A Letter from the Executive Director - July 1, 2020
On May 5, 2020, I wrote to all the staff to share some of the plans we were developing for re-opening the day programs and the Work Opportunity Center at The Arc of Monmouth. As we continue to meet to finalize those plans, I thought it opportune to write again to the participants of the programs, their families and guardians with an update.
We still stand by the principles outlined in that May 5, 2020 letter:
- We will only open when it is allowed by both the state and local government
- We have the right safety measures and protocols in place; and
- We have the confidence we can ensure the safety and well-being of our served individuals and our employees.
To date, we have received no guidance from either DDD or DVRS, but this has not deterred us in moving ahead with our plans.
- All participants will be required to be tested for the Covid-19 virus and present a negative test result in a timely manner before returning to program.
- As stated previously, it is our plan to re-open in a phased manner. This will be
- [i] a soft opening to test the layout and logistics of the ‘new normal’ with a group of individuals who are at the least risk,
- [ii] phases 1 -3 will be those individuals who are at an increasing risk, with those who are the most vulnerable being in phase 3.
- Initially not every program will be able to accommodate all participants because of the social distancing guidelines.
- Each of the day centers has been thoroughly cleaned and prior to that occurring, all old and broken furniture has been disposed of. New tables and chairs have been delivered and arranged in such a way as to allow social distancing. The same can be said of the W.O.C.
- Social distancing signs are in place in all locations to help participants understand the importance of keeping a safe distance between themselves and their peers.
- Additional hand sanitizing stations have been established in all locations to make sure staff and participants can clean their hands easily and regularly.
- Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] appropriate for each individual and staff will be readily available.
- Participants will be encouraged to wear a mask or face covering where it is practical and medically safe.
- Staff will wear masks as well.
- New programmatic supplies have been purchased and emphasis will be placed on individuals not sharing these supplies.
Additional steps that are being taken include daily monitoring of temperatures. Any participant or staff that presents with a fever [a temperature above 100.4 F] and/or any other symptoms will be sent home.
Valid medical clearance will be required before returning to program.
Vehicles that are used to transport individuals will be cleaned regularly, and where an individual can make their own arrangements to get to program, this will be encouraged. Third party transportation companies e.g., J&D will be encouraged to follow The Arc of Monmouth guidelines.
Our goal is to ensure we carry on the outstanding work that all our staff have been doing in keeping our residents safe during this pandemic. We now want that to become the norm in all our day programs and the W.O.C.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Robert S. Angel
July 1, 2020
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Letter from Executive Director, 4/16/2020
Statement Released by The Arc of New Jersey Executive Director, Tom Baffuto 4/8/2020
The Arc of New Jersey’s Executive Director Tom Baffuto released the following statement regarding the “It’s Hit Our Front Door’: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of COVID-19” article that appeared in the New York Times on April 8. “Our hearts go out to the families and caregivers of the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. We recognize that we are living in an incredibly unsettling time, but it’s important for people with I/DD and their families to understand the multitude of precautions taking place in New Jersey. All of the day programs across the state were closed by March 17 when the threat of the virus became apparent and Chapters of The Arc implemented shelter in place procedures immediately thereafter. Comprehensive emergency response plans were enacted and our local county Chapters, and their extraordinary Direct Support Professionals, are continuing to assist and support clients while abiding by screening policies, monitoring staff and clients for potential symptoms, and engaging in intense sanitizing of homes. While a portion of those served in the community have tested positive for COVID-19, we are working diligently to care for those who are ill while protecting and shielding others. In this unprecedented time, we are doing our very best for those we serve and represent. The Arc of New Jersey is here to advocate and support anyone in need of help as we push through toward better days ahead.”
Executive Director Update, 4/1/2020
As we near the end of the third week of day program closures and with our residents still confined to their homes, I thought it important to write and update everyone on just how we are dealing with this crisis at The Arc of Monmouth.
The front-line staff who come to work every day and provide care to our served individuals have done, and continue to do, an outstanding job in caring 24/7 for our residents. The staff’s flexibility and desire to meet each challenge this situation has thrown at us speaks volumes about them as individuals. We could not do what we do without them.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Management Team, and most importantly, our served individuals, we say a huge “thank you”.
-Robert Angel, Executive Director
I am writing to you today to update you on what’s been happening at The Arc of Monmouth in the last few weeks since we closed most of our programs because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
It has been a tough few weeks, with as you can imagine, many challenges. Sadly, we did lose one of our residents due to complications from the virus very early on. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and those who cared for her in her Group Home.
The health and safety of our residents and staff will continue to be a top priority. Thankfully, contact with the virus has been limited and the health of all staff and residents is monitored daily. I am pleased to say the majority of our residents remain at home safe and healthy.
None of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of all our employees; especially those on the front line who care for our residents every day. Their continued efforts are greatly appreciated.
It is uncertain how much longer these current conditions are going to be in place, but my commitment to you is that we will keep you informed every step of the way towards our reopening. Governor Murphy has in recent days begun to speak about how the State will reopen for business. The Arc of Monmouth is closely monitoring all these updates and will follow all the recommendations and guidance provided when it comes to reopening our programs. We all want to return to some degree of ‘normality’ as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding program opening please call Kristy Ford at (732) 493-1919 ext. 125 and she will be able to direct you to the appropriate person to answer your questions.
Please stay safe and well, and I look forward to welcoming everyone back soon.
Robert S. Angel
General Program Updates from The Arc of Monmouth
Our top priority is the safety and health of our served individuals, their families, and our staff. The Arc of Monmouth will continue to follow guidelines and recommendations made by the CDC and the state of New Jersey. Our executive team continues to monitor the situation and is taking every precaution to be able to respond rapidly.
The Arc of Monmouth continues to support 87 residents in our group homes, plus everyone in the supported apartments and independent living programs. We are so thankful for the dedicated direct support employees. Group homes continue to be staffed 24/7 and the staff have been finding fun activities to keep residents engaged and entertained while staying safe at home. Direct support staff continue to check in with those in supported or independent apartments to meet their needs. Health services team members regularly check in with all residents regarding both their physical and mental well-being.
Day programs will remain closed until determined safe to reopen. This includes the following programs: Branches, Eatontown, Green Grove, Shore, and Western Monmouth Adult Day Programs, the Work Opportunity Center, The Achievement Zone, and the Kach College Program.
Recreation activities are cancelled indefinitely. Refunds or credit will be provided where applicable. There have been two virtual fitness/yoga classes over Zoom video. Please visit arcofmonmouth.org/recreation or follow The Arc of Monmouth on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to stay up to date when these offerings are available.
Do you or your family need help?
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Click to Download the Letter to Caregivers 3/16/20