Relias is offering free, unlimited access to relevant resources to help healthcare professionals and individuals prepare, control, and prevent the spread of infection. This FREE online training & resources offers helpful instruction on COVID-19 precautions, infection control, etc. Available to anyone -- individuals, families, providers. Well worth a look as we make our way through this situation.

Here's the link:

Making FacemasksMDS needs your help in replenishing our inventory of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We're reaching out to locals who are part of the national movement of volunteers who are sewing masks. The CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) guidance says that fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted.

We also need donations of gowns, gloves, eye protection, and hand sanitizer.

Donations accepted in bins outside the MDS offices (Keene & Peterborough) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Thank you so much for your help.

Below is our general guidance for those who wish to help by sewing masks for donation.

FIRST: Important infection prevention
Before starting this project, please ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Have you been in contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

2.  Do you have fever, cough or shortness of breath?

If you can answer "NO" to both questions, then proceed with making masks.

If you answer "YES" to either or both questions, please do not make masks. If you are experiencing cough, fever, or shortness of breath and have a concern that you may have COVID-19, please call your primary care provider for a risk assessment. Otherwise please stay home, avoid contact with others, and monitor your symptons.

Instructions for making masks:
100% unused cotton fabric (front) – no metallic fabrics
100% cotton or cotton flannel (back)
1/8", 1/4", or 3/8” flat elastic, or 1/4” inch bias-tape

For specific dimensions, refer to these written instructions (PDF).

Video instructions: Instructional video from Deaconess Health System

Written instructions: How to Make a Facemask (PDF)

Related questions:  Fabric Mask Making Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on D-H's Facebook page

If you cannot find elastics, follow these instructions to make fabric ties:
If flat elastic is not available, fabric ties can be sewn on the mask (no ribbon please), one tie on each of the four mask corners. Ties should be approximately 1/4” width, sewn so there are no frayed edges, and approximately 15” for each corner.

Dropping off masks:
Please let us know that you'll be delivering the masks to us, from Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. - contact by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or phone 603-352-1304.

Bring masks in re-sealable plastic bags to the designated box outside the doors of  MDS in Keene or Peterborough - Monday through Friday:

     * 121 Railroad Street, Keene (click here for map)

     * 12 Depot Square #2A, Peterborough (next door to Toadstool Books) (click here for mapp)

Questions? Please call 352-1304 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please, if you are sick, please do not bring masks. Thank you!

Mary Anne Wisell, MDS Director of OperationsA Message from Mary Anne Wisell, MDS Director of Operations

They are our unsung heroes - DSPs (Direct Support Professionals) who support people with developmental disabilities. Their commitment is even more apparent now. The media has provided coverage of emergency personnel, medical staff (and sometimes nursing home staff), but there has been little said about community-based, front-line direct care workers -- DSPs, Program Managers, Home Providers, and families.Their work, each and every day, is critical to the lives of nearly 1,000 people in the Monadnock Region and their families. It's even more crucial now.

If you ask a Direct Support Professional or Program Manager if they anticipated anything like this Coronavirus situation, they would shrug and shake their heads.

"Never, in their wildest dreams (or mine) did they ever think they would experience something like this," sighs Mary Anne Wisell, MDS Director of Operations. "Most DSPs make about $12 an hour for this essential work, and that's after a recent pay increase."

With social/physical distancing in place, most of the community activities for individuals have been shut down.

"Many of the people we serve have compromised immune systems and complex health issues, making them even more vulnerable to the virus. They need to live in a safe environment, and they need our help in doing that," explains Mary Anne. "If a DSP were to become sick or be exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, we can't use that staff member. And we're already short-staffed, so this is extraordinarily challenging for all of us."

Right now, DSPs are being asked to work longer shifts or support multiple people at the same time due to the increased staffing shortage. Most of the agencies contracting with MDS are looking for additional staff.

"Our team of DSPs are some of the most dedicated, hard-working caregivers around. We would welcome anyone who is a caring, committed person to join our team of great people!"

Of particular importance is that we recognize that these DSPs are "essential workers" in our healthcare system, given that our population has many people with compromised health issues. Both our direct care staff and our vulnerable individuals must be included when prioritizing Coronavirus testing for essential workers and at risk populations.

We thank our front-line workers - DSPs, program managers, home providers, and families - for all they are doing to pitch in wherever needed while keeping everyone safe. Our team has some of the most dedicated, hard-working caregivers around. Let's all be sure we recognize the impact of their work. We cannot thank you enough for your work!

Run Walk Smile is June 13We've rescheduled! Join runners, walkers, and friends of Monadnock Developmental Services (MDS) in Keene on Saturday, June 13rd for the 6th annual Run~Walk~Smile Race to raise funds for dental care for those with developmental disabilities. Choose which race works best for you – 1-Mile, 5K, or the 10K Chapman Challenge for the most avid runners. The first hundred registrants by May 14 receive a free cotton T-shirt. Click here for full details and to register!

The 5K course is fast and flat, and runs along the Keene Bike Path and through east Keene neighborhoods. People of all ages, abilities and fitness levels are invited to participate and can run or walk the 5K or one-mile course. The 10K is for runners only, and that course runs along the Keene Bike Path and up Chapman Road in east Keene. Cost for the 5K or 10K is $25; $20 for the 1-Mile; and $15 for those 12 and under. A new family rate is now offered: $40 for up to six immediate family members. Those who register by May 14 will receive a free all-cotton race T-shirt.

All proceeds from Run~Walk~Smile benefit the MDS Dental Fund to help pay for critical dental work and emergencies for adults with developmental disabilities. Medicaid funding does not cover most preventative or acute dental care for adults; it covers only extractions. The money raised will help provide effective dental solutions for those in most need.

Special thanks go out to our Race Lead Sponsors: Children’s Dental Care; Clark-Mortenson Insurance; Savings Bank of Walpole; and Raynor Dental. Co-sponsors are AmeriHealth Caritas; Borislow Insurance; Capitol Center for Oral Surgery; Children’s Dentistry of Dublin; Compass Innovative Behavior Strategies; Eversource; Family Council of the Monadnock Region; Keene Smiles Dental; Mascoma Bank; Mondovi Dental; PIF Technologies; PrintFusion; SymQuest; Ted's Shoe & Sport; and WellSense. Race partners include All-Ways Accessible; Bowman Dental; Bragdon, Baron & Kossayda, PC; Matthew Cielinski, DMD; Connecticut Valley Oral Surgery; Hastings Dental Health; HealthPlans, Inc.; Monadnock Economic Development Corp.; Montshire Pediatric Dentistry; Northeast Delta Dental; Perry Dental; and Welnak Dental.