4/28/2020 DDD COVID-19 Communication

April 28, 2020

We're a stone's throw away from May and (hopefully) spring. May the shift to sunnier weather also provide more opportunities to spend time outdoors (safely!). Also, I want to remind you that, due to Governor Pritzker's Extended Stay at Home Order, beginning Friday, May 1st, you need to ensure that you are wearing a mask when you are in public, or outdoors, and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

I hope everyone has noticed that some of the stories you have shared have found their way to the Governor's daily briefings and IDHS social media posts. Secretary Hou is also collecting and sharing Bright Spots to share all of our providers good work across the IDHS system. Still feel free to share your stories with me AND for Bright Spots! We need this more than ever.


I wanted to draw everyone's attention to updated and new IDPH guidance that has been released in the past week.


In case you missed it, I wanted to draw everyone's attention to a communication that Secretary Hou sent out on 4/17/20 (https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=123945).In it she announced the important guidance, provided jointly by the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, the Department on Aging, the Department of Human Rights, and the Governor's Office, titled "Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)." You can find it here: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/non-discrimination-medical-treatment-guidance.  In particular, I want to draw your attention to this section in regards to individuals receiving supports in a healthcare setting:

"Persons with disabilities should be permitted to rely on reasonable accommodations that provide meaningful access to information and equal opportunity to benefit from the treatment. For example, these modifications might include interpreter services or the presence of an assistant, aide, or family member, provided that essential precautions can be taken to contain the spread of infection. Use of technology should also be considered in evaluating necessary reasonable accommodations."


I am pleased to announce that the DD Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Monday, May 4th via WebEx. Agenda, member bios and the WebEx link will be posted this week on the DD website. We will be following the Open Meetings Act so meetings will be open.


The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), in partnership with the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, has developed a survey for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this workforce and identify the most effective ways to protect DSPs and the people they support. The results of this survey will be shared widely with policymakers, services providers, direct support professionals, families, and stakeholders. Answers are anonymous. Please consider completing. You can find the survey https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9SsdU9SzTobvsLr.


Some of our day service providers have been busy creating resources that they are interested in sharing with the entire Illinois community. This is amazing work!

From Denny at Arts of Life:

Since the mandated closure of all CDS, including Arts of life, we have been hard at work developing an online, remote model that captures our values and continues to move our mission forward. We've mobilized our staff to either work directly with one of our residential partners or transform the fine art programming we have provided in person for 20 years into a remote format that offers ongoing support for our artists. With the hopes of lessening the strain these much-needed closures put on our already taxed system, Arts of Life would like to share our Remote Program with anyone interested in joining us and learning about becoming a professional artist. Using the ZOOM platform, we will be offering four hours of daily content moderated by two Arts of Life staff members Monday through Friday for the duration of this crisis. It is a time to come together and make sure our system is whole when this is over. We hope this gives artists, CILA providers, and families some structure as we await an "All Clear!" We will continue to develop remote programming for the duration of the stay at home order and adapt our offerings based on artist feedback and participation. You can find the Arts of Life remote programming at https://artsoflife.org/remote/.

From Kathryn at Gateway to Learning in Chicago

The team at Gateway to Learning has been working since early March creating at home activity packets and videos, culled from various sources. We have posted all those on our website for anyone to download. We have shared these resourceswith the Gateway to Learning community as well as with students at a local High School in Chicago, (who have been in quarantine since March 6th), the Chicago Park District, and a number of CILA and CDS providers. We are creating online classrooms this weekand will be posting any that we are able to record. You can find our resources and programming at https://www.gtlchicago.com/blog/2020/4/1/activity-packets-to-do-at-home.

These are two great Illinois resources for our providers and families! Awesome work Arts of Life and Gateway to Learning!  Keep sending Stories of Good to Emily Hughes, BQM: emily.hughes@illinois.gov

Be well. We know you're doing your best. Hang in there. We're in this together.