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A new coronavirus - 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus – that was first detected in China is now spreading worldwide. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19 and can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are thousands of confirmed cases in a growing number of countries internationally and the virus is now spreading in the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more about this virus.

For the latest information, please check the New York State Department of Health web site.

General Guidance

Vaccine Guidelines

COVID Information and FAQ from the CDC
Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccine Access for Persons Age 12 to 17

Local departments of social services (LDSS) and provider agencies operating OCFS licensed or certified residential programs including foster care, close to home, detention, homeless youth programs, and domestic violence shelters must prepare for vaccination of any youth age 12 or over against the COVID-19 virus. This guidance also applies to LDSS and voluntary agencies regarding foster children residing in certified or approved foster homes and pre-adoptive homes.

Learning about the COVID-19 Vaccine: Basics and More

Child care providers and programs wishing to be up to date on information about current COVID-19 vaccines can now access a new informational resource. This PowerPoint presentation contains information and answers to many of your most frequent questions.

CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Information and FAQ
See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site for federal guidance on COVID-19 vaccination.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Please see the attached COVID-19 vaccination program document package, where you will find updated forms, templates, and instructions regarding the Janssen Pharmaceuticals/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The following documents are enclosed:

  • Guidance for the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program (Effective 3/5/21)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) EUA Letter of Authorization (Issued 3/1/21 - Revised)
  • New York State COVID-19 Immunization Screening and Consent Form
  • Information for Health Care Professionals about the Screening Checklist for the COVID-19 Vaccine
  • New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Storage and Handling Overview
  • New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Program Temperature Excursion Report
  • New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Program Guidance for Vaccine Transport and Tracking Sheet
  • New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Program Redistribution and Q&A

We cannot overemphasize the vital role that vaccines will play as we turn the tide of COVID-19 infections and bring hope for a brighter future in New York State. Your continued efforts to ensure proper vaccine storage, handling, and administration are of paramount importance. Thank you for your efforts to protect New Yorkers from COVID-19.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Information

This Fact Sheet contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which you may receive because there is currently a pandemic of COVID-19.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Information

This Fact Sheet contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, which you may receive because there is currently a pandemic of COVID-19.

Vaccine Access for Persons Age 16 and Over in Programs/Facilities Licensed or Certified by OCFS

Limited amounts of COVID-19 vaccine are available for New York’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The amount of vaccine the state receives is based upon the allocation made to New York by the federal government. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) then determines state allocations to providers and entities who have enrolled to administer vaccine. The NYSDOH continues to expand on its prioritization and allocation framework based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Providers must prioritize their health care workers, and hospitals must continue to prioritize unvaccinated health care workers from the 1A group, but may vaccinate any eligible person in 1A or 1B. Retail pharmacies or physician network or practice groups, after vaccinating their own patient-facing staff, should only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older. Local Health Departments must prioritize the essential worker population in 1B.

Vaccination Program Guidelines

Current Guidance for New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Programs

Effective April 6, individuals age 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated in addition to all previously eligible groups.

Prior Guidance for New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Programs

March 23, 2021

Effective March 23, individuals age 50 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, in addition to all previously eligible groups.

March 17, 2021

Effective March 17, enrolled providers other than pharmacies, may vaccinate any eligible individual. Pharmacies must continue to vaccinate individuals age 60 and older, and prioritize P-12 school faculty and staff, and childcare worker per federal guidance, however are now authorized to vaccinate individuals with comorbidities or underlying conditions. All providers must make efforts to vaccinate the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including those with comorbidities or underlying conditions, and individuals 60+.

March 10, 2021

Effective March 10, enrolled pharmacies must vaccinate only individuals age 60 and older, P-12 school faculty and staff, and childcare workers. Beginning March 17, enrolled providers other than pharmacies, may vaccinate any eligible individual.

February 28, 2021

Limited amounts of COVID-19 vaccine are available for New York’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The amount of vaccine the state receives is based upon the allocation made to New York by the federal government. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) then determines state allocations to providers and entities who have enrolled to administer vaccine. Executive Order 202.91, as extended, also sets forth mandatory prioritization for vaccination by provider type.

