Weekly Update 03.23.2020

Weekly Update 03.23.2020

“When things fall apart, it’s a really horrible time in the sense that there’s so much suffering, but it’s also an opportunity for us to wake up our hearts in an unprecedented way….So really the question is, how will you be with the fear and the grief? What is being called forth in you in these times? Who do you want to be? And what kind of world do you want?”
Tara Brach (b.1953)
American psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation

     Things have changed quite a bit in Vermont in the last week and we want to let you know what the WeCAN Weekly Email Update will do it's best to pass along those changes through our listings that are both user submitted and sourced by our editors and administrators from credible outlets.
     If you are a group organizer, we would love to know what you and your group are up to during this period of social distancing.  How are your group members connecting? How can WeCAN readers stay engaged with your cause?  Send us an email at [email protected] to let us know what vital information your group members should know, straight from you. (See Mother Up! below for an example). We have had many emails asking, "What is my group doing during this time?"; this weekly newsletter is a great place to let your members know they are not alone. 
     We are also accepting suggestions of TOOLS FOR ACTIVISTS while we are isolated from each other. What are the how-to resources for groups who want to connect but lack on-line technical know-how? How do we continue organizing and speaking out without being able to march, meet and take direct action? Drop us an email and we'll be sure to feature your suggestions in next week's Weekly Email Update. 


Covid 19 Round Table
coordinated by Brenda for Vermont
Monday, March 23rd, 2020. Register here and we will send you a zoom link: 
https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/covid-19-round-table-vermont/ . 5pm-7pm. Please share with us any questions that you know you hope we address in the comments when you register. 
Localized and statewide community efforts have popped up all over the state. We will sit down with folks heading up or participating in many of those efforts and discuss the work being done in addition to resources that are out there. As well as do our best to answer any questions that have come up on these issues or that come up during our discussion.
Panelists will include: Elected Officials, Community Organizers, Parents/Teachers and more.
We will offer a full list of folks participating in the round table on our website in the next couple of days.




Mother Up! Monthly Meet-Up NOW ONLINE!
Monday March 23rd, 2020, Online. 6:30pm-7:30pm.
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/692822478?pwd=aFVWQ1UzcS92RVhadFQvZUR0QkxJUT09
Meeting ID: 692 822 478, Password: 018048
One tap mobile +19292056099,,692822478# US (New York)
Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acnde7wnRI).
Join us in building solidarity amongst parents by taking action to protect the health and safety of our collective future. We'll begin with a check-in and gratitude sharing. Then Jana Zeller will present her "Climate Crankie" with time to give feedback. We'll end with a song. All families, including kids, are invited to join. Hope to see your virtual faces there! Contact Abby Mnookin for more info at [email protected].
Mother Up!: Families Rise Up for Climate Action is a project of 350Vermont that brings together families to talk about the tough realities of climate change and to participate in the transition to a healthier and safer world.



Afternoon Tea and Conversation
coordinated by Brenda for Vermont
Thursday March 26th, 2020. Register here and we will send you the zoom link:
https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/afternoon-tea-with-brenda/ . 2pm-3pm.
Grab your afternoon tea and join Brenda to have a break and conversation. Brenda would love to get to know you better and learn about how you are doing in this time.  We all need a break now and again and we certainly need to continue to build community.




Climate Café presents
Self Care and the Climate Crisis: Healing the Internal and External Environment
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions 
Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 at the Brattleboro Food Coop (2 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the Community Room (please use the 7 Canal Street entrance). 1pm-4pm. Please do not park in the Coop parking lot; please park on Canal Street. Reservations Required; please email [email protected] to secure your spot and for more information.
Join Brendan Kelly--acupuncturist, herbalist, author--to hear how the overheating of the planet mirrors a similar overstimulation in our culture and within us individually. Using the lens of Chinese medicine, we’ll discuss how forest fires, melting ice and the rapid warming of the planet speaking to bigger and deeper issues for us personally and collectively. We’ll also discuss the importance of differentiating aspects of self-care and the use of local herbs, diet and lifestyle to address internal and ecological imbalances 
Brendan Kelly has been practicing Chinese medicine full-time for 16 years. He currently practices at the clinic he co-founded in Burlington, VT, Jade Mountain Wellness. He teaches Chinese medicine to undergraduate and graduate students at Northern Vermont University/Johnson State College, the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in FL and Daoist Tradition in NC. In 2015, North Atlantic Books published his first book The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis which uses the lens of Chinese medicine to look at the bigger and deeper issues of global warming.




