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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

COVID-19 Update from the Administration for Community Living

Source: Office of Independent Living Programs, Administration for Community Living

Dear Colleagues,

Across the country States, communities, and businesses are struggling to identify best practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with the Office of Personnel Management, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) staff are exercising maximum telework opportunities as the greater DC community is impacted by COVID-19.

The Office of Independent Living Programs (OILP) is actively working with our Administration on Disabilities (AoD) program partners, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), the National Independent Living Council (NCIL), the National Association of Statewide Independent Living Councils (NASILC), and IL-NET at ILRU to provide resources that are relevant to the independent living network. If you have resources you have developed or identified as helpful to the network please feel free to send them directly to me to be shared with others. We are actively working on a mechanism for the network to share good practices and ideas during the COVID-19 response.

While we continue to identify the needs of the network, here are a few high level Q&As:

1. Q: Can IL program funds be used to pay staff who are put on mandatory leave?

A: Yes, if necessary. During the COVID-19 response time, it is an allowable expense to pay staff placed on mandatory leave. Please note, this time could also be used for training or education. Many training and education opportunities can be found at www.ilru.org.

2. Q: Can IL program funds be used to pay staff who are teleworking?

A: Yes. During the COVID-19 response time, it is an allowable expense to pay staff who are teleworking.

3. Q: Can a CIL or SILC close its doors to activities and services during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: It is appropriate for a CIL or SILC to limit contact with people during COVID-19.

4. Q: What about the SILC?

A: All flexibilities discussed in relation to CILs will apply to SILC and staff.

5. Q: What about preparing the SPIL, especially public hearings?

A: OILP will providing additional guidance. Please note that current Federal law and regulation does not require that “public hearings” be groups of people meeting in public. We encourage SILCs to begin thinking of alternative ways to reach and garner input used in formulating their SPIL.

It is highly suggested that a CIL provide their OILP program officer with a short summary outlining the CIL’s plan of action during COVID-19. Please note this summary does not need to be approved. If a CIL closes its doors during COVID-19, it is highly suggested that an alternative means to provide core services is explored. We understand that the response to COVID-19 will vary from community to community. We are prepared to offer flexibilities. A good practice would include open communication with your program officer along the way.

We understand that each CIL may need to implement new or updated practices regarding personnel, consumer interaction, or providing IL services. OILP encourages you to exercise maximum flexibility. For your own records, we recommend that specific fiscal and program reporting of funds reallocated for disaster relief be identified as “COVID-19” with notes that describe what was provided and if applicable, what services were planned, but not provided.

Current COVID-19 information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. I also encourage you to review current resources and guidance found at www.ACL.gov/COVID-19. This page is intended to make it easier for the aging and disability networks to find the information they need most. In most cases, you will find links to the definitive source for information, in order to ensure that our networks are accessing the most up-to-the-minute information. Please not that program officers will not be providing health related information, other than to refer to these resources.

Be well,

Corinna

Corinna H. Stiles, PhD, JD

Director

Office of Independent Living Programs

Administration for Community Living

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

330 C Street, SW. RM 1123 Washington DC 20201

202.795.7446

www.acl.gov

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