Weekly Update 04.20.2020

Weekly Update 04.20.2020

"History is important. If you don't know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it."
Howard Zinn (b.1922  d.2010)
American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker

     There are lots of new ways to get involved and options for connection with our community this week, WeCAN family. Coffee and tea with Lt Gov candidate Brenda Siegel is available, as is a divestment Zoom meeting and a week of environmental events centered around Earth Day and sponsored by 350Brattleboro and 350Vermont. You may also notice that we have moved some of our Covid 19 information to a permanent home on our WeCAN website, which will be updated as needed. You can access this information any time here: www.wecantogether.net/c19_resources
      If you would like your information to be featured in our next Weekly Email Update or to be added to our permanent Covid 19 resource webpage, please send your group's on-line and virtual meetings, actions, and/or education links to admin@wecantogether.net.
     Thank you so very much for your continued support and readership. Stay safe, friends, and we look forward to hearing from you soon. 

HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, APRIL 20th, 2020-SUNDAY, APRIL 26th, 2020

Monday Morning Coffee and Conversation with Brenda For Vermont
Monday, April 20th, 2020. Sign up here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkd-2trTopGdTjpDQY4VeeeOJRofQfLIkm. 8am.
Join Brenda and chat with her about anything.  She wants to get to know you better and you can get to know her better, too. 

 

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Healing The Overdose Crisis/Opioid Epidemic: Where Are We and Where Do We Go From Here
Monday, April 20th, 2020. Register for this event here: 
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_67eEMqkeQnSBqukHhvhkSA?fbclid=IwAR1S83VlVbO2XKILCcfl40Jy6gnUknMR0eyFjkhTbGjWCwU679i5oJ-wII0. 7pm-9pm.
Join Kesha Ram, Brenda Siegel, Vanessa Santana and Dane Whitman to discuss the Overdose Crisis, the history of the drug war, where we are at in Vermont and in the country, what strategies other countries have used and where we can and should go from here. What would save lives and reduce the collateral damage that goes along with this crisis? There will be an ASL interpreter at this event.

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Cooking With Ajna
sponsored by Brenda For Vermont
Tuesday, April 21st, 2020. Sign up here;
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/cookingwithajna. 4pm.
Join Ajna as he shares with you some of his favorite recipes.

 

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Earth Week Events from 350 Brattleboro 

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22nd! Although we can't be together physically, we invite you to join millions of people worldwide in creatively marking this milestone. 350 Brattleboro and allies invite you to join throughout Earth Week as we reimagine & recreate a livable planet for all!
#PlantInPlace — Celebrate spring alongside Earth Day and honor the Mother of Tree Planting: Wangari Maathai, who would've turned 80 on April 1st. We may not be able to gather together, but we can plant (alone) together! Planting fruit and nut trees will  benefit our earth, grow our community ties, and increase our local resilience.
In a collaboration between 350Brattleboro and Extinction Rebellion Southern Vermont (XRSVT), you dig the hole(s) and we'll supply the tree(s) for FREE!  (Donations gratefully accepted to support this initiative. Checks can be mailed to 350VT 179 S. Winooski Ave, Suite 201, Burlington, VT 05401 or donate online here).
Bare-root saplings of three different tree species are available: Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), American Hazelnut (Corylus americana), and Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima). Maximum of 3 trees per household. If you are unable to dig and plant, volunteers can help you.
Steps to Getting Your Free Trees:
1) Go outside and find a great location. (Remember: you will need to water your tree, trees grow, and nuts will fall on the ground.)
2) Dig a 1x1 foot hole per tree (1-ft deep, 1-ft in diameter). 
3) Take a photo, draw a picture, or write some words about how you feel in anticipation of planting your tree/s! 
4) Send an email to trees.for.the.earth@protonmail.com

  • Include photo, image or words from above. (Note: Let us know if you'd rather us not share this photo on the #PlantInPlace event page or elsewhere.)
  • Indicate how many trees and which variety you want. (Maximum 3 trees per household.)  
  • Indicate your preferred pickup location: Putney, Brattleboro, Guilford.
  • Let us know if you need a volunteer to help you dig and/or plant. Let us know if you'd like to be a volunteer to dig holes for others.

