COVID-19 Update
March 11, 2022
Emergency Regulations: Training Flexibilities 
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) published emergency/proposed regulations in the New York State Register, which provide the Commissioner authority to permit abbreviated training and/or approve the extension of recertification deadlines for Direct Support Professionals employed in programs and facilities certified to Article 16 of the Mental Hygiene Law. 
The specific trainings and certifications covered under this new regulation are those identified within regulations 633.8633.14, 633.16 and 633.17
OPWDD plans to issue further guidance on how the flexibilities will be available and approved.

Public Transportation Mask Mandate Extended
Yesterday, The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the public transportation mask mandate until April 18. This was in response to recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC). The mask mandate applies to travelers and employees on airplanes, busses, trains, ships, ferries, taxies, rideshares and other forms of public transportation. The mask requirement for buses and vans in both public and private school settings was removed on February 25. 

The CDC is reviewing the mask mandate recommendation for public transportation as COVID-19 cases continue to decline. It is expected that an adjustment to the mandate will be forthcoming after April 18.

End of Mask Mandate in Schools
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and State Education Department (SED) issued a joint memo announcing the end of the recommendation for masks to be worn in schools, for most settings. The Commissioner of the NYSDOH also issued an update to the determination on masking in certain indoor settings. The update removes the previous recommendation for universal masking in schools. School masking policies are now left to the discretion of local officials.
To assist with this change, the NYSDOH issued new masking guidance for schools, as well as a frequently asked questions document to supplement the guidance.
New York City announced that universal masking in schools would end effective Monday, March 7 with limited exception. 

OPWDD plans to issue further guidance on how the flexibilities will be available and approved. 
OPWDD Statewide COVID-19 Data
On Thursday, OPWDD shared their latest statewide COVID-19 data regarding the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths due to COVID-19 within the service system.

As of March 9, 2022:
  • There have been 20,386 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases among people supported
  • 12,294 of these people reside in certified residential programs
  • There have been 784 deaths statewide among those who tested positive
  • 33,250 staff are confirmed to have had COVID-19

Vaccination data is also available for the five distinct cohorts of individuals and staff for which OPWDD is collecting information. The following have received at least one vaccine dose as of March 5, 2022.
  • 93.7% of individuals living in certified residential settings (100% of programs reporting)
  • 71.4% of the total staff working in certified residential settings (100% programs reporting)
  • 58.6% of the total staff associated with day and waiver services, excluding residential and family care (with 84.9% programs reporting)
  • 68.7% of Care Managers (with 100% reporting)

OPWDD publishes statewide data regarding COVID-19, which is regularly updated and can be viewed here. As a reminder, New York state maintains data on cases by county, which can be viewed here.
This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
CONTACT: Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations
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