Dear Family members and Guardians,
I am writing to provide some updates on what is happening at Open Sky Community Services this week.
It has been a busy and somewhat difficult week. We announced a small number of layoffs and furloughs affecting 29 of our staff members ( mostly in administrative and support positions). These actions were necessary because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our revenue and our expenses. While we would have preferred to avoid this action, had we delayed, the impact would have been greater – with deeper cuts and more staff members affected.
I share updates weekly with our Agency Leadership Team on the number of coronavirus cases in the US, Massachusetts, Worcester County and at Open Sky. Although this information is out of date as soon as we share it, the numbers I reported on April 15 were:
United States: 624,048
Worcester County 2,246
Open Sky 12 (50 have been tested, 34- negative, 12- positive and 4 pending)
We are anticipating that numbers will increase over the next two weeks, as the State is predicting we are now in the “surge” of more cases which will hopefully culminate in a peak. After that, the numbers should decline – we hope rapidly.
We are pleased to report that the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has announced availability of mobile testing for individuals and staff at DD group homes. We have signed up and are awaiting test results from the first few homes which were tested this week. They are prioritizing homes where an individual has tested positive, and then plan to roll it out to all DD group homes.
DMH is starting mobile testing for behavioral health group homes as well. We will provide more information on this next week.
We have received some new shipments of PPE ( masks in particular) which will help us breathe a little easier for the next two weeks. We do have many more on order which we hope will arrive by the first of May. We are also very grateful to a legion of people in the community who have been sewing and donating cloth masks to us. It takes a village for sure!
Finally, I want to share a link to a video that our team has put together to show some of the creative ways that our agency and our programs are connecting with each other and with the community. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. https://youtu.be/AF26kWfx8y8 Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns about any of this information. Thank you.
President and CEO