This a crucial time in the COVID-19 pandemic. MCOA is working closely with EOEA, DPH and our partner agencies.
Massachusetts released the following guidance on March 12, which includes Councils on Aging: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-recommendations#for-community-day-programs- and, on March 27, extended the state income tax filing deadline to July 15.
EOEA and MCOA feel that limiting services, or a determination of full closure of a senior center, is a local decision to be made by the municipality’s governing body in conjunction with their local DPH recommendation and the Administration’s Executive Orders; including limiting gatherings to less than 10 people.
Since the most vulnerable population with coronavirus is the over 60 cohort, MCOA will continue to suggest municipalities err on the side of caution. You should work with your local emergency preparedness personnel to ensure that older adults are part of the response planning. This includes housing, food access, medical care and transportation. In addition, ensure your Facilities/Building services staff is utilizing your local Board of Health’s and/or MA-DPH’s recommended cleaning measures and protocols.
To increase communication and support operations MCOA has done the following:
- Created this webpage and the Tabs to the left: Resources, FAQs , MCOA Alerts, Words You Need to Know and, Great Idea’s for COA’s.
- Created a tracking tool; for ALL centers to provide updates on their operational status, including curtailment of programs/services and/or closures here: https://mcoaonline.com/coronavirus/coa-status/. If your center’s operational status changes, please complete the form again (there is no limit on the number of times you can submit this form).
- Developing regional video-conference calls for the network. This platform will allow the COA’s to network, discuss issues, concerns, share ideas and provide support. MCOA anticipates these calls will begin the week of March 30th, and will notify the membership of the scheduled dates and times
- MCOA and EOEA are now conducting monthly COA Coronavirus COVID-19 Status conference calls beginning July 23rd. During these calls, EOEA will provide updates and can only answer questions that are submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on the Wednesday before the Thursday call. To participate you must register here: https://fs16.formsite.com/mcoa/denm29wequ/index.html. Information on additional dates will be provided in the MCOA Briefs.
- To make it easier for COAs to access the innovative ideas of some COA’s in response to this crisis, we created the ‘Great Ideas for COAs’ tab on the main coronavirus web page. If you are exploring or implementing new approaches or methods to continue serving older adults in your community during the Coronavirus pandemic, please email that information, and your contact details to email@example.com, who will post them on that page.