Staff Information

All staff are encouraged to log into the employee portal for more information about employment policies and other topics, as well as links to additional training relating to the Covid-19 epidemic. If you need assistance to log in, please contact the IT Help Desk at 814-874-5614.

Updated Travel Restrictions Lifted

--As of 3-1-2021--

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe has lifted out-of-state travel restrictions that were put into effect in November 2020.  With the change in state regulations, the Barber National Institute has amended its policy to eliminate restrictions on employees traveling within the United States or hosting visitors from other states.

The earlier rules required that anyone who traveled or visited from another state provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 10 days upon entering Pennsylvania.  This order was rescinded on March 1 as a result of a downward trend of cases nationwide and implementation of universal face covering on public transportation.

Even as the travel restrictions are rescinded, the  PA Dept. of Health and the CDC renewed calls to remain vigilant with efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection.  Medical researchers remind everyone to wear facemasks over the nose and mouth, maintain social distancing of at least six feet,  wash hands frequently, and receive the Covid vaccine as soon as possible.  Both agencies noted that new cases of variants continue to appear, and experts are concerned about another surge in cases.

CDC Face Covering Guidance

--As of 2-11-2021--

The CDC provides guidance on choosing and wearing the right face covering to protect yourself and others:

ODP Updates & Resources

--As of 2-10-2021--

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates webpage for those working in the disabilities community to stay up to date with updates and resources from ODP.

Please also visit MyODP News Online for new articles related Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Pennsylvania Issues New Amendments to Travel Policy

--As of 1-5-2021--

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Health has amended its requirements for travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from other countries or states. The new amendment requires travelers to either:

  • Have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or
  • quarantine for 10 days upon entry into Pennsylvania. If a traveler chooses to get tested upon entering the Commonwealth, or is waiting for test results, the traveler must quarantine for 10 days, or until receipt of a negative test result, whichever comes first. 

The travel quarantine requirement has been updated to reflect the new CDC and DOH guidance.

Individuals are required to complete a 10-day quarantine after traveling outside of Pennsylvania if they do not have proof of a negative test result. Individuals should stay in their quarantine location for the full 10 days and avoid physically interacting with others. If individuals do not want to quarantine, they can be tested in the 72 hours prior to entering Pennsylvania or upon entering Pennsylvania. If they have a negative test result, they will not have to quarantine.  If they are awaiting a test result, or choose not to obtain a test, they must quarantine until they receive a negative test result, or for the full 10-day period.

Additionally, quarantine is not required for individuals who travel routinely for work or other critical purposes, such as medical appointments or to comply with a court order such as custody exchanges.

Individuals who are required to quarantine may temporarily leave in order to receive testing or other necessary medical services.

For more information, please visit:

Updated Quarantine Policy for Virus Exposure

--As of 12-3-2020--

The Barber National Institute has updated its policy following the Centers for Disease Control announcement on Dec. 2 that has shortened quarantine guidelines for persons who have been exposed to Covid-19 but not experiencing symptoms. 

The updated guidelines provide two alternatives:

  • The quarantine can end after 10 days if the person has not developed any symptoms.
  • Or, quarantine can end after seven days if the person does not have symptoms and also has a negative test for the virus. The CDC recommends that the sample for the negative test should be collected within 48 hours of the final day of quarantine.

These new guidelines have been incorporated into Barber National Institute protocol, and recommendations from the CDC and the Dept. of Health will be closely monitored moving forward.

In addition to the adjusted quarantine recommendations, the CDC is recommending against travel for the winter holidays amid the resurging outbreak.

Update to Pennsylvania Travel Restrictions

--As of 12-3-2020--

The Pennsylvania Department of Health amended an earlier travel order that required any non-exempted individuals to obtain a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth, or quarantine for 14 days.

Under the new order updated Nov. 25, individuals have  the ability to end the mandated quarantine early by obtaining a negative Covid-19 test after entering the Commonwealth and during the 14-day quarantine period.

In addition, individuals 11 years of age and under are now exempt from the mandates of the Order.

Those exempt from the travel order include:

  1. Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for the purposes of work.
  2. Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for medical reasons, including individuals providing comfort and support to the patient.
  3. Individuals who are returning to the Commonwealth after traveling outside of the Commonwealth for less than 24 hours.
  4. Military personnel traveling to the Commonwealth by order or directive of a state or Federal military authority.
  5. Individuals traveling through the Commonwealth to another destination, provided they spend only the amount of time necessary to complete the transit, make use of travel services, such as a highway rest stop, or make any necessary travel connection.
  6. Individuals traveling to comply with a court order (including child custody).

