COVID-19 Update
October 18, 2021
OPWDD Revised Return to Work Protocols
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) published "Revised Protocols for Personnel in Clinical and Direct Care Settings to Return to Work." The most significant revision is the return of section E, which addresses staffing shortages and returning staff to work. In response to Chapter concerns and our current workforce shortages, we have been consistently advocating with OPWDD leadership to provide us with a means to ensure that we can continue to safely operate within the public health emergency with the staffing that we have, including those staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic. 
Chapters who are in need of accessing these staff and allowing them to return to work prior to ten (10) days of quarantine must complete and submit an attestation form to OPWDD. This is essentially the same procedure that was in place at the beginning of 2021, and covered within our February 17, 2021 COVID-19 Update. A single form can be submitted. Once submitted, Chapters can begin to follow the guidance in section E.
OCR HHS HIPAA, COVID Vaccination and the Workplace Guidance
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published new guidance addressing the many misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccination status in relation to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act and the workplace. This guidance will be particularly useful when addressing employee questions about how a Chapter may obtain, use, or disclose information about vaccination status.
Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors
As discussed during our weekly call with Chapters, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published guidance in response to President Biden's Executive Order 1402. This guidance is only applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors. That order directed the development of guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors as relates to required COVID-19 safeguards in covered contractor workplaces. 
December 8 is the first date of compliance that covered contractors must be aware of. This date requires all covered contractor employees to be fully vaccinated by the first day of the period of performance on a contract. 
While the application of this guidance is fairly broad; there are some exemptions to the order. Of specific interest are iii and v below:

(iii) contracts or subcontracts whose value is equal to or less than the simplified acquisition threshold, as that term is defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation;

(iv)  employees who perform work outside the United States or its outlying areas, as those terms are defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation

(v)   subcontracts solely for the provision of products.
Simplified acquisition threshold means $250,000, except for—

(1) Acquisitions of supplies or services that, as determined by the head of the agency, are to be used to support a contingency operation; to facilitate defense against or recovery from cyber, nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack; to support a request from the Secretary of State or the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to facilitate provision of international disaster assistance pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 2292 et seq.; or to support response to an emergency or major disaster (42 U.S.C. 5122), (41 U.S.C. 1903), the term means–

(i) $800,000 for any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, inside the United States; and
(ii) $1.5 million for any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, outside the United States; and
(2) Acquisitions of supplies or services that, as determined by the head of the agency, are to be used to support a humanitarian or peacekeeping operation (10 U.S.C. 2302), the term means $500,000 for any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, outside the United States.
There are also guidelines for covered workplace locations. 

Q9: If a covered contractor employee performs their duties in or at only one building, site, or facility on a campus controlled by a covered contractor with multiple buildings, sites, or facilities, are the other buildings, sites, or facility controlled by a covered contractor considered a covered contractor workplace?

A: Yes, unless a covered contractor can affirmatively determine that none of its employees in or at one building, site, or facility will come into contact with a covered contractor employee during the period of performance of a covered contract. This would include affirmatively determining that there will be no interactions between covered contractor employees and non-covered contractor employees in those locations during the period of performance on a covered contract, including interactions through use of common areas such as lobbies, security clearance areas, elevators, stairwells, meeting rooms, kitchens, dining areas, and parking garages.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

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
This email was sent to:
  • President Jack Kowalczyk 
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Residential Directors
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff