March 19, 2020

Dear Guardian/Family:

With the ongoing national efforts to address COVID-19, I am receiving e-mails and calls daily from concerned parents, family members, and guardians. I value your concerns and the dedication you have to your loved one, and I wanted to provide this brief communication regarding the status of the situation in the State Operated Developmental Centers.

I want to reassure you that the employees that work with your loved one are working hard to ensure safeguards are ongoing.  Measures are in effect, such as not allowing staff to come to work when sick, screening staff for symptoms prior to allowing them to work, screenings for people served, increased hand washing, and extra cleaning efforts. We have infection control experts on-hand to review specialized cases and situations and to assist us to navigate implementation of “best practice” models.

We recognize how challenging not being able to visit your loved one can be and we truly appreciate everyone respecting the “no visitor” policy. We have provided extra cell phones to our centers to help facilitate communication and the use of FaceTime/video calling. We have some centers that have set up Facebook video chats to assist with contact, and we encourage you to contact your center for more information regarding these communication options.

These are trying times and I appreciate your support. I encourage all of you to be safe and to follow the recommendations of the experts.

Be well,

Tiffany Bailey,
DHS/DD, Acting Deputy Director