All of those exempted from the travel quarantine are reminded to conduct travel with attention to physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, and frequent hand washing to reduce the spread of infection. 

Updated Travel Policy 11-25-20

The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health announced further clarifications to the state’s travel policy on Wednesday, Nov. 25.  Here is the updated information:

Updated Travel Policy 11-18-20

On Nov. 17, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health issued a new Order regarding traveling into and out of Pennsylvania to protect against the spread of disease during the holiday season.  The Barber National Institute will require staff to adhere to these new requirements as they travel out of state, or host visitors to their homes.  The requirements call for the following:

  • Individuals traveling into or returning to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from any other State or Commonwealth or any international location, must either produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from a specimen collected within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth, or quarantine** for 14 days upon entering or returning. (Unless qualifying for one of the exemptions listed below.) Barber National Institute staff hosting an out-of-state visitor are required to quarantine until the visitor has a negative test result; if they do not get tested, staff must quarantine for 14 days minimum and remain without symptoms prior to return to work.

About the Test

  1. The test must be a diagnostic test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. It must state the person’s name, date collected and date resulted. If this test is for your visitor, you should have their permission to release their results to us. Identifying information may be redacted or crossed out, but the date collected and resulted will need to be visible as well as the lab or testing site.
  2. Travelers who do not have their test results at the time of entry into the Commonwealth must remain at their travel destination without contact with others outside their travelling party until they receive their test results. Travelers receiving positive results must remain in isolation.* Travelers receiving negative results may continue their intended activities.
  3. Travelers may temporarily leave quarantine** to receive testing or other necessary medical services.


The following individuals are exempt from this testing and quarantine order but shall conduct travel with attention to social distancing and wearing of masks when in contact with other individuals.

  1. Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for the purposes of work.
  2. Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for medical reasons, including individuals providing comfort and support to the patient.
  3. Military personnel traveling to the Commonwealth by order or directive of a state or Federal military authority.
  4. Individuals in transit through the Commonwealth to another destination, provided that the time spent in the Commonwealth is only the amount of time necessary to complete the transit, make use of travel services, such as a highway rest stop, or make any necessary travel connection.


*“Isolation” means the separation of individuals with COVID-19 from individual who do not have COVID-19.

** Quarantine” means the separation and restriction of the movement of individuals who may have been exposed to the virus (the travelers or the host).  This means the person may not attend work, but may work remotely should their job duties allow for this type of work. This quarantine time will be sufficient to determine if a person exposed to the virus develops symptoms or while they are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

This updated travel guideline replaces previous versions of the travel guidelines.  Your cooperation is mandatory and appreciated.  Please submit the documents and information outlined above to your supervisor or Human Resources.

Free Covid Testing Sites

--As of 11-5-20--

We want to make employees aware of sites that offer free Covid-19 testing without the need for a physician order.  This information is provided for you and your families if you have a concern about the need for testing. All sites require that you make an appointment for a test, so be sure to check the scheduling requirements.

Rite Aid Pharmacies – free testing for persons 18 years of age and older; locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Wal-Mart -


Martin Luther King Jr. Center – Testing on Thursdays. Appointment required; call 814-459-2761. Information at

Booker T. Washington Center – Call 814-453-5744, ext. 221 to register. Information at

Information about other testing sites in Pennsylvania:
Pittsburgh: – a number of federally qualified health centers in Allegheny County offer testing free of charge to anyone with symptoms. Registration at

Guidance on Masks, Screening and Handwashing from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)

Guidance resource

Update for Day Program Staff

--As of 6-24-20--

While the transition to the “green phase” will enable many businesses in Erie and Philadelphia Counties to reopen on Friday, programs for persons with intellectual disabilities will not resume until detailed planning is completed over the next several weeks.  The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued comprehensive guidelines that we are currently implementing for the reopening of all community participation support facilities.

Please take a moment to review these Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand what a return to services will mean for our staff as well as our adults.

Before any services can resume, we will be meeting with each individual and/or family member to determine their preferences for services and what accommodations may be required.

We understand that the past several months have likely been difficult and a great disruption in your life.  While we are all eager to move past the restrictions that have been in place, our first priority is ensuring the health and safety of our individuals and staff. We appreciate your patience as we work to ensure that all precautions are in place to limit the risk of infection.

Your supervisor will be contacting you within the coming weeks to provide more information about the reopening of services.  Please continue to do all that you can to remain healthy and safe.

