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For Immediate Release

An Important Announcement Regarding COVID-19 and Easterseals Services

September 2, 2021 Update
All of us are ready to get back to how life was before the pandemic…but we all know that things are much different now than they were. In this op-ed, Easterseals President/CEO Ken Sklenar describes the measures Easterseals has taken to make sure our participants and staff are protected, while still receiving the most comprehensive services possible.  

Though the status of most Easterseals services and programs remain similar to what we’ve previously posted on this webpage, we want to continue to reiterate our strong encouragement to staff and participants to get the COVID vaccination. As with all personal medical decisions, we recommend that individuals talk with their physician to determine if the vaccine is appropriate for their situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly outlines the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine here. Those reasons include:

  • COVID-19 and the Delta variant that has been on the rise, can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
  • Clinical trials of all vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
  • The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19, including the more contagious Delta variant.

For information on the current status of Easterseals services please read below.
 
Status of Easterseals Services:

  • Adult Day Health/Senior Services: Returning and new participants have resumed services at our adult day programs in New Castle and Georgetown. Facemasks and social distancing are required while at Easterseals. For more information, please contact the Center Director at your location.
  • Day Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (including the Life Skills program, Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment):  Under the guidance of the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), we have reopened our day program for adults with intellectual disabilities in all four locations.  Per DDDS guidance, participants are required to wear a facemask for an extended period and must be able to distance while at Easterseals. For more information about returning to the program, please talk to the Program Coordinator at your location. 
  • Individual Supported Employment Services have continued to offer support to those in community employment and others who may have been laid off due to the pandemic.
  • Therapy Services:  Easterseals is currently offering in-person services in our centers, as well as community-based visits for our families in Early Intervention in homes and childcare centers. Additionally, we will continue with services via telehealth. New families looking into services for their children should reach out to their local office to get started.
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: Summer camp was able to open but was only able to serve a reduced amount of campers to keep everyone safe. Respite weekends and travel trip information is pending – you can always check the Camp Fairlee website for the most up-to-date information. 
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program continue to work to provide important community resources and caregiver support, including respite grant funding, which may be helpful to you. Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at resources@esdel.org. 

To make sure services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff, Easterseals is continuing to take the following safety measures:

  • Providing personal protective equipment for staff.
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors, and essential visitors to our buildings.
  • Following guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the space available.
  • Implementing enhanced disinfecting procedures for all facilities using Electrostatic spraying systems.
  • Providing training to all staff on proper protocols for working safely with participants.

We will continue to update this page as changes to services occur. Thank you for your support as we navigate through this challenging time.

January 13, 2021 Update
Happy New Year from all of us at Easterseals! We look forward to continuing to serve our community in 2021, in spite of the ongoing impact of COVID-19. We are encouraged by the news that a vaccine for COVID-19 is in the process of being distributed. As a service provider, Easterseals has advocated for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine for our support staff and the people we serve who choose to receive it.  
As with all personal medical decisions, we recommend that individuals talk with their physician to determine if the vaccine is appropriate for their situation. While the vaccine will not be required to receive services from Easterseals, we encourage our participants, employees and other stakeholders to get the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly outlines the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine here. Those reasons include:

  • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
  • Clinical trials of all vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
  • The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

The public health agencies for both the state of Delaware and Maryland are determining how and when the vaccine will be available.  We will be sure to share any information as it is available to us as a service provider. 

For information on the current status of Easterseals services please read below.

Status of Easterseals Services:

