What you need to know about -> covid-19

How to stop the spread of germs -> stop the spread

COVID-19 testing in NY->

Explaining the virus to individuals with special needs -> lets talk covid 19

Information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency >

COVID-19 VACCINATION: Who is eligible, how to schedule an appointment, and other vaccination resources, CLICK THE LINK BELOW


All these materials are accessible from the COVID-19 In Plain Language resource page on the OPWDD website. All of them are designed to provide clear, understandable information to the people we support.

In addition, we have created training materials for staff to use to help educate people about how they can keep themselves safe which are attached to this email. I hope your staff will find them to be useful for themselves and as they interact daily with individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. I ask that you make these available to all your direct support professionals and their supervisors.

Thank you for all you do every day and for your support in making these materials available. Working together, we will ensure that the people we support, their families and caregivers, and our direct support workforce, are armed with the information and skills they need to remain safe and healthy.


Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S.

OPWDD Suspension of Community Outings and Home Visits

OPWDD General Management of Coronavirus in Facilities


Food Assistance Resources 

  • If you are in need of emergency food access, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777. You can also call 311 to find a local food pantry or kitchen by you. There is no income limit or requirement for emergency food access. To learn more about emergency food, visit
  • New York City school children have access to three free meals a day through the Department of Education. There are 400 locations for meal pick-up around the city. No registration, ID or documentation is required but meals must be eaten off premise. Pick-up locations can be found at
  • Seniors ages 60 or older in need of food can contact the New York City Department for the Aging to secure home-delivered meals. Seniors are asked to call 311 or visit
  • For those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you can now shop online for produce and groceries to be delivered to your home. EBT cards can be used online for ShopRite, Amazon and Walmart. SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay delivery fees.

Unemployment Resources 

  • The 7-day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits has been waived for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.
  • Visit to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • Additionally, you can call 888-469-7365 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Education Resources 


  • There will be frequent communication between schools and families during this time. Communication will be in your home language. By now, your school should have partnered with you to develop a “Special Education Remote Learning Plan” for your child based on their Individualized Education Program (IEP). If this has not yet happened, please contact your child’s teacher or your child’s related service provider if the only service your child receives is a related service. If you are not successful, e-mail or call 311.
  • Note that for preschool students with disabilities, Remote Learning Plans are only being developed for children in a special class in an integrated setting (SCIS) or in a special class in DOE programs. For preschool students who receive related services or special education itinerant teacher only, services are being provided remotely.

Staten Island Early Intervention Regional Office: 718-568-2300

Remote Learning Plans:

  • Will make sure your child is receiving the services and supports they need, while also affording you and your family any flexibility you may need during this difficult time.
  • IEP meetings will continue and will be conducted by phone. Assessments may be conducted remotely where appropriate. Parents can make a referral by emailing the principal or, or by calling 311. Parents of preschool students can make a referral by contacting the CPSE page.
  • If you have not yet consented to the delivery of remote related services such as speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, or accepted an offer to provide counseling and would like to, please contact the service provider. If you previously declined services, you can change your mind at any time; just contact your child’s service provider to update your status. If you need support contacting your child’s service provider, e-mail or call 311.
  • If your child needs a device to participate in remote instruction and teletherapy and has not yet received one, you can complete a Remote Learning Device(Open external link) survey or call 718-935-5100, and dial 5. If you have already completed a survey and have not yet received a device, or if your child has an Assistive Technology device on their IEP and they have not yet received it, please e-mail

    Keeping Busy at Home / Residential Setting 

    Mental Health Services 

    If you are an agency in need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities may be able to help. Contact for more information!

    COVID-19 Accessible Resources for People with Disabilities Microsite

    New Resources Posted!

    American Sign Language (ASL) Videos are now available!

    Click here to view.

    Easy to Read/Simplified Text documents are available.

    Click here to learn more and to access these files.

    More Braille resources have been posted.

    Click here to learn more about Braille resources and how to request embossed braille documents.

    Webinars and Trainings Archives have been updated.

    Click here to visit the Webinars & Training page to access archives.