Dear Fellow Staff—

It’s often said that all streaks must come to an end, and NCIA is no exception. After over a month of no COVID-19 issues, this week we had nine staff and three individuals at two separate houses test positive and the houses are now on outbreak status and under quarantine.  One individual is hospitalized on a precautionary basis. Please hope and pray that recovery goes well.

This reinforces the fact that we cannot let our guard down. We have now completed our 30th week of this deadly pandemic and it is not going away! There is a currently a second wave attacking Europe, and over 30 states, including Maryland, are seeing a rise in cases. Stephen Cooke, our Communications Director, sent out an excellent reminder this week as to our protocols and safety measures. Please read that memorandum seriously. We want you, your families, your fellow staff and our individuals to start a new streak and help NCIA remain COVID free. At some point this will end and we will have a vaccine, but in the interim we must be extra cautious.

This Tuesday, October 13, is the deadline to register to vote and October 20th is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot. Early voting is from October 26 through November 2nd, and Election Day is November 3rd.  Every election is important, so please exercise your right to participate.

Our HJH Vocational Training Centers had a busy week. In Charlotte, we graduated 40 individuals with certifications in Automotive, HVAC repair and Commercial Driver’s License and they have a new cohort of 60 individuals.  In Baltimore, we had over 120 students start their 15 week training cohort. As a reminder, we are using a hybrid approach of virtual learning and on-site instruction in small groups. All students are screened on a daily basis and are following strict safety protocols.

In our Adult Services, we are getting close to opening our Behavior Respite Home, and we are developing and implementing specialized training programs for those staff who will be managing that home. There is a significant waiting list for that service and we hope to fill that void. Our Meaningful Day program to support our individuals in their homes continues to progress, and we are exploring ways to safely open our Career Development Center for small groups.

Our YIT School has continued to conduct virtual learning for our students as we continue to explore methods and protocols for an eventual re-opening.

On a social justice front, I saw an interesting and relevant quote from Mahatma Gandhi this week. It read: “Our ability to reach unity and diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization”. How true. We are all going through extremely challenging times, but we must continue our resolve to remember to treat everyone as we would like to be treated.

Keep safe and follow our “Safe In All Settings” guidelines.

With continued gratitude—

Herb Hoelter, CEO