Dear Search Team, Family Members, Guardians, and Stakeholders:

Hello from all of us at Search! We hope you, your family and loved ones are all doing well. It’s been a month since our last update, and in that time a lot has been happening nationally, here in Illinois and at Search as we all grapple with the implications of the ongoing pandemic.
Let's Dive In...

We are six months into this pandemic in the US, and it bears stating, unequivocally, COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. It’s here and continues to challenge us. The last time we sent out an update on Friday, July 3rd, the 7 day average percent of people testing positive in suburban Cook County was 4.4%. As of August 3rd, the 7 day positivity rate was 5.7%.

Throughout July and into August we’ve seen a gradual but steady climb in the number of Illinois citizens testing positive. Per the CDC, a positivity rate higher than 3.3% should be of concern. If it reaches 8%, the Governor has signaled that Illinois would once again be under a full shelter in place order.

We continue to monitor the situation closely as we do everything we can to keep everyone here at Search safe and healthy.
COVID Cases at Search

Since March 2020, Search has seen 17 residents and 27 staff test positive for the COVID-19 infection, for a total of 44 positive cases agency-wide. This represents 10 additional positive cases since July 3rd, when we reported 34 total cases. For perspective, Search serves 172 individuals in its Supported Living program and has 260+ employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an element of risk into each of our lives that we never would have expected six months ago. Search is doing everything in our power to manage this risk every day and protect the people we have the privilege of serving and the essential staff members that bring our mission to life. 

We continually update our COVID-19 protocols as new information becomes available. If you would like to learn more about our protocols, click here.
Community Day Services (CDS) Update

As you are likely aware, Search’s 6 CDS sites have been closed since mid-March. On July 28th, we received final guidance from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) on CDS operations under COVID-19.

IDHS has developed a number of tools to help agencies like Search adjust their services, supports, policies, and procedures to adapt to the new safety precautions required to safely support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities I/DD.

Search will be undergoing a “Preparedness Self-Assessment” prior to reopening to assist us in planning and implementing day services in order to ensure:

  • an organization-wide systematic implementation of safety precautions
  • support for individuals' needs and choice;
  • the safety of individuals, families, caregivers, and provider staff; and
  • proper training for staff to support individuals as they phase back into services.

IDHS anticipates CDS programs beginning to reopen on September 1 with a 50% limit on facility occupancy. However, when Search resumes onsite services at our CDS programs, we will be limiting capacity to considerably lower than 50% to ensure the safety of participants as we test the waters of reopening our sites.

Please note that we are only summarizing the IDHS guidelines here, as they are quite lengthy and detailed. We suggest you read the full guidance, if interested. Click here to view the entire guidance.
Search’s Approach to Reopening its CDS Programs

Search is approaching the reopening of its CDS programs with extreme caution. Positive cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Illinois. We are utilizing scientific data, CDC guidance, and input from our recent CDS stakeholder surveys and individual risk assessments to inform our decisions on reopening.

We are carefully evaluating which CDS program sites will reopen and how many people we can safely serve in each of these sites.
  
Please know that, while no final decisions on reopening have been made, we are continuing to follow a thoughtful, comprehensive planning process as we navigate the rapidly-changing public health environment around us. We know families and stakeholders are anxious to get some certainty on our reopening plans. As soon as we have any substantive updates, we will ensure we communicate them with everyone. 

We appreciate your patience and continued understanding in these unprecedented times.
Celebrating 30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

As you may have seen on our social media, Search recently celebrated, alongside the rest of the world, an important moment in Disability Rights history. The American with Disabilities Act turned 30 last month.

In 1990, this law was signed to protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. This act includes five key titles: Employment, State and Local Governments, Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, Telecommunications, and Miscellaneous. The ADA allows the mission and vision of Search, Inc. to come to life and provide our individuals the opportunity to lead rich, rewarding lives in their communities.

Please consider donating $30 to Search for 30 years of the ADA #30for30 #ADA30. Your support is more important now than ever.

Join us in celebrating this landmark act by learning and sharing along with Search, Inc. today and every day!
Pand-Epic Birthday Shout Outs!

Send a Pand-Epic Birthday Shoutout! We're asking our Search Community to help us celebrate individuals with birthdays in August!

This is how it works - simply choose a name from the list below, and mail them a card to 625 Slawin Ct, Mt Prospect, IL 60056. Be sure to include the person’s name you have chosen on the envelope. Let’s make their day special! 
Thank you so much for your continued support of Search. We will continue to stay in touch.

All the best to you and yours,
 
Cory Gumm
CEO
Search Inc.