COVID-19 Coronavirus Response

Here is a summary of our COVID-19 Response Policies and Plans by Program. Updated June 1st , 2020.

Please read for an update on our administrative office and day program locations. While we are encouraged by the news and updates released by Governor Baker weekly, we want everyone in the FHCRC community to understand that our timeline for re-opening is still unknown. It will likely be several more weeks before we can open our doors. Our first priority remains the health and safety of those we support and our employees. When it comes to re-opening and easing restrictions in place at our residential programs, we will be closely following guidance from state and federal entities, including DDS and MassHealth.

Representatives from our Human Resources, Facilities, and Program Services departments are undergoing training, gathering resources, and developing procedures to ensure a safe return to our facilities. I know that not having a specific re-opening date for FHCRC may be discouraging, but I can assure you we are working diligently to ensure that when we can safely open, we will do so expediently, and with the proper safety measures in place. We appreciate your patience during what we know must be an extremely difficult time for you and your families.

We will continue to provide regular updates regarding our COVID-19 response efforts and any plans to re-open our offices and day program. Day Program employees, participants, and family members will be notified well in advance of a re-opening date, as well as precautions in place to protect the health and safety of all.

A private Facebook group, “We are Fidelity House CRC,” is now in place to help employees and the people we support to stay connected during this challenging time. If you would like to join this group, please email jryder@fidelityhhs.org for an invitation.

I.    Administrative Offices – 978-685-9471

  1. The office at 439 South Union Street is closed until further notice. Updates on re-opening will be communicated as soon as decisions are made.
  2. Administrative staff members are working mostly from home with only essential hands-on activities like mail processing and check printing occurring at the office.
  3. In-person, scheduled appointments will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  4. If necessary to meet in person, all employees and visitors will be asked to complete a COVID-screening prior to entering the office and then to follow handwashing and social distancing procedures.
  5. Email is the best way to reach out with specific questions and concerns related to Administration. Administration Contact list:

CEO, Brad Howell bhowell@fidelityhhs.org

Residential Nursing, Meghan Fisk mfisk@fidelityhhs.org

CFO, Leanna Fleming lfleming@fidelityhhs.org

VP Community Living Services, Wanda Gomez wgomez@fidelityhhs.org

VP Children and Family Services, Sue Lunn slunn@fidelityhhs.org

VP Human Resources, Kathryn Mageary, kmageary@fidelityhhs.org

VP Day and Employment Services, Erica Mawby-Roche, emawby@fidelityhhs.org

Facilities Manager, Matt Osgood mosgood@fidelityhhs.org

Director of Quality Assurance, Josh Ryder jryder@fidelityhhs.org

Clinical Services, Courtney Salerno csalerno@fidelityhhs.org

VP of Strategic Development, Kristen Tarsia ktarsia@fidelityhhs.org

II.  FHCRC COVID-19 Hotline –

978-891-0782

  1.  FHCRC has opened up a call line specific to the COVID-19 situation for individuals served, family members and guardians, medical providers and other community resources. Hotline Number: 978-891-0782
  2. Hotline Hours: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday
  3. The call line is open to address questions or concerns about COVID-19 Coronavirus as it relates to particular clients or individuals with disabilities. We will provide information or direct you to the appropriate resource.
  4. For more information from DDS, please this message from DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder for individuals and families:  https://fidelityhhs.org/message-from-dds-2/
  5. If you have questions or concerns about a specific program’s response or efforts, please contact the Program Director first. If the response is unsatisfactory to you, we encourage you to call the hotline to escalate your concerns.
  6. We ask employees to please direct all questions to your direct supervisor.

