Superintendent Update

April 16, 2021

It’s hard to believe that one year has passed since COVID-19 first turned our world upside down in March 2020. When I reflect on early communications, information was being released at such a high rate of speed and sometimes changing by the hour for our staff and providers.  This required everyone to adjust quickly to how we support people and deliver services.   Looking at how much change we had to navigate in one year makes me exceptionally proud of the service system we have built in Richland County.  In many ways, experiencing a ‘once every 100-year’pandemic has brought the Newhope family closer together and has magnified the strength and resiliency of this team of professionals.

I continue to celebrate our team and thank them for demonstrating our mission and showing up every day, despite how tired they may have felt. The vast majority of staff were willing to help out wherever needed, whether it was picking up and delivering groceries, covering shifts or working doubles in residential, delivering PPE, or making countless phone calls to make sure people were doing ok and had what they need. Almost every member of our team was willing to step up to ensure we continued to provide the needed supports to individuals and families.

Over the past few months this agency worked diligently to support individuals and providers to get the vaccines as soon as they were eligible!  Through collaborative efforts with the local Health Department and our CVS partnership we were able to get approximately 600 individuals and staff vaccinated as a part of the Governors early priority groupsI want to take this opportunity to encourage you to get vaccinated. Do your research. Seek out information from sources that you trust. At this point everyone over the age of 16 qualifies to receive a vaccine.  If you need assistance to find a vaccine location or arrange transportation, please reach out to your Individual Consultant directly or call 419-774-4201.  

Sitting here the first of April, we can finally start to see some light at the end of the tunnel, and as things slowly return to normal I have a renewed sense of optimism for the future.  We have been able to return to in person visits in our group homes, the EI Team is once again able to see children and families face to face (while wearing a mask), individuals are returning to day programming and the SSA staff are making plans to hold in-person meetings and seeing individuals at their day programs and homes as appropriate.  People are able to get out into the community to enjoy some of the activities they have been deprived of for over a year and spend much needed time with family and friends.  We are moving forward with caution and following suggested protocols, but hope is on the horizon.

I am looking forward to gathering again with friends and family members; and of course, being able to work with many of you in person in the very near future.



 Michele L. Giess

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Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities
314 Cleveland Avenue
Mansfield, Ohio 44902

Phone: 419-774-4200
Fax: 419-774-4207

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