Weekly Update 03.30.2020

Weekly Update 03.30.2020

“Loneliness, boredom and nail-biting anxiety are annoying devils we do not need right now. We need rest and peace. The best thing we can do is reach out and, if not physically touch someone, then make a virtual connection. The one thing about this pandemic, it affects every one of us. As for the economy, think of it this way: you can't have a livelihood without a life.”
via Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, overheard from a Vermont Town Clerk

     This week's Weekly Email Update is chock full of information, WeCAN friends. Please take a moment to read through the items below and share them amongst your communities as needed. Thank you for your continued dedication to Windham County, now more than ever; as far apart as we may need to be, we are all in this together. Be safe, be well, and stay in touch! We are more than happy to hear from you anytime: [email protected]


Virtual Medicare for All Town Hall
hosted by Brenda Siegel for Vermont
Monday, March 30th, 2020. Please click HERE for Zoom access. 5pm.
Join Brenda Siegel, Tanya Vyhovsky, Mary Gerish and other speakers on Monday at 7pm, to discuss the prominent need for Medicare For All. How that issue plays in to the current moment and how we assure that as we move forward universal access to health care is a priority for all of us.
Mary Gerish:   
Mary is a Poverty Scholar with the Poverty Initiative operating out of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and  a Vermont Workers’ Center representative to the Poverty Initiative. She participated in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the State of Human Rights in the US process in Geneva Switzerland as a member of the national delegation representing NGOs (non-governmental organizations) on behalf of the Vermont Workers Center Healthcare is a Human Right campaign and in subsequent civil society proceedings. Currently Mary is on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Task Force of the US Human Rights Network, The International Mechanisms Coordinating Committee, and is the co-chair of that Network’s national  UPR task force.  Mary is a Board member  of Rights and Democracy as well as the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.  She is on the Board of The Turning Point Club  Bennington. She sits on local Board of the Healing Winds Pow Wow.
Tanya Vyhovsky:
Tanya  is a candidate for Representative in Chittenden 8-1. She is a social worker, community organizer, and activist. Tanya graduated from Essex High School in 2003. Northeastern University in 2009 and received her Masters in Social Work from UVM in 2017. After struggling to afford it Tanya was able to move back to her home community of Essex 6 years ago where she has a small private practice and lives with her partner and their dog. Tanya serves on the Leadership Committee of Rights and Democracy and is deeply committed to building a community and government that works for all and ensures all voices are heard.  Tanya has been fighting within the health care system as a social worker and as an activist for Medicare For All.
Brenda Siegel:
Brenda is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor and has been fighting to fully fund Act 48 or create a different medicare for all system in Vermont.  Brenda is the founder and director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival which was created as a long term economic driver in response to tropical storm Irene in which her family lost all of their belongings. Siegel is the Chair of the Newfane Democratic Committee and Delegate to the Windham County Democratic Committee. Siegel began her political work as an intern in then congressman Bernie Sanders’ Washington D.C. office in 2001. More recently, Brenda has been an active advocate within the Raise the Wage coalition and a member leader at Rights and Democracy.  Brenda is a member of a national cohort focused on addressing the overdose crisis with People’s Action and RAD, a citizen member of the Vermont Legislative Equity Caucus, and a member of The Putney Huddle.  Siegel serves on the board of Community of Vermont Elders and its policy committee. She sits on the State of Vermont’s Public Transportation Advisory Commission.  Medicare For All is a policy priority for Brenda. 
More speakers to be added.





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. 





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.





Inclusion Center Newsletter
The latest Inclusion Center newsletter is available HEREInclusion Center seems to be just what is needed for most of us during this difficult time. However, we can't meet in person. What to do then? Take a look at this season's newsletter for more information and tips on how to stay safe during this crisis. 





2020 Census: Shape Your Future
It starts with each of us doing our part. And how we do this is by completing the 2020 Census questionnaire. You can complete it online or by phone. It is easy, safe and takes around 10 minutes to complete. Completing the questionnaire allows you to influence the amount of money that comes to Vermont for many of our essential programs...programs that benefit our health and safety, that pay for our roads, for local government, for schools, for hospitals, and for so much more...
All households should receive an invitation by this weekend with a 12 digit Census ID to go online and complete the questionnaire. But, you can complete the questionnaire at any time without the census ID by going to the official Census website, my2020Census.gov. When you get there you will see a link :“If you don’t have a Census ID, click here”. It will ask you for your physical address and from there you can complete the questionnaire. 
If you prefer not to use the internet, this is the first time we can complete the questionnaire by phone! You can call: 844-330-2020 to get help in English. There are an additional 13 other language options for completing the questionnaire as well. 
If you have questions, or need help, please call the 2020 Census office in Burlington at 802-557-6707 (we are teleworking to be safe and well and will respond to your calls), or you can email me at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you with an answer.
Thank You,
David A. Longsmith
Recruiting Assistant
Windham County, Vermont
Cell: 802-275-6681





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! 

