Yesterday, I alerted readers that Governor Baker would make his daily briefing from the New England Center for Children campus. The focus was to be new relief funding for special education residential programs. The announcement made yesterday was of a $16.1M package with $1,902,742 designated for NECC.
Prior to the July 13th briefing, the Governor and other officials toured the center for autism education and research in Southborough.
NECC’s CEO and Founder Vincent Strully introduced the briefing. He thanked the Baker administration for providing in house testing and help sourcing “much needed protective equipment”. He credited their commitment to serving the state’s “most challenging students” for enabling the residential program to stay open through the pandemic. He followed:
It’s important to note that our 121 residential students have no alternative to New England Center for Children and cannot live safely at home and some do not have a home.
Strully also thanked staff for “bravely” serving students even when some had tested positive. As of yesterday’s speech, no staff or students were covid-positive. It was 7 weeks since they had a case of an infected student.
The CEO noted that the need to fund PPE, hazard pay, additional cleaning, and major facility changes wouldn’t be going away. NECC had dipped into savings to spend an unbudgeted over $3M to “succeed in containing this virus.” He thanked the administration for the help the new package would provide.
The news release from the administration noted that the package is in addition to $3M in funding provided by the Dept of Early Education and Care in April:
Together, this $19 million acknowledges the efforts of these schools to remain open on a 24/7 basis throughout the pandemic and the measures they implemented to keep their doors open and their youth and staff safe.
Wicked Local covered yesterday’s event and news. The article quoted Governor Baker as saying:
The ability this community has shown to adapt to maintain a safe environment for students in their care and for their 24/7 staff has been a godsend. . . We know this is difficult work, and we know that so many people, time and time again, found a way to simply get it done.
It also noted:
The administration had made $139 million available for residential and congregate care service providers earlier in the pandemic, but Baker said many of the residential schools that serve students with disabilities did not qualify for that round of assistance. Baker’s office said the announcement Monday “will bring them in line with the previous rate increases provided to other residential and congregate care providers.”
You can read more details in their article.