The Salt of the Earth: The Rhetoric of White Supremacy
hosted by the Vermont Humanities Council and Brooks Memorial Library
presented in partnership with Middlebury College and the Mellon Foundation
Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 7pm-8:30pm. Part of the Vermont Humanities First Wednesdays free lecture series.
In 2014 in Grand Saline, Texas, a 79-year-old white Methodist minister named Charles Moore set himself on fire as a final protest against the community’s racism. Drawing from his documentary film Man on Fire, Middlebury professor James Sanchez discusses the rhetoric of white supremacy and suggests ways communities might address bigotry.




Social Distancing Community Creations

Southern Vermont Dance Festival invites you to create.  
1. Hold your camera landscape mode.
2. Send us a phrase of choreography or a short improv, please no music, all silent.
3. In the email write how you want your name listed and if there is a company name.
4. Send it to [email protected] by Monday, March 30th, 2020 and your video will be included (as long as there is nothing inappropriate for a broad online audience).
Our director Brenda will make this into a dance film.  Please note that the movement may be broken up as the editing process takes place.  What does your movement phrases look like?  Let's create a dancer together/apart. 




A Message to Vermonters from Senator Bernie Sanders
As a member of the United States Senate, I want to make sure that the citizens of Vermont receive all of the federal benefits and help to which they are entitled. Although I cannot guarantee a particular outcome, I want you to know that my staff and I will do our best to respond to your concerns.
To contact Senator Sanders with a question, concern or comment please use this link: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/services/casework/.
If you want to contact me about your views and concerns regarding legislation and other issues important to you please use the COMMENTS FORM
If this is an emergency, please call: 802-862-0697 (In-State 800-339-9834).
Note: We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries. As we do our utmost to assist vulnerable Vermonters, please only complete the form above if you are requesting assistance. Go to General Comments to leave comments and opinions.



Urgent Need for Masks and Face Coverings for Our Medical First Responders and Professionals
If you sew or can source materials for those who sew, we need your help! 
Join thousands of volunteers across the country and create masks for health care providers, patients, and caregivers.
You can follow this basic pattern here: https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR0vI5CexA--uiCba5beFlL11TPY03t5TW2zJMrSIRix45AKSRqBfsRU-Mk

OR use this FANTASTIC beginner tutorial here, created by local Brattleboro business owner Alix Joyal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT3TX572x2s&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2IogSiQ8-0-gMvIiZcj1EHU8jRE0nB5w80DzvVWMXdKJdpq3pU5na4P84.
You can check out her eco-friendly business, JoyalTee, here: https://joyaltee.com.

If you would like help or support while creating, please consider joining an ongoing Facebook group like Mask Drive: Help Our First Responders!
We are working on providing a list of hospitals that are accepting homemade masks. If you have masks ready in the mean time, please contact Joanna Phillips at [email protected] and they will be put to immediate use. Thank you! 



COVID 19 Resources

Statewide Mutual Aid
organized by Brenda for Vermont
Localized Mutual Aid has been organized in Brattleboro and Putney and hyper local neighborhoods in Marlboro.  If your community does not have mutual aid or you can't find it, please sign up to volunteer or if you are in need of help.  All of us will likely be on the side of being able to help and needing help at times.  Please don't hesitate to ask for help.
Sign up here if you would like to help your neighbors or are in need of help:https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/help-your-neighbor/
The links below will take you directly to the mutual aid forms. 
To Volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfkRnbDKtNX_SacVaHWPyIAnsSXDGLsDMZE8vys25nzTgUo5A/viewform
If You Need Help: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfw7gg12KNq6n4s7SDUxf1ghMx-0MD3S0RCWQtxqmPTJQI8QA/viewform




Chair Yoga from Teresa Miroslaw of Townshend, VT
Please enjoy a videotaped a short chair yoga sequence for seniors / those with limited mobility. The entire sequence is seated and involves gentle movements of the spine and limbs.
Feel free to share with your loved ones who are home. This is a great idea for CNAs and caretakers to practice with their clients. A tiny bit of movement can go a long way in relieving depression and feelings of alone-ness.
Much love,




Vermont WIC is Responding to Covid 19
We are moving to phone appointments to align with social distancing efforts. If you have opted in to email and text notifications, you will receive important program updates, including information about local office hours and changes in operations. Our website will be kept up-to-date as well. Contact your local office with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition or shopping. Call 1-800-649-4357 or email [email protected] with any questions about WIC nutrition services and enrollment.




