COVID-19 Update
March 15, 2021
One-House Budgets Support Restoration of Funding for I/DD Sector
New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), released a statement applauding the Senate and Assembly for including elimination of proposed cuts, restoration of the COLA, and reimbursement of COVID-related costs in their one-house budgets. This is a significant victory, and demonstrates our advocacy efforts have been heard by legislators. We continue to advocate independently and in collaboration with NYDA to call on the Governor to prioritize New Yorkers with I/DD and advance these legislative budget provisions. Further details on the One-House budgets will be forthcoming.

NYS Domestic Travel Advisory Ends April 1
Governor Cuomo announced that domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine upon entering New York starting April 1. Travelers will still be required to fill out a traveler health form upon arrival and continue to follow some standard precautions, such as wearing a mask and hand hygiene.
Executive Order 202.96
Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.96 on February 26, 2021, extending the provisions of the earlier EOs, including 202.55, 202.60, 202.72, 202.79, 202.87, and 202.92, which provided the previous extensions of flexibility on criminal background checks (CBC) and abbreviated training. The flexibility is now extended through March 28, 2021. 
We are confirming with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) that the flexibility afforded in OPWDD's interim guidance on CBC and trainings is also extended. As a reminder, we detailed these guidance documents in our August 6 COVID-19 Update.
OPWDD COVID-19 Reporting Webinar
OPWDD is holding a webinar on Wednesday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The webinar will address "COVID-19 Reporting and IRMA Data Entry" and serves as an update to the reporting expectations. 
Registration can be completed here.
Event number: 185 920 6674
Event password: DQI123

Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their "Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19." The update includes several new simple resource materials, such as decision flowcharts and quick charts for child care centers, parents and caregivers. A dedicated section on children with special needs and disabilities has been added. 
Recent Press
On March 10, Disability Scoop published an article reviewing a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst that further bolstered previous findings that individuals with I/DD have increased risk due to COVID-19 infections, particularly those with congestive heart failure, kidney or lung disease. The full article can be read here, and the New England Journal study can be found here
In a recent article from the Niagara Gazette, members of NYDA discuss the NYS budget needs of I/DD providers.

Legislation Grants Employees Time off to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination
Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.2588-A/A.3354-B) Friday, granting public and private employees time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Under this new law, employees will be granted up to four hours of excused leave per injection that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued. This legislation becomes effective immediately.

Dr. Fauci Reports CDC is Studying Possibility of 3-Feet Distancing
Following coverage by The New York Times on a recent study which concluded there may be no measurable benefit to increasing distancing from 3 feet to 6 in schools where students wear masks, Dr. Fauci reported the CDC is conducting its own study to reevaluate social distancing guidelines, and indicated the CDC's guidelines would change if agency officials confirmed 3 feet was an adequate distance to cut down on coronavirus transmission.

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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