Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Access to Food

Meal sites for KIDS, Food for SENIORS, Federal Public Assistance Options, Ways You Can Help, and MORE!

Schools and Learning

Distance Learning, Access to Devices, Access to Internet, Mental Health Supports, and MORE!

Access to Resources

Unemployment Benefits, The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Housing, Utilities, and MORE!

Childcare and Healthcare

What's in the Federal Stimulus Package, DC Health Link Info, Testing Sites, and MORE!

Access to Food

FOOD

What’s Happening in DC?

What are OTHER Places Doing in Response? 

What’s Next?

Questions to Consider Moving Forward

  • What barriers currently exist to accessing food resources?
    • Health and safety concerns?
    • Locations convenient for families? 
    • Access to transportation/ability to make the trip to pick up food?
    • Meeting Dietary needs? 
    • Access to prepared meals for kids vs. groceries for a family?
  • What communities are most at-risk for food insecurity and how should DC help?
  • How can we ensure families have access to and are able to prepare healthy, nutritious food?

Schools and Learning

DISTANCE LEARNING

  • All schools have moved to online class/assignments and/or packets of work.
  • Teachers and staff (counselors, special education teachers, etc.) should still be communicating with students and families.
  • Special education services should still be provided, including assignment accommodations and individual supports.
  • No PARCC tests will be given at the end of the year. 
  • Seat-time (attendance) and community-service hour graduation requirements have been waived.
  • FEDERAL funding from the CARES Act 
    • Overall, DC will receive about $500 million, while other states get a MINIMUM of $1.2 BILLION, or $750 million more
    • Education Total: $31 billion. DC will get about $47.8 million for schools. 
      • Other investments are tagged for SNAP/nutrition, early childhood, mental health, etc.

ACADEMICS

  • Schools are working hard to provide instruction and support remotely. For some families, this is going well. For many others, there have been significant challenges and frustrations:
    • Many parents feel like they aren’t able to support instruction or lessons at home – either because they are essential workers or healthcare workers, or they don’t feel equipped to help students with the content.
    • Even under the best of circumstances, students are spending much less time on schoolwork, averaging 2-4 hours depending on age and grade level. This is understandable and to be expected, but must be taken into account when thinking about overall impact. 
    • Special education, english language learner, and behavioral health support varies widely across schools, all of which have implications on a student’s ability to learn and grow. 
  • In DC and around the country, we know that school closures will result in learning loss. 
    • EmpowerK12 used national research and local data to estimate the potential impact of coronavirus-related school closures on DC. See their fact sheet and full report
    • The report notes that if schools remain closed, estimated learning loss would be immense: 
      • 15,600 fewer students will be reading on grade level.
      • More than 9,800 fewer students will perform on grade level in math.
  • We also know there will be an inequitable impact on families without access to internet, technology devices, or the ability to support distance learning at home. Communities of color and low-income families are most at-risk of significant learning loss.

ACCESS TO DEVICES

What’s Happening in DC?

  • Chancellor Ferebee estimated that 30% of DCPS students do not have access to technology (this is ~15,000 students).
  • DCPS is giving out some devices and giving devices to high school students first, will soon move to middle school students. Note: DCPS noted that some of the delay is because of the need to secure computers and ensure online safety measures are in place.
  • Some charter schools have purchased devices and hotspots for students that need them. This varies by school.
  • The DC Education Equity Fund will go towards providing access to devices, internet, and other needs for kids and families, but the plan for distribution is not yet clear (~$1.5 million raised so far).

What are OTHER Places Doing in Response? 

  • New York City Public Schools already purchased 25,000 internet-enabled iPads to give to students, prioritizing students who live in public housing, are low income, or are homeless.
    • Leaders are working with principals to identify which students need devices the most.
    • In total, New York City will purchase 300,000 iPads. Their system has over one million students. 
    • The remaining devices will be shipped directly to families’ homes. 

What’s Next?

  • Donate to the DC Education Equity Fund to help provide more families with devices, internet, and other critical supports. 

Questions to Consider Moving Forward

  • How do we ensure students are safe and secure online?
  • What should be included in DC’s long-term plan to utilize these new devices? In what ways is technology working that we should continue to implement when we return to school? 
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ACCESS TO INTERNET

What’s Happening in DC?

  • Roughly a third of DC households don’t have access to the internet at home, and this is closer to half for those living East of the River.
  • DC is in talks with internet companies to increase the number of hot spots, particularly East of the Anacostia River. Note: hot spots won’t necessarily provide everyone access in their homes.
  • Some providers have offered reduced internet rates – but this can be slow, unreliable, or still unaffordable for families. 
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What are OTHER Places Doing in Response?

What’s Next?

  • You can register for three months of FREE internet by enrolling in Internet Essentials
    • Enroll in Internet Essentials by calling (855) 846-8376 or visiting internetessentials.com
    • En Español: 1-855-765-6995
    • Call 202-CONNECT after you have been approved and received your first bill.
    • More information at this link!
      •  
  • Donate to the DC Education Equity Fund to help provide more families with devices, internet, and other critical supports. 
  • Click here to tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand funding for home internet access.

Questions to Consider Moving Forward

    • Which type of devices are best for preparing students for college and careers? 
    • What partnerships and infrastructure are needed to make reliable and fast internet possible at schools, community centers, and other places accessible for all families?