5) These tree saplings may be in high demand, so we'll prioritize folks who've indicated that they've found a suitable location and/or have prepared holes for planting. We'll contact you when your tree(s) are ready to be picked up. We don't know their exact date of arrival, but it will be sometime before April 28th. Because these are bare-root saplings, they'll need to be planted quickly, so we all need to be ready!
6) Pick up your tree(s) on the appointed day and time. We'll schedule pick-up appointments to maintain physical distancing. We'll also include more detailed planting instructions like these from the Arbor Day Foundation.
7) Plant your tree(s) and take photos!
8) Share photos on the #PlantInPlace  event page and your own social media with the hashtags #PlantInPlace, #EarthDay2020, and #ClimateStrikeOnline

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for planting and helping to restore Mother Earth's lungs

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#ArtInPlace — Contribute to our community mural! We were inspired by this awesome "WET'SUWET'EN SOLIDARITY: CLIMATE PROTECTORS" community mural and photo project pictured above! Help us to honor Earth Day and draw connections between Covid and climate by creating our own photo project and community mural in downtown Brattleboro.

  1. Send an email to abby@350vt.org to get assigned a specific letter of the message "HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY PEOPLE" (If enough people sign up, we'll add either "JUSTICE ON COVID-19 AND CLIMATE!" or “#EARTHDAY2020)
  2. Create your letter. Letters must be 16" wide and 24" tall. Letters should be on cardboard with BOLD ideally WATERPROOF font (marker, paint or collage all OK).
  3. Send a picture of yourself with your letter to abby@350vt.org. We'll use it to create a photo collage like the one pictured above.
  4. Drop off your letter(s) at 134 Elliot Street (formerly Elliot Street Cafe and Restless Rooster) before Tuesday, April 21st. We'll put a large collection box outside of the cafe door - stay tuned for final details on this. 
  5. We'll arrange the letters to display the mural message at 134 Elliot Street for all to see on Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22nd) and beyond.

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#DivestInPlace — Join us on Thursday, April 23rd at 7 pm for an informational Zoom call with investment experts. This event is free, but registration is required. Climate destruction is underwritten by banks, asset managers and insurance companies. This Earth Day, switch your bank account, credit card, or retirement account to an institution that will use your money for good. Gofossilfree.org estimates that more than 1,000 institutions and 58,000 individuals have pulled trillions of dollars out of fossil fuels. Share your action on social media with the hashtags #DivestInPlace, #EarthDay2020, and #StoptheMoneyPipeline

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#RiseInPlace — Take a photo of yourself or your family holding a sign with the message about Earth Day. Post it to social media with the hashtags #RiseInPlace, #EarthDay2020, and #ClimateStrikeOnline

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#WriteInPlace — Write a letter to the editor, artwork, op-eds, "love letters to the Earth" to encourage climate action, and more! Submissions can be directed to the Brattleboro Reformer and / or The Commons. Share your letter on social media with the hashtags #WriteInPlace and #EarthDay2020

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#WishInPlace — Write your hopes and dreams for our planet's and our humanity's health on strips of fabric and tie them to a tree in your isolation zone. Invite neighbors to "join" you by tying their wishes on, being mindful of physical distancing protocols. Photograph your wishtrees and post to your social media feeds using the hashtags #WishInPlace, #WishTreeForEarth and #EarthDay2020. Check out this how-to video and thanks to Amber Paris and family, who were the main impetus behind this creative idea!

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Afternoon Tea with Brenda For Vermont
Thursday, April 23rd, 2020. Sign up here:
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/afternoon. 2pm.
Grab your tea and jump on with us and tell us about what is important to you.  This is an open time to ask any questions and just chat with us. 

 

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Home School Parent Support Chat
sponsored by Brenda For Vermont
Thursday, April 23rd, 2020. Sign up here:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUkd-6rpj4pG9AcLkNtfQwe7zIXe6OeW4D-. 4pm.
This is a time for parents who are at home and crisis schooling to chat and just get support from one another.  

