The Arc Westchester's Executive Director & CEO Tibi Guzman, along side the Majask Family, discuss guidelines regarding visitation in group homes.
It’s been more than three months since individuals with disabilities living in group homes were sheltered in place without visitors. As New York continues to reopen, many are now asking if group homes will as well.
Since the coronavirus hit, 31-year-old David Majask, has had weekly outings with his family replaced with video calls and doughnut deliveries. “We can see him but we can’t touch him or hug him. David loves doughnuts, as does his father, so we we will stop by and knock on the door with masks and protection and hand over the doughnuts,” says his father Joe Majask
Across the state, group homes remain sheltered in place with no visitors allowed. David Majask lives in a group home run by The Arc Westchester, a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities. The head of the organization says many of these individuals are even more at risk to the virus. “Because of pre-existing conditions that lend to respiratory issues that attract COVID-19 virus, so that’s very concerning, and we need to be even more vigilant than the rest of the population out there,” says Tibi Guzman, Executive Director of The Arc Westchester.
The Arc Westchester, and organizations like it, are strictly adhering to guidelines set up by The Office of People With Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Department of Health. An OPWDD spokesperson told News 12 that “they’re working with the NYS Department of Health to safely resume programs and visitations,” but gave no timeline.
The Arc Westchester understands how challenging these times have been, and we are so thankful for our amazing staff, supportive community and families who have worked with us to ensure that we continue to provide excellent services to those we support. We remain committed to keeping the individuals we support and our staff, safe during these unprecedented times.
The Arc Westchester will continue to follow NYS Department of Health and OPWDD guidelines, and will vigilantly update our community, families and individuals on their latest updates/changes.