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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Human Services Issues Updated Reopening Requirements for Congregate Day Programs

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By Press Release

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
TRENTON – The Department of Human Services April 22 released updated reopening requirements for congregate day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
According to a release, under the guidance, Division of Developmental Disabilities-funded day programs may now reopen, with capacity limits tied to the Covid Activity Level Index (CALI) for the region in which they operate.
Previous requirements prohibited program operation in regions with high and very high CALI designations. 
Operating capacity under updated requirements are as follows:
· 25% in very high (red) – previously not permitted to operate
· 50% in high (orange) – previously not permitted to operate
· 50% in moderate (yellow) – same as previous
· Full capacity in low (green) – previously permitted to operate at 50% capacity.
The full document containing all requirements can be found here.
Program providers who elect to open or reopen in the very high, high and moderate regions must inform participants of the region’s designation, and that there is an increased risk of Covid transmission in the region, so that informed decisions on participation can be made by individuals, families and guardians. 
Programs may reopen as early as they can come into compliance with the Congregate Day Program Re-Opening Requirements.
Vaccination is not required for attendance, but all individuals are encouraged to be vaccinated.
The guidance notes that day program characteristics, such as the use of communal spaces and shared transportation, have the potential of increasing the risk of Covid spread.
“It is important to note that even with prudent steps being taken to reduce the risk of Covid infection, neither the day program provider nor the division can guarantee that transmission of Covid-19, or one of its variants, will not occur,” the requirements state. “Day programs are congregate facilities serving individuals with varying levels of risk for developing complications following the contraction of Covid-19. An individual’s risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19 is higher if they have not been vaccinated, if the individual is not able to adhere to distancing and masking guidelines, and when Covid-19 activity is higher in their region. It is important for individuals and their guardians to consider these risks against the benefits of participation when making decisions about day program attendance.”
The Division of Developmental Disabilities recommends participants consult with a medical provider and others on their care team about attending day programs and what activities are safe, depending on the individual’s health status, vaccination status, and the Covid activity level in their region.

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