With each passing day, people with disabilities are becoming more vulnerable as they face uncertainty and a loss of services in this pandemic. Your funds will help us keep some critcal services in place right now, like our mental health services.
Program Updates & Resources from Easterseals NJ
For any general questions about COVID-19 in NJ, call 2-1-1 or text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text information and stay informed.
Program updates can be found at the bottom of the page.
Easterseals staff? Visit our intranet page for more employee updates.
UPDATED: October 19th, 2020
UPDATE: Millville & Raritan Valley Work Centers Update
When news came out that we could safely re-open programming, we implemented a robust new safety protocol that prioritized the well-being of staff and participants and prepared a timeline for re-opening. As we await contractual updates we’ve unfortunately had to temporarily downsize our resources and capacity until further word is received from our partners at DVRS. This means, while you will still hear from us, it won’t be as frequently as you may be used to. You can always review our website for further updates. We do hope to see you all soon, online and in-person.
If you have any further inquires please reach out to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services – PPDS or our contacts as listed below.
Easterseals Director of Employment Development
Angela Mack, MSW Amack@nj.easterseals.com
Easterseals Workforce Operations Coordinators
- Millville: Pamela Albano-Capano firstname.lastname@example.org
- RVW: Jamail Blair email@example.com
For any additional resources or service needs please connect with:
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services – PPDS: Vito Palo Vito.Palo@dol.nj.gov
- Cumberland County Office: 856-453-3888
- Middlesex County Office: 732-937-6300
If you have DDD services you can also connect with your direct Support Coordinator as referenced in your ISP.
UPDATE: Safely Re-Opening our Day Programs
After a long time apart from each other due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are excited to announce the limited reopening of Easterseals Day Programs. Using the upmost of caution we are proceeding with “soft openings” of select locations throughout October and early November using a phased approach. Each location will be limited to an indoor capacity of 25% occupancy (including staff) follow state regulations have established new safety policies and procedures in place for the protection of all staff and participants. Our schedule is as follows:
· Northfield Day program – 10/5
· Oakhurst Day program – 10/19
· Lacey Day program – 10/19
· Sayreville Day program – 10/26
· Mercer Day program – 11/2
· Bergen Day program (virtual services only) – Nov. 2020
· Virtual programming – immediately available
Virtual programming will occur several times a week and enrollment is through your local site manager. As we make the transition back to programming location by location, there are several things to keep in mind:
· Programs will resume Monday through Friday 9am-3pm at 25% capacity only.
· All participants are encouraged to contact their site manager to inquire about our new virtual programming.
· Only Easterseals employees and program participants will be permitted to enter locations.
· A quick screening involving temperature checks will occur upon arrival outside of the location.
· Lunches must be pre-prepared, packaged, and ready to consume.
· Social distancing will be maintained the entire day through new floor layouts and signage.
· Extra cleaning and sanitizing procedures are in place and sanitization stations are available to all.
· Face coverings will be worn by all staff and each participant is required to bring their own.
We ask and appreciate your continued patience during this time as we re-adjust, and things continue to change around us. Restarts take time and require a series of modifications. We’ve faced a lot of challenges as a community but remain committed to making this the best and safest experience for our program participants. If you have additional questions please contact your regional site manager.
Easterseals Employment Services – Work Centers Update 8/12
Rehabilitation Team Members will continue reaching out to all center participants to provide everyone with an update of our current status at our Work Centers and answer any of your questions. As of now, limited remote access to vocational training is currently available to all participants through and up until our re-opening at full capacity. At this time, we are still pending re-opening authorization from the state.
Our main priority is your safety upon return and in order to maintain that safety, we have implemented social distancing guidelines with signage throughout our Work Centers as well as instituted cleaning and screening procedures as preventative measures. Please note that upon re-opening, programs will start with a reduced workforce due to social distancing requirements. As there continues to be a safe progression, additional participants will be phased into their original work routine. All new safety training preparations and guidelines have and will be made accessible to each participant prior to re-entry. For further questions please email us.
ANNOUNCING: Limited Office Appointments for Easterseals Career Pathway Connections
Maplewood & Woodbury offices will now be providing in-office services in a limited capacity to individuals with no access to virtual services. To ensure everyone’s safety, there is a NO visitor policy and mandatory temperature checks.
