COVID-19: Leo’s Letter: Advocacy And The Return

On May 18, Governor Baker will share more about our return to the new normal. But there is nothing magical about May 18 or the days after, as the Governor has shared already.

There are a few obvious steps before any day program or school opening decisions are made:

  • The Commissioner of Public Health will rescind the closing orders, or issue new opening timeline orders
  • These orders may have certain conditions including consultation
  • Agencies or school districts will NOT open unless they feel they are READY

What are the minimums of being ready?

  1. Having clear conditions of entry in general and for each day (health checks for all)
  2. Redesign of space for some further distancing
  3. Procedures on hallway movement
  4. Plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  5. New transportation strategies for ALL activities – coming to and from your home, getting to employment, etc.

We are happy to report that ADDP has convened a working committee on re-entry that will involve state officials and stakeholders.

We also will need to be vigilant in our advocacy. As we went to press today, DDS funded day programs were scheduled to receive a lower amount of funding to keep activities stable and outreach consistent during this health crisis. This amount won’t allow them to become ready, as they will have to scramble to reduce staff and other costs just to make it through the foreseeable future.

We will be advocating with you on this issue and on behalf of families also at their breaking point, needing further assistance. But that is not all.

We have to ensure we are not forgotten as the state faces all kinds of fiscal demands – municipality shortfalls, failing businesses, high unemployment, the need for health care coverage (increased Medicaid enrollment), and hospital and community health care deficits, to name but a few.

Let’s work together more than ever to be remembered. Our community needs to stand together during this crisis to ensure the capacity for good lives in our community, our state, our country. Together, we can do it.


  1. It is vital that the budgets for DDS are not reduced. To lessen staff to meet budgetary requirements is antithetical to adequate support.

    • Without supports for dependents in the re entry plan, many will not be able to return to work. DDS is there to take the burden off parents. Funding to agencies to allow for higher staff ratios so distance requirements are met in transportation as well as programming space is critical. I fear the burden will remain on parents for the foreseeable future strictly due to lack of funds coming to the agencies.

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