News  Commissoner Ryder's Letter to Families Jan 7th 2022

An Update on the recent COVID Surges and it's impact on DDS
  • Department of Developmental Services

Massachusetts —  


Dear DDS Community:

First, Happy New Year. I hope you and your family had an enjoyable holiday season.

While the new year brings hope, we are experiencing what again feels like a crisis within our community as the pandemic continues.

Over the past 2 weeks, we have seen a substantial increase in positive cases statewide and nationally, leading to challenges for our DDS system especially as our residential and day programs continue to struggle with staffing shortages.

This week, we released updated and tailored guidance to our 257 state-operated and 2,200+ provider-operated group homes based on the latest CDC and expert recommendations. This new guidance shortens the isolation or quarantine period from 10 days to 5 days if you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving. We are also continuing to require weekly surveillance testing, masking mandates remain in place when in indoor settings like day programs, and all state employees have been fully vaccinated.


Please stay in touch with your residential program provider regarding visitation policies. Our visitation policy does not allow for visits to occur while there is a positive case in the home. If you do visit your loved one, please follow all procedures including screening for symptoms before your visit and wearing a mask during your visit. Thank you, as always, for the support and respect you show for our dedicated direct care professionals.

Finally, getting vaccinated and a booster remains the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community. So far, despite the surge in new cases, we are seeing far fewer severe health outcomes, and should attribute that to all the efforts to vaccinate our individuals and staff starting this time last year.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we confront these continued challenges together. And thank you for the important role you may play as guardian, caregiver, and advocate for your loved ones.

As always, please stay in contact with your DDS Service Coordinator and Area Office and follow the Department on our website ( and social media (@ddsmass) for the latest updates.

Visit here to sign up for our mailing list to receive future messages like this one in your email.

Take good care,


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Additional Resources   for Commissoner Ryder's Letter to Families Jan 7th 2022

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