 

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Divestment in Place
Thursday, April 23rd, 2020, 7pm. Register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUvd-qtpzojG9MIB-djhAsSzF3mZ8l4CoVf. This event is free, but a simple registration is required. If you have questions, contact any of the following people: George Carvill, george@carvill.net; Marisa Keller, mdk.wordsmith@gmail.com; or Abby Mnookin, abby@350vt.org.
So you want to do something about climate change, but you are stuck at home. No problem! Now is the perfect time to sit down at your computer and figure out how you can help stop the flow of your money supporting fossil fuel. 
Join 350Brattleboro on Thursday, April 23rd at 7pm for an informational Zoom meeting with banking and investment experts. The event was originally planned for the library, but now it will be a Zoom on-line meeting sponsored by 350Brattleboro, Brooks Memorial Library and All Souls Church SEAC Committee.
Climate destruction is underwritten by banks, asset managers and insurance companies. This Earth Day, switch your bank account, credit card, or retirement account to an institution that will use your money for good. Gofossilfree.org estimates that more than 1,000 institutions and 58,000 individuals have pulled trillions of dollars out of fossil fuels.

 

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FUTURE EVENTS

Bold Climate Action: Why It Is More Important Now Than Ever
Tuesday, April 28th, 2020. Register for this event here: 
https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/bold-climate-action-why-it-is-more-important-now-than-ever/. 7pm-9pm.
We have seen that when science dictates that we are in a crisis we can take decisive action.  Climate Change is another crisis, that leaves extraordinary economy changing events waiting in the wings.  We must build a Green Mountain or Green New England New Deal now.
Join us for a Town Hall with elected leaders, advocates and experts on how we can build a green economy and why that IS part of the solution now.  There will be an ASL interpreter at this event. 

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Dummerston Community Conversation
Friday, May 1st, 2020. Register here to join:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0rceytrTsuHtSVzRmQvulF1h-yv_9hywc-. 7pm
Join Brenda Siegel, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor to have a conversation about what is happening in the Dummerston Community and surrounding areas.  Learn more about Brenda's campaign for Lieutenant Governor and hear from speakers from your community. We are scheduling community conversations all over the county.  Please let us know if you would like to set one up or know about one happening in your community.  Email jacob@brendaforvermont.com 

 

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May 30: VT Green Up Day

On the eve of its 50th anniversary, environmental nonprofit Green Up Vermont is postponing its annual statewide clean up event until the end of May. 
Green Up Day has been typically held on the first Saturday in May since 1970, bringing in thousands of volunteers to clean up miles of roadside waste and advocating for a litter-free environment. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines, however, Green Up Vermont opted to push back its event to May 30.

 

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Let's Talk Vermont State Colleges: To Be Scheduled Very soon
Join together with us to talk about Vermont State Colleges potential closure, why these schools are important, the union jobs that will be lost and how we can work together to save them. Register here to attend: Email Jacob@brendaforvermont.com to let us know that you are interested.

 

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COMMUNITY PETITION

Prison Should Not Be A Covid-19 Death Sentence: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/
COVID19 is impacting families all across Vermont and the nation. We have known from the beginning that group living settings are particularly susceptible to rapid infection. We have seen in other countries and states that the outcome of not taking strong preventative measures in prisons is a spike in cases of infection. We have also seen effective examples of precautions being taken 
Join myself, Representatives Mari Cordes, Kevin Christie, Selene Colburn and Brian Cina. House rep candidate, Tanya Vyhovsky, Chittenden County Senate Candidate, Kesha Ram, Barre City Councilor; Teddy Waszazak, Burlington City Councilor; Zoraya Hightower, and other elected officials in demanding health justice for all Vermonters. Please add your name to ask Governor Phil Scott to take preventative and reactive measures to protect Vermont's Prison Population, Corrections Officers and Staff, along with the greater community. Elected officials and candidates will be added as we connect and they respond. Today I ask all of you to join us! https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/

 

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Southern Vermont Dance Festival

SVDF Digital Dance Festival
Join the Southern Vermont Dance Festival in our 2020 Digital Dance Festival group.  Dancers, dance schools and companies can share your classes here and can submit films, improv and choreography.  We can't be together, but, let's join together online.  SVDF will soon announce our summer plans to keep this art alive as we are distant. Join this group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2934801179940081/?source_id=440570312689292

Statement from Founder and Director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival:
SVDF started as a long term economic driver for our community.  We can not quite express the grief we feel as the economic impact of COVID-19 grows.  We are grateful to have a structure and platform to continue to support the long term economic growth of Downtown and the greater community.  We look forward to working with all of our businesses to brainstorm as we continue our mission to drive our local economy.  Please feel free to reach out to southernvermontdancefestival@gmail.com with your ideas.  We remain fully committed to the economic vitality of our region.  Thank you all for what you are doing to support our community in this time.  