  • Adult Day Health Services: A limited number of participants have returned to our adult day programs in New Castle and Georgetown. When state restrictions are lifted, we hope more participants will be able to come back. Facemasks and social distancing are required while at Easterseals. As with everything COVID related, resumption of services is subject to change with the Governor’s orders. For more information, please contact the Center Director at your location.
  • Day Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (including the Life Skills program, Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment):  Under the guidance of the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), we have reopened our day program for adults with intellectual disabilities in all four locations.  Per DDDS guidance, participants are required to wear a facemask for an extended period and must be able to distance while at Easterseals. For more information about returning to the program, please talk to the Program Coordinator at your location. 
  • Individual Supported Employment Services have continued to offer support to those in community employment and others who may have been laid off due to the pandemic. You can see some of our essential supported employees in this video!
  • Therapy Services:  Easterseals is currently offering in-person services in our centers, as well as community based visits for our families in Early Intervention in homes and childcare centers. Additionally, we will continue with services via telehealth. New families looking into services for their children should reach out to their local office to get started.
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: The proposed summer camp sessions as well as the Respite Weekend schedule for 2021 is available now. COVID-related restrictions apply so be sure to check our Camp Fairlee website for more information. To view the “Virtual Camp Fairlee” videos, (like our Virtual Hayride) follow our Easterseals Camp Fairlee Facebook page!  
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program continue to work remotely to provide important community resources and caregiver support, including respite grant funding, which may be helpful to you. Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at resources@esdel.org.  

To make sure services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff, Easterseals is continuing to take the following safety measures:

  • Providing personal protective equipment for staff.
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors, and essential visitors to our buildings.
  • Following guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the space available.
  • Implementing enhanced disinfecting procedures for all facilities using Electrostatic spraying systems.
  • Providing training to all staff on proper protocols for working safely with participants.

We will continue to update this page as changes to services occur. Thank you for your support as we navigate through this challenging time.

October 1st Update
Who could have imagined back in March when COVID-19 took hold in our community that we would still be grappling with its disruptive and challenging impact on our day-to-day lives? We know the lives of the families we serve – people with disabilities and seniors, and the families who care for them – have felt the impact of the pandemic perhaps more than any other sector or the population.  We want to encourage you to stay strong as we enter the winter months. Our Community Outreach Program and our Case Managers are ready to help you navigate this difficult time. Call 302-221-2076 (NC) or 302-253-1129 (Georgetown) to connect with our knowledgeable staff.

Easterseals has reopened the services that were previously suspended due to COVID. After establishing a rigorous protocol to protect the safety of our clients and staff, we were excited to welcome back a limited number of individuals to our adult day programs in Delaware, per Governor Carney’s Executive Order. For information on specific services and details on how we have prepared for reopening, please read below.

Status of Easterseals Services:

  • Adult Day Health Services: We were able to open our doors for a limited number of participants to return to our adult day programs in New Castle and Georgetown. If state restrictions are lifted, we hope more participants will be able to come back. Facemasks and social distancing is required while at Easterseals. As with everything COVID related, resumption of services is subject to change with the Governor’s orders. For more information, please contact the Center Director at your location.
  • Day Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (including the Life Skills program, Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment):  Under the guidance of the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) we have reopened our day program for adults with intellectual disabilities in all four locations.  Participants are required to wear a facemask for an extended period and must be able to social distance while at Easterseals. For more information about returning to the program, please talk to the Program Coordinator at your location.
  • Individual Supported Employment Services have continued for participants who have not been laid-off by their community employers.
  • Therapy Services:  Easterseals is currently offering limited in-person services in our centers, as well as community based visits for our families in Early Intervention in homes and childcare centers. You will be hearing from your therapy team directly as those services become available. Additionally, we will continue with services via telehealth. New families looking into services for their children should reach out to their local office to get started!
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: The proposed Respite Weekend schedule for 2021 is available now. To view the “Virtual Camp Fairlee” videos, (like our Virtual Hayride) follow our Easterseals Camp Fairlee Facebook page!
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program continue to work remotely to provide important community resources and case management services which may be helpful to you. Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at contact@esdel.org.

More details on the safety measures being taken as services have reopened:

To make sure services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff, Easterseals is:

  • Providing personal protective equipment for staff.
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors, and essential visitors to our buildings.
  • Following guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the space available.
  • Implementing enhanced disinfecting procedures for all facilities and buses using Electrostatic spraying systems.
  • Providing training to all staff on proper protocols for working safely with returning participants.

Again, we thank you for your patience and support throughout this difficult time.

