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Are programs funded by the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities open? What support is there for residents of Developmental Centers?
Congregate Day Programs
Congregate day programs have been directed to reopen at full capacity provided they meet all the requirements in the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities' congregate day program COVID-19 operating requirements.
Safety requirements include:
- All individuals, staff, contracted professionals, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must be cleared for admittance to the facility through screening, including temperature checks.
- Under Executive Order 283, staff are required to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations (including booster), or submit to regular testing if granted an exemption by their employer for a qualifying medical disability. Learn more.
- All staff, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to wear a well-fitted face mask when working, unless doing so would create a risk to workplace health, safety or job duty as assessed by the employer, and physically distance (as appropriate for the care of residents) when working with participants and other staff.
- If all participants and staff in a group are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations (including booster), participants and staff may choose to remove their mask and may have close contact with others in the group without a mask.
- All individual program participants who are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations shall be encouraged by the staff to wear a well-fitted face mask. This guidance recognizes that some individual program participants may not tolerate wearing face coverings or it may not be medically advisable for them to wear one.
- Group sizes shall no longer be limited but is recommended to be 15 or fewer individuals and that, to the extent practicable, that the same group composition be maintained.
- Individuals (regardless of vaccination status) transported by the day services provider shall be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the vehicle and conduct temperature screen prior to entering the vehicle. The driver or other program staff can deny transportation to a day program if the individual is demonstrating symptoms.
- Visitation in the center shall be limited during operating hours to those that are essential to operations (maintenance or repair services, prospective admissions, prospective employees, planning team meetings, etc.). Routine or annual meetings shall take place virtually when possible and appropriate.
For a full list of safety requirements, refer to the Division's congregate day program COVID-19 operating requirements.
Everyone 5 years or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey and encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Third Doses and Boosters
The NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities has re-activated its partnership with Walmart to administer all approved COVID-19 vaccines - all manufacturers for first, second, third/booster doses - to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and/or traumatic brain injury living in congregate settings funded by the Department of Human Services. This program is also available to staff.
Providers that arranged vaccinations through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program are directed to use this vaccination opportunity in its place if they have not already met their vaccination needs.
Walmart will provide COVID-19 vaccination at 34 of its New Jersey locations for this program. Vaccination can only be scheduled by the residential service provider calling their preferred participating Walmart to schedule their residents and/or staff.
For more information about the program, refer to this Division of Developmental Disabilities memo.
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
As of April 28, 2021, CVS and Walgreens completed their last rounds of vaccination clinics as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program.
Through this partnership, New Jersey administered over 145,000 doses to residents and over 127,000 doses to staff at nearly 1,200 long-term care facilities - including nursing homes, the State's three veterans memorial homes, federal senior housing, all five Developmental centers, and some I/DD group homes.
Visitation Policies at Group Homes
Indoor, outdoor, and off-site visits must be offered as they were pre-pandemic by residential providers for their residents, including residential programs for persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.
Residential providers are required to allow visitation of any type and cannot independently stop visitation unless directed by a Federal, State, or Local Health Authority.
Regardless of vaccination status, all visitors must be screened, including temperature check, before entering a residence. For those visitors who pass screening, indoor visitation in congregate residential settings must be permitted.
Visitors must wear a well-fitted mask and physically distance from those they are not visiting.
For detailed guidance, refer to the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities' guidance for residential providers on visits with family and friends.
Beginning the week of April 27, 2020, the State started testing all residents and staff at all five State Residential Developmental Centers for COVID-19 using the new saliva-based testing developed by Rutgers University. As of May 20, 2020, Developmental Centers have completed testing in their facilities, and the Department of Health is now working together to improve access to testing in group homes.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities regularly publishes information about COVID-19 cases including deaths and numbers of cases by county. That information along with the latest updates from the Division can be found on the Department of Human Services' COVID-19 Updates page.
The 26 Sheltered Workshop Extended Employment (EE) programs located across New Jersey re-opened between late September and November of 2020. CARES Act Funding was provided to EE programs totaling over $600,000 during the months of November through December of 2020.
Source: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/press/2020/approved/20200318b.html; https://nj.gov/humanservices/coronavirus.html; Governor Murphy's Remarks 4/23/20; NJ Health Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 5/20/20; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200902a.shtml