January 12, 2021

Providers must prioritize their health care workers, and hospitals must continue to prioritize unvaccinated health care workers from the 1A group, but may vaccinate any eligible person in 1A or 1B. Retail pharmacies or physician network or practice groups, after vaccinating their own patient-facing staff, should only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older. Local Health Departments must prioritize the essential worker population in 1B.

Quarantine Guidelines

Update to Health Advisory: Quarantine for Community Persons Exposed to COVID-19

Update to Health Advisory: Quarantine for Community Persons Exposed to COVID-19

Updated Quarantine Guidelines for Persons Exposed to COVID-19

Summary

  • This document supersedes the March 10, 2021 guidance on quarantine for community persons exposed to COVID-19.
  • This update aligns the guidance with changes to the New York State Travel Advisory that go into effect on April 1, 2021 and recent updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on quarantine for the fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated is defined as being 2 weeks or more after either receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks or more after receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

Exposure Quarantine Guidance

Travel

Current NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory

All New Yorkers must adhere to the travel guidelines, attached hereto, and available on the NYS DOH website. Please review the information contained in these important guidance documents.

Updates in the April 1st guidance include:

  • Quarantine and testing are no longer required for asymptomatic domestic travelers as of April 1, 2021.
  • Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations for international travel, is still recommended for domestic travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months.
  • Restrictions on international travel are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • NYS Travel Form must continue to be filled out by all travelers.

Resources:

Prior NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisories

Guidance by Audience

Employer/Employee

Revised Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure – Including Quarantine and Furlough Requirements for Different Healthcare Settings

This document supersedes the March 10, 2021 “Update to Interim Health Advisory: Revised Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure-Including Quarantine and Furlough Requirements for Different Healthcare Settings.” The information contained herein supersedes such guidance and any other previous guidance related to fully vaccinated asymptomatic healthcare personnel (HCP) returning to work after exposure to COVID-19 or travel.

Revised Guidance on COVID-19 Protocols for Direct Care Staff Return to Work

Health Advisory: Revised Protocols for Personnel in Clinical and Direct Care Roles in Certain Designated Residential Settings ONLY to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection.

This guidance applies to residential programs licensed or certified by the New York State Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS) specifically limited to, only:

  • congregate foster care,
  • runaway and homeless youth, and
  • juvenile detention programs.

Revised Guidance on COVID-19 Protocols for Direct Care Staff Return to Work
Revised Guidance Protocols Direct Care Staff - Feb 2021 Word | Revised Guidance Protocols Direct Care Staff - Feb 2021 PDF

  • OCFS-5465 - Notification and Attestation: Direct Care Staff Return to Work During Quarantine

Child Care

Please also see General Guidance above.

Advisory for Staff COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Mask Use at NYS Children’s Camps, Farms, Orchards, and other locations with Seasonal/Migrant Workers and/or Congregate Worker Housing

The advisory provides information and clarification for local health departments regarding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and mask use for staff at NYS children’s camps, farms, orchards, and other locations with seasonal/migrant workers and/or congregate worker housing.

20-OCFS-INF-09

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

New CDC Supplemental Guidance on Child Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a Supplemental Guide for Child Care. Written in collaboration with the Offices of Child Care and Head Start for a variety of child care settings, this resource provides guidance specific to child care on issues such as:

  • Social distancing;
  • Child pick up and drop off procedures;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of toys and bedding;
  • Safely caring for infants and toddlers; and
  • Food preparation and meal service

In addition, the Guidance document provides numerous links to resources that provide even greater detail, including information regarding children’s risks concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19).

DJJOY

Please also see General Guidance above.

Amendment to Availability of COVID-19 Rapid Tests for Facility Staff and Youth

This notice amends the implementation portion of Availability of COVID-19 Rapid Tests for Facility Staff and Youth, issued July 29, 2021.

