If you have a family member in the residential program and would like to opt in to receive residential updates, please email our Residential Specialist Meg at megv@racker.org to be added to the list (please include the name of your family member).

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

There are many resources available regarding information as well as the federal and statewide responses to COVID-19. These following links provide quick health and safety resources from the government:

Racker has been paying very close attention to a great deal of information coming out about the Coronavirus. Information is coming from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local and state health departments and the various state oversight agencies – OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, NYSED, etc. We have taken many steps to address and respond to the potential for exposure and/ or spread of infectious disease. These include:

  • Screening visitors at Racker sites – If you plan to visit please call ahead and plan on someone asking you questions before entering any site.
  • Postings at all sites requesting people not to visit if ill
  • Postings for handwashing
  • Providing on-line training to all staff on preventing the spread of infectious disease
  • Limiting size and frequency of meetings
  • Inventorying and ordering of cleaning supplies.
  • Cleaning
  • Creating a internal system for staff to be able to ask questions and receive information accurate information about the Coronavirus
  • Having designated isolation areas at each Racker main site
  • On-going review of updates from the CDC and state & local health departments.

Our Medical Director and Residential Health Care Director are reviewing information and in contact with the health department on a regular basis to ensure we are doing what we can and are required to do, to prevent exposure and limit the spread of infectious disease. ​In addition, our leadership teams are preparing contingency plans for staff and program participants in the event of a confirmed case of the virus.

Racker Connect is the up-to-date resource for all Racker employees. Racker Connect provides additional networking resources for staff and supervisors. You can login via your Racker account here or via your Outlook account.

Racker Daycares and Early Childhood Education Centers closed –

April 6th, 2020

Racker Daycares and Early Childhood Educations Centers are closed to children through Wednesday, April 29th

March 17th, 2020

Dear Racker Daycare Parents/Guardians:

As you are well aware, we are all working through the many challenges associated with the closing of schools and child care services. I continue to thank you and express my gratitude for your patience and understanding as we work through the constant and quick changes.

Racker Daycares and Early Childhood Education Centers will continue to be closed through Monday, April 13, 2020. All children and staff will return to school on Tuesday April 14, 2020. (Subject to change based on recommendations from health departments)

· Previously we communicated that we would continue to charge for child care services through the month of March 2020.
***We will no longer be charging for childcare services during the time we are closed due to the COVID-19 precautionary measures***

As I shared yesterday, information changes day to day, hour to hour. As we work with our local Counties and communities to support efforts in decreasing the spread of COVID-19, there are many changes we all are working through and maneuvering. I hope our change to tuition will be helpful in easing stress and strain that so many of us are experiencing. If you are in the need of additional assistance in understanding resources, our social work team is working very hard to have support service information available. We will share all resource information as we receive it. Please regularly check our website (www.racker.org) and our Facebook Page for updated information and resources.

I wish you and your loved ones well. I encourage everyone to take some time to identify some things we are gaining in this time. I see opportunity for more time with family, time connect with our children and loved ones, time to take care of ourselves, reconnect with loved ones (utilizing technology), start and finish a book, puzzle and/or project, walks in nature in the springtime air, etc.

With well wishes,

Gretchen A. Jacobs, MsEd
Gretchen Jacobs
Director of Preschool and Early Childhood Education Centers gretchenj@racker.org
607-272-5891 ext. 201


Community Habilitation, Respite, & Self-Direction Update

March 25th, 2020

Good Evening,

In the midst of this crisis, we are all evaluating ways we can continue to support people with disabilities, their families, and Racker staff by providing essential services, while also helping everyone to maintain social distancing.

Telehealth is one option. We are working diligently to put Telehealth in place which may include Community Habilitation or Supported Employment services via a phone call, or video chatting. Our goal is to roll out this option the first week in April.

We understand that during this difficult time service needs may look a bit different. The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is working with service providers to try to provide enhanced flexibility on the face to face service delivery requirements. Thank you for your patience during this very challenging time for us all. We are here for you.

Gayle A. Pado
Director of Family Resource Programs
Racker

March 17th, 2020

At this time, Racker staff continue to provide Community Habilitation, Respite, and Self-Directed Services. Staff are asked to conduct verbal COVID-19 related screenings before meeting with any service recipient or family member face to face. Service locations should be limited to the person’s home, neighborhood (such as a park) or other well ventilated areas. Staff should avoid taking people to places where there are groups of more than 10 people congregated together. Travel into the community should be restricted to trips that are essential to the person’s well-being such as grocery shopping or medical appointments.

