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Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As most of you already know, Governor Cuomo announced earlier this week that visitation may resume at OPWDD certified group homes and residential facilities as early as tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2020. The guidance that providers and visitors must follow has been posted to the OPWDD website.

As outlined in the guidance, providers of residential services will be required to follow specific protocols and guidelines for visitation that take into account staffing, disinfection and infection controls, staggered visits to ensure social distancing and documentation of who is visiting the home. In addition, all visitors will be required to take part in symptom and temperature checks, wear a mask and sanitize their hands upon arrival and perform meticulous hand hygiene throughout the visit. Visitation is encouraged to occur outside the facility if weather permits, with masks worn by all parties and with social distancing in place.

This is a very important first step in our efforts to return to a “new normal” and we continue to work with the NYS Department of Health on a return to home visits, community outings and in-person day services as we are able to demonstrate the ability to safely implement visitation in group homes. As always, our number one priority as we resume visitation is to continue to ensure the health and safety of the people we support.

To view the COVID-19: Interim Visitation Guidance for Certified Residential Facilities:
All OPWDD issued information related to COVID-19 can be found at the following page:

Theodore Kastner, MD, MSCommissioner