May 17, 2020

Dear Fellow Staff:

Yet another week of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us and NCIA and our family of employees continue to march forward! We all recognize the difficulty of the situation we are in, but it is important to remember that if you follow all the CDC and NCIA protocols in place, both at home and in the workplace, your personal safety is vastly increased. Even though the Governor has relaxed some of the aspects of the stay-at-home order, we must understand that our residential homes are primarily in Baltimore County, which has not lifted their restrictions. To be clear, all NCIA homes are still required to follow the stay-at-home rules.

In our Adult Residential Services, we have had 10 staff test positive; one has returned to work and two others are scheduled to return tomorrow. The other seven are in their homes awaiting clearance. We also have nine staff with pending results and three who have tested negative. On the resident side, we have four residents that have tested positive, three who have tested negative and six pending test results. Last week, we had no homes in quarantine. Unfortunately, we received notice just today that one of our homes has been placed in quarantine. Our HERO team is on site and staffing it. One issue from this week is that there is increased testing, which is a safety measure implemented by the State and County health departments.

As a result of our PPP loan, we were also able to continue to fund the pay incentive for residential counselors and job coaches through June 14, 2020.

Our Career Development Program is thriving! They are doing virtual cooking and exercise classes, painting instruction and other really creative activities on a daily basis for our individuals in our residences. They are continuing the entrepreneurial spirit of NCIA!

Our YIT School staff continue to deliver learning packets to student homes on a weekly basis and, to the extent possible, follow-up with virtual learning sessions and student counseling daily. They are also finalizing plans to have teachers and staff drive by each graduate’s location to drop off cakes and dinners as part of their graduation ceremony.

Our Vocational Training Centers in both Charlotte and Baltimore have instituted a pilot program whereby students can participate in hands-on training to earn their certifications. It is being rolled out under very strict conditions, with social distancing procedures and mandated protective gear. We will evaluate on a weekly basis to determine if it is both safe and successful.

It is important for all of us to look at this pandemic with a long-term perspective. This virus will eventually be minimized, but while it is still very active it is critical that your personal safety, and that of our individuals, is our first priority. The sacrifices we make now will pay off in the future. NCIA will come out of this with continued employment opportunities, new virtual learning opportunities, expansion plans and a bright outlook — but we need to get there first! So stay on top of your game, follow the rules and remember that our individuals in all of our programs are continuing to rely upon each of you for both their safety and your compassion.

With continued gratitude—

Herb Hoelter