News & Events

Coronavirus Update

Please be assured that The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties has made Coronavirus and the safety of the people we support and their caregivers our number one priority. The Coronavirus situation changes daily, so please check back frequently for updates.

 


March 31, 2020

Letter to our Families

Dear Parents, Family Members, and Staff:

I would like to give you a brief update on the status of the organization during this COVID-19 pandemic.  We continue to work with The Arc New York, OPWDD, CDC and Public Health Departments. To date, we have eight staff who have tested positive.  We hope to have them back to work healthy and able to resume their normal duties in the near future.   We have two people residing in our residential homes who also tested positive.  We hope to see them make a full recovery.  The majority of these positive cases are in the same residential home.

We are following all protocols set by CDC, OPWDD and Public Health including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), temperature checks of staff at the start of their shift, vital checks of people supported, monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms, and the use of quarantine and isolation as warranted.  In a number of situations, we have proactively used precautionary quarantines for the safety of those residing in the homes and the staff. We have also restricted the sharing of staff amongst homes to help limit the possibility of exposures. Access to a medical professional is critical at this time.  Therefore, we have extended telehealth services as a benefit to all staff.  

As you may know obtaining PPE has been difficult. Our Fiscal Department has been diligent in their efforts to acquire necessary supplies and The Arc NY has been a valuable resource to us as well.  We have the supplies that we need to address our current situation. In anticipation of an increase of positive cases, we have additional supplies on hand with more on order.

Most recently, a person who resided in one of our residential homes passed away.  Although his passing has yet to be attributed to the COVID-19 virus, we are using caution and treating it as such.  The necessary measures have for safety and wellbeing are in place in the home.  We are saddened by this loss and our hearts go out to his friends and family.

We have had so many dedicated staff members exemplify teamwork and provide support whenever and however needed.  Some of the stories can be found on our Facebook page.  We would like to thank our staff for balancing their safety and health with the tremendous responsibility of providing support and care to the people who receive our services. Please keep yourself healthy and safe during these times.

Sincerely,

J.Richard Schwartz
Executive Director

Download PDF version here


SCHOOL UPDATE:

March 27, 2020

A message from Beth Laub,
Assistant Executive Director of Education

Hello ELE Families, staff and friends,

As I am sure you all heard that the governor has extended the executive order of school closures through April 15.

I know there are lots of questions and I am working with our executive team to discuss how this will look as we move ahead. I am waiting for guidance from The State Education Department so we can formulate a plan.

Thank you all!!

Beth Laub MS. Ed SBL
Assistant Executive Director of Education
The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties, NY


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Read the latest report from The Arc

 


March 25, 2020

Letter to the Families of our Educational Learning Experience from Beth Laub

Dear Parent, Guardians and ELE family; 

The Educational Learning Experience has been actively working with our internal team, SED and counties as how to best assist our students, families and staff during the Pandemic of Covid-19. We understand this changing landscape has created significant upheaval in everyone’s lives. We are vigorously working to address the concerns of our families and staff as the changes at the State and Federal level are rapidly changing to keep up with the current health environment.  Per the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, our schools will remain closed through March 31st with a tentative return date of April 1. 

The program recently designated March 23rd - 30th as “Spring Break.” Keep in mind that these official acts are with the expectation that school closures will be extended.  We are working hard to determine the way best way support our students academically, socially, and emotionally. 

Our program supervisors will be guiding teachers, therapists, families and students during this time. Ultimately we all must work together to facilitate our student’s access to the education program and the connections needed during these unprecedented times of social distancing.  

In the meantime, please look for information on how we will proceed. 

This is a difficult and stressful time for many of us. I urge families  and staff to seek out the resources provided on the county and State websites. Our social workers and school psychologist have been putting together information which will be included in the information we send home in the upcoming days. 

In the meantime stay healthy and safe. 

Beth Laub MS.Ed SBL

Assistant Executive Director of Education
Educational Learning Experience
845-564-1855

 

March 20, 2020

Letter to the Families of our Educational Learning Experience from Beth Laub
Download here

March 19, 2020

Letter to Families

Dear Arc Sullivan-Orange families, friends, and advocates, 

In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is requiring a temporary suspension of visitation to our residential programs, effective immediately. 

We fully recognize the emotional impact of these restrictions on our families, but it is a necessary precaution as we work to minimize transmission of COVID-19 in our community and the risk to our staff and the people we support.  We feel it is our responsibility to limit all potential exposure opportunities as many of the individuals we provide services to have existing conditions that put them in a higher risk category.  

Furthermore, if you would prefer to take your loved one to your personal residence during this difficult time, we will unfortunately require that they remain home with you for an indefinite time period.  At the present time, we will be unable to receive individuals back into the residence that have been out of our care and have potential exposure opportunities that we will not be able to account for.       

The health and safety of the entire Arc Sullivan-Orange community remains our highest priority, especially during these extraordinary times. At this point in time, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our residential programs.  We continue to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies, and will stay in close communication with you about our response as the situation develops.  

Community is essential in times of crisis, and we appreciate your support and understanding as we work to sustain our connections in creative ways. 

