The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) remains dedicated to health and public safety as the system responds to coronavirus (COVID-19).
As Ohio begins the gradual, multi-phased process of reopening non-essential businesses, DODD will work closely with Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to determine how best to provide services for Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families in the safest manner during this time.
The order issued by Dr. Amy Acton, director of ODH, is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect people’s health and save lives. The order is to remain in effect until it is rescinded. This order restricts group sizes no larger than 10 people, including staff of the provider, within buildings where Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation services are provided. This applies to all providers of Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation, regardless of waiver, local, or intermediate care facilities (ICF) funding sources. The ODH order is still in effect and has not been rescinded.
DODD will work closely with stakeholders to develop a purposeful strategy for reopening day services to ensure the health and safety of everyone receiving and providing those services. Through this process, the department remains hopeful that providers, county boards, people receiving services, and their families can have planful and meaningful conversations about these changes.
At this time, providers should operate within the guidelines of the ODH order, and individual service plans should not be modified to authorize services to be provided in settings outside of what the order dictates. Final decisions about lifting restrictions within this order will be a joint decision between Governor DeWine, ODH, and DODD.
The uncertainty of this time has been difficult for everyone, and the struggle to overcome this challenge will continue as everyone works together through a very gradual and multi-phased process of reopening day services. The timeline for this process will look much different from other businesses in the general public (elective surgeries, non-essential business, etc.), as the support system in Ohio depends on many people, in many different environments, to keep people receiving services healthy and safe.
It is important to remember that providers can continue to support people with developmental disabilities in meaningful ways during this time. Offering someone a meaningful day means supporting people to explore their interests and how they are connected to other people through those interests. Even under the stay-at-home order, a meaningful day made up of planned and purposeful opportunities is possible.
Through current guidance, there are creative ways in which services can be provided without violating the ODH order.