August 28th Update
To the individuals and families served by Easterseals:

We were very excited to welcome back a small number of individuals to our Day programs in Delaware these past two weeks. The number of individuals in both day programs is limited per the capacity allowed by Governor Carney’s Executive Orders, but this gradual reopening was an important step as we seek to serve more families. As noted in previous updates, we are exercising great caution in following strict guidelines on reopening because of the vulnerability of some of the people we serve.

For information on specific services and details on how we are preparing for reopening, please read below.

Status of Easterseals Services:

  • Adult Day Health Services: We were able to open our doors for a limited number of participants to return to our adult day programs in New Castle and Georgetown. If state restrictions are lifted, we hope more participants will be able to come back. Face masks and social distancing is required while at Easterseals. As with everything COVID related, resumption of services is subject to change with the Governor’s orders. For more information, please contact the Center Director at your location. 
  • Day Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (including the Life Skills program, Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment):  Under the guidance of the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) we have reopened our day program for adults with intellectual disabilities in all four locations with limited capacity. Participants are required to wear a face mask for an extended period of time and be able to social distance while at Easterseals. For more information about returning to the program, please talk to the Program Coordinator at your location.
  • Individual Supported Employment Services have continued for participants who have not been laid-off by their community employers.
  • Therapy Services:  Easterseals is working towards offering limited in-person services in the coming weeks.  You will be hearing from your therapy team directly as those services become available.  Additionally, we will continue with services via telehealth.  New families looking into services for their children should reach out to their local office to get started!
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: Summer sessions and Respite Weekends through January, 2021, have been cancelled at Camp Fairlee. The proposed Respite Weekend schedule for 2021 is available now. To view the “Virtual Camp Fairlee” videos, (like our Virtual Hayride) follow our Easterseals Camp Fairlee Facebook page!
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program continue to work remotely to provide important community resources and case management services which may be helpful to you. Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at contact@esdel.org.  

A reminder of the safety measures being taken as services are reopened:

To make sure services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff, Easterseals is:

  •  Providing personal protective equipment for staff.
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors and essential visitors to our buildings.
  • Following guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the space available.
  • Implementing enhanced disinfecting procedures for all facilities and buses using Electrostatic spraying systems.
  • Providing training to all staff on proper protocols for working safely with returning participants.

Again, we thank you for your patience and support throughout this difficult time.

August 1st Update
To the individuals and families served by Easterseals:

Thank you for your support as we navigate through the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on the services provided by Easterseals. We are continuing to work with our State agency partners on the planning and timing of the reopening of Easterseals services that have been suspended due to the pandemic. As noted in previous updates, we are exercising great caution in following strict guidelines on reopening because of the vulnerability of some of the people we serve.

For information on specific services and details on how we are preparing for reopening, please read below: 

Status of Easterseals Services:

  • Adult Day Health Services: participants/families will be contacted by an Easterseals staff member to confirm a date when services can resume for them. As with everything COVID related, resumption of services is subject to change with the Governor’s orders. 
  • Day Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (including the Life Skills program, Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment): The Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) has issued guidance to day services providers on the conditions under which participants may return for services. Some of this guidance includes whether the participant is able to wear a facemask for an extended period of time, whether he/she has underlying health conditions that might increase the risks of COVID and whether he/she is able to practice social distancing.  If you or your family member have not already spoken to your support staff at Easterseals, please contact the Program Coordinator at your location. 
  • Individual Supported Employment Services have continued for participants who have not been laid-off by their community employers. 
  • Therapy Services: Easterseals is currently taking steps for limited services to be delivered in person. Until then, all families have the option to continue or begin telehealth services. Your Easterseals program manager will contact you directly for further discussion about your services.
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: Summer sessions and Respite Weekends through January, 2021, have been cancelled at Camp Fairlee. The proposed Respite Weekend schedule for 2021 is available now.  
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program continue to work remotely to provide important community resources and case managers who may be helpful to you. Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at contact@esdel.org. Learn more about our upcoming virtual Caregiver Conference here.

