Program Updates

Mitigate the Spread of Infection

As a response to increasing Covid-19 cases in communities across Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf announced new efforts intended to mitigate the spread of infection.  The full listing of measures announced on Monday, Nov. 23 is available here:  https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/as-covid-19-cases-reach-critical-levels-wolf-admin-announces-new-mitigation-efforts/

School to Transition to Remote Learning after Thanksgiving Holiday

--As of 11-23-20--

The Elizabeth Lee Black School at the Barber National Institute will temporarily close for in-school instruction as of Wednesday, November 25 and transition students to remote learning.  While our school is not experiencing positive cases at this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Education recommends that schools transition to remote instruction if the community is experiencing a “substantial” level of virus infection over a sustained period of time.  

Remote learning is expected to continue from November 30 through December 11.  The Barber National Institute is working with the Erie County Dept. of Health to closely monitor the positivity rate and may extend the closure if warranted.  Families and staff will be notified of any updates to the re-opening date.

School administration urges families to continue to follow all recommendations for reducing the spread of the virus, including mandatory wearing of face coverings, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, limiting exposure to persons outside of your immediate household and remaining home when sick.

The Elizabeth Lee Black School serves more than 240 students ages 3 – 21 from 22 school districts in Northwestern Pennsylvania. 

For detailed information about the School’s preparations and response to the Covid-19 pandemic, visit at the comprehensive plan at BarberInstitute.org/school

CPS Programs Temporarily Closing in Response to Infection Rates

--As of 11-13-20--

The Department of Human Services (DHS) and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) reported on Friday that Erie, Philadelphia and Somerset Counties have reached a threshold of community spread which is labeled “Substantial” by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  As a result, ODP has requested that all provider agencies with licensed Community Participation Support Programs serving adults with intellectual disabilities temporarily close as of Monday, Nov. 16 in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus in these communities.  

The temporary closing affects CPS Programs located on the Barber National Institute main campus  Building 99 East Avenue and Building 101 East Avenue, the Senior Center, Corry, Corry, Girard, West 16th Street, Marshall Avenue, and Iroquois Avenue in Erie, as well as programs on Henry Avenue in Philadelphia and Red Brandt Road in Somerset.

ODP bases its recommendation on the Level of Community Transmission that is calculated and posted online every Friday by the PA Department of Health. The Level of Community Transmission provides a percentage based upon the number of positive cases within the population of each county. A calculation above 10% is considered “substantial” for that area.  

The Barber National Institute will closely monitor the situation and stay in contact with ODP as well as County Health Departments.  Every Community Participation Support service provider is required to meet several criteria when community transmission in the county falls to a level that allows for re-opening.  Families and staff will be updated as more information becomes available.

All CPS Programs in Bedford County were closed on Monday, Nov. 9 at the request of ODP and the Bedford County Department of Human Services after community transmission rates surpassed 10% in Bedford County. 

Program Temporarily Closes in Bedford

--As of 11-6-20--

The Department of Human Services (DHS) and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) reported on Friday that Bedford County has reached a threshold of community spread which is labeled “Substantial” by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That Percent of Positivity has reached greater than 10% of the population of Bedford County.

The Bedford County Department of Human Services has contacted all providers of Community Support Services (CPS) throughout Bedford County and asked them to consider closing services within Bedford County at this time. The closing of CPS settings when the level of community transmission surpasses 10% is to aid in efforts to slow the spread of the virus in that local community.

The Barber National Institute is following the recommendation and will temporarily close Community Participation Services located at 191 Friendship Village Road in Bedford beginning Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. 

We will monitor the situation and stay in contact with the Department of Human Services Office of Developmental Programs as well as Bedford County Department of Human Services and notify program participants and families when the level of community transmission in the county falls below the “Substantial” level.

Every Community Participation Support service provider is required to meet several criteria when community transmission in the county falls to a level that allows for re-opening.

Update on Bollinger Campus

--As of 10-29-20--

The Bollinger campus of the Barber National Institute Community Participation Supports (CPS) service building will be temporarily closed after the organization was notified that a person associated with the site received a positive diagnosis for Covid-19.  The Barber National Institute is following recommendations from Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and state health agencies to reduce the potential for infection following a possible exposure.  All families and staff who may have been exposed have been notified.

