March 5: Coronavirus Update from the CEO

March 5th, 2021

Dear Members of The Arc Family:

Well, it has been a year………both in time passed and challenges endured! The vaccine progress continues statewide and that progress has positively impacted our Arc family as we quickly move into Spring. The feeling of hope is very real and smiles behind the masks are increasing every day!  The expanded vaccine eligibility categories have greatly improved access, and the state’s partnerships with Walmart and Walgreens have been very successful for our Arc Essex family. All but 11 of the 136 individuals in our residential services have received first and second vaccine doses through the Walmart Pod Program. On March 10, through the Arc Essex/Walgreens program, we will complete distribution of 226 first and second vaccine doses to consumers, staff, volunteers, and family caregivers at our West Caldwell day program facility clinics. We are hearing rave reviews of the clinics’ organization and the Arc Essex staff who manned the events! We are just so pleased that Arc Essex was able to offer this opportunity to so many. The DDD/DHS Quest COVID testing program also remains in use for surveillance and response as we make every effort to stay ahead of any COVID activity to keep our residents and staff safe and healthy.

At this time, there are no substantial changes to the policies, procedures, or protocols from our state partners. We are hopeful that as the state COVID restrictions are relaxed to address the improved environment, DOH, DHS, and DDD will also adjust current COVID protocols to allow for more in-person opportunities and services. We are committed to providing timely and relevant communication about services, resources, and opportunities for staff, consumers, and families. Although information changes almost daily, we are focused on keeping up with the most recent guidance from all partners in order to implement the best strategies that provide needed services while mitigating risk and protecting health and safety for all.

Our service participants, their families, and our staff are of paramount importance. Their health, safety, and happiness are the primary focus of The Arc of Essex County. We can commit our efforts to this focus thanks to the hard work and dedication of the entire Arc Essex family. We remain dedicated to all opportunities that support our Arc family, now and in the future.

Thank you, all.  Stay safe and be well.

Linda's Signature.jpg

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.
  • Camp Hope general registration for summer 2021 opened on February 15, 2021.
  • DHS/DDD COVID testing program for residential consumers and staff continues to 5/28/2021.
  • DDD/DHS and the Department of Health partnered with Walmart to distribute vaccines to group home residents. All but 11 of individuals in our residential services have received the both doses of the vaccine through this program
  • Arc Essex, in partnership with Walgreens, will complete distribution of 226 first and second vaccine doses to eligible participants at our West Caldwell “clinics” on 3/10/21.

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; virtual billing continues