The Arc is coordinating clinics with CVS for people supported in programs of The Arc Baltimore and staff. Other family members are not eligible for vaccines from these clinics unless they are providing support services under Appendix K. If you are staff or have a family member supported by The Arc and did not receive the email on registering for a vaccine clinic, email email@example.com immediately.
Requirements to register and make appointments vary from county to county (and Baltimore City). Regardless of which priority group you are in, it is advised to register for the vaccine in your home county. Some counties offer the option to register where you work as well.
The Maryland Department of Health has a new vaccine helpline at 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to help those without internet access information on the COVID-19 Vaccine and finding vaccine sites.
Baltimore County - https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/c268c6f40463480baae69154b7845ffd
Baltimore City – Does not offer registration, but vaccination sites and appointment information may be found at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine
American Society for Virology - COVID Q&A Videos on the vaccine - https://asv.org/education/
National Association for Direct Professionals – Answers on the vaccine -https://nadsp.org/webinar-your-questions-and-our-answers-about-the-covid-19-vaccine-for-direct-support-professionals/?mc_cid=1be504c517&mc_eid=55f4f60662
Black Doctors.org -- Making it plain, what Black Americans need to know about COVID 19 and the Vaccine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2qR6xniq4&feature=emb_rel_pause
Centers for Disease Control – Vaccines information - https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html
CDC 8 Things to Know about Vaccines - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html
Maryland Department of Health Vaccine Plan - https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/COVID-Vaccine-FactSheet_1.6_1500.pdf
I'm a Black doctor who didn't trust the Covid vaccine. Here's what changed my mind: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/i-m-black-doctor-who-didn-t-trust-covid-vaccine-ncna1255085
At this time, there is not a mandate. We are encouraging all staff to plan for the vaccine and this includes providing information on what is known about the vaccine and the risks of not getting it. We understand there are fears about vaccines and are urging staff to keep an open mind and learn what they can, from reliable sources.
Clearly, our government stimulated a massive response to remove barriers, provide needed funding, and speed up the process, however, the normal research and testing were performed with rigor and to all needed specifications. In addition, the worldwide community of scientists and pharmaceutical companies shared research and collaborated in a way that was truly unprecedented.
Like any vaccination, there may be side effects, but the majority are mild and temporary. This may include pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, fatigue, and headache. This usually occurs within the first hours after receiving the vaccination – and are signs that the vaccination is doing its work.
Pharmacies and other providers of the vaccinations are keeping people on-site for up to 30 minutes to monitor any reactions.
The sooner we all get the vaccine, the better. It is very important that the majority of the population gets the vaccination. If this does not occur, we will remain at higher risk of spreading the virus. The sooner we all get the vaccine, the sooner we get back to normal life.
COVID-19 OPERATIONAL UPDATES (As of 3/12/21)
Vaccines and Continued Use of Masks:
To date, The Arc Baltimore has hosted six vaccine clinics in partnership with CVS and has provided vaccines for nearly 800 people. This includes the majority of residents in Community Living as well as many people we support in day programs, family living, employment, and many of our staff. The final three clinics for people still needing the second vaccine will be completed by March 20th.
Because we are not able to offer any further clinics with CVS, we will be providing updates on how and where people can access vaccines, but currently, the best information is on your local city/county health department websites. All people with developmental disabilities are in the phase 1B group and should have access, but we know it often continues to take persistence and regular monitoring to get appointments. We will be helping individuals and staff with this as we are able.
While we are pleased with the progress of people we support and staff receiving vaccines, whether they have been vaccinated or not, it’s still essential to wear masks in all aspects of our operations and programs, including:
- Staff providing support in Community Living (people supported in the homes only need to wear masks if there is any current exposure or isolation occurring in the house)
- Staff and people we support in any community outings or home visits
- Supported workers and supervisors in contract employment
- Staff in any facility or office of The Arc when in common areas
Many people have been inquiring as to when our day centers will reopen or other programs will be more open and in the community. At this time, there are no absolute dates set to reopen. We are involved in workgroups and DDA webinars that are helping us plan for eventual reopening. Given the low percentage of the population that is currently vaccinated, as well as continuing questions and concerns about new strains of the Coronavirus that may be more contagious, reopening of programs will be done very gradually and incrementally. Contracts will be taking in a small additional number of supported workers. In addition, our hope is that small groups from day programs will have limited community outings in the near future, but there are no dates set for reopening centers at this time. Porch and yard visits will resume as weather permits.
Please know we want to reopen and see each other in person just as soon as possible. While Governor Hogan may be lifting many restrictions, we know the population we support has higher risks and we must continue to put safety first.
In the meantime, the array of groups meeting together for fun and learning through Zoom continues to grow, with nearly 50 offerings each week. Many who were hesitant about online activities or who lacked Wi-Fi or tablet/computers to connect are now regular participants. Check out the current schedule HERE.
Community Living Visitation:
While we continue to have a cautious approach and follow guidance from the health departments and DDA, we are easing restrictions for people in our Community Living supported homes. This could change based on the positivity rate in Baltimore City and County.
Visitors in the home will be allowed, with strict limits. Nurses and support staff from The Arc may enter the home, but are limited to no more than two homes per day.
With the weather improving we are still encouraging family and friends to visit outside of the home, on a porch, patio or deck, however, family or friends may visit in a personal bedroom.
Use of PPE by all visitors is still required and a visitor log must be completed in case any contact tracing is needed.
In addition, we are encouraging further enjoyment of activities in the community such as trips to the grocery store, barbers and hair salons, or other special interest activities – but wearing of PPE and social distancing is essential.
The full visitation policy, with additional guidance, is available HERE
Please continue to be vigilant and follow the outlined protocols at all times to ensure the ongoing health and safety of those we support, our incredible staff team, and all their families. The Arc Baltimore will stay on top of new information and will update and disseminate new procedures as appropriate. Any questions about this policy may be directed to the relevant Program Coordinator or Program Director, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAY PROGRAMS (Virtual classes and porch visits)
- Remote classes for learning, seeing friends, physical activity, and other enjoyments remain our primary outreach for people in our day programs.
- Participants are having a lot of fun with daily chat groups, computer classes, musical theater, art classes, job training, and other offerings.
- To see the current list of what’s available: www.thearcbaltimore.org/virtualday
- Porch visits can continue; in-home visits will have restrictions.
- 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.
- Caseworkers and other employment staff remain in contact with those furloughed from independent employment to verify each person’s circumstances and current needs.
- Protocols for PPE, social distancing, vehicle use, and on-site requirements must be followed.
- 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.
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.
MAIN 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. Personnel in offices are limited to 25% capacity and with staggered schedules to ensure 6 ft. social distancing. All training is being conducted online.
Let’s stay together. Thank you.
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!
A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO KATHLEEN DURKIN
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.