News Room

May 1st 2020 COVID-19 Update

5-1-2020

To our entire Arc family of supporters and friends,

If anyone would have told me when we closed our programs on 3/16/2020, that we would still be in be in a “stay at home” situation in May, I would have never believed it.    But here we are, with little information as to when the stay at home order will be lifted.  I suspect that for many, this may cause a fair amount of angst and even anxiety.

When I think of all of the individuals we serve and our employees who are living this “new normal” day in and day out, I am in awe of their tenacity, dedication and persistence through this ordeal.   In particular, for those individuals who may be confused or upset about the change in their routine and inability to go to their regular programs – I am so proud of their willingness to accept this change and to trust us to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

With that said, we have put much effort in creating virtual programs and opportunities for socialization to enhance the daily routines within our group homes and apartments.   Specifically, we have used ZOOM and other technology to offer:

Bingo challenges

Literacy classes

Yoga

Music for Hope and Inspiration

The Bernard’s Ensemble performances

“Hot Topics” discussions

Adapted Gardening

Rosie the Therapy Dog

Cooking with Lauren and Chris

An many other programs

Our Board of Directors and Board of Trustees have been very active in helping to secure donations of food and activities for our programs and most recently, each board member has participated in our “Adopt a Group Home” program.   This program allows our Board members to send various messages and gestures of appreciation to our amazing employees.

We remain vigilant with regards to Social Distancing, use of Personal Protective Equipment, Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and masking.    As with previous messages, our guidance comes from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Department of Health and our County Office of Emergency Management.

 The NJ Department of Health and Division of Developmental Disabilities has been in weekly contact with providers and have made some adjustments to regulations that will be of great assistance to providers including:

Working with our Health Care systems to allow Support Staff to accompany/ visit individuals in their care to the hospital to allow for enhanced communication and advocacy

Creating opportunities for expanded testing in the States Developmental Centers and movement towards the same in group homes/ apartments

Provisions for enhanced compensation for our vital program employees

 Outside of our residences, those programs that can operate virtually are doing so. College classes with The Achievement Center have moved online with amazing flexibility on the part of our students, families and mentors. Early Intervention therapists too are navigating a new system with service families to keep our youngest consumers learning and on-track. We are doing our best to stay in touch with those families for whom service may be changed or on hold. Here is a big well-wish to our Daycare, Family Support, Camp and Day Program consumers and families. We miss you and look forward to being together soon when safe.

The Arc of Somerset County will continue to prevail during this time of uncertainty and   the support from our friends, partners and families will continue to be of utmost import and a source of strength for us all.

Be Safe and Be Well,

Lauren Frary

Executive Director