Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Easterseals’ top priority has been to ensure the protection and safety of all we serve. As we continue to monitor the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, we want to ensure everyone who relies on our services that we are following the suggestions of local, state and federal government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. With that in mind, Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania (ESWCPA) has adjusted the opening/closures of our facilities and programs as noted below:
Linda Lanham Zeszutek Approved Private Schools –With input from the CDC, Health and Human Services Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Easterseals’ Health and Safety Plan Taskforce met during the months of July and August 2020 for planning and preparation activities for the start of the 2020 school year. The Easterseals Health and Safety Plan outlines the best possible education plan that takes into consideration, first, the safety and well-being of our students while also provides critical education and therapy services designed to meet each student’s specific needs. All School Staff were trained in social distancing, and new health and safety procedures and protocols as outlined in the Health and Safety plan during the start of year in-service which took place August 31st- September 4th, 2020. The first day of school for students was Tuesday September 8, 2020. Prior to school starting, Easterseals conducted an enrollment campaign with the options for parents to choose the following instruction for their child for the first 9 weeks of school: face-to-face (on-site) with Friday being remote learning for all or the option of total remote/distance learning. Reevaluation of this schedule will be conducted after 9 weeks to determine any changes. Return to full on-site learning is the ultimate goal but, with considerations with the health and safety of our students being our top priority. All decisions will be based on current CoVID status and recommendations from CDC and PDE. To view the School Programs Health and Safety Plan, you can find it HERE.
Disability Awareness Program - Closed until the start of the new school year. Waiting to see what the demand for this program will be in the Fall.
Residential – Local day programs are beginning to open and are providing their safety plans. Our staff are doing a great job keeping the residents safe, happy and engaged in enriching activities. Some of the houses have set up relaxing areas in the back yard. Staff are taking residents into the community setting as long as social distancing can be maintained to ensure their safety. Extreme caution is being observed as there has been rise in cases in the area.
Residential- 3 people are working on transitioning back to the program. The transitions are proving difficult at this time. The majority of the individuals are happily remaining at home. One person is having meetings with transitioning back to the group home, however this is going to be a very long process due to his severe anxiety
Erie- No changes
State College Child Development Center – The Child Development Center reopened May 11, 2020.
State College Child Development Summer Camps – Will follow regulations dictated from OCDEL/DHS.
Hearing and Speech Services - The Johnstown office continues to provide virtual speech therapy and is beginning face-to-face therapy, following CDC guidelines. The Audiology Department is open for all services with adherence to CDC guidelines. The Somerset office is closed until further notice.
Adult Day Services – Reopened on June 22, 2020, with reduced attendance, masks required, social distancing and additional safety protocols. Currently offering virtual services M-F from 10-11 AM and 1-2 PM.
PennDot Photo License Centers – Location Update - Erie opened May 8, 2020; Bedford Photo Center opened June 26, 2020. All other locations reopened May 12, 2020. Some locations have reduced hours or changes in staffing per PennDot guidelines. We will continue to follow governor’s guidelines, which may vary by county.
Federal Contracts – No change.
Residential camps have resumed following CDC protocol (Club Lily #2, August 3-7th Jumonville. Club Lily Fall #1, September 18-20, Camp Black Rock).
Project Beacon – Project Beacon #1 is scheduled to take place September 25-27 at Camp Allegheny, Project Beacon #2 is scheduled to take place October 23-25 at Camp Hebron.
The Afterschool Program will reopen with the 2020-2021 academic school year, if schools are open.
All community- based programs are back up and running aside from horseback riding (the owner of the facility is keeping his property restricted due to CoVID. The last project beacon for the year is taking place October 16th-18th.
Nursery Screening Program – This program will no longer being provided.
Access Evaluations – On hold until further notice.
Interpreting Services is continuing to schedule appointments and are providing services both in person and virtually depending on the circumstances.
Events in the five divisions - Many events are being rescheduled. Refer to Easterseals website for updates or check with the sponsoring division for specifics – telephone numbers are listed below.
The decision to reopen/close programs and services will depend on the circumstances at that time. Our commitment is for the safety of our community, consumers, their families, our associates and staff. We will remain vigilant and respond as appropriate to this fluid, evolving situation with rapidly changing news and emerging information.
For those who receive Easterseals services at any of our divisions and require an update, please contact us at the following numbers:
Pittsburgh Division - (412) 281-7244
York Division - (717) 741-3891
State College Division - (814) 689-1911
Johnstown Division - (814) 535-5508
Franklin Division - (814) 437-3071
ESWCPA thanks its clients and hope they and their families remain informed and safe. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov. For additional links to resources provided by the State of Pennsylvania visit, HERE.
About Easterseals: For 101years, Easterseals has been the indispensable resource for people and families challenged by disability. Now, as America faces a broad range of new issues, EWSCPA makes a major, positive life-changing difference in the lives of people and families challenged by today’s disabilities. The work we do every day is redefining disability for the 21st Century.
For more information on Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania, please contact Lori McCann, Vice President, Development at 412-281-7244 x 1272 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.