We have adapted our offices to protect our staff and participants and ask that anyone who is feeling unwell to please stay home until cleared by a doctor.
Email us with questions regarding office hours or to make an appointment.
COVID-19 Safety Reminder
As the pandemic continues to threaten our community’s safety, we want to remind everyone to stay safe until this disease is brought under control. This is particularly true for anyone with any of the following underlying health conditions: obesity, heart disease, heart disease (including high blood pressure), diabetes, and any type of lung condition.
We also have these handy infographics below you can download and print to place around residences or workplaces as a reminder on how to avoid being infected or infecting others.
Heroes Work Here – A Look at How Things Have Changed
Easterseals staff have continued to provide vital services to people with disabilities all throughout the state during this pandemic. This video shows us how we adapted to keep people safe and connected.
Camp Merry Heart PROGRAM UPDATE – Delayed Opening Until 2021
For more than 7 decades, Easterseals Camp Merry Heart has prided itself in providing campers & travelers with friendships and memories which will last a lifetime. It comes with a heavy heart that we must announce, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is not possible for us to operate Camp Merry Heart for the rest of 2020. We are forced to cancel all rentals, respites, and events for the summer and fall seasons. We are planning to resume operations in January 2021 on a limited basis with respite and hotel programs (to be confirmed at a later date).
We will continue to provide all program updates regarding Coronavirus-related closures/re-openings on this page.
#IAmEssential – An Honest Look at What it Means to Be on the Front Lines of The COVID-19 Pandemic
In our latest video series, we interviewed Easterseals case managers about how they are coping with the pandemic while still providing vital services to individuals with serious persistent mental illness. An eye-opening look into the impact the Coronavirus has had on essential workers and those they care for.
Disability-Related Legal Resources During the Pandemic
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals with disabilities need legal assistance navigating issues related to:
- Housing, including rent and mortgage obligations, eviction, or need for repairs
- Stimulus check issues
- Unemployment benefits
- Health insurance coverage
- Food Assistance
- Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives
- Family matters such as child support, visitation, or domestic violence
- Other issues that may be affecting them during this crisis
If you are a person with a disability in need of legal help, please contact the Community Health Law Project for assistance.
Governor Murphy Reveals His Plan to Reopen NJ: The Road Back
A six-point plan has been released by NJ Governor Phil Murphy charting a path to safely reopen the state and restart our economy. The plan, titled “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” establishes six critical principals the state will be using to guide their decisions on lifting restrictions on social gatherings, businesses, and services here in the state.
“Our priority is to use science, data, and facts to put New Jersey on the road to recovery. In order to restore economic health, we must first promote public health,” said Gov Murphy. “These key principles and metrics are critical for giving New Jerseyans confidence that we will re-open our state with our public health protocols firmly in place and our health care system prepared. Restarting New Jersey’s economy and returning people to work will be done methodically, strategically, and responsibly.”
Gov Murphy has also announced a reopening committee.
As restrictions are lifted, Easterseals plans for a methodical and strategic return to work based on the level of disease transmission risk. As always, the safety of our program participants and staff is our top priority. We will monitor all incoming communications from state and healthcare agencies as we continue our work to enrich the lives of people with disabilities and special needs here in NJ.
Please call 855.215.4541 for all Easterseals program questions.
An Open Letter From the American Association of the DeafBlind
If you are a healthcare professional or provider agency or a person who is DeafBlind, please take a moment to read through this open letter. It addresses the best practices for providing or receiving care for/as a person who is DeafBlind.
With the COVID-19 outbreak increasing the stress on our hospitals and agencies, it is vital to be prepared for all situations before they are encountered. This is a great primer and we suggest you heed its message.
Read the letter here.
We Found IRS COVID-19 Financial Resources so You Don’t Have To
People with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive Recovery Rebate payments delivered in the same way they currently receive their SSI benefits. This change is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This money will help support those feeling the economic pressure being placed on them by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Need to know if you’re eligible? Look at a breakdown of the eligibility criteria.
Want to check on the status of your payment or need to make sure they have all your correct information? Check out the IRS’s “get my payment” tool.