Amendment to COVID-19, Youth in Residential Care, and Face Coverings/Masks

On August 27, 2021, the NYS Department of Health (DOH) issued Commissioner's Determination on Indoor Masking Pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.61 (DOH Determination). The following are important findings from the DOH Determination that amend the current DJJOY guidance COVID-19, Youth in Residential Care, and Face Coverings/Masks. This amendment applies to youth residing at OCFS facilities.

Availability of COVID-19 Rapid Tests for Facility Staff and Youth

OCFS facilities have been approved to offer rapid COVID-19 testing (the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card test) to both facility staff and youth. Testing will be used to identify and respond to possible asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in DJJOY facilities. COVID-19 testing is voluntary for both staff and youth.

BHS COVID-19 Q&A Mailbox for Facility Questions Related to Youth

DJJOY has created a process for facilities to submit COVID-19-related questions connected to work with and care of youth in facilities.

Facility Cleanliness

Cleaning activities must be documented per PPM 3500.00 Facility Cleanliness. The related approved Local Operating Procedure must reflect each facility’s local process.

Juvenile Justice Basic Training

DJJOY halted Basic Academy Training (BAT) for several months due to COVID-19. Having untrained staff on the floor puts the safety and security of staff, as well as youth, at risk. As a result, DJJOY will resume JJBT training in late August 2020, with a thorough safety plan in place, a modified schedule to reduce overnights, some modules moved to computer-based training, smaller in-person cohort sizes, and a focus on the core competencies that permit staff to work with and engage with youth at facilities.

  • Juvenile Justice Basic Training (JJBT) and COVID-19 Precautions and Safety
    English: PDF JJBT - August 7
Masks and Face Coverings

February 23, 2021

Consistent with CDC guidance and in accordance with Executive Order 202.16, since April 16, 2020, all staff working at an OCFS facility must wear a protective face mask or covering while at work. Staff must wear face masks/coverings in accordance with the CDC guidance.

February 2, 2021

January 22, 2021

As stated in memorandum, Wearing N95 Respirator or Surgical Type Face Mask in the Workplace, dated April 8, 2020, facility staff are permitted to bring and wear their own N95 respirators. DJJOY has further revised PPE guidance to include provisions for the use of OCFS-issued and fit tested N95 respirators.

Oct 7, 2020

Effective immediately, facilities should provide face coverings/masks to youth when they are unable or unlikely to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others (e.g., staff, visitors, other youth), and when they are engaging in facility-wide activities or events. Also, if youth are intentionally or effectively cohorted, they should wear a mask when programming with any other cohort.

July 21, 2020

Where staff do not comply with these mandates and have not been granted a reasonable accommodation, facilities should first coordinate with Labor Relations, who will reach out to the local union to encourage the employee to comply with the directives. If the employee still fails to comply, facilities should reach out to Labor Relations to discuss pursuing a notice of suspension.

July 20, 2020

July 14, 2020

Effective immediately and until further notice, all staff working at an OCFS facility must wear a protective face mask or covering in accordance with Executive Order 202.16 and the fight against COVID-19.

Recreation at OCFS Facilities: No-, Limited-, and Close-Contact Sports

Staff must continue to do recreational programming for youth that focuses on individual skill building and encourages social distance (e.g. streaming/video fitness, video games that encourage movement, etc.), including no-contact sports.

Screening Guidelines, Questions and Scripts
Protocols for Mandatory Temperature Checks

All person(s) seeking admission to the facility are required to have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometer, prior to being able to continue through the regular entry and contraband screening processes.

Out-of-State Travel Guidelines and Leave for DJJOY Essential Staff

Facility administration has the discretion to disapprove or approve leave when aware that the leave is for or related to travel to a restricted state.

Vaccine Access

February 27, 2021

OCFS is glad to announce that eligible facility staff and youth may now be vaccinated at one of several NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) vaccination sites, by using OMH’s online scheduling system (O-LOV).

