May 8: Coronavirus Update from the CEO

May 8th, 2020

Dear Members of The Arc Family:

As the Governor extends the public health emergency for 30 days, The Arc of Essex County continues to implement our comprehensive COVID-19 service and operations response and prevention plan. Our plans and strategies are reviewed daily based on the regularly updated information from federal and state authorities. We look forward to the future with hope for guidance to safely adjust for lessening restrictions.

New Measures:

  • 30 DSP Healthcare Heroes lawn signs distributed for display throughout Essex County
  • Thank you treats of donuts on Thursday and pizza on Friday sent to each residential program
  • Virtual activities calendars were launched on, with more to come

Current Closures:

  • Shapiro Center for Early Intervention: Suspended; modified teleservices began 4/1
  • Stepping Stones School: In-school canceled through school year; remote learning continued
  • Stepping Stones Early Intervention: Began virtual session, 5/5
  • 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 to consumers and programs for remote monitoring (Facetime)
  • Increased use of telemedicine services with Station MD, the DDC and other medical providers
  • Residential Services: No outside visitors; staff only engaged in essential community activities
  • Administrative Support: The main office is open with limited hours, staggered and remote staffing; only essential visitors
  • Increased screening, including infrared temperature checks, for everyone entering residences
  • Program Administration: Staff deployed to Arc locations to support residential services
  • Support staff shopping teams continue to pick up and deliver items including groceries to group homes as needed.
  • Containment scheduling implemented which assigns staff to work in specific programs only in order 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
  • Additional supplies of N95 and KN95 masks and isolation gowns have been secured and deployed including donated PPE from United way and DDD.
  • Increased and expanded COVID-19 stipends for staff working residential shifts
  • Expanded opportunities to spread awareness and appreciation of our DSP’s (Jersey 4 Jersey, local, state news articles, and lawn signs throughout Essex County)
  • Virtual Clubs, events and activities were rolled out to at-home consumers

As we close in on 2 months of responding to all the changes, guidelines and restrictions that the COVID-19 health emergency has thrown at us, The Arc of Essex staff continues to amaze me. Their dedication and compassion for our consumers and each other and positive attitude during this trying time speaks volumes. Thank you to all.

Stay safe and be well.

Linda's Signature.jpg

Linda C. Lucas
Chief Executive Officer