On August 10 we welcomed back a small cohort of day hab participants to Lawrence and Chelmsford. As we begin to lift the suspension on our facility‐based programs, programs we return to will look vastly different from the programs we left. This is by design, as the LifeLinks CLASS COVID‐19 task force has created comprehensive plans to facilitate the safe and secure operation of our Omni Way and Parker Street locations. LifeLinks CLASS’s top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our program participants, caregivers, and staff.
Please visit the Coronavirus Advisory page for the most recent updates as they relate to Coronavirus and the LifeLinks CLASS community.
Earlier today Governor Charlie Baker announced that Phase 3 of the Reopening Massachusetts plan, which includes day habilitation and community-based day and employment services, will commence on Monday, July 6. Many of you – including staff, family, and caregivers – have already reached out to me in the hours since the press conference to ask how that impacts LifeLinks CLASS.
While we are very excited to provide these opportunities again for your loved ones, we cannot lift the day program suspension on Monday, July 6. We are still awaiting formal compliance and attestation guidance from EOHS and DDS that we need to meet before we are able to resume day programs.
After convening the COVID-19 Task Force this afternoon, here is what we know:
Day program providers must submit a comprehensive re-opening plan in compliance with requirements that have yet to be released by EOHS and DDS
Transportation plans that include “infection control strategies and maintenance of physical distancing while transporting participants” must be approved prior to re-opening.
Limitations on the number of staff allowed in the facility will impact the type of supports we are able to provide.
All day programs will operate at a reduced capacity once they are approved to be open in order to ensure proper social distancing and adherence to infection protocols.
As you can see, there is a lot to do before we are allowed to lift the suspension of day programs at LifeLinks CLASS. The task force has been working on a reopening plan and policies and now must align that plan with the soon-to-be-issued re-opening components from EOHS and DDS. We are pushing forward and will keep you informed of our progress.
But again, because of this, we CANNOT lift the suspension on Monday, July 6.
The guidance we did receive today emphasizes that day providers are encouraged to continue day program services remotely and through alternative, non-group methods when appropriate and feasible. While the task force pursues approval to re-open suspended programs, our incredible staff will continue to provide virtual services and supports in place of our facility- and community-based programs.
As much as we’d love to see you all again, we have to do this right. As I’ve said since we first made the decision to suspend day programs, we cannot re-open facilities until we as an agency can ensure the health and safety of our participants and staff.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and more to come!
I wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July! Be well.