Dear Citizens Families and Friends,
I hope you are safe and well. Thank you for taking the time to remain connected and engaged with Citizens. The team appreciates you reaching out to let us know your questions, challenges and successes over these last few weeks. One question especially stood out – when will Citizens begin to offer a more typical service schedule, including residential visits and Camp Loyaltown sessions?
Citizens follows the guidance of OPWDD, which works closely with the New York State Department of Health. These agencies decide how and when Citizens will again offer residential visits, day services, and other in-person activities. Currently, we are following guidance from March 2020, as it remains in effect. Family members may choose to welcome loved ones into their own homes, yet the person would then need to remain away from the Citizens residence for an extended period of time, per OPWDD guidance.
Please know we deeply understand the challenges that separation may cause for both the person supported and their family. As an agency, we have developed new and creative ways to respond – and are prioritizing virtual visits and communications among family members and the people we support in our residences. Whenever needed, we are connecting families through FaceTime, Zoom, telephone calls and letters.
We know it's not the same as a hug or a meal shared with your family. To advocate for changed OPWDD guidance, we recommend you share your perspective with them directly. When the guidelines are revised, we will share information as we receive it via email, our website and social media. You might consider signing up for OPWDD’s online updates and check the OPWDD website.
As we must follow standards set by New York State for our houses, we must do the same for Camp Loyaltown. Camp will be held virtually, this year, with online, and when possible off screen, activities. We appreciate your understanding and we will keep you updated as additional camp programs become available, based on guidance from the CDC, New York State Department of Health, Greene County Department of Health and OPWDD.
We seek to resume a more typical service schedule as soon as possible. We know the importance our support and services have on the routine of the people we support and our families. Right now, our exceptional team of direct support professionals, clinicians and administrators continue to go above and beyond to maintain the connection and superior service we, as an agency, take pride in.
Right now, your words of appreciation and thanks mean so much on Facebook and Instagram. However, the best way to show your support is to continue to assist with our advocacy efforts – letting senators know why the disability provisions in the latest stimulus bill matter. Please continue to send this letter!
Thank you for your continued support and understanding. During these challenging times, our mission and fierce commitment to the people we support prevail. Soon, we will be together again and stronger than ever before.
Be safe and well,
Stanfort J. Perry