Greetings Excentia Human Services Family,
Let me begin by sharing my sincere thanks to all of the people we support and their families. We are extremely happy to report that of the 33 homes we operate, supporting 88 individuals in the community, to date we have had no cases of COVID-19.
We know this has been an extremely challenging time for people with disabilities who rely on publicly-funded supports and services. Daily routines were disrupted significantly due to facility-based day programs being shuttered, and efforts to fight social isolation became paramount when “no visitor” policies were instituted in community homes. Other services, like early intervention for children with developmental delays and community participation support for adults, went virtual as face-to-face encounters were either discouraged or flat-out prohibited by our state funders. Indeed, the people we support and their families sacrificed greatly these past three months, and I believe they have been some of the most underappreciated heroes during the Coronavirus pandemic.
All Excentia Human Services’ employees, from our wonderful direct support professionals (DSPs), supervisors, program specialists, associate directors, preschool staff and therapists, to our administrative and other behind-the-scenes support staff, have been nothing but inspirational during the last quarter. Most DSPs showed up to work to perform their vital duties, regardless of the potential risks. Our non-DSP employees also performed exceptionally well under challenging circumstances. Those who could worked from home (which presented a unique set of challenges), while others continued coming to the office to perform their essential duties. In all, the organization had to keep functioning and our dedicated staff stepped up to make sure the people we support were never forgotten.
With almost all (excluding my home county of Lebanon) counties in Pennsylvania now firmly in Governor Wolf’s green phase, Excentia Human Services is slowly moving back to a sense of normalcy. Our suspended programs are coming back to life, while supported employment, community participation support, early intervention therapies, home and community supports, and community-supported living continue to operate. And, as we move into the green phase and the stay-at-home directive is lifted, our Residential Services will allow family visits outside only. The visits will be scheduled one family at a time and not more than three members during the visit.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and we must continue to be vigilant, yet I’m proud that Excentia Human Services never lost sight of its mission, vision, and values during the past four months. Yes, health and safety are very important, but so is being able to live one’s life. I believe Excentia Human Services’ continues to strike the appropriate balance between the two.
Chris Shaak, CEO