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital would prefer that you make these masks ONLY for their use.
You may drop off finished masks and gowns in the receptacle on the porch of 55 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301.

If you cannot make it out to the drop site, you can mail them here:

C/O Gina Pattison
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301



Masks (N95 and Homemade) Needed in Windham County

-Dr. Jeremy Morrison, at Home Farm Family Medicine in Brattleboro is in need of masks. He can be reached at [email protected]. Specifically, he needs them for office staff, patients, and to distribute to the homeless encampments in town. Thank you!





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,




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 (Out-of-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.






Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Information
https://www.bmhvt.org 802-257-0341
BMH maintains a COVID-19 information page at https://www.bmhvt.org/coronavirus and reminds all who have primary care physicians to check with those providers if they have questions or concerns about their health.





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!





The Retreat Farm (Route 30, Brattleboro, VT, 05301; Please call (802) 490-2270) is giving away one bag of food per family. This includes bread, eggs, and milk.

Brigid’s Kitchen, St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut Street, Brattleboro 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072
Grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mon, Weds, Thus, and Sat, 11:30am-12:20pm.

Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church 193 Main Street, Brattleboro (802) 254-4730
Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12pm.

VT Foodbank and Veggie Van Go will be at Brattleboro Union High School (Fairground Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the parking lot, on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 10am-2pm. Drive up, touchless pickup. Walkers welcome, too. Call VT 211 for more information.

Foodworks, the food shelf program of the Groundworks Collaborative https://groundworksvt.org (802) 490-2412, [email protected]
Households in need of food are asked to call or email to coordinate delivery. There is an urgent need for volunteers, and Foodworks has set up protocols to keep staff, volunteers, and clients as safe as possible. Please email us at [email protected] if you are able to help.

Guilford Food Pantry
Every Thursday at the BBCC (3940 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT, 05301). 5pm-6pm.
We know that supplemental food can make such a big difference in one's budget. That is why we are stocking our shelves for our neighbors. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, dairy. Guilford Cares welcomes anyone in need of supplemental food for themselves or their families.




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]




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.





Stay At Home, Stay Safe
Gov. Phil Scott has ordered Vermont residents to stay at home and directed businesses and non-profits to cease “in-person” operations by March 25. Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive is the latest in a string of executive orders the governor has put into place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is in effect until at least April 15. Under Scott’s order, people in Vermont are permitted to leave their homes “only for essential reasons critical to health and safety.” This includes buying groceries and medicine and for exercise.

You can find the Critical Business list HERE.




Are You an Uninsured Vermonter?
Uninsured Vermonters can sign up for Vermont Health Connect until April 17th, 2020, no matter how long you've been uninsured. Apply now by calling Vermont Health Connect at 1-855-899-9600. For free help, call the Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787 or online at: https://vtlawhelp.org/vhc-coronavirus




Updated March 28th, 2020

Positive test results* 211
Total tests conducted 2,374
Deaths+ 12
People being monitored 304
People who have completed monitoring 425

*Includes testing conducted at the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory, commercial labs, and other public health labs.
+Deaths of persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending.

Case information is updated daily by 1:00 p.m. Numbers are preliminary and subject to change. Last updated: March 28, 2020




For daily Department of Health updates please use the link below: 





Schools, Child Care Programs and Colleges
According to the Gubernatorial Directive (link is external) (dated 3/26/20), all Vermont schools are dismissed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts will close schools for in-person instruction and be required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. Child care programs also will remain closed, with the exception of those that provide services to Essential Persons, as defined in the March 17, Gubernatorial Directive (link is external).




Vermont Department of Children and Families / Economic Services
https://dcf.vermont.gov/COVID-19 (800) 479‐6151
In an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID‐19), DCF Economic Services Division is conducting as much business as possible via phone and technology. You can apply for benefits or call to have your questions answered by calling the Benefits Service Center.





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




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.





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. 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 group.
Fact Sheets: Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks from The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (Vermont Department of Mental Health)
Managing Anxiety and Stress (CDC)
Slide Presentation on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Useful Posters
Social Distancing (smaller version)
Social Distancing (larger version)
Keep Germs from Spreading
Proper Handwashing





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





Vermont Support Line from Pathways Vermont (833) 888-2557
The Vermont Support line is a free, anonymous resource for all Vermonters who are looking for someone to talk to. The Support Line is staffed by individuals who acknowledge that they have experienced a broad range of struggles of their own and are willing to be open about them.




National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Covid 19 Information and Resources can be found here:




CDC Tips for Managing Anxiety in the COVID-19 Outbreak
Things you can do to support yourself




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

  • 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.





  • 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.




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



Be well and stay safe, friends. We hope to see you sooner rather than later at an event or meeting in our community. 

Joanna and Leslie 

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