Staff who are sick with a respiratory infection and have a fever, should stay home from work. Staff should practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of respiratory illness. Hand hygiene includes traditional hand washing (with soap and warm water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds) or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or greater) when soap and water are not available, and hands are not visibly dirty. It is important that staff cover their mouths or noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue appropriately. Handwashing should occur after using a tissue. If no tissue is available, using the inside of the elbow (or shirtsleeve) to cover the mouth or nose is preferable to using the hands. Always perform hand hygiene after sneezing, coughing and handling dirty tissues or other soiled material. Proper handwashing should occur upon arrival to work, before and after meals, after using the bathroom, and at other times, as described above.

All services are voluntary. Families may choose to temporarily suspend services to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses. Any staff whose hours are reduced involuntarily (Individuals and families cancel services) and wish to continue to work should contact their supervisor immediately for an alternate assignment.

Gayle A. Pado
Director of Family Resource Programs
cell: 607.240.6963


Racker at TST BOCES and OCM BOCES – March 17th, 2020

Both TST BOCES and OCM BOCES are closed in response to the State of Emergency. Counseling for School Success staff are working on plans to continue supporting children and families through this period. Parents will hear from their child’s counselor about ways they can stay in touch and access services remotely.

Sarah Tarrow, LCSW-R
Director, Counseling for School Success
email: sarahtcss@racker.org
phone: 607-257-1555 ext. 5052, or 607-279-1035 (cell)
fax: 607-257-2510


March 17th, 2020 – Please check back for cancellations regarding Racker promoted and/or Racker hosted events.

Visitors & Staff Screening 3-23-2020

to Prevent/ Minimize Potential Spread of Coronavirus

Monitoring by Supervisors

If you notice someone who seems ill or is becoming ill or hear of someone becoming ill while at work, speak to the staff member. If they indicate they do feel ill or are becoming ill, please send them home.

If you have any difficulty implementing this process please contact your supervisor immediately.

[Your Department Director and the Medical Director/ designee will assist in addressing any questions around sick time, release to return to work, etc.]

This process is in place based on Racker Best Practices & guidance provided by NYS DOH and the CDC

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

Diluting your household bleach.

    To make a bleach solution, mix:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Alcohol solutions.
Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.

Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).


Resources shared from Racker professionals, Clinicians, Behavioral Specialists, and Community

State and Local Resources

Local Food Options
Activities
Local Information

National Resources

COVID-19 Support
Mental Health and Crisis
Internet Access
Care Provider


Clinical Resources – Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, etc.

Melanie O’Leary, Pediatric Physical Therapist at Racker, is planning to post an exercise/tip of the day every day to help children at home and in their new routines! Melanie’s posts will be focused around Yoga, gross motor activities and other ways to keep preschool and elementary children active. Please follow Melanie’s Instagram each day at www.instagram.com/melanie_oleary_pt for a new Tip of the Day!

April 6th, 2020

View this post on Instagram

We are using our Kindergarten sight words to work on throwing to targets, visual scanning, and balance. As a school based PT, I try to incorporate academic learning into physical tasks. And now that I am at home working on academics with my own children, we try to make learning fun and active. ⭐️ Throwing tips: Use a soft ball or stuffed animal. Step with the opposite leg. Try underhand and overhand. Children’s throwing patterns aren’t fully mature until around age 6, and more perfected around age 7-8, so it is okay if they look a bit awkward throwing! ⭐️ Balance challenge: Stand on a pillow, stand on one leg, stand in tandem (one foot in front of the other). 🌟 For preschoolers, use letters, numbers, different color papers, letters of your child’s name. Start with 3 targets and add more if successful. 🌟 For older children, spell a sentence with words, use numbers and work in math, write down new words to learn. #pediatricphysicaltherapy #pedspt #grossmotorskills #sightwords #throwing #schoolbasedtherapy #movetolearn

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

April 3rd, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Here is a fun way to give your child what we like to call deep proprioceptive input, or deep pressure that can be calming to a child. This is especially good for children who have trouble regulating their energy, trouble transitioning, or have a poor sense of their body in space. Last night, my 8 year old was having a hard time transitioning from high energy outside play to indoors. This is usually hard for him when he is tired after school, but has been even harder the past few weeks. Although he seems quite giggly in this video, the activity did calm and regulate his body, and I could tell it was what he needed. (We just were extra silly taking the videos too many times 😊) Ideas 💡: 1. Roll a ball large or small over your child when rolled up in the mat. 2. Have your child figure out how to roll themselves up in the mat. 3. Actually roll across the floor while in the mat. 4. Have your child roll you or a sibling up, working on crawling and pushing/pulling 5. Work in naming body parts and right/left/up/down 6. Call it a burrito, sushi roll up, ice cream sundae, be creative! #pediatricphysicaltherapy #pedspt #schoolbasedtherapist #pediatricoccupationaltherapy #schoolbasedpt #kidsyogaday #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

