Covid-19 Information & Updates

All visitors and staff are required to wear masks in all Barber National Institute locations.  Visitors and staff must also sign in and have a temperature check.

Covid-19 Vaccine Availability

Covid-19 Vaccine Information

Updates & Information

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Updated Policy for Virus Exposure

The following is a reminder of the COVID guidelines in place for Barber National Institute and a summary of the of the recent update and changes in protocol from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people.

The PA Department of Health and CDC include Barber National Institute staff under the same guidelines as healthcare workers given the care and services we deliver. The following guidelines remain in effect for all Barber sites:

  • Staff are to be screened for possible COVID symptoms which includes taking their temperature prior to start of work. *Staff that travel to other Barber buildings throughout their workday do not need to be screened a second time. Staff need to inform the receptionist that they completed the screening in another location when they enter the main building.
  • Staff are to wear their name badge when working and visitors must have a visitor badge when they are in the main building.
  • Employees are to wear a face mask when at work.
  • Employees who have a private office can remove their mask when alone in their office. For small group meetings, if the meeting location is in a separate area, participants that are fully vaccinated may remove their mask if they so choose. Masks must be work when in hallways, public areas, lobbies and restrooms.
  • Physical distancing protocol remains in place.
  • Staff, students and clients should stay home if they are having any COVID-like symptoms.
  • Unvaccinated staff can return to work after 7 days from exposure to a positive COVID case if they test negative on Day 5 from exposure and remain asymptomatic.

The CDC published Interim Public Health Recommendations for fully vaccinated people as of 7/28/21 with the following highlights:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  • Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, if they are immunocompromised or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised or is not vaccinated.
  • Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and are not symptomatic, should be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days. (Staff keep their work schedule during this type of testing.)
  • Fully vaccinated people should get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Fully vaccinated people should isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine OR be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 IF they follow the testing and masking recommendations.
  • CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Mask Policy Addressed

With the CDC relaxing mask recommendations on Friday, many staff and families have asked how this might affect the mask requirements at the Barber National Institute.

The CDC guidelines issued on Feb. 25 acknowledge, however, that many populations, including persons with disabilities, are at a higher risk for experiencing serious illness or death from an infection.  Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs (OD)) has also not changed its policy requiring masks for programs serving adults with intellectual disabilities. The relaxed mask guidelines do not apply to healthcare settings or healthcare personnel.  Our Approved Private School has also established a mask policy that acknowledges that many of our students are medically fragile. 

Given the vulnerability of the students and adults we serve, the current masking requirements will remain in place for staff and visitors to all of our locations and program areas.  Our policies are reviewed and updated frequently and established after consideration of guidelines from the CDC and other health-related agencies.  

One of the reasons that mask mandates were enacted was to reduce the overwhelming strain on health care facilities as Covid infections spiked in many communities.  The CDC amended its guidelines as infection levels have fallen across the country due to a rise in vaccination and booster rates as well as natural immunity among persons who have recovered from the virus.

We appreciate the cooperation of all of our staff, families, and visitors in complying with the mask requirement and in helping us work together to ensure the safety of the children and adults we care for and serve.

Barber continues to monitor changes in the CDC and PADOH recommendations on a daily basis and will update protocols as changes are needed.

Information and Resources

State Representatives Bob Merski and Pat Harkins have compiled information about a variety of resources, including help applying for unemployment compensation, registering to vote by mail, and locating assistance for utility costs and food. Check out the list of resources at:

Important Message to Staff

The Barber National Institute would like to publicly recognize and thank all of our dedicated employees for all that they do to care for our individuals – particularly during these challenging circumstances. The work that we perform is truly “essential and life-sustaining,” and it could not be done without our wonderful employees who continue to show their commitment to our mission.

As various government agencies issue directives, our work will always be designated as essential and our residential and Agency with Choice staff should follow their scheduled shifts. Staff should have received letters designating them as essential workers, or this can be downloaded from the employee portal.

Erie Mayor Joe Schember’s designation of a state of emergency in the City of Erie does not affect the delivery of our essential services, though it will enable Erie to access federal relief funding.

All employees should continue to carry out all enhanced infection control procedures including frequent hand washing and cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

Staff who are ill should follow their regular call-off procedures and will be asked specific screening questions. Employees who have questions are encouraged to contact their supervisors or Human Resources.