Dear Fellow Staff—

COVID-19 has made for a very difficult week at NCIA. We had a few more houses go on outbreak status, and we are awaiting test results from dozens of our fellow staff members. Together we must make this stop! We sent out an alert earlier this week reminding everyone to be extra diligent in their safety protocols, and I want to reinforce that message. This virus is still here, and the cases are increasing. More than eight million Americans now have it and it is not going away. It is up to each and every one of us to follow safety measures and keep each other virus-free. So please wear your masks, social distance and wash your hands frequently.

The impact of this pandemic on NCIA goes beyond the staff and individuals who get infected. The effort needed by our Compliance department, Human Resources and the Residential team is non-stop. They are required to trace every employee and individual that work/live in an outbreak home, coordinate testing and file reports on a daily basis with a variety of governmental and regulatory agencies. This is no small task, and all of us at NCIA should be proud we have such diligent professionals managing behind the scenes. Their work is unheralded but critical to keep our doors open and safeguarding our agency. Remember to give them a huge “Thank You” when you next see them.

We are extremely fortunate to be able to operate most of our programs at virtually the same level as pre-COVID. Because the courts are closed, our Criminal Justice Services has slowed to a snail’s pace, as has our Career Development Center, which is transitioning into a home-based, Meaningful Day program. Our remaining programs are operating at full capacity, albeit with significant challenges. This deadly virus is tiring and certainly tests our resolve, but we will remain strong.

As I have referenced in the past, one of our major challenges is our Youth In Transition School, and the pressure is increasing. The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Education recently announced that she wants schools to re-open in mid-November, particularly ones like ours which educates special education students. We are working to develop procedures and protocols to achieve this, but it creates major issues for our staff and leadership.

As a reminder, the parking lot at our headquarters building at 7130 Rutherford is being paved this week. Please see Stephen Cooke’s recent notice about alternative parking arrangements.

In accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960, John F. Kennedy spoke of a “new frontier” in our country. It is reminiscent of what we are presently going through. His statement was prescient: “The New Frontier I speak of is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges.”

We also have no promises, but are currently in the midst of major challenges — and we must continue to face them head-on.

With continued gratitude—

Herb Hoelter

Chief Executive Officer