Message to Staff

--As of 5-5-20--

Gov. Wolf’s announcement relaxing restrictions in Erie and other areas of northwestern Pennsylvania has led to many questions about how this may affect our individuals, staff and programs. The eased restrictions involve a very narrow segment of community businesses and, at least for the near future, will have little effect on how our services are currently conducted, and in some cases, how certain services have been suspended by the Office of Developmental Programs.

As we continue to follow guidelines and regulations from the Office of Developmental Programs and other government agencies, we want to share the following clarifications:

  • The current Day services in Erie and Warren counties that are closed will continue to remain closed until further notice.
  • All visitors, including families, continue to be restricted at our group homes and individuals are not to leave the group homes for visitation with their families at their family’s home. We are awaiting ODP guidelines for safely lifting this restriction and will keep staff and families informed about this process.
  • School and related educational activities will continue to be provided remotely; child care services will remain closed at our main facility.
  • Behavioral health services will continue to be provided.
  • Staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so.
  • Visitors are restricted to essential staff at all of our locations. Everyone must wear a mask in all common areas; anyone entering buildings on our main campus or other locations will undergo a temperature check upon arrival.

I greatly appreciate the efforts of all of our staff who continue caring for our individuals during this challenging time. Your extra efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe have been very effective so far in minimizing the effect of the pandemic on our individuals and each other. The easing of restrictions will no doubt lead to more people going out into the community and actually may now create an even greater danger for our vulnerable population. I urge your continued vigilance with all measures that can help reduce the spread of infection.

This pandemic is indeed testing the resolve of all of us as we continue to do everything that we can to ensure that we all stay safe and healthy. Thank you for rising to this challenge and helping us all come through this crisis together.


John Barber

Face Mask Resources

Face Masks Flyer

Instructions for Face Mask Use

How to Sew Face Masks

No-Sew Face Masks

A Message of Thanks

A Message for Our Employees

Dear Staff,

On behalf of the thousands of individuals and families we serve, I want to thank our dedicated employees for their steadfast commitment to our mission during this unprecedented emergency.  You are providing an essential service as you continue providing the life-sustaining care that our vulnerable population needs every day.

At this moment, hundreds of direct support professionals are working in our 95 group homes across Pennsylvania to make sure that our residents remain healthy and safe.  Many of these residents are medically fragile and have special dietary and other needs that have to be met to sustain them.  Our employees have not missed a beat in providing the highest quality care in these challenging circumstances. Our nursing team is at work as a resource for medical issues and helping to ensure that every precaution is taken to maintain a healthy environment.

I would also like to salute our school faculty and therapists, who are personally reaching out to every student’s family to offer learning support. They are developing customized educational activities so that these children can continue making progress in their learning goals.

Our behavioral health professionals show great determination and resourcefulness in providing therapy and other assistance by telephone or video to children, adults and families with a broad range of mental health challenges.  Many times, they are the primary link to help families avert crisis and prevent inpatient hospitalization.

Across our organization, we have employees in human resources, finance, administration and other departments working long days to respond to the unexpected demands of this crisis and provide the support to keep our organization operating.  Other staff is continuing to contact families in programs that remain temporarily closed to look for a way to help.

Our employees put aside the anxieties that we are all experiencing to focus on helping our children, adults and families who may be facing situations we could never have anticipated just a few weeks ago. For this selflessness, I consider you, our essential employees, true heroes.

As our administrative team works to respond to this fluid and quickly changing situation, I am reassured by the commitment that our employees demonstrate every day that we will be able to meet the challenges of this crisis.  We are unified in this fight.

Thank you for all that you are doing to serve our children and adults entrusted to our care.


John Barber

President/Chief Executive Officer

Highmark & Telemedicine

If you have telemedicine access through Highmark, Highmark is waiving all copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the next 90 days because the safest place for you if you’re sick is at home. This includes behavioral health services for those feeling high levels of stress or anxiety. Check your plan at Read instructions for setting up a telemedicine visit.

Visit your doctor without leaving home. Follow these easy instructions to set up a tele-med appointment.


Staff that currently are not enrolled in direct deposit will have their paychecks mailed to them during the social distancing and shelter in place order by our government or until further notification. Employees are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit; it's easy and free. You may do so by completing a form that will be included with your next check or by visiting the Employee Portal, Kronos Self Service and completing the online form. If any employee needs assistance in signing up or has questions, please contact Payroll at 814-874-5597. No need to stop by the Payroll office or any Barber facility.

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.