Boston25News: Extended separation for some NECC families

If you’re feeling a bit too cooped up with your kids this spring, a local media story will help keep things in perspective.

A piece by Boston25News reminded that for many parents have been forced to stay away from their children since mid-March. Some of the separated children are residing in our town.

With distancing extended until at least late June, Boston News 25 checked in with the impact on parents of children living at the New England Center for Children.

On Friday, the news team posted:

In March, group homes across the state stopped allowing family visits to try to protect this especially vulnerable group from the spread of the coronavirus.

Melissa and Chris Beck have not touched, hugged, or kissed their 15-year-old son Owen, since March 7. They aren’t allowed to visit him at his residence run by the Southborough-based New England Center for Children, and he can’t go home to his parents’ home in Stowe. Their only way to see him is through Skype.

“At first it was torture, yes,” said Owen’s mom, Melissa, “but seeing how well Owen is doing, during this time because of the continued structure — we feel so much calmer.”

“We’ve seen so many scary stories out there about long-term care facilities and places like that,” said Chris, Owen’s father. ”We really do think the administration at the New England Center for Children has this under control as best as they can,”. . .

Front-line staff at NECC are getting hazard pay. Some volunteered to work in the residential placements when their day and home-based programs were halted because of the outbreak. Around 1,000 staff, from janitors to overnight supervisors, are keeping the facilities open. More than 100 of them are living in single rooms in extended-stay hotels and have been self-isolating in an effort to protect both their families and the students they work with. Staff member’s temperatures are taken before they start their shift.

Still, three residents tested positive for COVID-19. But they aren’t going home. Instead, they’re being isolated with staff-turned-first responders. Strully said that with support from the state, NECC was able to test everyone in the building where the residents tested positive. They traced the cases back to a staff member who did not have symptoms but who had the virus. Strully says it’s just another example of “how incredibly virulent” this virus is.

For the full story, click here.

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