Individuals living in our residences are now able to have extended visits with their families. The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has issued guidelines for offsite family visits for the people who live in our residences. They have also set forth conditions under which people, who have been staying with their family for an extended period during the COVID-19 pandemic, may return to their residential programs. The requirements and conditions under which offsite family visits can occur and conditions under which people may return to their Arc of Westchester home after extended stays with their families are posted below. The safety and health of our individuals and our staff is always our top priority.
Update 7-14-20: NYS OPWDD Commissioner Kastner announced new detailed guidance allowing your family member to visit your family home with strict guidelines upon the return from extended family visits. These new guidelines go into effect on July 15, 2020 Additionally, the opportunity to have community outings and interim guidelines for resuming limited Day program services was also announced by the Commissioner. These directives are intended to keep people safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and apply to regions, like ours, that have entered phase four of the state’s reopening plan.
Under certain conditions, low risk community outings and visits to family member’s homes will be permitted. Conditions for the safe return of people to our residences after extended family visits are outlined as well in the OPWDD guidance. There are specific conditions under which these may occur to safeguard and maintain the health and well-being of people living in our residences and the staff that support them. It should be noted there are strict rules for transportation, health checks and the continuation of infection control procedures. If you have any questions feel free to contact your Residential Team Leader for further information.
We received additional guidance regarding options to resume some in-person day services. At this time, we are reviewing the guidelines that, like residential community outings, will have extensive restrictions regarding transportation, health checks and continuation of infection control procedures. Until we can ensure a safe and healthy environment for our individuals and staff, we will continue to provide remote day and wellness services.
- Home Visits for Individuals Residing in OPWDD Certified Residential Facilities →
- Reintroduction of Individuals to Certified Residences After Extended Home Visits →
- Interim Guidance Regarding Community Outings for Individuals Residing in OPWDD Certified Residential Facilities →
- Interim Guidance Regarding the Reopening of Day Services Certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities →
Update 6-17-20: We are pleased to learn the Governor announced today that group home visitation will be allowed beginning Friday, June 19th. Please refer to the following Guideline for Family Visits that includes your need to call ahead, wear a mask and other requirements aimed at keeping our community healthy and safe. We are still awaiting further directions from OPWDD and will share those with you once we receive them. Thank you for your continued support, cooperation and patience during this challenging time.
Click here to view pdf →
Update May 6, 2020: Governor Cuomo’s announced his New York Forward plan on May 6th to begin reopening the state. This will happen on a regional basis starting after May 15 with four announced phases of priority for reopening. Since we are an essential provider, and we have been operating during this time, as a result, we are not listed in the regional opening plan.
There is no current change in how we are operating during this crisis. We are continuing our shelter in place mandates. However, we are awaiting guidance from The Department of Health and OPWDD as to when we can resume some of our services and what restrictions we will need to put in place when we open. We have started to develop a strategic plan mapping out the months ahead and a detailed plan for resuming some of our support services. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing more information about this with you.
The Governor’s Office and OPWDD have designated The Arc Westchester as an ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDER. As such, we are exempt from the Governor Cuomo that mandate businesses to have employees stay home from work. We know you are aware that we provided vital services to the people with developmental disabilities and they depend on us during this critical time. The health and safety of ALL members of our community is a priority.
Update: March 25, 2020: In keeping with New York State Governor’s initiative to stop the spread of COVID-19, The Arc Westchester has been notified by OPWDD to suspend all community outings and home visits for individuals living in our residences effective March 25. 2020 at 5pm. As of this date, we will stop any visitors to our residences except when medically or clinically necessary. We are distributing signs in all our residences and staff are being briefed on the necessary procedures. We personally contacted families about this new order. We understand that this is an added disruption to our homes and families, but we must follow all rulings by the state to keep everyone safe.
We continually maintain routine communication with residents and families, either via email or another electronic platform, regarding the facility’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When one of our residences has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, we communicate the information immediately to the residents and residents’ families, loved ones, and guardians. If family members have any questions, we suggest they contact us or NYS Department of Health at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.