January 11, 2021

As of January 11, 2021, only DJJOY staff who work in residential facilities with direct and regular youth interaction are included in Phase 1A of the vaccine prioritization. Youth and other DJJOY non-facility staff will be included in a later phase, to be addressed at that time.

Visits and Televisits

April 9, 2021

Beginning April 12, 2021, any facility that has not had a known case of COVID (defined at [I][A] below) can resume limited in-person visitation according to the procedures outlined in this guidance.

December 1, 2020

Due to increasing COVID-19 cases across the state, the decision has been made to modify all visitation to televisits in OCFS facilities effective immediately. The safety of youth and staff remains in the forefront. This change in practice will be evaluated weekly and will remain in effect until further notice.

November 17, 2020

As of the date of this notice, for any facility where there is a known case of COVID-19—whether among youth or staff—all in-person visits are modified to televisits until further notice.

July 21, 2020

All visitors must obtain gate clearance prior to traveling to the facility by notifying their facility contact or designee.

June 29, 2020

As we move forward, facilities should expand the use of video cameras for direct visits with families, youth attorneys, outside service providers, and OCFS programs—including CMSO staff and the Office of the Ombudsman (OOTO).

LDSS and Voluntary Agencies

Please also see General Guidance above.

Adult Protective Services Staff

Protocols for Adult Protective Services staff conducting investigations. Specific guidance and protocols on remote assessments, scheduling home visits, clients/contacts displaying symptoms and denial of home entry due to concerns of COVID-19 exposure.

CFTSS Telehealth

In response to concerns relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the NYS DOH has authorized designated Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) to be provided via telehealth or telephonically whenever clinically appropriate to properly care for the patient. This temporary waiver will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the Department of Health.

Child Protective Services Staff

Protocols for Child Protective Services staff conducting investigations. Specific guidance and protocols on remote assessments, scheduling home visits, client/contacts displaying symptoms, denial of home entry dues to concerns of COVID-19 exposure and removal of children exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.

CONNECTIONS Guidelines: Delayed Permanency Planning Hearings
Domestic Violence Residential Programs: Requesting a Waiver to the Maximum Length of Stay

On March 27, 2020, the Governor signed Executive Order 202.11, allowing domestic violence (DV) residential programs to continue to serve victims of domestic violence who need to exceed the maximum length of stay for residential programs.

Foster Care and Preventive Staff

Protocols for Foster Care and Preventive staff conducting casework contacts. Specific guidance and protocols on remote case work contacts, scheduling casework contacts, parents/caregivers/household members displaying symptoms, movement of children diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, enhanced supports for parents/caregivers and visitation.

Foster Care Agency and Detention Programs - Youth Supervision

This guidance allows for temporary adjustments in staffing patterns and training requirements to meet the needs of the program. Any temporary policy revisions and local practice adjustments sought under this guidance are to address exigent circumstances, and must continue to meet the needs of the youth in your programs and not jeopardize the safety of youth and staff.

Download related forms and documents:

Foster Care Re-Entry Program

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, OCFS has developed a re-entry program for those who have aged out of foster care during the pandemic. Below is a file with two flyers with information on the program.

Foster Parent Certification and Reauthorization Guidance

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, OCFS has developed this guidance to assist local departments of social services and voluntary agencies in completing new foster parent certification and annual reauthorizations for certified or approved foster boarding homes. This guidance is effective for the duration of the emergency, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Health Care Providers and Local Health Departments

Appropriate and efficient standards for testing are an essential component of a multilayered strategy to prevent sustained spread of COVID-19 in New York State and to ensure resources are being efficiently distributed. Testing capacity for COVID-19 in New York State is being increased on a daily basis. However, until such time as we are at full capacity, this guidance is necessary to ensure that New York State prioritizes the resources to meet the most urgent public health need.

Availability of Waivers and Suspensions of the HOME Program Requirements

The suspensions and waivers provided in this memorandum will allow PJs to use HOME funds for TBRA to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 1) providing immediate rental assistance to individuals and families seeking housing, 2) assisting households that have housing but face reduced or lost wages, and 3) assisting existing TBRA families that need additional assistance due to reduced or lost wages.

