Hope you are enjoying a new month and the nice change of seasons the Alaskan summer sun is bringing us so far. I wanted to take some time today to share with you recent developments here at The Arc of Anchorage and update you on what we have been doing to support and serve those enrolled for our services, and their families.
First, reflecting on 2020 so far, it is clear it is a time period that many of us probably will never forget. Spring phasing into summer, our community is facing not only a global pandemic, but a very heightened division of our national beliefs. The recent murders of a few African Americans by violence has stirred our communities, and they are now responding in a variety of ways. Even though these events happened far from Alaska, it still has an impact requiring of each us to reflect and acknowledge that acts of aggression and/or harassment regardless of how minor or major to our Black and other minority community members happens in our country.
The Arc of Anchorage stands for embracing and celebrating the potential of people as well as strives for a community that accepts all abilities. We’d like to share that we not only proudly stand in support with oppressed people everywhere and against any form of oppression and injustice, but we have also joined our parent organization, The Arc of the United States in supporting the movement of equality occurring recently across the nation through the following message (see below). We want to make it clear that The Arc of Anchorage is committed to upholding our core values of integrity and respect not only for those we serve, but those we employ. We are fully dedicated to our anti-discrimination policy in all that we do, every day of the year.
UAA Needs Assessment Survey
Secondly, The Arc has also joined in a partnership with the University of Alaska with a community needs assessment survey that will get input from people in Anchorage who experience disabilities, their families and caregivers as well. The survey hosted by UAA is an online survey that takes about 20 minutes to complete and helps local leaders see where the gaps are in support and services are needed to help various populations across the city due to impact of COVID-19, including the disability community. If you are able to participate, use the following link to complete the survey: http://uaa.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0qxqC5oRYVkZsMt
If you need assistance with the survey such as conducting the survey over the phone or with an ASL or other language interpreter, contact us at 907-777-0103 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Responses for the survey are needed by June 21, 2020.
Reopening Responsibly Plan for The Arc of Anchorage
Thirdly, as Alaskans continue to adjust their lives with the changes that the COVID-19 virus brought to our state, The Arc of Anchorage has had a responsibility to monitor mandates and health advisories at the local and state level on a daily basis. We know that businesses are reopening and adjustments are being made in the interest of public health, and we too are working on our own timeline of reopening our campus and services that were impacted by COVID-19. We have established a first phase of reopening that will involve our pilot program with select group homes and SES program participants that will begin today, June 5 at 5:00 pm.
We want to share with you that this is a tentative plan with a layered approach as we serve a variety of individuals with a range of needs and health risks. Understanding that many of those we serve are vulnerable population, where they are in a situation that health conditions are prevalent — the need for The Arc to uphold safety and health is a priority. We also have to balance individuals’ rights to access their community in a safe way with the virus still present in Alaska. Starting June 5 at 5:00 pm, we will begin phase 1 of our plan with a pilot group of individuals who are lower-risk with little to no known health issues to enjoy visitation with their families and guardians in the community.
Note that this plan is subject to change; it can be updated to reflect changes due to case count and other factors that state and local authorities deem to be important to mitigate risk to public health, including mandates and similar measures that could effect the reopening of our campus and services. The Arc reserves the right to return to a campus closure in the interest of the health of our staff and individuals served, should public health and/or city/state officials advise necessary action.
In addition to this pilot program, we have three other phases to follow in the reopening our campus and other programs and services, along with procedures The Arc will require our staff and individuals receiving services to abide by. These additional phases will be announced early next week. We must to protect our staff and those served at The Arc through public health measures and align ourselves with what the state and federal agencies mandate us to follow according to Medicaid funding and service requirements.
We ask through this process of reopening that you give us time and patience to implement these reopening phases for our organization. To connect with us and receive announcements about the reopening, our social media pages and agency website will be resources. You can access them through the following links:
Again, thank you for your support of The Arc of Anchorage as a member of our community. Should you have any questions about our reopening plans, reach out to me at 907-277-6677 or via email: email@example.com.
Barbara Rodriguez-Rath, MSW
Chief Executive Officer