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPPORTUNITY

 

Are You Sewing Masks?

Would you if you had the right things? This is a simple survey that is meant to help unite and organize the community's mask-making effort. This information will help us get materials to people who can make masks but don't have what they need, and help the right designs reach the right populations and prioritized centers of need. From this survey we will form an email list and give regular updates and news of requests, coordination of donated materials, etc. Thank you!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfSfz5QGjZoaJ30iDVF0flqOoTiCieEXRxSNOEcvvtN5JXTgw/viewform

 

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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 Stop the Bug: Nationwide PPE Drive.
If you have masks ready and need assistance in getting them where they need to go, please contact Joanna Phillips at joannawilsonphillips@gmail.com 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
BMH
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301

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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 jeremy@homefarmfamily.com. Specifically, he needs them for office staff, patients, and to distribute to the homeless encampments in town. Thank you!

 

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COVID 19 RESOURCES: VERMONT

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

 

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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.

 

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Online Religious Services

All Souls U. U. Church, Brattleboro, VT. Sunday mornings at 10am, online with Rev. Shayna Appel.
Click right here this Sunday at 10am to join Rev. Shayna and your ASC friends online.
Back in January we were exploring the theme of Integrity and we learned that getting to a place of integrity was less about adding to who we are and what we do, and more about stripping away all the falsehoods and misinterpretations. Now we turn to the theme of Wisdom (paired with the spiritual word Awakening), and again we are directed to look within. This Sunday we will look past the trappings we may associate with wisdom so that we can distill the essence of those facts from the facts themselves and discover together, in this time of pandemic, what wisdom we are awakening to?
Join the service about 10am or a little earlier at the link above, which is  https://zoom.us/j/115812094
If you do not have internet connection at that time,  you can join by phone at one of these numbers:
312 626 6799
929 205 6099
253 215 8782
301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 115 812 094
Virtual Coffee Hour
We will keep the Zoom meeting going so folks can say hi. If a subset of the group — for example the Caring Circle — wants to meet on the side we can try to move them into a “break out room.”

 

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Social Justice Resources

ROOT SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER MUTUAL AID & SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
The Root Social Justice Center is collecting a list of contacts and resources to help support and assist with the needs of their Root community members. Join if you are in need or are able to help.

 

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COVID 19 INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO WINDHAM COUNTY, VT

 

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.

 

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WINDHAM COUNTY HOUSING INFORMATION FOR UNHOMED PERSONS

From Rhianna Kendrick at Groundworks Collaborative (rkendrick@groundworksVT.org, 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!

 

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FREE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD IN WINDHAM COUNTY

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. What started as a spontaneous response to the crisis has grown into Retreat Farm’s Emergency Food Pantry. If you are in immediate need of assistance, please visit: https://www.retreatfarm.org/community-aid

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, ccolascione@GroundworksVT.org 
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 volunteer@GroundworksVT.org 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.

 

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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 - bratfood@wsesdvt.org
Dummerston Familes - dummerstonfood@wsesdvt.org
Guilford Familes - guilfordfood@wsesdvt.org
Vernon Familes - vernonfood@wsesdvt.org

 

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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 WIC@Vermont.gov with any questions about WIC nutrition services and enrollment.

 

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COVID 19 GENERAL VERMONT INFORMATION

The Path to Restart Vermont

Governor Phil Scott today outlined an approach for the phased restart of Vermont’s economy, emphasizing the state’s modeling indicates initial steps can be taken while the Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect. The new addendum to his executive order:

• Allows small crews for outside construction or other outdoor trade jobs, and single- worker low- or no-contact professional services

• Clarifies guidance for retailers to allow additional operations using delivery and curbside service

• Outlines safety requirements for these entities and others already operating to ensure continued social distancing, hygiene and disinfection

The state’s latest modeling shows the growth rate in new COVID-19 cases has averaged below 4% for the last 12 days, the rate at which cases double has slowed dramatically, and the number of people requiring hospitalizations remains stable. But we must stay vigilant – meaning staying home, avoiding large gatherings, staying six feet away from others, using a cloth face covering when in public, and washing our hands. 

