March 16th Update


March 16, 2020

From the Desk Of Jill Warner, CEO

As you know, our staff and the people who come to us for services are our highest priority. We continue to receive guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NYS oversight agencies, local health departments, hospitals, county government offices and emergency services departments. As of 1pm today, Rockland declared a state of emergency. This follows the Westchester and NYS declaration of last week.

Beginning tomorrow, March 17, your managers will assess staff responsibilities and remote work capabilities. This review will also involve Joe Ciardullo as to the IT needs if you will be working remotely. Your manager will also discuss teleconferencing calls and virtual meetings.

As I shared with you last week, I know we will rise to the occasion together in facing this public health pandemic. On behalf of our Board of Directors and our Senior team, we will remind you again and again to please be sure that you and your family are taking good care of yourselves. Please observe all precautions related to the Coronavirus. If you are sick you must stay home! Make sure you do not touch your face; and wipe down all surfaces. Remember to maintain social distancing with at least 6 feet of space between you and the person(s) you are interacting with.

For those of you providing direct services, you are the ones who are on the front lines each and every day. You selflessly support and care for the most vulnerable people in our society. You, especially, must ensure universal precautions as a responsibility to yourself and the lives that are in your hands. Thank you for providing essential and critical care day and night.

I will be visiting the homes as often as possible as will members of our senior staff. We will check in and listen to your concerns. Simply put, we want to see how you, your family and your loved ones are managing through this public health emergency as well.

For those staff who are not direct service professionals, we thank you for what you do each and every day as well, to ensure all of the operational supports that Jawonio needs.

Below please find our staff communications plan. Please review with your staff and print for all who do not have email.

Staff Communications

1. Jawonio has activated a Coronavirus information line for any and all program and staff updates. If needed, you may leave a message. Our Chief Development and Communications Officer, Diana Hess, will be responsible for retrieving all messages. The info line number is: 845.708.2020 and as a backup, Diana’s email is and cell is 845.521.5352.

2. Both the Jawonio website and Facebook page will be updated constantly. Both sites include emergency phone numbers including the NYS Health Department Hotline, local health departments and the CDC. Our website is and our Facebook page is Jawonio as well.

3. We have put a file named CoronaVirus Resources March 2020 in the public drive for those who have access. For those without email, there are many documents that can be printed, or copied and pasted and sent to someone’s personal email if they filled out the HR Form. You will see it as a library of resources for every category, guideline, posters and information as it comes in to Jawonio.

Staff Guidance Effective Immediately, March 16

Jawonio’s policies are in accordance with state, federal and local county guidance. As we are a health care agency, we will be placing the utmost priority on the health and safety of our staff and individuals.

1. Children’s programs: Pre-School and EI Programs are closed until further notification.

2. PROS program at Jawonio TECH closed until March 30

3. Day Services: Day Services will only be provided to Jawonio residents in their homes. Our Day Services staff will be redeployed to the houses. Those living in non-Jawonio homes will receive day services from their residential program.

4. Visitors:

  • Group Homes - No visitors are allowed in our group homes, including family. If family wishes to visit their loved one they must bring the loved one home until. Our resident cannot return to the home until the precautionary measures are lifted.
  • Work Sites - No Visitors will be allowed at our work sites at the Main Campus, TECH, or Yonkers unless they have a scheduled appointment. However, even with an appointment, visitors will still be screened in accordance with CDC guidelines. 

4. Remote work: Our IT Manager, Joe Ciardullo will be the point of contact for all IT issues and/or troubleshooting. Joe is currently looking to deploy the proper equipment, software and additional teleconference lines for staff and teams who are working remotely during this time.

5. Personal Health and Universal Precautions: Please follow all of the guidelines according to the CDC and the Departments of Health. All of the precautions are similar to any prevention of contagions including hand washing and keeping a distance. The best way to ensure no spread is to observe the social distance rule.

6. Social Distancing: While this is not possible for DSPs and day services staff in our homes, we ask that you try to keep a 6-foot distance when possible. There will be many opportunities during this time to use Facetime, Skype, Smartphone video for individuals, families and staff.

7. Managing IT: All requests and troubleshooting regarding computer, laptop, ipad or phone issues will be handled by Joe Ciardullo, Director, IT Services.

8. Environmental Cleaning: Our Cleaning Company will provide daily cleaning including sanitizing, wiping down all surfaces and ensuring a safe and healthy workspace. Deep environmental cleaning that includes sanitizing and disinfection will take place on a weekly basis or more as needed. In addition to our cleaners, Phil Selvaggio, his maintenance staff and Dino Patrikis, will be deployed throughout our larger sites and group homes to clean our vans and group homes.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication and commitment to ensure the health and well-being of our children, adults and families with special needs each and every day. Please make sure that you continue to connect with each other and check in with each other. Be safe and remember, we are people who support people who support people. This is a very serious time for us here at Jawonio, throughout our communities and around the world. If we all observe the proper precautions and follow the experts’ guidance, we will face this extraordinary challenge together.

As always, I am available via email at or via phone at 845.639.3605. With gratitude,


Call the Jawonio Info Line for Agency Updates 845-708-2020

About us

We provide care for over 10,000 people with special needs each year.

Our mission

Jawonio is a registered 501c3 organization and the premier provider of lifespan services in the Hudson Valley of New York State for individuals with developmental disabilities, behavioral health challenges, and chronic medical conditions. 

Jawonio is dedicated to advancing the independence, well-being, and equality of people with disabilities and special needs.