Preparations for Reopening Suspended Services:

As we are preparing to reopen suspended services, we are taking aggressive steps to make sure services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff, including:

  • Securing personal protective equipment for staff and participants.
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors and essential visitors.
  • Developing guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the space available.
  • Developing enhanced disinfecting procedures for all facilities and buses using Electrostatic spraying systems.
  • Providing training to all staff in preparation for re-opening.

Again, we thank you for your patience and support throughout this difficult time. We look forward to a time when all Easterseals services are fully operational and we can welcome everyone back.

June 23 Update
Let’s face it. We all are looking forward to putting COVID-19 behind us and returning to our regular routine. That’s especially the case for our Easterseals individuals and families whose services have been suspended.

Unfortunately, at this time, we still do not have a concrete date when we can safely resume suspended services. Although other sectors of the State have been given the green light for reopening, the fact that the population we serve may be more vulnerable than other citizens means we must follow more strict guidelines.
 
Utilizing the guidelines provided through the State, we are currently implementing the necessary steps to reopen suspended services when it is safe to do so.

Here are some of the things we are doing to help assure that our services are as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff:

  • Installing acrylic barriers at all reception desks
  • Installing acrylic barriers in therapy service areas in our facilities
  • Securing personal protective equipment for staff and participants
  • Purchasing Electrostatic systems to disinfect all facilities and buses 
  • Developing restriction guidelines to allow for physical distancing based on the number of participants being served and the rooms available
  • Implementing procedures for daily screening for all employees, participants, vendors and essential visitors.

We will communicate a date for reopening as soon as it is available so families can prepare. As always, Easterseals’ top priority is that our services be as safe as possible for the people we serve and our staff once our programs resume. We are looking forward to that day!

June 1 Update
We know families whose services were suspended are anxious to know when these programs will be reopening. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not have a concrete date when this will occur. We are mindful that people with disabilities may be more vulnerable than other citizens and are carefully considering the steps that must be taken to reopen when we have the clearance from the State to do so.  We are in the process of carefully developing procedures to help assure a safe opening including things like:

  • Health screenings of staff and participants on a daily basis
  • Safe social distancing practices
  • Use of appropriate protective equipment.

As always, the health and safety of our participants and their families is our top priority, and we will be sure to alert you when we have an update.

May 15 Update
We want to update you on the current status of services at Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As you may know, while some Easterseals services have been able to safely continue despite COVID-19, others had to be suspended. Our last communication indicated that our facility-based programs would remain closed at least until May 15th or until the public health threat is eliminated and additional guidance is released.  While some businesses are moving toward reopening, we recognize that the people with disabilities that we serve may be more vulnerable than other citizens. Because of that concern, Easterseals is extending our facility-based program closures until such time that we can safely resume services. We want to reopen all services as soon as we can safely do so and we will contact each of our families when we have a reopening date to ensure that you are aware.  Until that time, we will continue to evaluate the circumstances and take the necessary steps to prepare for a safe return for all participants.    
 
For information on specific services, please see below: 

  • Adult Day Health Services in New Castle and Georgetown continue to be suspended until further notice.
  • Day services for adults with intellectual disabilities at all locations are suspended until further notice, including Day Habilitation (the Life Skills program), Pre-vocational services, and Group Supported Employment (with a few individual exceptions)
  • Individual Supported Employment Services continue for participants who have not been laid-off by their community employers. 
  • Therapy Services continue to be delivered to families through telehealth.
  • Easterseals Camp Fairlee: It is with a heavy heart that Easterseals has decided to cancel summer sessions at Camp Fairlee for 2020. If you have paid any fees toward summer camp sessions, we will be providing you with a 100% refund, including your deposit. We hope to make a decision by the end of summer as to whether fall respite sessions can occur. 
  • Personal Attendant Services: Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.
  • Community Outreach Program: Our staff in the Community Outreach Program has important community resources that may help you through this trying time.  Call them at 302-221-2087 or email them at contact@esdel.org.  

This is a challenging time for our families and staff and we want to thank you for your continued support. As always, the safety and health of the families we serve and our staff are Easterseals’ top priorities as we make decisions on when fully to reopen services.

