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COVID-19 President Update: April 21

Dear Cushing Community,

I hope and pray that you and your families all continue to stay safe and healthy. 

We just received news that Governor Baker has announced that schools will be closed through the end of the school year. In the coming days, we will seek guidance from our partners at DDS, DESE, and EEC on what this means for our school and adult day programs. We will also be working with our teams internally on what will be the best and safest plan for those we support and our families. I know that this news is disheartening however, a necessary step in fighting this virus. We will provide a community update as soon as we have more details around what these extended closures mean for us.

We unfortunately had our first positive COVID case reported to Cushing this weekend. The staff member who tested positive was taken off the schedule due a potential exposure and had not worked since April 1st. I want to assure you that we are following all of the procedural guidelines set forth by DPH, EOHHS and DDS around reporting and containment. All parents and guardians whose loved one may have been impacted were contacted and anyone who had direct or secondary exposure was tested this morning through DDS mobile testing. We are hopeful to have results in the coming days.

I know that this news presents increased concerns for our community. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to keep everyone safe, to minimize exposure, and to contain this incident. We encourage families to reach out to management if you have specific questions or concerns. This has suddenly now become very real for all of us and I want to be sure you are all feeling supported and informed.

I want to take this time to share the safeguards that have been in place for our employees and those we support. This includes the following:

    1. •  Mandatory daily temperature checks of both staff and the individuals we support. If there is a temperature of 100.0 staff must be immediately sent home and his or her supervisor should be notified. If an individual has a temperature of 100.0 please have them stay in their bedroom with the door closed and report to designated program nurse to advise on next steps.


    1. •  Please adhere to physical distancing and access gloves while at work and during your days off.


    1. •  Homes/program space should be disinfected thoroughly and frequently. If you are in need of additional resources, please notify your supervisor for assistance.>


    1. •  We are now requesting that staff disclose to their supervisor if they are working shifts for other agencies so we can responsibly report to peer agencies if we have a positive case at Cushing.


    1. •  Please stay home if you have a temperature or are feeling sick.


    1. •  Please report any potential COVID exposure to your supervisors.


    •  All staff are required to wear masks while on shift. Staff can wear a mask of their choice or the masks provided by Cushing. 


We have been very fortunate to receive additional PPE equipment through MEMA as well as our additional orders that should be arriving in the next week. We are so grateful for our relationship with MAAPS, ADDP and Providers Council, as they have been a huge support in accessing PPE as well as advocating for all of our needs during this health crisis.  In addition to our protective masks, we have also had many volunteers and Cushing staff that have been sewing handmade masks for our community. Big thanks to the following Cushing Staff: Meg Bean, LOU South’s Art Instructor; Denise Weber, Adult Services Nautical Way; Joanne Leahy, Hanover Health Center’s Administrative Assistant; Anne Matheson, Asst. Recreation Director; and Carla Houghton, Adult Services Residential RN’s daughter, Julia. Another big thanks to parent and board member, Jody Nash, and her team of sewers for making almost 200!

Our most valuable assets are the incredibly dedicated staff at Cushing, we would not be able to fulfill our mission without them. Our Art Instructor, Randy Wiskow, recently made a sign for our community that said Heroes Work Here. We are especially grateful for all of the Cushing Heroes that are here every day to support and care for our community during this crisis. I also want to express my appreciation and recognize the remarkable efforts and changes our families have had to make within their own households to support their loved ones during this closure. These are difficult times for all of us, we will get through this together – We are Cushing Strong!

Be Well,

Michelle Markowitz
Interim President & CEO