The possible exposure resulted after the person arrived at the program on Monday, Oct. 26 and began exhibiting a symptom of the virus.  The person shortly thereafter left the campus and later tested positive for Covid-19.

The facility underwent a thorough cleaning and disinfecting on Monday, and all participants and staff wear masks and maintain social distancing throughout the service day.  While the threat for exposure is considered low because of procedures in place to limit contact and the short period of time involved, the program will be closed for a period which may be up to 14 days as a precaution and in compliance with all state guidelines.

Most In Home Community Services, Small Group Employment and Supported Employment Services are expected to continue and are being addressed on an individual basis.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to call the Bollinger Campus at 814-723-8431 during regular business hours.

School Reopening Sept. 8

--As of 9-1-20--

The Elizabeth Lee Black School at the Barber National Institute has rescheduled the reopening of school for the fall term to Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The decision was made after a survey indicated that nearly 15% of families were choosing to continue remote learning for their child rather than resuming in-person learning at the start of the school year. “We believe that the added time will help us better prepare to meet the needs of students learning in both venues,” said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, executive vice president.

The Elizabeth Lee Black School typically serves nearly 240 students ages three through 21 from more than 20 school districts in northwestern Pennsylvania.

“We look forward to having our children back in our classrooms but also want to support families who think that continuing remote learning is best for their child,” said Dr. Barber-Carey.  “Our teachers have been very creative and dedicated to meeting the varied needs of our students.

Faculty will report back for in-service training beginning Aug. 31.

Continuity of Education PlanReopening Health & Safety PlanELBS 2020-2021 School Calendar

Update to Day Program Participation

--As of 8-3-20--

As updates related to COVID-19 becomes available, we continue to evaluate all information and make changes as necessary. It has come to our attention that face to face Summer Camp activities have become a focus related to potential spread of COVID-19.

Summer Camp gatherings, which include daytime only Summer Camp activities, sleep/overnight Summer Camp activities or any combination of these two activity types, can be considered a potential risk.  Individuals who have participated in these activities are asked to stay home and not return to any Barber National IDS Day service until they have quarantined and self-monitored at their home for 14 days after the last day they attended the Summer Camp activity. We appreciate your understanding of this requirement.

Adult Programs Begin Phased Reopening

--As of 7-21-20--

In keeping with guidelines from the Office of Developmental Programs and other agencies, the Barber National Institute will begin restarting specifically identified adult day programs in phases that will vary depending on individual needs and abilities, location and size of the facility.

The first facilities will open on Monday, Aug. 3 at the main campus and satellite sites in Erie, Corry, Girard, the Bollinger Campus in Warren, and day programs in Bedford and Somerset, PA.  Programs will open for a reduced number of adults who have completed mandatory meetings with their supports coordinator, families, and their Barber National Institute program specialists. Plans are in place for small groups of adults to return in phases over the coming weeks.

“We have carefully studied all of the recommendations from the CDC, local and state health departments and other agencies to create the safest environment possible for adults and staff,” said Carrie Kontis, vice president for Intellectual Disabilities Services.  “We believe that this approach will enable us to closely monitor the actions we have taken for social distancing, cleaning procedures, etc. and adjust them as needed to meet the needs of those we serve.”

The changes in procedures include mandatory face coverings for all staff and adults, temperature taking on arrival each day, and a rearrangement of the program area to provide social distancing.  Plexiglass dividers have been installed where needed to create a physical barrier, and an enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule is in place.  Prior to reopening, all program staff will have completed two days of training that includes recognizing signs and symptoms, steps for preventing infection spread, and new cleaning procedures. 

“We know that many adults and families are eager to have these programs reopen and we look forward to serving them again,” said Kontis.  “But our highest priority continues to be doing all that we can to ensure the health and safety of our individuals and staff while delivering the highest quality services that adults and families choose.”

Approximately 105 staff and 273 adults are expected to return across selected Barber National Institute day service programs during the first pilot week of reopening. The status of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is being closely assessed with plans for reopening of facilities in those communities dependent on the conditions in those local areas.

The Barber National Institute continues to serve more than 320 adults in its 95 group homes across the state.

Elizabeth Lee Black School - Health & Safety Plan

--As of 7-20-20--

In compliance with regulations from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, the Elizabeth Lee Black School has developed a detailed plan for the reopening of school for the 2020-21 school year. The plan, approved by the Barber National Institute Board of Directors, is available for viewing.