Sincerely,


Peter Catal
Assistant Executive Director for Residential Services

 

March 17, 2020

We are providing an update from yesterday's notification. Our original plan was to close day programs, and have 1 site in each county to provide day services to people living with their family per OPWDD's directive.

Since then, OPWDD has directed all providers to temporarily suspend operations of all site-based day programs beginning today, March 17, at 5 p.m. In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), all Day Programs are suspended indefinitely.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our programs at this time. We continue to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies, and will stay in close communication with you about our response as the situation develops.

We realize the impact suspension of our day programs has on our families, staff and the people we support, however it is critical we take action to limit the spread of illness. We appreciate your understanding as we work together to ensure the health and safety of our community. 

Read the full letter here.

 


UPDATES FOR STAFF 


March 16, 2020

DAY PROGRAM & CLINIC UPDATES

The safety and well being of the people we support is our highest priority.  With the recent developments and updates, effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020 The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties' Day Programs will be closed through Friday, April 3, 2020. One site per county will remain open to support people who live at home with family or independently.

Transportation is cancelled.  Program staff will be reaching out to those living at home or their family members to discuss individual circumstances.

Additionally, all non-essential Clinical Services are cancelled effective Wednesday March 18, 2020, and will be rescheduled as soon as practical. Psychiatry services will be provided via telemedicine. Patients will be contacted to verify they are able to participate in telemedicine visits. If they are not, we will make alternative arrangements. All PT/OT/Speech and other services delivered in person at our clinic locations are cancelled until further notice, with the exception of emergency dental and podiatry appointments. Please call 845-796-1350 extension 6210 or 6041 if you have a dental or podiatry emergency.

We will continue to assess the situation and communicate any updates. 


March 16, 202

EDUCATION

All of the Education programs with The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties are closed

Please check back for updates and a re-opening date.

DAYCARE

Daycare is closed until further notice. Check back for updates

Learn about our PRE-SCREENING Policy & Procedures for visitors


March 13, 202

The Arc of the U.S. is working diligently with the Federal Government to make sure policies and protections are in place. This includes expanding access to health care, making sure that direct support professionals (DSPs), who support people with disabilities to live independently, can continue to do their vital work, and much more.

The Arc U.S. Statement:

The Arc is pleased that Congress is recognizing the unique and vital needs that people with disabilities have when facing the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency relief bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today includes important and specific measures that would help mitigate the potentially catastrophic impacts of the novel coronavirus on millions of people with disabilities.

As we grow increasingly concerned over the threat of COVID-19 to people with disabilities, their families, and the workforce that supports them, we are encouraged that the House bill includes increased federal reimbursement for state Medicaid programs, which will help the uninsured gain access to COVID-19 testing, emergency requirements for all health insurers to cover testing, expanded nutrition assistance, and paid sick days and paid leave.

We are glad to see that the paid sick time and paid leave provision could be used to care for loved ones who are “otherwise in need of care.” That would cover workers who take time off to care for a loved one with a disability who has lost their primary source of care due to the new coronavirus.

As the legislation moves through Congress, we are advocating for specific funding to support the direct support professional workforce that supports people with disabilities, whose wages largely come from Medicaid, and that they are covered by both paid sick days and paid leave policies put in place by this legislation. Further, people with disabilities must be able to have access to a 90-day supply of medication and medical supply re-fills.

“This bill addresses many of the needs of people with disabilities in this global crisis. As the coronavirus relief bill moves through Congress, the paid sick days and paid leave policy must include funding to cover our direct support workforce,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc. “We fear that without appropriate action by Congress and President Trump, the coronavirus pandemic could lead to further exacerbation of the workforce crisis and the unnecessary placement of people with disabilities and aging adults into institutions and other congregate settings in violation of their rights and posing risk to their health.”

Please help us by signing this petition:
https://disabilityadvocacynetwork.org/app/make-a-call?0&engagementId=506816

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March 9, 2020

Dear Family and Friends of Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties:

At present The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the novel Coronavirus in our agency. However, we are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus and wish to share some important information with you.

Our Executive Management Team is closely monitoring this fluid situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Orange & Sullivan County Departments of Health, and New York State OPWDD.

Based on recent reports, there are 105 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State at the time of this letter, most of which are centered on the downstate area with single digit cases in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region.  If we become aware that an individual served or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, The Arc Sullivan-Orange will immediately notify staff and parents/guardians. If a person supported or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, we will follow our current practices for handling respiratory illnesses, subject to any additional guidance forthcoming.

The Arc Sullivan-Orange has infectious disease protocols in place and routinely takes steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout all main locations, including day and residential programs, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

There are a number of steps that individuals, staff, and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:

·      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.

·      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·      Stay home when you are sick.

·      Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

·      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

Families are also encouraged to follow the CDC’s information for travel, available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. For more information, consider consulting these additional resources:

·      Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
       https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

·      Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
     https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

·      COVID-19: What is Stigma and What Causes It?
     https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html?CDC_AA_reVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus@2F2019-ncov%2Fstigma-faq.html·     

·      New York State Department of Health information
     https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

The Arc Sullivan-Orange Counties will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Please know that, as always the health and safety of the people we support and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses including COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus.

Sincerely,

J. Richard Schwartz
Executive Director

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