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 wellbeing 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 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