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Covid-19 Update & Guidance

Information for people supported and their families about how The Arc Montgomery County is responding to the Covid-19 outbreak.


March 20, 2020

We are doing our part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by moving as many people as possible out of the Headquarters building to begin teleworking and/or to support our program staff in other locations.

Beginning Monday, March 23, our headquarters building will be closed to the public, visitors, and people we support.  Members of the Leadership Team will take turns staffing the building so that supplies can be received, sorted and distributed.  Most headquarters employees will be working remotely, so there may be a slight delay in responding to phone calls or messages.  We are doing our best to stay fully operational even from remote locations.  This helps the people we support and also helps our staff, who depend on their wages to support their own families.

At this difficult time, our resources are being stretched and we know they will be stretched even further.  If you are able to make a charitable donation, we would be grateful.  Any amount will make a difference!  Donations can be directed to our greatest needs or specifically designated for our Covid-19 Emergency Fund.  Credit card donations can be made on our website by clicking here.    Check donations can be mailed to The Arc Montgomery County, 7362 Calhoun Place, Rockville, MD 20855.

For general inquiries or other information, please email info@arcmontmd.org.


March 18, 2020

As the Covid-19 situation has escalated and Governor Hogan implements more restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, we have made additional decisions about our operations which may impact you and your family members.  The following measures are being implemented immediately.

Headquarters— Building is closed to all visitors.  Staff may continue to enter and exit the building as needed for business purposes. Business operations are continuing, to support our programs.

Personal Supports—Services are suspended unless those services can be delivered in a person’s home.  Coordinators are contacting families.

Respite—All family orientations are suspended. No new applications are being processed. No requests to shift vendors can be accommodated.  Families who are already in the system and who need additional hours will be accommodated, if the vendor they selected is available to provide the service.

KFICCC—Closed until March 27.

After All—Closed until April 1.

Day Services—Services are suspended until March 27.

Employment Services—People supported who have paid jobs, including group employment, should follow the directions from their employer.  If these individuals are continuing to work, we will continue providing support to them.

Community Living Services—Homes are closed to visitors and people supported are not going out into the community.

In all cases where we are continuing to deliver services (except our residential homes), if the person receiving services is sick, services will be immediately suspended.  Staff who are sick are expected to stay home and may use their sick/vacation leave.

At this moment, we are particularly concerned about the 119 people we support in residential settings and the staff who are on the front line, ensuring these people have their needs met 24/7.  We have administrative staff doing grocery and medication pickups and drop-offs, to ensure food, supplies, and needed medications are available in the homes.  We have managers working at homes where people are medically-fragile.  We are educating staff on what procedures to take if they or someone they support becomes sick. In addition, we have reassigned our Employment & Day and Personal Supports staff to support our homes and alleviate staff shortages caused by people calling out due to their emergencies.
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Stay informed by checking our website and our social media regularly.
  • Click here to make a donation to support our efforts.  We are incurring significant unbudgeted costs, including staff overtime in the homes, protective equipment, and more.  Any amount will help us continue providing the supports that are needed.  
  • Stay home and stay well!

March 13, 2020

In light of Governor Hogan’s recent announcements and new measures to contain Covid-19, The Arc Montgomery County has made the difficult decision to suspend our day program operations, beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27.  At that time, we will review the current conditions within Maryland.

People we support who have paid jobs, including group employment, should follow the directions from their employer.  If these individuals are continuing to work, we will continue providing support to them, unless they are sick.

The CDC has recommended increased personal hygiene and social distancing as ways to control the spread of the virus and we realize that congregate and community settings increase the vulnerability of people we support and our staff.

This decision impacts families, other residential agencies, our own community living homes – and all our employees. We are all in this together as we all must make difficult decisions in an attempt to slow the spread of this virus and keep people safe and healthy.

In making this decision, we gave very careful consideration to all our families and community partners. The implications of school closures and the need to focus on our most essential services are all foremost in our minds. Because the situation continues to evolve and change on a day-to-day basis, we feel it is vitally important that we use an abundance of caution, and as the Governor said, get in front of the situation and work together.

Additional assessments of program needs and staff availability are underway. All non-essential activities and meetings are cancelled until further notice.

We recognize these disruptions will be challenging and difficult for many. These are unprecedented times, and we must act quickly and carefully to ensure the safety and health of the people we support. 

Families and other agencies should use their normal contacts for questions. This will also help us identify new information to distribute. If you don't receive a satisfactory response, please email info@arcmontmd.org.

 


March 6, 2020

As you have probably heard, three cases of Covid-19 have been identified in Montgomery County.  All three people had recently traveled outside the US and have been isolated in their homes. 

The Arc Montgomery County is closely following informational guidance from the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration, and Maryland State Department of Education.  We have already started planning for situations in which we may need to close program sites, self-isolate, or quarantine.

  • For KFICCC and After All, we will follow the lead of Montgomery County Public Schools in terms of closing due to Covid-19 outbreaks.  This means that if MCPS decides it is in the best interest of the public to close, we will also close KFICCC and After All to families.
  • For Employment & Day, we may need to temporarily change or discontinue services based upon the status of the employment site, or in the event public locations in Montgomery County are closed.  People who receive employment or day services should stay home if they are sick.
  • For Community Living, we may need to ask families who are able to take their loved one home, if that will be in the best interest of the person supported.  Homes may need to be combined, or people may need to be isolated in their bedroom if they are sick.  We are already working to create new staffing patterns to maximize coverage and procedures to protect both the people we support and our employees.
  • For Personal Supports, we may need to temporarily discontinue services, in order to pull staff for coverage in our Community Living homes.  We will not provide Personal Supports to individuals who are sick.

We have provided guidance to our employees about steps they should take to help keep people we support healthy, as well as to keep themselves healthy, which include frequent cleaning of surfaces and reminders to practice Universal Precautions.  In addition, employees who are returning from travel to countries identified on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website as at risk for Covid-19 community transmission will not be cleared to return to work until at least 14 days after returning to the United States.

The best prevention is staying healthy.  In general, people can protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses by following these precautions.

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from your work or day program.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

We will share additional updates with families and people supported through email addresses and through posts to this page.

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