Health & Safety Plan

For Summer 2020: Virtual Camp

--As of 5-19-20--

All the fun and learning all from home! Connections Camp will operate virtually from June 24 - July 22 from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Campers will have all of the activities, including virtual field trips, that are so important to promote communications and social skills and foster friendships. Complete the application to start a fun summer experience. Please Contact Connections Camp with any questions.

Early Intervention services

--As of 5-8-20--

Early Intervention services are still being provided to help babies and toddlers overcome delays in their development. For more information, contact Donna Roesch in the Barber National Institute Early Intervention Program at 814-874-5671.  Information is also available about starting services, and for families ready to start telehealth services with their child.

Barber Behavioral Health

The Barber Behavioral Health team continues to provide services telephonically during the Covid-19 emergency. Our staff is here to ensure that families, children and adults continue to have the therapies and medication management that they need and to accept referrals for new patients. Below is contact information for our programs:

Acute Partial Hospitalization Program for children, contact Amanda Monocello at 814-323-5289

Blended Case Management Program for children and adults, contact Christine Stoker at 814-874-5680

Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services for children or our Forensic Outpatient Clinic, contact Kaleena Howell at 814-878-5945

Family-Based Mental Health Services for children and families, contact Christine Bible at 814-878-5970

Update on School Closing

--As of 4-9-20--

With Gov. Wolf’s announcement today, the Elizabeth Lee Black School will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Although our doors are closed, our teachers are working on lessons and learning activities for students, which will be mailed to student homes and made available online. We want to assure every family that your child’s teacher and therapists will be in daily contact to answer questions and provide instructional and therapy programs.

Please continue to visit our resource page, which will continue to be updated with new, engaging ideas to educate and entertain your child.

This may be a tremendous challenge, but we will overcome this together.


Pool Closing

--As of 4-1-20--

The Barber National Institute Pool remains closed until further notice. We will comply with recommendations issued by Gov. Wolf and state and local officials regarding the status of our pool and other facilities and will work to keep staff, families and the communities updated as more information becomes available.

Barber Behavioral Health

The Barber Behavioral Health team continues to provide services telephonically during the Covid-19 emergency. Our staff is here to ensure that families, children and adults continue to have the therapies and medication management that they need and to accept referrals for new patients. Below is contact information for our programs:

Acute Partial Hospitalization Program for children, contact Amanda Monocello at 814-323-5289

Blended Case Management Program for children and adults, contact Christine Stoker at 814-874-5680

Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services for children or our Forensic Outpatient Clinic, contact Kaleena Howell at 814-878-5945

Family-Based Mental Health Services for children and families, contact Christine Bible at 814-878-5970

Day Programs

--As of 3-26-20--

As determined the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP,) all licensed day programs will remain closed until further notice. The closure affects the Barber National Institute programs below:

  • Lakeside Senior Center (East Lake Road)
  • Community Participation Supports Programs (Buildings 99 and 101, West 16th Street, Girard and Corry)
  • Erie Community Endeavors (12 & Marshall Street)
  • Journeys (Iroquois Avenue)
  • Club Erie (East and West 12th Street Locations) and Club Corry
  • Bridgeville (Emerson Lane)
  • Philadelphia Community Endeavors (Henry Avenue)
  • Bedford (Friendship Village Road) and Somerset (Red Brant Road)

We understand that families and staff are interested in the status of these programs and will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Supported Employment & Small Group Employment Services

--As of 3-23-20--

Supported Employment services:  we recommend that each individual and their family talk about their choice to continue to work at those businesses Governor Wolf has designated “essential” and permitted to remain.  If you choose to continue to work in your position in this community business, we will do our best to have job coaching available.  Your choice to continue your employment is at the discretion of the family.  If an individual employed by an “essential” business chooses to not work, please let the Barber supported employment supervisor know you have made this decision.

Small Group Employment Services:  All service for individuals who have participated in SGE services performed at the Barber National Institute main locations is suspended until further notice. 

Individuals who are working at SGE Contract locations in the community will be supported by Barber staff as usual.  Please call your SGE supervisor if you need any clarification.

