More Than 900 to Receive Vaccine Over Next Three Days
Southborough, Mass. – January 14, 2021 – The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education and research for children with autism, announced today that they received and have begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to direct-care staff and residential students over the age of 16.
“NECC special education teachers are on the front-lines caring for children with autism in group homes. Many of these children are over 16 years of age and are themselves at high risk,” said Vinnie Strully, NECC Founder and CEO. “The COVID-19 vaccination will lower that risk and the Department of Health and Human Services is to be applauded for their efficiency in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable populations.”
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in the school’s gym and aquatic center. More than 900 direct-care staff and students over the age of 16 will receive the vaccine over a three-day period. NECC is one of 34 schools operating 42 residential care programs in Massachusetts, which provide 24-hour supervision for special needs children in structured group homes.
“The NECC community, from teachers to students to parents, are delighted and appreciative that the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived at our school,” said Dr. Jessica Sassi, member of the Senior Leadership team at NECC. “This past year has been a challenging time for everyone, and the COVID-19 vaccine is a major step toward a return to normalcy.”
Like many nonprofit special education schools in Massachusetts, NECC has faced great challenges during the pandemic. New protocols, lost revenue, increased expenses, and staffing challenges have all added stress to a complex organization that provides intensive staffing ratios with close personal contact between teacher and students throughout most of the day.
With community support and the most generous, compassionate staff, NECC managed to keep the residential program (16 group homes) operating safely and in-person throughout this health crisis, and reopen the day services program at the first opportunity in early summer. By implementing safety protocols, providing PPE to all staff and students, and through vigilant surveillance and on-site rapid testing, positive cases were quickly isolated. This week’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic will enable NECC to do its part in stopping the spread. And for that, we are immensely grateful.
About The New England Center for Children
The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is a private, nonprofit center providing evidence-based treatment and services for children with autism. Programs include in-home ABA therapy for infants and toddlers, a full-service day school for children age 4-22, and a safe, structured residential program that seamlessly integrates with the day school. NECC also oversees special education classrooms in public schools throughout New England and consults with families around the world. The technology division has patented its curriculum – the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE®) ABA Software System – which is used by more than 8,000 learners worldwide.
NECC is committed to diversity and staff professional development, partnering with local colleges to provide on-site graduate training and degrees at little to no cost to the NECC teacher. The result is a growing pool of exceptional teachers trained in best-in-class methodologies, whether they continue their careers at NECC or move on to public schools or private agencies. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates a center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Learn more at www.necc.org.