In addition, we are adjusting JFGH operations to the following standards: 
  • Groups and group activities of 20 people or more are to be avoided. This will impact our planned JFGH Community Seder, which has been cancelled. Other activities planned or proposed will be re-assessed against this standard, and we will update information accordingly.
  • We are urged to practice social distancing--maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people. This is not possible in all circumstances, given the nature of our work; however, whenever possible, our staff and people we support will use this standard.
  • Individuals who are 60+ years of age and those with either compromised immune systems and/or chronic comorbidities (e.g., lung disease) are particularly vulnerable to this virus. Accordingly, JFGH will assess each individual we support to assess a level of risk, and our supports will adjust accordingly. 
  • We have repeatedly advised staff to follow this guidance: If you are sick, stay home. It is important to remember that not all people who are sick have COVID-19. However, we are taking the most conservative approach to assessing the health status of our staff, and have implemented protocols to assure health and safety. 
  • We are partnering with The Arc Montgomery and others to bulk order hand sanitizer. However, in the interim, healthcare professionals consistently advise that the most effective way to decrease the spread of the virus is to wash our hands with soap and water. 
  • It is critical that we focus on the facts. Credible resources are being updated regularly. The CDC is constantly updating their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) has released (on 12 March) an informative toolkit for the community: https://files.constantcontact.com/f401fd14401/eb8f4ef7-2c74-4695-93a2-1ae6450b010f.pdf. 

These protocols, which are being implemented by JFGH and are based on current CDC, Maryland and Virginia state guidelines on COVID-19 response, the WHO and other sources, are designed to minimize risk of exposure. You may well have seen the graphic below, which shows the need to prevent the public health system being overwhelmed and thus unable to meet the needs of people infected by the virus.
As a reminder, these are the symptoms to watch for:

We know that the days and weeks ahead will bring challenges to all of us and our community. I want to assure you that we are in constant contact with our amazing staff to ensure that they understand the developing protocols and are fully supported with the resources they need. We walk alongside our community as we all strive to stay healthy and keep others healthy. We will continue to update you weekly on Fridays until further notice. 

If you have any questions, please contact your program manager; Donyale Hobson Garcia, Chief Programs Officer, dhobsongarcia@jfgh.org; or David Ervin, CEO, dervin@jfgh.org