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COVID19 President’s Update December 10

Dear Cushing Community,
Tomorrow will mark two weeks from the Thanksgiving holiday. Since that time, the two students that had tested positive prior to the Thanksgiving holiday have completed their quarantine time in our on-campus recovery home and have since returned to their respective residences. Thank you to those staff who helped to support those students in quarantine as well as those at the isolation home during this time, especially over the Thanksgiving holiday. Given the risk of holiday gatherings as well as increased cases here in Massachusetts, the organization implemented additional safeguards for the 2 week period following Thanksgiving. As of November 27th, we instituted that all staff working directly with students and/or adult participants wear an N95 or KN95 mask during their shifts and any non-direct support staff to wear a medical grade surgical mask from November 27th through December 11th. Additionally, during the state required surveillance testing period that began just following Thanksgiving, we chose to test all staff who have the potential for contact with individuals supported as opposed to the required 50% of staff. Our hope was to catch any positive cases early, specifically any staff that are asymptomatic.

Unfortunately, we have had one day student and three staff test positive. Any staff member that has had close contact with these individuals has been notified and guardians of those students that have had close contact with these individuals have also been notified. The homes in which these students live has gone into quarantine and we have arranged for all of those residential students to be tested. Those residential students who were impacted will remain in quarantine within their homes until all testing results are received. Those day students impacted will remain at home in remote learning until the quarantine period is over.

We continue to work closely with our local Board of Health and DPH as things develop and hope that the additional safety measures help to mitigate any spread. We received notification this morning that Plymouth County is now in the red zone at 6.1%. This means we will do another round of all staff surveillance testing in the next two weeks. Given the increased risk to our community I am extending the use of N95 or KN95 masks until further notice and asking that all staff, regardless of their role wear N95 or KN95 as of Monday, December 14th .
In order for these masks to be effective, they must be worn and stored correctly, please see guidelines below:
• Masks must completely cover your nose and mouth
• Masks must be cinched across your nose and affixed firmly to your face
• N95 and/or KN95 masks can be worn for 4 shifts and MUST be properly stored
o Masks must be stored in brown paper sandwich bags
o Please label your bag with your first and last name and record the dates of use
o Please take your bag with you after your shift
o Dispose of mask after fourth use

• Please do not come to work if you are feeling ill
• Please report any exposure you may have had to someone who has tested positive for COVID to your Supervisor IMMEDIATELY
Administration needs to know this information in order to keep our community safe

• Please do not send your student or adult participant to school/program if they are feeling ill
• Please report any exposure your child/loved one may have had to someone who has tested positive for COVID to a staff member at your child’s program IMMEDIATELY
Administration needs to know this information in order to keep our community safe

We are happy to announce the opening of our MarketPlace. Our businesses have been staffed with wonderful community volunteers and our students will move into their new classroom space later next week. The response from the community has been wonderful, with lines out the door all last week. We also sold our 250 Christmas Trees in just under 2 weeks! Please be advised that per Governor Baker’s most recent update, we are following capacity restrictions at the shops. The Cushing Café is available for “Grab & Go” baked goods, coffee and cold drinks however, there will be no dine-in options available. We hope to expand our menu to include breakfast and lunch options later in January. Please follow our MarketPlace Shops on for more details at or on Facebook and Instagram, @cushingmarketplace.

As cases in Massachusetts continue to rise, we will work collaboratively with our licensors, local boards of health, and DPH. We are also actively involved in conversations with EOHHS around the COVID vaccine. We remain hopeful that this will be available in the next few months. Thank you again for all of your support during these times. I invite you to reach out to program directors, or myself to share any questions or concerns you might have.

Be Well,
Michelle Markowitz
President & CEO