A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO KATHLEEN DURKIN
COVID-19 – OPERATIONAL UPDATES (As of 6/18/20)
While Maryland has moved into phase 2 of reopening, the Governor’s plan also recognizes that additional cautions are needed for vulnerable populations, including people with developmental disabilities. We will maintain a cautious approach guided by current conditions until further notice and there is no specified date to advance to the next phase.
Our goal in this crisis remains the health and safety of the people we support and our employees. As we continue to seek guidance from the Health Department and the CDC, we are also participating in workgroups with other providers in our DDA central region to share best practices as we continue vital services and plan for our own phases of reopening and alternative/normal programming.
- Visits may be arranged for family members or others as needed but this is not encouraged. This is a case by case situation based on each person’s wishes, health, preferences, and safety protocols. All visitors must wear a mask, stay outside, and maintain proper social distancing protocol.
- Outdoor activities at homes and their surrounding neighborhoods are encouraged while wearing facemasks and social distancing. At this time, visits and trips into community/public settings (doctor/therapy appointments) may occur, but on a very limited basis and only if fully considered by the support team. In addition, masks are provided and worn by supported individuals and staff.
- Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing of high-touch areas continue on a daily basis. In cases when the virus is suspected, or if any household member has been exposed or someone is returning to the home from a hospital or nursing home stay, isolation protocols are in place with all required PPE supplied for each person over a 14 day period.
Employment and Day Programs
- Supports continue for all who continue their jobs in essential businesses including hospitals and grocery stores, and we are reaching out to supported workers who may now be able to return to other businesses that are reopening. We are actively seeking new job opportunities as more businesses reopen.
- While recent classes of Project SEARCH have celebrated virtual graduations, participants continue to meet and prepare for job opportunities. This also applies to participants in Career Catalyst.
- Supported workers on landscaping, policing, and janitorial contracts must remain on furlough, but individual meetings are underway to identify workers who can return to contracts that are deemed safe according to transportation needs, ability to maintain social distancing, and related factors to assure safety.
- Caseworkers and other employment staff remain in contact with those furloughed from independent and contract employment to verify each person’s circumstances and current needs.
- Day centers remain closed. A growing number of “classes” for skill-building, fun, and social interaction are offered online daily. Staff are available to help families and people supported so they can navigate these virtual offerings. To see the current list of what’s available, go to: www.thearcbaltimore.org/virtualday
Outreach, Clinical, and Family Services
- Staff team members remain available for inquiries about program services and other resource needs. Call 410-296-2272 ext. 5310.
- 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 not able to attend camps or ESY.
Personal Protective Equipment – PPE – and Funding
The Arc Baltimore continues to acquire personal protective equipment including surgical masks, cloth masks, N95 masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields. We continue hazard pay for our frontline employees in instances where COVID tests are pending or confirmed.
Significant questions remain on our State reimbursement rates in the new budget set for July 1. Hard-fought gains in the General Assembly to win the minimally needed 4% increase to keep direct support wages ahead of the minimum wage are at great risk. Added costs to acquire PPE and lost fundraising revenue are causing a significant funding gap for The Arc. If you can, please contribute today to our Coronavirus Response Fund.
Administrative Office and Seton Employment Center
Our offices on York Road and at Seton remain closed to visitors. The majority of administrative staff continue to work remotely, but are available by their normal email and telephone extensions. Any team member needed on-site must wear a mask and maintain social distance. All training is being conducted online.
Let’s stay together. Thank you.
Send your inquiries or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org which is checked daily
TWO 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 two easy ways to do so!
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 email@example.com.