FRIDAY, APRIL 3

What a time we find ourselves in. I hope that you and yours have remained safe. I am happy to report that as of this writing, there have been no reports of any staff or clients testing positive for COVID-19. Let’s pray this continues!

Yesterday, April 2nd, the governor ordered Iowa schools to remain closed through April 30th, extending her own previous declaration of April 13th. Restrictions on restaurants, bar and retail stores are also being extended due to the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Our previously announced program closures remain in place including Day Habilitation, Daycare – all ages, and Group activities. Additionally, effective Monday, April 6th, our Project SEARCH program will be suspended. Our partners at UnityPoint – St. Luke’s Hospital have agreed to allow the program to resume once we are cleared to return. Our In-home and community based services will continue based on availability of staff, and client needs. Screening guidelines put into place will be required prior to service taking place until further notice. As a reminder, The Arc office remains closed but phones are being answered. Please don’t hesitate to call if we can help. 

I would like to express a sincere thanks to healthcare providers of all kinds, hospital and lab staff, EMTs, and our own DSPs, who are stepping up to help support those in need during this unprecedented time.

Thank you and please take precautions for your safety and those of others in our community. We’re in This Together!

Regards,
Kyle Schramp
Acting Executive Director
kschramp@arceci.org
319-365-0487 ext.1021


FRIDAY, MARCH 20

I hope all are remaining safe during this time of uncertainty and change. I wanted to take a minute to give you an update on The Arc of East Central Iowa. 

Our office is closed and our staff has been transitioned to remote work. Our phones and faxes have been forwarded and will be received as normal. Please do not hesitate to call or email staff with any questions. They are happy to assist you.

As communicated previously, our Day Habilitation, Daycare, and Group services have all been cancelled until further notice. In-home services and supported employment services will continue where possible. 

Our Project SEARCH program at UnityPoint – St. Luke’s Hospital remains in session. We have been able to obtain additional space at the hospital to ensure safe distancing and we are most grateful for their partnership. We are in close communication with our contacts and will take their lead on any decisions related to the continuance of Project SEARCH.

For the safety of those we serve, and our employees, screening protocols for COVID-19 are being implemented. Direct Service Providers will be required to follow these procedures prior to every service. If the answer to any of the screening questions is yes, we will not be able to provide services. Please review this document for details.

As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time, please know we are here to help as best we can. We will continue to provide updates as changes occur to keep you informed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Take care and stay safe,
Kyle Schramp
Acting Executive Director
kschramp@arceci.org
319-365-0487 ext.1021


MONDAY, MARCH 16

Dear Arc Clients and Families, 

After careful consideration we have decided to close all site-based programming effective immediately. The ongoing developments over the weekend, including confirmed community spread in Iowa have led to this decision. We realize this comes on short notice, but we hope you will understand we have made what we feel is the best decision for our clients, staff, and all of our families and we believe the time to act is now.  

This closure includes Day Habilitation, Daycare – all ages, and Group activities. Project SEARCH will follow the guidelines set forth by UnityPoint and at this time, the program will continue. In-home and community based services will continue based on availability of staff, and agreement between both parties that there is low risk in providing services. We have already seen an increase of staff absences due to their own concerns or having to stay home to care for their own family members. 

At this time we plan to mirror the four week closure that the local school districts are enforcing. Should anything change to shorten or extend this time frame, we will communicate this immediately. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.  Thank you for your understanding and we urge you to take precautions to stay healthy. 

Regards,
Kyle Schramp
Acting Executive Director
kschramp@arceci.org
319-365-0487 ext.1021


MONDAY, MARCH 16

The special needs Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Fling events have been cancelled.


THURSDAY, MARCH 12

Good Afternoon Arc Families,

Over the past couple weeks, The Arc, like most organizations, businesses, and families, have watched and monitored the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. As of today, Thursday, March 12, 2020, no programming has been cancelled; all services are still being provided. We are in uncertain times and we are diligently staying abreast of changing conditions, working with partner agencies and taking direction from the Center for Disease Control, Iowa Department of Public Health and Linn County Public Health. Should the need arise to make changes to our programming, a notice will be sent as soon as possible. Our priority, first and foremost is the health of our clients, our staff and their families. 

I would like to ask that you partner with us to help limit the potential spread of this virus. We know how much your loved ones mean to you and they are very special to us as well. For their well-being, I would ask that if they, or any member of your household is sick, please keep them at home. This includes signs or symptoms of illness including; fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Should your loved one develop symptoms while in our care, we will contact caregivers to immediately pick up the client. A release from a primary care provider will be required to return. 

We will offer the same to you. We have made it known to our staff that if they are sick they should stay at home. We have signs posted to remind our staff of the preventative measures and the symptoms of COVID-19.  If we suspect a staff might be displaying symptoms associated with the coronavirus we will recommend that they see a medical provider and to notify us of any test results that might require action on our behalf. A release from a primary care provider will be required to return.

Prevention – there are basic things each of us can do to help prevent the spread of the virus:
* Cover your mouth with your upper arm or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
* Wash your hands, often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
* Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We realize this is a challenging time for everyone. Please know that we will keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, self-monitor, wash your hands, and hopefully we all stay healthy and avoid this virus. Click here for information from the CDC. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Warmest regards, 
Kyle Schramp
Acting Executive Director
kschramp@arceci.org
319-365-0487 ext.1021