Because we miss the children and adults who receive our services, we put together this video with a message to all of our families. We hope you enjoy it and we hope to see you soon!

March 26 Update
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Since our initial announcement of the suspension of some Easterseals services, the governors of Delaware and Maryland have announced increased restrictions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Governor Carney’s stay-at-home order and closure of non-essential businesses began on March 24th and will remain in effect until May15th or until the public health threat is eliminated. Governor Hogan also has closed non-essential businesses effective on March 24th.

It’s important to underscore again that the safety and health of the families that we serve and our staff continues to be Easterseals’ top priority.

As per the guidance of the Governor’s executive order, Easterseals facilities, and any service that occurs within our facilities has been suspended. This includes all adult day programs, which will be closed until May 15 or until additional guidance is released. We hope we are able to resume services sooner, but want our families to be able to plan for the long term as needed.

We are pleased to say that our Children's Therapy Services are now able to deliver therapy to our families through tele-medicine to prevent a lengthy break in their therapy treatment plan.

Clients receiving services through Easterseals Personal Attendant Services continue without interruption.

Easterseals is continuing to provide Individual Supported Employment Services for participants who have not been laid-off by their community employers.

Camp Fairlee Summer Sessions continue as planned.  April Respite Weekends have been canceled.    

In an effort to support our families, our Community Outreach Program still is able to share important community resources that may help you through this trying time.  You can reach them by calling 302-221-2087. If you call any Easterseals location and receive a recorded message, please leave a detailed message and someone will respond as soon as possible. You also can email us at our general email mailbox (contact@esdel.org) as it is monitored daily. In addition, here’s a link to a wide range of resources that might be helpful to you at this time.

We know this is a challenging time for our families and staff and we want to thank you for your understanding. We want to re-open all services as soon as we can safely do that. We will continue to evaluate the situation as it evolves and alert you to any updates.

Please know that everyone at Easterseals remains fully committed to the individuals and families we serve. We are confident that, together, we will come through this difficult time stronger and wiser than ever before.

March 16 Update

In light of recent announcements by the governors of both Delaware and Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain COVID-19, Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend certain services starting March 18th and returning April 6th in order to limit group settings. We will continue to evaluate the situation as it evolves and alert you to any updates to this plan.

Because people with disabilities are at a higher risk for getting sick from COVID-19, we want our families and staff to know that our goal is to keep people safe and healthy. We reached this decision after careful consideration of its impact on all of our families and community partners. This situation continues to change on a day-to-day basis and we believe it is vitally important that we use an abundance of caution.

The following Easterseals services in Delaware and Maryland will be temporarily suspended:

  • Adult Day Health Services in New Castle and Georgetown
  • Day program services for adults with intellectual disabilities in New Castle, Newark (Pencader), Dover and Georgetown, which includes Day habilitation (the Life Skills program) and Pre-vocational services
  • All Easterseals operated transportation is discontinued during this period.
  • All therapy services in New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County and Salisbury, MD.
  • The Camp Fairlee respite weekend scheduled for March 20th is cancelled. Also, the Fairlee Vacations trips to Great Wolf Lodge and the cruise to the Caribbean are cancelled. Summer sessions are not impacted at this time.

The following Easterseals services will not be suspended at this time:

  • Personal Attendant Services: Clients receiving services through Easterseals Personal Attendant Services will continue without interruption because it is a service provided in the home which will help to relieve the pressures of other health care facilities in the state.
  • Easterseals will continue to provide Individual and Group Supported Employment Services. Participants in Supported Employment who have not been laid-off by their community employers will continue to receive on-going support from their Employment Specialists. Participants working in our Group Supported Employment program will continue to receive staff support to remain employed at their current site(s).
  • Easterseals Community Outreach Program and the Easterseals case manager will continue to be in operation to provide resources to families and can be reached by phone at 302-221-2087 or resources@esdel.org.

We sincerely regret that this decision will be disruptive to the families we serve, other community partners, and our staff. Having to suspend services to the children and adults with disabilities that we serve is very distressing to the dedicated staff of Easterseals, however, we believe this is an appropriate step to take at this time.

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