Information & Updates
With the Governor’s lifting of many restrictions, echoed by local officials in the counties we serve, The Arc will begin the gradual process to resume full operations over the next seven months. While The Arc starts to implement this transition to resume full operations and reduce COVID-19 related restrictions, it is essential to remember that the pandemic is not yet over. The Arc encourages every employee and person we support to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they have not yet done so. Please continue to wear a face mask and follow all COVID-19 guidelines recommended at the local, state, and federal levels.
Our primary goal is the health and safety of the people we support and our staff. We want to assure you that we are carefully monitoring the situation through updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the state of Maryland. The Arc is an essential business, it is critical we continue to provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please see the Protocols section for updated mask usage, COVID-19 procedures, and other requirements. UPDATED March 24, 2021, 1:30PM
The Arc’s Headquarters (HQ) in Severn is open to guests Monday-Friday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM. You can reach us at 410.269.1883, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Health and safety are our top priorities. We are adhering to a strict, daily, professional cleaning schedule, and the following procedures remain in effect for staff and visitors:
- All employees are required to wear a mask while working at all times, regularly wash hands, and follow all protocols outlined on signs throughout the building.
- All guests are required to wear a face mask, maintain distance whenever possible, and follow all protocols outlined on signs throughout the building.
Transition to Full Operations Timeline by Program
This plan is as of March 17 and is subject to change based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to the public health emergency status at the state or federal level, local, state, or federal guidelines, or The Arc’s COVID-19 data.
Living Options & Services: This includes Community Living-group homes, supported living, and personal supports. While The Arc begins to ease restrictions, if a person in a Living Options & Services program has a specific request, those decisions will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis, using the team process by reaching out to the Chief Program Officer.
- Beginning April 1, Assistant Directors, Regional Managers, and Support Managers will resume visits to program locations.
- As of May 1, we will lift off-site visitation restrictions with on-site/location visitation determined on a case-by-case basis by an Assistant Director.
- By June 1, people in Living Options & Services may resume community activities without manager approval; Employees and people served must follow all state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
- Beginning July 1, we will lift all on-site/program location visitation restrictions.
Please contact Matt Morgan, Chief Program Officer
Day Services: Virtual Services or in-home Day Services for those receiving 1:1 support will continue. For those receiving 1:1 Day Services, limited community outings may be permitted and determined by the person supported (and their family) and the DSP.
- On June 1, Day Services (both in Anne Arundel County and on the Eastern Shore) will resume community-based, in-person services on a rolling transition to full program operations by August 30.
- Beginning October 1, while virtual Day Services will continue to be an option, it will transition only on a limited basis and be aligned to a person’s Day Services goal outline within their person centered plan.
- The Arc will be opening two Community Hubs (one in Annapolis in July and one in Severn in October) for Day Services as a place to meet and regroup before people in that program go to community-based activities. These hubs will allow increased connectivity between friends within the program and provide a safe space for activities. Community Hub locations will offer Limited Day Services programming. More details to come this summer.
Please contact Brittany Ellis, Assistant Director of Day Services for Anne Arundel County, or John Rutkowski, Assistant Director of Programs, Mid-Shore for the Eastern Shore, with all questions, and sign up information for virtual services.
Workforce Development: Throughout the pandemic, The Arc has provided virtual support to over 50 essential employees to continue working. While we have been providing job development virtually, we are excited to begin providing in-person employment-related supports.
- While virtual job coaching will continue to be part of The Arc’s services portfolio, on May 1, we will resume in-person job coaching and job development.
- Door-to-Door transportation will not resume where community-based transportation such as rideshare, paratransit, or public transit operates unless expressly agreed to through a person’s person centered plan. Workforce Development team members will work with persons served to develop person-specific transportation plans and provide travel training.
- Virtual Services will continue to be offered for those not yet working through Day Services until October 1.
- This fall, Workforce Development training will begin being offered at The Arc’s new Learning Center at our Severn headquarters.
Fiscal Management Services: The FMS Team has permanently moved to remote operations and will continue to operate this way moving forward. Stakeholders can continue to use team members’ contacts as indicated on the FMS Contacts & Resources document and can continue to open customer service tickets. If you are having difficulty receiving a timely response to an inquiry (within 24 hours), please feel free to reach out to Tracy Davis, Senior Director of Self-Directed Initiatives. FMS stakeholders may also visit The Arc’s headquarters in Severn for in-person support, as requested. Effective July 1, The Arc will lift all restrictions for FMS Enrollment & Outreach meetings/sessions; the location of meetings/sessions will be the FMS participant’s choice.
