State Releases New Guidance for Group Homes

On July 10, 2020, the State of New York’s Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) released new guidance for group homes for the disabled.

According to CBS 6 News, home visits and community outings had been banned since March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new guidelines, which went into effect on July 15, allow home visits and community outings to resume. The much-needed guidelines provide that group home residents may make home visits provided that they are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19; that they pass a temperature check and a health screening; that they wash their hands prior to their departure and return; and that they do not visit anyone who has COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19, or is currently under a COVID-19 quarantine.

Community outings are now allowed as well, provided that no residents or staffers of a given group home have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 14 days.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports the new guidelines and hopes that they will restore a sense of normalcy and connection to the lives of disabled individuals. While it is very important to protect group home residents from the coronavirus, it is also important on a mental health level for them to be connected to their loved ones and to their communities.