Suspensions and Waivers to Facilitate Use of HOME-Assisted Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)

The suspensions and waivers provided in this memorandum will allow PJs to use HOME funds for TBRA to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 1) providing immediate rental assistance to individuals and families seeking housing, 2) assisting households that have housing but face reduced or lost wages, and 3) assisting existing TBRA families that need additional assistance due to reduced or lost wages.

Homeless and Supportive Housing: Operators / Referring Organizations

Congregate facilities, such as shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness, are especially at risk for the spread of communicable diseases due to the number of individuals living in close proximity. Facility operators must take steps to minimize the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19. Please review this information with your program’s leadership and staff and make necessary adjustments to your program policies and protocols.

Health Advisory: Quarantine for Residents of Non-Healthcare Congregate Settings Exposed to Covid-19

This advisory aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People issued on April 29, 2021 as it relates to fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings.

Isolation or Quarantine

The following guidance for residential programs and domestic violence shelters licensed or certified by OCFS is based on the most current CDC and DOH recommendations for prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus of 2019 disease (COVID-19) and the management of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. Specific guidance for isolation or quarantine protocol, including required notification, is documented.

Residential Programs for Youth - Youth and Family Visition

This guidance is intended to build on and refine the guidance provided on March 20, 2020 regarding visitation with parents and siblings. Previous OCFS guidance provided Foster Care and Preventive Staff direction related to youth and family visitation during the COVID-19 public health emergency. That guidance, while not restricting nor relaxing any of the relevant regulatory/statutory requirements related to youth and family visitations, provided for alternate means of such visitation including virtual platforms. This guidance was aimed to safeguard and maintain the health and wellbeing of youth, families, and staff while containing the spread of COVID-19 during the State’s initial phase of the pandemic. After the successful efforts by New Yorkers to flatten the curve and reduce virus transmission, OCFS recognizes the need for youth and families to begin resuming other types of contact with one another in a planful manner, as safely as possible. Below are some considerations when planning for contacts and visits with family who will be physically present with the child in care.

  • Guidance for Counties and Residential Programs for Youth Licensed by NYS Office of Children and Family Services Division of Child Welfare and Community Services
    English: PDF Guidance for Youth Program - July 15
Respite Services: Guidance for 1915(c) Children's Waiver

As outlined in the Guidance for Home and Community–Based Services (HCBS) Providers Serving Children/Youth Under the 1915(c) Children´s Waiver Related to COVID–19, if a waiver participant chooses not to have a face-to-face meeting or a determination is made that a face-to-face meeting is not appropriate during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Respite provider may deliver the service remotely following telehealth guidance.

Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) - Mask Mandate in Congregate Programs

NYS DOH requires that all clients, visitors, and staff wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status when social distancing cannot be maintained (pages 2-3). This requirement impacts all congregate RHY programs to include crisis shelters and TILP – group residences. Please make sure your staff and young people understand and implement this requirement effective immediately.

Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) - Regulatory Relief

Due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, programs may need to take extra precautions and make unique exceptions to best protect the health and safety of youth in their care and community.

Tuberculosis Testing, Changes in Regulatory Requirements

Guidance for Local Department of Social Services and Voluntary Authorized Agencies Regarding Changes in Regulatory Requirements for Tuberculosis Testing.

Visitor Screening for Community-Based Visits

Be sure to ask all clients or applicable family members the following 3 questions: Have you traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 travel designation within the last 14 days?; Have you had contact with any Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, OR with anyone with known COVID-19?; and Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection?

Visitor Screening for Residential Programs

The following guidance is based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NYS Department of Health (DOH) recommendations for prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) and the management of Persons Under Investigation (PUI). Specific additional guidance for residential programs is also included.

Parents

Navigating K-12 Educational Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Other Resources

COVID Information

Federal Resources

Help for Parents

Resources for the Blind

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