The Arc continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in Maryland. The Governor, Maryland Department of Health, and the Developmental Disabilities Administration urge all of us to follow universal precautions recommended by the CDC. Managers and Team Leaders will review these protocols with staff at every shift until further notice.
Guidance for Group Homes & Supported Living
- Travel from the homes is restricted to essential activities, such as attending approved medical appointments or medical emergencies.
- Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use only paper towels to dry hands.
- Frequently disinfectant surfaces (at least daily); including light switches, door handles, and faucets.
- Visitors are permitted with visitors staying outside, wearing face masks, and social distancing. Please contact your Regional Manager/Assistant Director if someone from outside the house needs to visit.
- Day and overnight visits with family or friends, not at the group home or supported living, may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.
- Follow social distancing guidelines when participating in essential activities outside of the home, such as going for walks or other exercise activities.
- Contact your Regional Manager/Assistant Director for instructions on how to acquire needed household supplies.
Guidance for Employees: This is a summary; for the full COVID-19 protocol and additional employee guidance, employees should refer to The Arc’s PolicyStat.
- All employees are required to continue to wear face masks regardless of their vaccination status.
- All employees, including Direct Support Professionals (DSP), are required to always wear a face mask while working. DSPs directly supporting people should wear a disposable, surgical style ear loop mask provided by The Arc. Face masks should always cover your nose and mouth at all times. DSPs should change their face mask after each 8-hour shift or if the face mask becomes dirty during a shift.
- When an employee wears a disposable face mask, it must be discarded at the end of each 8-hour shift, and a new face mask must be used the next time they work. The Arc provides disposable face masks.
- Staff working in an Arc office may choose to use fabric face masks. Administrative staff may remove their facemask when alone in a private office, conference room, cubical, or outside where employees can social distance. Facemasks are always required. It is essential that the mask is clean and covers your nose and mouth.
- It is critical that we hold each other accountable to ensure face masks are always worn properly, at all times. Please report any concerns to your Manager or People & Culture.
- All employees should wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use only paper towels or a hand dryer to dry hands.
- When in an Arc office, employees and visitors must follow all protocols outlined on signs throughout the building(s).
- Employees should not come to work if they are sick or have been around anyone who has a suspected and/or confirmed case of the flu and/or coronavirus cases.
- If you are not feeling well, regardless if you have coronavirus symptoms or not, DO NOT come to work and contact People & Culture.
- If you suspect you have coronavirus or are being tested for coronavirus, DO NOT come to work and contact People & Culture.
- If an employee has been out sick, please contact People & Culture before returning to work. Clearance from People & Culture is needed to return to work.
- Employees Travel, effective March 17, 2021, The Arc has lifted all employee travel protocols. Employees will no longer need to notify People & Culture before traveling out of state and will not require a mandatory quarantine for employees; however, we encourage all employees to use caution and good judgment when making travel decisions.
- All meetings and training are being conducted virtually unless there is an in-person requirement.
COVID-19 Transportation Protocols
All Arc vehicles used to transport people supported must have a supply of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and surgical masks in the vehicle. Employees should contact their Managers about obtaining these supplies, as needed.
- Frequently-touched hard surfaces such as door handles, buckles, and armrests should be disinfected between passengers (if providing transportation for more than one person during the day), and after the trip is finished.
- Employees and people supported must disinfect their hands, using hand sanitizer immediately upon entering the vehicle.
- Both employees and the people supported should wear a facemask while in the vehicle (if the person we support is able). People who do not have a facemask should be provided one.
- Whenever possible, employees should encourage people to sit in a seating pattern that provides the most distance between people.
- If the weather permits, it is encouraged that windows to the vehicle should be lowered to increase airflow and the AC fan should be turned on high.
- Employees using their personal vehicles to provide transportation to people supported are encouraged to follow all COVID-19 transportation protocols.
- All Arc driving and transportation policies and procedures continue to be in effect.
New Update on Wearing Masks Outdoors
In recent days both the Governor and Anne Arundel County Executive have lifted the mandate that people who are fully vaccinated wear masks when outdoors. Following this change, The Arc is changing our protocols to state that staff who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a face mask when they are supporting people outdoors. We want to stress that staff members are still required to wear a mask at all times when they are working and are indoors, regardless of whether or not they or the people they support have been vaccinated.
If your Team Leader, Manager, or a family you support states anything different than the protocol listed above, DO NOT follow their direction and contact People & Culture right away.