A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO KATHLEEN DURKIN
ORGANIZATIONAL UPDATES (As of 5/15)
Baltimore City and Baltimore County Not Moving Fully into Phase 1 of the Maryland Roadmap to Recovery
As you are aware, due to some improvements in COVID-19 related statewide measures and trends, Governor Hogan announced that the State is moving into Phase 1 of the Maryland Roadmap to Recovery. However, most safety restrictions will remain in place in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, because they are considered hot spots. Until further progress is made, the City and County are not fully moving into Phase 1.
When the City and County do move into the Phase 1, any operational changes at The Arc Baltimore will be within the framework of guidance from our local governments, the State of Maryland, The Developmental Disabilities Administration, and the CDC.
Essential Programs Go On
As we plan ahead for the first phase of reopening, caution and safety will require a gradual approach for any additional in-person supports. In the meantime, we are continuing very proactive online and telephone outreach to everyone in our programs who we are not able to see and support in-person. Many services are more vibrant than ever.
Employment and Day Programs
While there have been lay-offs, many in competitive jobs at essential businesses including hospitals and grocery stores continue to work and our employment supports continues. New jobs have even been acquired for some, and as more businesses reopen, efforts to seek re-employment for those who were furloughed or laid off will ramp up.
Virtual training and services are now in place for participants in Project SEARCH and Career Catalyst.
Supported workers on landscaping, policing, and janitorial contracts must remain on furlough through Friday, 5/22, but plans are underway so we can gradually and safely bring back these workers just as soon as we can. Supervisors will contact affected workers when this begins. In the meantime, many employees from across the agency have stepped in to help us maintain these contracts until our supported workers can return. They have a get-it-done attitude for which we are grateful.
Day centers remain closed through 6/1. Limits on group sizes will still be in place in Phase 1 and Phase 2, so any use of our center facilities will be much reduced. We are, however, offering more opportunities for remote classes and activities with people while in their homes. Staff is identifying everything from films and books for discussion groups online with friends they have not been able to see, and classes in things like cooking, sewing, painting, exercising, and other interest areas. We also continue to offer day services in Community Living as appropriate.
Round the clock support continues in most of our Community Living homes and regular drop-ins for those with more independence. This includes over 100 homes, so clearly our direct support professionals are our heroes on the front line keeping some of the most vulnerable we support safely. They have needed personal protective equipment, are sanitizing homes, and supporting each person as needed, whether that is personal care and medication administration or playing cards and games to pass the time safely and ease anxieties.
Outreach, Clinical, and Family Services
Staff remains available for inquiries about program services and other resource needs.
Supports to people in their families’ homes continue, for some remotely and where physical support is needed, in-person.
Moms and Dads and other caregivers continue to meet online in peer support groups and have been finding great joy and relief in connecting with one another. Schedules for these meetings are on our website.
Social workers continue support to our Foster Care parents who have the added challenges of parenting their kids who are home from school.
Fundamental Safety Measures Continue
We are maintaining all practices of basic safety including frequent hand washing, social distancing, wearing of masks when in public (and ask staff to wear their masks when working in the homes), and regular sanitizing and cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
The disease is still dangerous and we must stay vigilant and keep up these new habits.
Personal Protective Equipment – PPE – and Funding
We continue to acquire personal protective equipment including surgical masks, cloth masks, N95 masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields. We continue to pay retention bonuses for our frontline employees. We are also without some of our normal public funding and fundraising events are delayed.
Although new guidance has been provided recently from DDA/Medicaid on how we provide services and the associated funding we receive during this crisis, large gaps remain while we also incur added costs for personal protective equipment, and, most significantly, are providing retention/hazard pay to our front line employees to maintain our most vital supports.
If you are able, please help us with this very significant funding gap. We need our community’s support more than we ever have. Please contribute today to our Coronavirus Response Fund.
We have a long road ahead. We have to work hard to stay healthy and fulfill our mission. Let’s keep doing it together.
THREE WAYS TO HELP!
We continue to respond to the Coronavirus threat and have taken many steps to keep people we support and our staff safe. At this time, we are turning to our community for support. If you want to help, we’ve provided three easy ways to do so!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19, a video by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, presents a clear explanation of the virus and what to do about it. Great info for everyone.
WHAT IS COVID-19 AND WHAT CAN I DO?
The Arc Maryland and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council partnered to create a COVID-19 resource guide that is written in plain language. Check out the information on symptoms, hygiene protocols, and suggestions for how to spend your time indoors. The last page has a list of additional resources.
Dial 2-1-1 for help. The answers you’re looking for are just three digits away. Information, community resources and referrals on a variety of health and human service issues are available with one easy call. A trusted and caring call specialist is there to answer the helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline provides individuals and families one easy-to-remember hot line for assistance.
Watch for additional notifications from The Arc. Staff should contact their managers for further information. Families and other agencies should also use their normal contacts with questions as needed. This will also help us identify new information that we can distribute. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, email firstname.lastname@example.org.