Science and Community Resources: COVID-19
Like many of you, we at Washington STEM are grappling with what COVID-19 means for our daily practices, our families, and our community. For the time being, like many with the ability to do so, we have scattered to our respective home offices and are learning to work remotely with colleagues through Zoom and Microsoft Teams—continuing to move the work forward while adhering to physical distancing. We are an organization made up of passionately committed citizens, parents, pet owners, hikers, PTA members, data nerds—just like you. And like you, we are trying to stay informed and engaged, with many of us now also trying to figure out how we will homeschool our children. We’re committed to doing our part to help flatten the curve (and quickly), but we know that not everyone has the ability to hole up at home.
Data, facts, and science form the through line for our work at Washington STEM, so when COVID-19 was identified in our state, we went looking for information. There is a lot circulating and not all of it is reliable or rooted in rigorous journalistic practices or science. So, we wanted to share the sites that we’ve been leaning on for up-to-date information in the hopes that it might be helpful. From basic questions about COVID-19, to ways that you can help in your communities, there are a variety of links below.
This is an unprecedented situation and it is evolving rapidly. Still, there is good information out there and we are seeing local leaders, companies, and communities in Washington step up to support one another in ways that are inspiring. We have the best and the brightest here in our state working their hardest to keep our communities healthy and safe. We hope this list is useful and that you stay healthy. Hang in there, Washington, we got this.
What is COVID-19? How do you get it? What are the symptoms? What should I do? How can I protect myself and my loved ones?
LOCAL IMPACT & INFORMATION
After you have a high-level understanding of what COVID-19 is, you’ll probably wonder what’s happening where you live. The local health departments have become the best source of information for what is happening locally and what to do if you suspect that you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who does.
- Washington State Department of Health
- Public Health Seattle and King County
- Snohomish Health District
- Tacoma-Pierce County Health
- Find Your Local Health District
- Washington State Coronavirus Response (NEW)
The situation changes daily and is evolving quickly. There are many sources that have committed to providing timely updates—live updates in some cases. They share information about cancelled events, closed businesses, school closures, and information about where people can get help. Many of the resources are Seattle-based because that is where most of the reported Washington cases currently exist.
- KUOW –Local affiliate of National Public Radio
- The Seattle Times –All COVID-19 coverage is offered outside of the paywall so that everyone can access it regardless of ability to pay. They are also sharing live, daily updates on important COVID-19 related information.
- Geekwire – Another publication committed to providing live updates on the impacts that COVID-19 is having on our community from the business and technology sector perspective.
SUPPORT AND RESOURCES
Schools across Washington state are now closed—and will be until at least April 27. Many of our community businesses are also feeling the pain and are having to lay off staff to try and stay afloat while experiencing steep losses. Below is a list of resources that include thoughts about childcare, unemployment services, and food security.
- Seattle Public Schools, while closed, has worked to pull together a plan to ensure they can continue to support students and families through food services offered at 26 locations throughout Seattle.
- United Way King County is also offering free meals during school closures.
- Northwest Harvest is providing support to families at its new SODO Market—all are welcome.
- Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington Health Plan Finder is opening enrollment to qualified individuals until April 8, 2020. Apple Heath enrollment is year-round.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of King County remains open and has extend hours, as schools close because of coronavirus.
- Childcare Aware of Washington
- Weekdays is a new start-up that has been likened to the Airbnb of childcare. If you have the resources, and need childcare, they’ve set up emergency texting capabilities—you can reach Weekdays by texting 425-200-5127.
- The Seattle Times Education Lab has compiled a list of food, mental health, and educational resources.
- United Way of King County created a helpful checklist of items to do if you find yourself unemployed due to COVID-19. Links to unemployment benefits, insurance and other resources. if unemployed due to COVID-19.
- Employment Security Department of Washington state has created a scenarios and benefits document to help people understand what they qualify for.
Communication and educational resources
- Microsoft is making Microsoft Teams available to everyone. If you have Microsoft 365, you already have it. If not, check this link to find out how to take advantage of this.
- Zoom is a video conference service that is offering access to their services for free during the crisis. Follow this link for more information. Schools can submit a request to have the 40-minute time limit waived for educational use.
- Comcast is offering two months of free internet access and then a reduced monthly fee for families who qualify thereafter. Many other communications companies, including AT&T, Charter Communications, Verizon, and T-Mobile, have raised or eliminated data caps and/or announced moratoriums on late fees and disconnections.
- Scholastic learn at home is offering free resources to help keep your child reading, thinking, and growing.
- Dreambox is offering a free 90-day intro to their adaptive learning tools to help grow your student’s math skills.
- Khan Academy has many helpful, free resources. They have also created some templates for those navigating weeks or months at home with children out of school.
- Amazing Educational Resources is a public Facebook group of educators and there is a large list of free resources available for students.
- Mikey the Rad Scientist is offering Facebook streamed music and science content for kids starting March 16.
- Cosmic Kids yoga and GoNoodle are resources that some use with young students as part of mindfulness programs. These might help some who will now have kiddos at home.
- PBS Learning has a curated collection of standards-aligned resources for educators and parents.
- Your local public library has some excellent online resources including books, music, movies, magazines, and free education and training programs. Visit your library’s website to see their digital offerings. Find yours here.
- Experts at the University of Washington College of Education have created several resource guides for families, educators, caregivers and members of the public. (NEW)
- Health and wellness resources for students from WA State OSPI. (NEW)
VOLUNTEERING & HOW YOU CAN HELP
We recognize that not everyone has the capacity to volunteer right now, but if you do or have resources that you can share, many of our local businesses, neighbors, and nonprofit organizations are already suffering due to COVID-19. If you are able, please consider finding a way to support our shared community.
- Mutual Aid Solidarity Network –A volunteer run ad hoc effort to support those furthest from opportunity through food and supply delivery in the Seattle area, prioritizing those furthest from opportunity. You can sign up on the linked Google doc. Not in the area? Maybe you can start one of these in your own community?
- Donate blood. Bloodworks Northwest has had to cancel blood drives due to COVID-19. If you’re healthy, and able, consider making a donation. The Red Cross is also desperately seeking blood donors. For some background on why blood donation is so important, read Georgetown University’s guide Donating Blood in Times of Crisis: How to Help.
- Direct service organizations around the region were already struggling prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Find your local food bank, shelter, or other community-supporting organization and make a donation. If you had planned on attending a fundraiser that was cancelled, please consider it a gift if you are in the position to do so.
- Businesses across the region are suffering alongside us. If you have a favorite neighborhood joint, consider buying a gift certificate to use later, or ordering socially-distant takeout.