January 8: Coronavirus Update from the CEO
January 8th, 2021
Dear Members of The Arc Family:
Happy New Year! So much progress has occurred over the last month, we are excited to leave 2020 behind and get started with the new year. Two vaccines became available and the State has rolled out a vaccine eligibility and distribution plan; the DHS/DDD COVID testing program has been initiated; supplemental funding for DSP COVID stipends continues, and; additional funding for DSPs’ and supervisors’ wages became effective 1/1/21. At The Arc of Essex County, we have been working hard to provide communication about resources and implementing all opportunities for staff, consumers, and families. Over the holidays, virtual activities and communication increased to assure that no one was left out as we stayed home and stayed safe. Although the State’s COVID restrictions remain in place, we stand ready to pivot back to in-person services whenever possible, wherever possible. For now, we are focusing on managing vaccine eligibility and distribution for staff and consumers while keeping everyone happy, healthy, and safe.
Although the State of NJ continues to see an increase in COVID positivity rates, The Arc of Essex County remains committed to ensuring that the development and implementation of plans for services and supports meet all compliance guidelines from federal, state, and local authorities. This would not be possible without the tremendous effort of staff and the amazing support of our entire Arc Essex family. The health and safety of our service participants, their families, and our staff are of paramount importance. The Arc of Essex County remains committed to forward progress by creating opportunities that support our Arc family, for today and for many tomorrows.
Thank you, all. Stay safe and be well.
Linda C. Lucas
Chief Executive Officer
- Adult Day Programs remain closed as per DDD; no opening date is available.
- Community Based Supports and HAP continue with in-person services supporting a few individuals (CBS) and families (HAP) to engage in community activities.
- DHS/DDD COVID testing program for residential consumers and staff to begin 1/2021.
- Group Home consumers and DSP staff are eligible in 1A category for COVID vaccine.
- Please see important information from the DDD and the Department of Health below:
Current Status of Programs and Services:
- Shapiro Center for Early Intervention: In-person and telehealth services continue
- Stepping Stones School: In-person classes continue; 100% remote option continues
- Stepping Stones Early Intervention: Virtual sessions continue into spring
- Children Group Respite and Recreation Programs: In-person activities authorized to resume with restrictions; plans in development
- Adult Day Programs: Closed; no opening date available; virtual activities continue
- Community Based Supports and Individual Respite: Limited options available
- Virtual activities calendars continue to increase and expand for at-home and residential home consumers on www.arcessex.org; virtual billing continues