The Thanksgiving Holiday has passed and we commend you on being diligent and following our protocols. There is certainly a long way to go and today we are providing information based off of frequently asked questions by your coworkers from all NCIA programs. We hope this information is helpful to all employees moving forward. Any additional questions can be submitted to our Corporate Compliance Hotline at (443) 780-1319 or compliance@ncianet.org

As a reminder, The Safe in All Settings protocols are most successful in keeping EVERYONE healthy when we all participate.  We are responsible for our own health, that of our program participants/students and that of our own personal families and loved ones.  If each person follows the rules every day- we all get to go home safer. NCIA is going to always enforce the safety protocols and restrictions based on the best recommendations of scientists, doctors and officials.  It is likely that our organization’s requirements may be more cautious than your local government or even state. NCIA supports people who are highly vulnerable (e.g., reduced access to healthcare, unstable housing, underlying health conditions, multiple health conditions, poor diet, etc.) and we will not take any unnecessary chances with their health and well-being.

What are Overlapping Protocols?:

The Safe in All Settings protocols are designed that for each person there are multiple protections to keep them safe.  If each person follows the protocols as directed their chance of getting or making another person sick are very low.

What is included in Overlapping Protocols?:

Mandatory Masking (e.g., using the surgical-style mask provided by NCIA)

Eye coverings when in close contact with others (e.g., goggles or face shields)

Symptom check upon entrance to any NCIA operated facility

Hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer

Social distancing of 6 feet whenever possible & avoiding unnecessary crowding

Being physically separated from others when eating or drinking

Regular, daily cleaning of frequently touched surfaces

What is the most important thing I can do every day?:

The single most important thing you can do is to wear your NCIA-provided mask when at any location.  Wear it correctly, wear it always, and remind others around you to wear their own- it keeps us all safer! When not at NCIA, please make sure you wear some type of face covering in public spaces and when indoors without a lot of ventilation, social distancing or with people you do not live with everyday.

When will all this end and what about a vaccine?

Current projections from the CDC and other national experts (including Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD) are that the United States is likely to see new peaks in late January 2021 as we have been trending in the month of November moving into December. The question that no one can answer at this point is… “How long until the cases start going back down?”  without a widespread vaccine, it is projected to be late March or April before cases begin going down again.

What about a vaccine?:

News about the new vaccines is very encouraging. We would caution everyone about a few details:

-These numbers are self-reported and have not yet been independently verified by experts although this process (and approval) is currently underway on the Federal level.

-It is likely to be a 2-part vaccine.  An initial followed by a booster shot- both necessary.

-Disability Rights advocated (like the Maryland Developmental Disability Coalition) have advocated that those supported, and their staff be high on the priority list to receive the vaccine.

-It may take 6 months or more before enough doses are widely available

Know that NCIA stands with our community! We are advocating that our essential DSP’s must be prioritized in states’ vaccine distribution plans. DSPs are critical to supporting people with I/DD to do everything from activities of daily living to taking precautions to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Because they often work in people’s homes and in situations where social distancing is not possible, prioritizing DSPs to receive the vaccine will be a critical step in keeping the people they support safe and healthy. Additional communications will be sent as soon as additional vaccine information becomes available.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND THANK YOU!