednesday, March 18, at The Village's Fargo office, has been canceled. Full refunds have been issued to ticket purchasers.
  • The Adoption Information Meeting that was scheduled for March 23 in Grand Forks has been canceled. Anyone seeking information about adoption can contact Sue Grundysen at 701-451-4940 or by email.
  • The Bowl for Kids' Sake events, scheduled for March 26 and 27 at West Acres Bowl, have been put on hold. We will communicate any updates to our sponsors and participants as decisions are made. Paper bowling pins are still being sold at Fargo-Moorhead area Hornbacher's stores. Any questions can be directed to 701-451-5033.
  • The April 15 Lunch and Learn: Generation Z Is Here has been canceled. Full refunds have been issued to ticket holders.


The health and wellbeing of our staff and clients is of utmost importance. As such, here are the steps we are taking in light of the spread of the coronavirus:

Our staff are trained annually on best practices to limit the transmission of infectious diseases, and have been reminded to follow best practices as outlined by the CDC. These include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover with a tissue
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks and handrails regularly
  • Stop handshaking
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows
  • Meet virtually when possible
  • Consider adjusting travel plans
  • Stay home and consult your physician if you are feeling sick or if you have a sick family member in your home

Hand-sanitizer is available in the common areas of our offices, including lobbies and group rooms. Clients are being encouraged to reschedule their appointment if they do not feel well.

Many insurance providers are relaxing their policies in terms of coverage for telehealth and telephonic services. Clients are encouraged to call their local office to see if web-based or phone sessions are available to them.

At this point, we are not canceling any Village therapy groups. We will continue to monitor the local environment day-by-day and follow the advice of public health agencies. Our President and CEO will decide if and when any of our offices suspend operations.

We encourage you to be mindful of the symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Visit for more information about the virus. Be mindful of your mental health during the pandemic and practice self-care.

The main thing to remember: Don’t panic. We will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and will provide updates as things change.