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COVID 19 President’s Update May 22

Dear Cushing Community,

As we end week 10 there is a lot to be grateful for. All of the individuals we support who have tested positive have now completed their quarantine/isolation and have integrated back into their home setting. We have also had a few additional staff and individuals receive negative test results this week, and have had no new positive cases to report! Our staff continue to wear KN95, N95, surgical and cloth masks during their shifts and many of the students and adults we support have also been wearing their masks when they have been outside of their homes. I know this has been an incredible adjustment for all of us, however, we know that this is necessary in containing the spread of illness and will be required in our return to day programs.

I know everyone is eagerly awaiting news on when our day programs will reopen as well as when we can lift restrictions on visitation. Our administrative teams have begun discussing plans for reopening programs however, we must await guidance and approval from EOHHS, DESE and DDS to do so. We know that there will be required staff trainings on safety and infection control prior to opening as well as significant modifications to day program operations in order to provide necessary safety measures. We will continue remote learning/programming through June as we await guidance from DDS and DESE on next steps and hope there will be more formal announcements from the state on June 1st.

This past Thursday would have been our organization’s largest annual fundraising event, the Springtime Gala and fashion show. While we weren’t able to celebrate in person to work the runway, our supporters have been so incredibly generous in supporting Cushing during these extraordinary times through the Cushing Fund and our newest CushFit initiative. The monies raised will help offset the incredible expenses we have had during this pandemic and keep operations moving forward. We are just $75,000 away from our goal!

As with many traditions that have been impacted by COVID, this year’s graduation will be different, too. The school administration has selected Saturday, August 15th as Cardinal Cushing School & St. Coletta Day School’s graduation ceremony date. DESE released guidelines on graduation ceremonies yesterday; our team will review the updated guidelines and hope to have a plan out to families in the coming weeks. We are also still working through plans for the senior class Disney trip that was cancelled earlier this month.

Our staff continue to demonstrate incredible resiliency and commitment to those that we support and to one another. I have heard from many families that staff have gone above and beyond to keep their loved one engaged not only with daily programming initiatives but also going that extra mile because they are “just doing their job.” There have been drive by birthday parades for those that are home with family, extra evening ZOOM sessions for someone who has been struggling, or staff that have come into work (despite having a day off) because they know that person really needed them that day. Our community has an incredible capacity for empathy and caring in times of need and maintaining physical distance will never change that.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Be Well,
Michelle Markowitz
Interim President & CEO