April 2nd, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Happy #worldautismawarenessday 💙! I have worked with so many marvelous children with Autism as a physical therapist; they have such a special place in my heart and have brought so much love and joy to my life. To honor them, I will be showing some dinosaur 🦖 yoga! Not every child with Autism loves dinosaurs, but I have met quite a few that do. I am working with one child this school year who inspired me (and PT student @payton11111) to make dinosaur yoga part of our PT routine. ⬇️ 1. Dinosaur egg (child’s pose) 2. Stegosaurus (Rabbit pose) 3. Diplosaurus (downward dog) 4. Pteranodon (Warrior 3) 5. Volcano 6. Happy Baby Dino (Happy Baby) Or add any other dinosaurs you would like! **I have found that many children with Autism learn well from watching videos of new motor activities, or looking at pictures, rather than watching people. Especially if it is a novel task. Again, not all children, but something to try, and then progress to taking the video or picture away. #autismawareness #lightitupblue #lightitupblueforautism #pediatrictherapy #pedspt #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids #dinosaur #dinosauryoga #schoolbasedtherapy

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

April 1st, 2020

March 31st, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Here are some options for positions to play in on the floor. As physical therapists, we address the W sitting position often (sitting with the hips turned inward, knees knocked together, and the feet on the outside of the body) Why do kids sit like this? It’s easy! It takes less core strength, and the hips naturally move inward for children with hyper mobile joints. Kids can attend and play with fine motor tasks with greater ease in this position, but it is bad for the hip joints! Sitting in a W is absolutely fine as a transitional position or for short periods of time, but it should not be used for an entire circle time or for playing on the floor for prolonged periods of time. If this is the only way your child can physically sit, try using a small chair for prolonged floor time, or support them in other positions with furniture or pillows as back support, and/or adult support; with the goal to progress to less support. All children can use alternate positions for play, reading, writing. Sitting all day is never good, especially W sitting! Alternate positions are ⬇️ 1. Long sitting, or a V (pizza slice) 2. Cross cross/pretzel 3. Tall kneeling 4. 1/2 kneeling 5. Quadruped (hands and knees) 6. Squatting 7. Butterfly 🦋 8. Lying on your stomach #pediatricphysicaltherapy #pedspt #schoolbasedtherapy #pedipt #pediatricphysicaltherapist

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 30th, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Today is national take a walk in the park day, so I will review tree pose 🌲🌳. Tree pose works on single limb balance, important for walking, running, skipping, hopping, getting dressed, stepping over obstacles. It is also a hip opener. Children need to develop strength turning their hips outward as they grow, especially those that love to sit in the W position. Keeping the nonweightbearing hip turned outward will help build this strength. Tips⬇️ – Start easy and then grow your tree – Never put pressure at the knee joint. Start with just the heel up and toes still on the ground, progress to placing the foot on the lower leg, than upper leg if the quality is good. If the quality is poor, back down. – Keep the knee slightly bent on the weight bearing leg – Try making a forest of trees with your family (see photo two). Try adding a windstorm in there and have your trees blow from side to side. #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids #treepose #pedipt #pedspt #pediatricphysicaltherapy #schoolbasedtherapy #treepose #nationaltakeawalkinthparkday

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 29th, 2020

March 27th, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Here is the #sunsalutation. I challenge you and your child/children to perform one today or over the weekend. Local kids (or anyone!), I would love to see you trying one, tag me and show me your yoga! It doesn’t have to be perfect, have your child follow your lead. The flow of a sun salutation is calming. Move with the breath. I highly recommend the song @kirawilley Dance for the Sun, it goes along with this sun salutation. With repetition, kids (even as young as preschoolers) will remember this flow. I have grown to love flow yoga, personally thanks to @yogakellyc , and professionally with working with children in the schools. It works the whole body, and can be energizing and relaxing at the same time. #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids #pedipt #pediatricphysicaltherapy #schoolbasedtherapy

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 26th, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Here is the last new pose to review in the sun salutation. Squat, or “frog” pose. Deep squatting is great for balance, strengthening, and flexibility. The wider the legs, the easier it is to keep the feet flat. If your child can’t get his or her heels to the ground, place a rolled up blanket under the heels. Raise the surface to support the hands if your child needs more support, such as propping on books, a small chair, or a table. Rotating from side to side is a great activity to not only address flexibility and crossing midline, but to also help develop muscle strength in the feet/ankles, great for children with flat feet. You can place puzzle pieces or toys on either side to encourage this movement. Stay tuned, tomorrow we will string all of the poses together and have our #sunsalutation challenge of the day! #pedipt #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids #schoolbasedtherapy #pediatricphysicaltherapy #squats