III. Services at Parkridge Rd, Ward Hill Industrial Park, Haverhill – 978-374-9122

  1. Administrative functions conducted from 22 Parkridge Rd. are closed until further notice. Updates on closures beyond that date will be communicated as soon as decisions are made.
  2. Day Services at Parkridge Rd are closed until further notice. Updates on re-opening will be communicated as soon as decisions are made.
  3. Services affected by the closure include: Day Habilitation, Community-Based Day Services (CBDS), Acquired Brain Injury Day Services (ABI Day), and DDS Contract Jobs.
  4. Virtual CBDS services are being offered through Zoom daily. To learn more, please contact Erica at emawby@fidelityhhs.org.
  5. Virtual Day Hab services are now being offered daily. To learn more, please contact Erica at emawby@fidelityhhs.org.
  6. DDS Employment Supports
  • Phone check-ins provided as needed
  • Job site check-ins and coaching provided as needed
  • Virtual meetings are being held through Zoom, Google Hangout and FaceTime

6.  Landmark Building Vocational Rehab Services

  • Phone and email check-ins provided several times week.
  • Virtual meetings are being held through Zoom, Google Hangout and FaceTime
  • Job site check-ins and coaching provided weekly or as needed

7.  Landmark Building Pre-ETS

  • Classes are being offered through Google Classroom with participating schools
  • Phone and email check-ins are not currently being provided unless need is pressing

8.  Landmark Building Veterans Employment Program

  • In person meetings are occurring with prior COVID-19 screening
  • In-home visits are not currently allowable due to VA restrictions
  • Phone and email check-ins are being implemented for all Veterans as well as the option to participate in virtual meetings through Zoom, Google Hangout or FaceTime

IV.  Residential Services – 978-685-9471

  1.  Visitor Policy
  • In accordance with DDS recommendations, no visitors are allowed to enter group homes until further notice.  
  • Exceptions to the rule include:
    • Visitors of individuals on hospice/palliative care
    • Approved contractors for general or emergency maintenance/repairs
    • Visiting medical or rehabilitative professionals
  • No visitors will be allowed to interact with residents of group homes anywhere on the premises such as the yard or garage.
  • All staff, or visitors who are exceptions to the rule, will be subject to a COVID-19 screening test outlined below.
  • All non-essential medical appointments are cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later time.
  • Telehealth has been implemented across all community residences to provide access to medical care without risk of exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus and to keep each individual as happy and healthy as possible.
  • At this time, per DDS recommendations, individuals living in FHCRC homes are not permitted to leave the group home unless the family intends to care for the person throughout the entirety of this COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Review and approval by FHCRC’s CEO is required to release an individual from a FHCRC group home to a family member or guardian.

2.  COVID-19 Coronavirus Screening Procedures

  • Upon entering a group home, each person is asked to complete a COVID-19 self-disclosure form.
        • The form asks a series of questions.
        • The forms will be filed in a binder at each group home.
        • Employees are asked to complete the form at the beginning of each shift or prior to entering a home.
  • If employees, consultants, approved contractors, or limited visitors exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, as indicated on the screening form, they must immediately leave the home and notify the program’s PD or SPD and await instructions.

3.  Communication with Families

  • We are making every effort at the program level to communicate regularly and thoroughly with family members and loved ones.
  • If you find yourself in need of more information and are unsatisfied with the communication you are currently receiving from a Program Director, please reach out via our COVID-19 hotline to report concerns or request additional support.
  • “We are Fidelity House CRC” is a private Facebook group to help family members stay connected during this challenging time. If you would like to join this group, please email jryder@fidelityhhs.org for an invitation.

4.  Staffing

  • FHCRC employees have been issued an “essential services” letter that allows them to travel to group residences or to perform other essential services.
  • FHCRC is utilizing existing Residential staff to the greatest extent possible to cover the extended time people are home (due to day program closures).
  • Relief and temporary agencies (with whom we have contracted for many years) are assisting where appropriate.
  • Many Day Services staff who are currently not working (due to Parkridge being closed) have been offered the opportunity to work in Residential.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Our management staff is working diligently with supply companies and pharmacies to ensure FHCRC is well equipped.
  • Guidelines on the use and storage of PPE have been developed.
  • While there are concerns about a statewide shortage of PPE, we are in direct contact with DDS to request any needed PPE both now as a preventative measure and in the event we need to deploy additional PPE supplies in a specific home due to exposure/diagnosis.