Update on School Closing

--As of 3-20-20--

With today's announcement that the Erie School District will remain closed indefinitely, the Elizabeth Lee Black School will also be closed until further notice. No decision has been made about the remainder of the school year or when in-person classroom instruction will resume.

We will keep families and faculty informed through the One Call telephone system, direct communication, and the Barber National Institute website and Facebook page.

Beginning next week, we will have additional enrichment activities for you posted on our website to encourage ongoing learning.

We remain committed to our mission of serving our children and families.

Behavioral Health Services

--As of 3-20-20--

The Children’s Acute Partial Hospitalization Program is continuing to operate and is accepting referrals. Psychiatric evaluations, medication management and therapy are being offered through telehealth service delivery models. Families who may have questions can contact Amanda Monocello at (814) 323-5289.

Other behavioral health services, including BHRS/IBHS, Blended Case Management and Family Based Therapies are continuing operations, as well. Services will be delivered through video exchange or via telephone when video is not an option. Families with questions should contact their therapist or case manager.

Office of Developmental Programs Message

--As of 3-20-20--

Office of Developmental Programs

A Message from the Deputy:

For all home and community based service and intermediate care facility providers offering services funded or administered through the Office of Developmental Programs, please note that you are considered life-sustaining and are therefore exempt from the Governor’s directive asking for the closure of all non-essential businesses.

Home and community based service and intermediate care facility providers offer services that maintain basic health and safety requirements in a multitude of essential ways and those providers are expected to continue offering those services through the COVID-19 crisis period.

Thank you for all of your valuable and life-sustaining work and for your commitment to serving Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism.

Kristin Ahrens | Deputy Secretary
PA Department of Human Services | Office of Developmental Programs
www.dhs.pa.gov www.myodp.org
Supporting Pennsylvanians with developmental disabilities and their families to achieve greater independence, choice, and opportunity in their lives.

Open Interviews changed to Virtual Interviews

--As of 3-18-20--

As we continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and infection control, we are transitioning to virtual interviews for employment. The Erie Open Interviews scheduled for tomorrow, March 19, has been cancelled. If you were planning on coming or submitting an application, you can still do so online. Please apply online and a recruiter will contact you to arrange a "Go To Meeting" with you. Thank you for your interest in employment at the Barber National Institute.

Early Intervention Services

--As of 3-18-20--

Pennsylvania has suspended all Early Intervention Services in the home or community setting for children from birth to age three and their families. This suspension is effective immediately and will continue until further notice.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has announced that it is investigating options for tele-health services. We will update families as soon as more information becomes available.

Families with any questions about services should contact Maura McLaughlin at 814-440-5083.

A Message for our Employees

--As of 3-14-20--

As our nation’s response to the coronavirus is unfolding and changing rapidly, I want to assure you that our highest priority remains the safety and health of our individuals and employees.  To that end, a team of our administrators, health professionals and other staff has been closely monitoring all communications from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local health departments, as well as agencies such as the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and implementing their recommendations.  These efforts have been very focused on ensuring comprehensive infection control measures throughout our facilities and taking other effective steps to prevent the spread of disease.
As the situation evolves over the coming weeks, we may experience temporary changes in program areas.  If this occurs, please be assured that we will do everything to assure as minimal an impact on your employment as possible.  Our Human Resources Department stands ready to work with you to keep you informed and assist with reducing the impact of this possible and/or temporary disruption to your work schedule or duties.
I appreciate all that you are doing to ensure that the needs of our children, adults and families are being met through this difficult and uncertain time.  I want you to know that our administration is committed to providing the resources necessary to continue to create a safe and supportive environment for our individuals, families and staff.
Thank you for your dedication to this mission.
John Barber

Closings and Postponements

--As of 3-13-20, 6 p.m.--
The Elizabeth Lee Black School will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27.  Happy Hearts Day Care will also be closed for this time.  All instructive faculty/staff should not report for work.
The Time-For-Me session scheduled for Saturday, March 14 is canceled.
The Sib Session scheduled for Saturday, March 21 is canceled.
The ESO Dance scheduled for Friday, April 3 at Mercyhurst University has been canceled.
All remaining Kids on the Block performances scheduled at area schools have been canceled through the remainder of the school year.
The adult day program, Community Endeavors, located at 3300 Henry Avenue in Philadelphia, will be closed Monday through Wednesday, March 16 - 18.  Please check back for any updates about this program.