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 25th, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Downward Dog. The next pose in the sun salutation, and my favorite! This pose is great for so many reasons. ⬇️ – Strengthens upper body and core – Stretches the shoulders, arms, and legs (great for toe walkers, crouched gait) – Helps with posture – Can be calming, help clear your head, helps with stress, a healthy pause – Enhances digestion Start in table pose (hands and knees) to learn the pose and assume downward dog. Weightbear through open palms with fingers spread. Pedal the knees, do not lock them. Wave the hips (wag your tail!). Can lift one leg up. Make a tunnel, have your child crawl under you, or have cars and toys go under your child. #pedipt #pediatricphysicaltherapy #sunsalutation #yogaisforeverybody #yogaforkids #schoolbasedtherapy #downwarddog

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 24th, 2020

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Crossing midline, this is such a vital skill, one we work on in therapy a great deal. Crossing midline starts developing around 7 months of age and should be incorporated with ease around 4 years of age, and continue to develop through age 8. Children with lower muscle tone, strength, or coordination may have a harder time with this. If children over age four do not demonstrate a hand preference, it may be because they cannot cross midline well, so instead they will just use each hand equally. Crossing midline is vital for reading, writing, cutting, drawing horizontal lines, visually tracking, and many daily motor skills. Even if your child can cross midline well, practicing will improve motor coordination for daily living skills, academics, and sports. Ideas to work on are ⬇️ 1. Cross crawls in standing: Hand to knee taps, elbow to knee taps. Progress to hand to ankle taps inside of ankles, outside of ankles. Alternate going slowly and quickly, sometimes slower is better. 2. Passing a ball, stuffed animal, bean bag while sitting back to back. Make sure to go to both sides. 3. Sorting items/any game encouraging using each hand and reaching across the body. (I always try to make clean up therapeutic and a learning opportunity) 4. Use a scarf, towel, pillow case to make big diagonal movements with each hand, figure eights if you can. 5. Wiping tables is a large body movement that involves crossing the midline. This is being done ALOT the last week with two children home all day. Other ideas: Sweeping, shoveling (central NY ❄️), placing puzzles on the opposite side of the hand the child is using, games such as ‘Miss Mary Mack’ #pediatricphysicaltherapist #pedipt #schoolbasedtherapy #crossingmidline #pediatricphysicaltherapy

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 23rd, 2020

March 22nd, 2020

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Sunday is all about breathing. This is a mindfulness activity I learned at my @childlighteducationcompany yoga and mindfulness training. Find a small stuffed animal, bath toy, small figurine and to use as your breathing buddy. Lie on your stomach and relax your body, close your eyes if you would like. Keep your body still and give your breathing buddy a ride on your stomach. Belly rises with the inhale, lowers with the exhale. Many children do not deeply breathe and need to learn this skill. Slowly, try 2 or 3 seconds inhale, 2 or 3 exhale. I like to pair this with the beautiful @kirawilley songs Kindness Mantra or Just Be. #pediatricphysicaltherapy #pediatricphysicaltherapist #schoolbasedpt #breathe #yogaforkids #yogaisforeverybody

A post shared by Melanie O'Leary (@melanie_oleary_pt) on

March 21st, 2020

March 20th, 2020

March 19th, 2020

March 18th, 2020

Our Speech Therapists have been putting together different lessons and practice videos for students, families, and children in the community to practice and work on while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Occupational Therapists have been putting together different lessons and practice videos for students, families, and children in the community to practice and work on while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Physical Therapists have been putting together different lessons and practice videos for students, families, and children in the community to practice and work on while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Social Workers have been putting together different interactive storytime and activity videos. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.


Preschool/Childcare Resources – Beetles, Dinosaurs, Ducks, Frogs, Hedgehogs, Otters, Owego, Pandas, Penguins…

Our Otters Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Lessons and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Dinosaurs Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Stories and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

The Penguins Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Lessons and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Frogs Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Stories and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

Our Ducks Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Lessons and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

The Hedgehogs Preschool Classroom (Racker’s Partnership Program in Ithaca) has been putting together some videos of their morning meeting songs and other popular songs from the curriculum! You can clickhere. Or just click below to browse the channel.

Our Beetles Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different Lessons and Songs for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here to visit the video series directly. Or just click below to browse the playlist.

The Owego Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different videos for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here. Or just click below to browse the channel.

The Panda Preschool Classroom at Racker has been busy putting together different videos for their students, families, and children in the community to practice and enjoy while at home. You can click here. Or just click below to browse the channel.


Coping with Stress

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