Covid 19 Information Specific to Windham County

From Rhianna Kendrick at Groundworks Collaborative ([email protected], C: (802) 275-7179)
Economic Services [ESD] has extended the Adverse Weather Condition motel rooms for 7 days starting today, and will assess this next week again
There are no longer any periods of ineligibility.
They are no longer referring clients to emergency shelter first before placing them in a motel through General Assistance [GA]. ESD staff are working on issues around GA motel capacity.
The state is actively working on strategies to consider where current GA clients are housed.
Shelters and transitional housing programs that do not have separate bedrooms and bathrooms for clients are recommended to stop accepting new clients into shelter, and instead to refer them to GA for a motel voucher -  Groundworks is following this recommendation.  If you run into any issues, please let me know and I can troubleshoot solutions.
It has been recommended that DV agencies with their own motel funds also follow the above recommendation 
The process to access a motel room is to call the benefits center at 800-479-6151, and then the local office will call people back.  If you run into issues with access please let me know and I can help solve them, either with ESD or  2-1-1.  After 4:30pm, it is no longer the local office supporting GA motel rooms, and folks will instead need to call 2-1-1.
Please share this widely, and don't hesitate to reach out to me with any problems that I can help solve!




WSESD Student Meal Information
General Information
To ensure that the nutritional needs of all of our students are met during this extended school closure, we are developing a system for distributing breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. This program will run for the duration of the school closure.
Please see below for important details:
Meal Distribution

  • Distribution will begin on March 18th, 2020
  • Meals should be picked up Monday-Friday at your distribution spot
  • Food distribution will occur after 10:30am , schedule coming soon 
  • Meals will include lunch and breakfast for the following day
  • We will utilize our current bus route as well as specific distribution locations
  • You only need to register once 

How To Apply

  • In order to receive meals, you will need to complete the Student Information Survey
  • If you can't access the survey please use the phone #'s listed below to leave a message for Ali West or Justin McArdle
  • Please arrange to pick-up meals at one site ONLY, even if you have multiple children in different schools

Contact Information
If you have special dietary requests or delivery plans, please contact: 
Ali West: 802-257-3322 
Justin McArdle: 802-451-3558
Brattleboro Families - [email protected]
Dummerston Familes - [email protected]
Guilford Familes - [email protected]
Vernon Familes - [email protected]




WSESU Essential Worker Request for Childcare
According to the state, "Essential Workers" will now be able to get childcare from the public school system. 
If you are classified as an Essential Worker and have no other adult available to provide childcare while you are at your job, you should complete this form. Once your form is submitted, you will be contacted by school personnel with more information.  
If you have questions, please contact the school counselor where your student is enrolled.




Covid 19 General Vermont Information

UPDATE: On March 21, the governor ordered close-contact businesses (those unable to comply with guidelines for social distancing) to close operations by 800 p.m. on Monday, March 23. This includes, gymnasiums, fitness centers, and similar exercise facilities, hair salons and barbers, nail salons, spas, and tattoo parlors.

Covid 19 Activity in Vermont

Positive test results* 49
Total tests conducted 978
Deaths+ 2
People being monitored 288
People who have completed monitoring 290

*Includes testing conducted at the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory, commercial labs, and other public health labs.
+Death occurring in persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending.
This table is updated daily by 2:00 p.m. Last updated: March 21, 2020


Resources for Employees and Employers

Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees

Specific Guidance for Employees:
Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims):  1-877-214-3332.

Specific guidance for Employers:
Employer Assistance (Unemployment Claims):  1-877-214-3331.

Vermont’s unemployment rules have been relaxed to be able to help folks. Their phone lines are swamped, so here is a link where you can start the process of applying for Vermont Unemployment Insurance. https://appengine.egov.com/apps/vt/dol/unemploymentinsuranceclaim




Resources from the VT Department of Health
For daily Department of Health updates including the number of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.




Resources for Education
Agency of Education Guidance to Schools
Schools will become physical day care centers only for children 6 and over, with no more than 10 children in a classroom at one time.
Education Secretary Dan French said that a number of educators and school support staff would be exempted from the order to remain at work to provide day care for parents working on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.  
Those exemptions include: educators who are over 60 years old, educators with compromised immune systems, those living with others with compromised immune systems, suffering from anxiety, pregnant, or taking care of infants.




Vermont Emergency Management has issued this Essential Persons List for Covid-19 Response
It includes staff and providers of childcare and education services, healthcare providers, public health employees, firefighters, first responders, pharmacy staff, grocery workers, and many more. The full list is here: https://vem.vermont.gov/sites/demhs/files/Essential%20Persons_03182020.pdf




On Call for Vermont: Emergency Medical Services and Medical Reserve Corps
Vermont thrives on volunteer efforts—and never is that truer than during emergencies. From trained medical professionals who respond daily to citizen volunteers who step up during natural disasters, Vermonters like you make all the difference in our communities’ health, safety, and preparedness. Join the On Call for Vermont team here: https://oncallforvt.org/wordpress/.