V.  Case Management Services / Supported Home Care – 978-374-9122

  1.  Adult Foster Care (AFC)
  • There is currently a No Visitor rule as well as a restriction on outings and visits outside of the care provider’s home.
  • AFC case managers are in touch with families via phone at this time. In-person visits are allowed only if there is a pressing need.
  • AFC case managers are required to complete a COVID-19 self-disclosure form prior to each in-person visit with an AFC provider/person served. These forms are filed with the AFC Director.
  • If an in-person visit is necessary, the AFC case manager will complete a COVID-19 screening (with questions about both symptoms and travel) over the phone with AFC provider to ensure no one in the home is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms prior to a visit.
  • AFC case managers have been equipped with a supply of cleaning materials and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their health and safety during visits to providers in the community.

2.  Individual Support Services (ISS) and Individualized Home Supports (IHS)

  • ISS/IHS case managers will be visiting individuals on a limited basis. Emergent medical needs, food security and other basic needs will be prioritized.
  • Case managers are required to complete a COVID-19 self-disclosure form prior to each in-person visit with an ISS individual. These forms are filed with the ISS Director.
  • Prior to every ISS/IHS visit, the case manager will complete a COVID-19 screening (with questions about both symptoms and travel) over the phone or through a closed door with the individual and anyone else living in the home to ensure no one in the home is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Case managers have been equipped with a supply of cleaning materials and PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure health and safety during visits to individuals in the community.
  • FHCRC has deployed 35 Ipads for use in ISS settings. The Ipads allow individuals living independently in the community to connect with caseworkers, medical providers, and their families.

3.  Shared Living (SL)

  • There is currently a No Visitor rule as well as a restriction on outings and visits outside of the care provider’s home.
  • SL case managers are in touch with families via phone at this time.
  • In person visits are allowed if there is a pressing need.
  • SL case managers are required to complete a COVID-19 self-disclosure form prior to each in-person visit with an SL provider/person served. These forms are filed with the SL Director.
  • If an in-person visit is necessary, the SL case manager will complete a COVID-19 screening (with questions about both symptoms and travel) over the phone with SL provider to ensure no one in the home is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms prior to a visit
  • SL case managers have been equipped with a supply of cleaning materials and PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure their health and safety during visits to providers in the community.

4.  Rep Payee Services

  • Rep Payee Services will continue despite office closures. However, visitors and persons served will not be able to enter the Parkridge location until further notice.
  • If there is a need for funds or supports beyond what people typically receive, please contact the rep payee directly by email or phone.
  • Arrangements will be made to deliver funds through mail or by appointment outside of the Parkridge location.
  • Rep Payee Contact Information:

Eleanor Andrews, eandrews@fidelityhhs.org, 978-374-9122 x 270

Joyce Fusco, jfusco@fideliltyhhs.org, 978-374-9122 x 228

VI.  Children and Family Services – 978-685-9471

  1. All in-person activities and parent training workshops are cancelled until further notice. Updates on cancellations beyond that date will be communicated as soon as decisions are made.
  2. This includes all family activities in the community and at our office location, adult/teen recreation, bowling league, Latino Support group, pop-up parent/guardian meet ups, and Family Support Center based trainings.
  3. All home visits have been suspended. Individuals and family members are still able to contact their assigned service navigator/case manager via phone or email.
  4. Virtual programming and zoom meetings are being utilized whenever possible.
  5. Service navigators and case managers reach out to all assigned families as they would on a home visit. They work with each family to come up with a workflow to complete any paperwork.
  6. FHCRC’s Children & Family Services will revisit these temporary restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.
  7. We understand that these measures may pose difficulties but are necessary to protect the health of all family member and to contain the spread of this virus. Especially with schools, day programs, and child care programs closed, it can be stressful.
  8. Please feel free to reach out to your service navigator or case manager who can provide information, referral to other community resources, and work with DDS to address questions that may arise.

For more information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please refer to the following website for the most updated information on the outbreak and measures being implemented across the state: mass.gov/2019coronavirus.

  • Social distancing is remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

    Centers for Disease Control
36COVID-19 Coronavirus Response