COVID-19 Update
February 17, 2022
NYSDOH Quarantine and Isolation Guidance
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recently revised their isolation and quarantine guidance and accompanying tables. Substantive changes of interest are outlined below.
  • Page 2: 3rd bullet addressing what to do if you cannot separate from one or more people with COVID-19 who are in isolation. This is new guidance.
  • Page 2: 4th bullet addressing travel of a person who was a close contact. This is new guidance.
  • Page 4: “Quarantine Exception for Schools and Child Care Programs (K-12)” section is almost completely revised. The most notable updates are bullets 3 through 6, which address teachers/students on quarantine and how/when they may attend school-based extracurricular activities, eligible childcare programs for school age children, and pre-k classes.

Please note that nothing has changed regarding NYS DOH guidance on quarantine/isolation for group homes (starting on page 6). We are aware that there is inconsistency between the current quarantine/isolation timeframes for fully vaccinated members of the general public and the timeframes for people we support who are fully vaccinated. We have voiced this concern to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and requested that they revisit their current guidance. 
OPWDD FAQ on Mandatory Face Coverings
In response to Chapter questions raised during our weekly call regarding OPWDD's policy on mask wearing in certified settings, we brought the topic to OPWDD leadership on a Provider Association call. OPWDD clarified that the FAQ document published in September 2021 was intended to provide flexibilities to providers when determining conditions under which a person supported should wear a mask. The FAQ states that mask wearing is "encouraged" in certified residences and "where social distancing cannot be maintained within the home." OPWDD did note that the Governor's mask mandate continues to apply to employees within our certified settings. Please see the September 29, 2021 COVID-19 Update for more information about the OPWDD FAQ. 
COVID-19 Designation as an Airborne Infectious Disease under NYS Hero Act Extended 
On February 15, 2022, the commissioner of the NYS Department of Health renewed the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State's HERO Act through March 17, 2022. All workplace safety plans and other requirements of the HERO Act remain in place until the expiration of this designation. 

For more information on the HERO Act, please refer to the September 9, 2021 COVID update.

Emergency Regulations on Training and Certification Flexibilities
Our multi-pronged effort to address the workforce crisis includes pursuing opportunities for regulatory relief. OPWDD published emergency regulations that address training and certification flexibilities during staffing shortages. These regulations will take effect upon publication in the NYS Register. OPWDD advised us during a recent Provider Association call that they will be publishing guidance on the regulations.

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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