July 24: Coronavirus Update from the CEO

July 24th, 2020

Dear Members of The Arc Family:

The State of NJ has been moving quickly through re-opening phases and The Arc of Essex County has stepped up the pace of adjusting the plans for programs and services to re-open to meet the ever-changing information. New guidelines from federal and state authorities come out each week and our multi-faceted plan must work in sync with NJ’s plan, especially with the guidelines issued by the Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities. The Arc of Essex County is committed to ensuring that every plan absolutely addresses the health and safety guidelines and protocols to mitigate and manage the inherent risk this pandemic presents as we all try to move forward. We continue to implement our comprehensive COVID-19 service and operations response and prevention plan even as we work on the many strategies for re-opening, including creating new approaches to program and service delivery.


  •  Arc Essex branded face masks distributed to all DSPs
  • Camp Hope completed 2 weeks of fun with 3 more weeks to go
  • Virtual day services rules changed to allow for billing
  • Approval to use day program locations for limited and scheduled activities
Current Closures:
  • Shapiro Center for Early Intervention: Suspended; modified teleservices continuing
  • Stepping Stones School: Extended school year session began remotely on 7/1
  • Stepping Stones Early Intervention: Virtual sessions continue through summer
  • Children and Adult Group Respite and Recreation Programs: In-person activities suspended for consumers until DDD/DCF authorize return; virtual activities initiated
  • Adult Day Programs: In -person programs suspended until DDD authorizes return: virtual activities initiated
Ongoing Services:
  • Deployment of iPhones and other technology equipment to consumers and programs for multiple remote uses
  • Increased use of telemedicine services with Station MD, the DDC and other medical providers
  • Residential Services: Family outside visits; staff only engaged in essential community activities
  • Administrative Support: The main office is open with limited hours, staggered and remote staffing; only essential visitors
  • Continued screening, including infrared temperature checks, for everyone entering residences
  • Program Administration: Staff deployed to Arc locations to support residential services and to conduct virtual activities
  • Containment scheduling continues which assigns staff to work in specific programs only to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19
  • Masks distributed to all locations for staff to utilize during shifts in program and when engaged in essential community activities
  • Increased use of video and audio teleservices to assist with social isolation, engagement with families, and other Stay-At-Home challenges
  • Regular supplies of masks, gloves and isolation gowns have been secured and deployed
  • COVID-19 stipends applied for staff working residential shifts
  • Opportunities to spread awareness and appreciation of our DSP’s through continued news articles, social media, lawn signs, and branded masks
  • Virtual activities calendars continue to increase and expand for at-home and group home consumers on www.arcessex.org
  • COVID positive test results greatly decreased
Although reports of turmoil in the world hit us every day, I think that summer tends to bring out the best in our Arc Essex family. The sun and warm weather lifts everyone’s spirit as we all venture outside to re-explore our communities and re-acquaint ourselves with the world around us. At The Arc of Essex County, we are taking this summer opportunity to refresh and re-invigorate as we move forward with our plans to re-open certain programs and services and develop other new and exciting ones, as the “new normal” comes into focus. Even if we don’t always see it happening, keep smiling, Arc Essex family. Knowing that we are all smiling together will absolutely keep us all going strong.

Thank you, all.

Stay safe and be well.

Linda's Signature.jpg

Linda C. Lucas
Chief Executive Officer