LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Today, Easterseals Arkansas (ESA) was able to recall 18 furloughed staff members to open positions they had available at their still open Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Butler Adult Living Center, and Community Waiver Services programs. ESA was also able to retain 9 therapists that had been furloughed when they were able to deploy telemedicine after approval by the state.
Easterseals Arkansas has implemented a new telemedicine program to provide physical, speech, and occupational therapy to a number of children at risk for regression in their development and growth. This service will enable families to have access to critical therapy services to help their child continue to make progress on critical developmental goals under the direction of a licensed therapist. On March 24, the Easterseals Arkansas leadership team announced the expected furlough of 99 direct support professionals, therapists, teachers, and support team members due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These new measures bring the total number of furloughed staff down to 72.
This comes at a time when CEO, Ron Ekstrand, issued a work-from-home order beginning April 6, 2020 to all staff not working directly with individuals in their in-patient facilities or in the waiver program. They have implemented strict safety measures for all staff and visitors in their open facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to help flatten the curve here in Arkansas.
These safety measures include the daily use of a rigorous screening checklist to exclude staff with risk factors from working and the daily taking of temperatures of staff when they come to work. Because of postponed fundraising events, Easterseals Arkansas is in need of support to continue its 75-year legacy of helping people with disabilities and their families. If you can help, please provide an online donation on their website at www.eastersealsar.com/dontate or on their Facebook page.