While Vermonters are staying home or choosing activities that maintain social distancing as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19, some are stepping up to ensure their neighbors have what they need. This type of community support is crucial, but we need to make sure our helpers and volunteers are still using social distancing practices to protect our most vulnerable Vermonters.
Any volunteers bringing items to those who need to stay home should:

  • Keep a distance of six feet away.
  • Avoid entering the recipient’s home.
  • Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you feel sick or learn that you have had contact with someone who is sick, stop doing community support work immediately.
  • Keep a list of anyone you come into close contact with in case contact tracing is required.
  • Wear clean gloves when handling items that may be given to people with a weaker immune system, and when you are close to someone who may be sick.

Common sense practices can go a long way while Vermonters take care of each other.
Want to help? Consider signing up for the Medical Reserve Corps(link is external). Volunteers can be deployed locally in the event of an emergency, support first aid stations at community events, educate the public on preparedness, and assist in promoting various health and wellness activities. You can also reach out to local community groups/organizers like rotary and lion clubs, soup kitchens and check out your neighborhood Front Porch Forum(link is external) group.

Fact Sheets: Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks from The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress(link is external) (Vermont Department of Mental Health)
Managing Anxiety and Stress(link is external) (CDC)
Slide Presentation on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Useful Posters
Social Distancing (smaller version)
Social Distancing (larger version)
Keep Germs from Spreading
Proper Handwashing



Covid 19 General US Information & Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Covid 19 Information and Resources can be found here: COVID-19-and-Mental-Illness-NAMI-Releases-Importan/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf?lang=en-US.




CDC Approved Hand Sanitizer Recipe (based on recipe from the World Health Organization(link is external))

  • 1 cup (250 mL) isopropyl alcohol (91%)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) glycerol (or other moisturizer such as aloe vera gel, warm honey or olive oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons (33 mL) water

Add the ingredients in the order listed above to a clean container, mixing with a spoon. If using honey, stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Keep this mixture out of the reach of children. The final concentration of isopropyl alcohol in this mixture is 75%, so keep it away from flames.




If You or a Family Member is Ill

  • Stay home. Many people who are mildly ill can manage their symptoms at home with rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medicine (Tylenol), when needed. Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Call your doctor and ask to be seen for an evaluation. Do not go to the doctor's office unless instructed to do so. Anyone who does not have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to be connected to a clinic in their area.
  • Do not go to or visit any hospitals or long-term care facilities unless absolutely necessary. This is to protect everyone’s health, including patients and staff.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and animals in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick around other people and pets.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.



CDC Neighborly Best Practices for Helping During Covid 19
Protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. See the latest CDC guidance on Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities(link is external).


COVID 19 Translated Materials (VT & CDC)

Videos: Information on COVID-19 (community resource created by the Spectrum Multicultural Youth Program, Howard Center, and other Burlington community members)
in Arabic(link is external) | Dinka(link is external) | English | French(link is external) | Lingala(link is external) | Nepali(link is external) | Somali(link is external) | Spanish(link is external)

What You Need to Know About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
in Arabic | Burmese | Chinese | English | French | Kirundi | Nepali | Somali | Spanish | Swahili | Vietnamese

Tips to Help Keep Illness from Spreading
in Arabic | Burmese | Chinese | English | French | Kirundi | Nepali | Somali | Spanish | Swahili | Vietnamese

Translations in Simplified Chinese:




Rapid Response Text Alert System
When WeCAN began, Song & Solidarity set up a Rapid Response Text Alert System for WeCAN Groups. Directions for signing up are on WeCAN's website, here: https://www.wecantogether.net/rapid_response. We are grateful to Song and Solidarity for providing this service.






Indigo Radio
Sundays at 12pm on Brattleboro Community Radio 107.7FM. To stream live, visit: www.wvew.org 
Indigo Radio, deepening understanding and making connections! IndigoRadio is a group of area educators seeking to learn through engaging with others in our community and throughout the world. We will be talking about educational and social issues both globally and locally and connecting them to our lives and Brattleboro community. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigoradiowvew/. For archive recordings of past shows: https://soundcloud.com/user-654648353


     Thank you, WeCAN family, for remaining calm and staying at home while we brave this outbreak together. We look forward to hearing from you soon! 

Joanna and Leslie 

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