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Serologic (Antibody) Testing

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD reported on Friday the findings of a working group of Vermont experts researching antibody tests. At this time, the group found the tests that are currently available are not accurate or reliable enough to make decisions or recommendations to change individual or population-level behaviors. The group will continue reviewing the information periodically to see if there are improvements.
Serologic testing measures antibodies in the blood of a person who has been infected with COVID-19, whether they felt sick or not. In other words, it measures the body’s immune response to the virus, but does not detect the virus itself.

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New on Healthvermont.gov: Race and Ethnicity Data

The Health Department is now including data about race and ethnicity on its data dashboard at healthvermont.gov/covid19. We recognized the need to include this information to help us understand how Vermonters were being affected by COVID-19, but in our earlier efforts to respond to the pandemic, race and ethnicity data was not always collected for each patient. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy – especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other systemic inequalities. Therefore, our epidemiology team collaborated with Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL) to cross-reference medical records to gain more robust race information about COVID-19 cases in Vermont. At the end of March, race was unknown in 73% of cases, but through our joint work, we have brought that number down to just 8%. We have been able to partner with VITL through a state directive issued in response to the State of Emergency. We can use this data to help to prevent the spread of illness, improve care for patients, and present a more complete picture of how COVID-19 may be affecting everyone in Vermont. The Vermont State Health Assessment reports on what we know about the health status of Vermonters. Updated every five years, most recently in 2018, the assessment provides vital data for examining health inequities by race and ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and geography. See the report and learn more at healthvermont.gov/sha.

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Cloth Face Coverings

The department recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home, since COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms. Facial coverings are encouraged for essential workers in stores and their customers.

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Expedited Temporary Licenses for Health Professionals

Health professionals can quickly become temporarily licensed to provide care during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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Volunteering

We still need your help! Please sign up to support the state’s COVID-19 response: https://vermont.gov/volunteer. 

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Guidance for Vermonters

Who to contact:

• If you have questions: Use the Ask A Question tool on healthvermont.gov and review the FAQs.

• For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636.

• If you are sick: Stay home and contact your health care provider online or by phone. Do not go to the hospital, except in a life-threatening situation.

Call the Health Department at 802-863-7240. We’re ready to respond to COVID-19 health-related questions. Calls are answered 8am - 6pm, seven days a week. Outside those hours, leave a message and your call will be returned.

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Testing

The Department of Health continues to test Vermonters with COVID-19 symptoms to help increase contact tracing efforts and prevent the virus from spreading. Vermonters can be tested at hospital locations statewide and health centers in Island Pond, South Hero and Wells River. Additional sites will be opened as the needs are determined.

IMPORTANT: Everyone must have a referral from their provider in order to be tested.

• CALL your health care provider to be evaluated so the provider can determine if you need a test.

• DO NOT go to a testing site without an order from your provider. Patients who are NOT experiencing symptoms will not be tested.

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Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

Health care providers are encouraged to order a test for patients with symptoms, and can visit healthvermont.gov/covid19-providers for more information. Spring in Vermont is great – so take the proper precautions and go outside. Just be sure to stay close to home, practice social distancing, choose low-risk activities and respect all signs for closed areas  and Covid-19.
For more info visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-

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Ticks are Terrible at Social Distancing

As you go safely outdoors, remember that the ticks are starting to come back and are hungry for their spring meal. It’s up to us to stay away from them. Use insect repellent, avoid wooded and brushy areas, and always do a tick check when you get home. Get more tick tips at healthvermont.gov/BeTickSmart.

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VT Health Dashboard

https://vcgi.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6128a0bc9ae14e98a686b635001ef7a7

 

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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

 

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RESOURCES FROM THE VT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily Department of Health updates please use this link: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

 

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VERMONT ESSENTIAL PERSONS INFORMATION 

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

 

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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.

 

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NEIGHBORLY ASSISTANCE PRECAUTION RECOMMENDATIONS

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.
Resources

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

 

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RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS

Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
Specific Guidance for Employees:
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/employees
Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims):  1-877-214-3332.
Specific guidance for Employers:
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/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

 

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MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE

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.

 

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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
.

 

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

 

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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.

Resources

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RESOURCE FOR WeCAN

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.

  

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ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING 

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

 

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     Until next time, WeCAN readers. Be safe and healthy. We look forward to connecting with you soon. 

 

Joanna and Leslie
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