Also, a reminder that, if you haven’t filed your taxes already, the IRS has extended the deadline for submission to July, 15th 2020.
Lastly, BEWARE OF SCAMS! Unfortunately, though we see many people coming together to battling against this pandemic, we see others trying to take advantage of it. Only trust the IRS.gov website with your information and be suspicious of anyone asking for your personal/financial information or for payments of any kind. For more information, visit this IRS page on the subject.
Small Covid-19 Grants for Individuals and Families
The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities has modified an existing contract with The Arc of New Jersey in response to the current the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Arc of NJ will be processing requests from any individuals with I/DD, their families and any qualified community-based organizations that provide supports to people with developmental disabilities, who are affected by the statewide Coronavirus response.
Funds must be used to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities and/or their families and promote health, activity and engagement with family, friends and peers, alleviate anxiety due to social distancing, and/or increase positive shared experiences. Applicants are required to exhaust other available sources of funding before submitting an application. What do people need now due to social distancing, quarantine, or self-imposed isolation that is not available from current supports and services? How will people remain engaged with their friends and family?
What will be funded?
- Activities to remain engaged during social distancing;
- Items that alleviate anxiety due to social distancing (technology/internet access); and,
- Other items needed for people experiencing social isolation and access to health care.
Funds will be made available for requests that assist one individual/family or multiple individuals/families. Requests are expected to range on average from $250 to $500 per request as approved by the Arc of New Jersey, in consultation with the Council. Agencies submitting requests for multiple individuals/families can combine requests into one application while providing individual/family level detail.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
- What to do if you think you are sick (CDC)
- Centers for Disease Control
- New Jersey Department of Health
- New Jersey Department of Children and Families
- NJ Division on Developmental Disabilities
- NJ Department of Labor
- Special Needs Considerations for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 7 Tips on Staying “Mental Healthy” During a Quarantine
If you receive Social Security Benefits, please note that all local offices are CLOSED and are only offering services by phone. To learn more, click here.
EASTERSEALS PROGRAM UPDATES/CLOSURES
Full list here
Camp Merry Heart Respite Delays
As we continue to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it comes with a heavy heart that we must announce the cancellation of all rentals, respites, and events at Easterseals Camp Merry Heart for the entirety of the summer, 2020. We acknowledge that this decision impacts many people we work with and support, and most importantly the people we serve: our campers.
The cancellation of all summer programming was dependent on many factors that are influenced by the progress of this virus and how that affects our day to day lives. We have not made a decision yet regarding the remainder of the summer. We hope that this trying time will pass quickly, and we will all be together soon. Email us with any additional questions, suggestions, or even to share a camp memory.
All Easterseals New Jersey Work Centers will be CLOSED until further notice as of Monday, March 23, 2020 (This includes our Millville and Raritan Valley Work Centers).
These closures are in response to Governor Murphy’s Statewide Stay at Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses. Learn More
Easterseals and the leadership of Centerpath Wellness (CPW) have made the decision to close our Plainfield site as of Friday March 20, 2020.
Regarding Group Homes – Limited Visitation
Visitation Limitation Now Imposed effective today (3/17/20) at 5PM
By order of the Department of Health and in reaction to COVID-19, visitors to all facilities licensed under 10:37A (Community Living Services Residential Programs serving people with serious and persistent mental illness) shall be restricted until otherwise notified by the Department of Health.
If you or a loved one is participating in one of these Easterseals New Jersey programs, please note:
- Visitation to the facility where your friend/loved one resides will be highly discouraged until further notice
- ALL visitors will be screened outside the residence and asked specific health questions
If the visitor passes the screening and is allowed in the facility:
- You will be asked to wash your hands upon entering.
- You will be restricted to one area, preferably the consumer’s personal space, and not allowed to roam the facility.
- You will be restricted from touching objects or other people within the home.
- Visitation shall be under one hour.
All Day Program sites will be SUSPENDED until further notice as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (This includes our Bergen, Lakewood, Mercer, Rio Grade, Northfield, Oakhurst, Edison, Lacey, and Sayerville sites.)
All Extended Employment programming will be SUSPENDED until further notice as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This is in direct response to a directive from the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).
At this time we have not received a directive on when services should re-open. Please check back here for future updates or email us for additional concerns.