This week ODP issued an updated policy regarding mask usage for staff who provide direct services. It also includes the statement that “masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home.” The policy has presented challenges for some of our members due to individuals served, and/or staff members providing services, who may not be able, or willing to wear masks at all times.
The Secretary’s Order requires individuals to wear a face covering, in both indoor public places and in the outdoors when they are not able to consistently maintain social distancing from individuals who are not members of their household, such as on a busy sidewalk, waiting in line to enter a place, or near others at any place people are congregating. Whether inside in a public place or outside, and when wearing a face covering or not, everyone should socially distance at least 6 feet apart from others who are not part of your household. The order does not specifically state “whenever anyone leaves home” (although the governor’s website does state this).
Additionally, ODP policy states that “For staff, plastic face shields are not acceptable alternatives to masks.” This presents an issue for staff who have a medical condition and are not able to wear a face mask.
We are interested in hearing from members how this policy is impacting your ability to effectively provide services, if at all. Please contact Carol Ferenz to share your thoughts regarding this issue.
The IDD Division meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, July 16, 2020. We have confirmed that Jeremy Yale and Julie Mochon from ODP will be participating for a short time during the meeting. To make the most effective use of their time, we will be submitting questions to them in advance of the meeting. We would be glad to include any questions regarding this policy as well as any others you may have.