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS

What’s Happening in DC?

  • Teachers and school staff should be checking in on students and their families – this has varied by school. 
  • Some mental health services are moving to telehealth or via phone/video – this is largely for students who were already receiving services. 
  • Some schools are offering mental health supports for school staff, but not all. 
  • Overall, there is a shortage of mental health professionals working in schools – especially people of color. 
  • To be sure, while schools and organizations are sharing resources or opportunities around about SEL/mental health, not all families have access to this OR feel equipped to use them. 
  • Check out PAVE’s bank of resources on mental health supports and more here!

Questions to Consider Moving Forward 

  • How can DC agencies like the Department of Behavioral Health, OSSE, DCPS, PCSB, DME, and others work together to provide comprehensive and easy to navigate resources about available mental health supports through schools? 
  • How can we make sure families have access to those resources while implementing distance learning? School staff? 
  • What can we start planning now to ensure that families are engaged in mental health supports at school when we return? 
  • Amidst a challenging year with more uncertainty and changes to come, what should we put in place for teachers and staff to help support their mental health and wellbeing? 
  • How can we create more pathways to licensure for people to work in schools – especially for those that look like and come from the communities they will serve? What should that work look like around licensure reciprocity, credit hour alignment, and national certification exam preparation support? 
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Access to Resources

INCOME

What’s Happening in DC? 

  • Federal stimulus package will give a one-time payment of $1,200 to adults (those making less than $75,000/yr) and $500 per child (under 16 years old). See more detailed information and a good FAQ here.
  • Payments will be made sometime in late-April, but there could be a delay. If the IRS doesn’t have your bank account information to do a direct deposit, delays will be especially long and could take until summer. 
  • The Family Medical Leave Act has been expanded to prevent workers from losing their jobs if they or someone in their family is sick with coronavirus. See more information about scenarios and benefits here.
  • DC unemployment benefits provide weekly cash wages of up to half of your income (max benefit is $444/week) for up to 39 weeks. The federal CARES Act will also add $600 per week to EVERY person receiving benefits, starting in April and ending in July.
  • Eligibility for DC Unemployment Benefits:
    • Eligible if you worked for an employer in DC for at least 30 days.
    • You do NOT have to search for work each week (to allow you to stay safe at home).
    • Tipped workers are eligible, independent contractors are NOT at this time (a small business grant fund available).
    • Independent contractors and gig workers are not eligible at this time because the system needs to be updated – but you will receive retroactive payments. Check out does.dc.gov for updates on when that change will be made. 
    • You must have a Social Security or Alien Registration number.
  • The Events DC board has allocated the following for additional relief efforts:
    • $5 million for undocumented workers in DC.
    • $5 million for hotel workers in DC.
    • $5 million for restaurant workers in DC.
  • Both the Federal Government and DC are offering a small business grant program that includes non-profits and independent contractors to provide financial support.
    • Federal program is targeted for paycheck support
    • DC program has more flexibility for how to use the funds (paychecks, rent, utilities, etc.) – this application is now closed.

What’s Next? 

Check out all of DC government’s coronavirus recovery resources here.

HOUSING AND UTILITIES

What’s Happening in DC?

  • In DC, you cannot be evicted or have your utilities (electricity, gas, water, internet/telecom service) shut off during the public health emergency. 
    • Note: You still have to call the utility or internet company to get a grace period for your old bills.
  • Mortgage companies are required to offer a 90-day deferral during the public health emergency, and 60 days once it ends. 
    • Importantly, all property owners who get payment deferral must pass any savings on to tenants, which would need to be paid back in 18 months or the end of the lease. 
  • DC has also expanded protections for renters:
    • Required Rent freeze – your rent cannot be raised during this time. 
    • Paused the timeline on notices to vacate: tenants can stay in their homes during the public health emergency without penalty, despite any notice of intending to leave.
  • Some banks and landlords are accepting delayed payments/waiving rent – but this isn’t true for everyone.
    • Ex: Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Bank of America – but you have to call ask/apply! 
  • Those who would age out of foster care may now stay in their foster home for 90 days after the public health emergency. 
  • New debt collections have been paused.

What are OTHER Places Doing in Response?

  • Federal Proposal: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have both proposed a nationwide delay on all mortgage and rent payments for those making less than $75,000. 
  • An Oregon program, Home Forward, is offering a rent break until 5/31, then renters will be able to repay their skipped payments over 12 months.

What’s Next? 

Check out all of DC government’s coronavirus recovery resources here.

Questions to Consider Moving Forward

  • How can we ensure every member of every family – including undocument immigrants, those with non-traditional income, college students who have returned home or those over 16 but with severe disabilities that still live at home – are provided for during this emergency? 
  • How can we make sure all families are aware of and can access these programs – especially those that are by request?

Childcare and Healthcare

CHILDCARE

What’s Happening in DC?

HEALTHCARE

What’s Happening in DC?

  • DC Health Link has a special enrollment period so that families without insurance can get covered now. 
  • DC Department of Health now allows Medicaid to deliver/cover in-home healthcare services via telemedicine (online). 
  • The “public charge” test for undocumented immigrants has been suspended – all should access healthcare if they need it. 
  • Testing is available by doctor referral AND appointment only. You can find more information about where to go and what is required here

Questions to Consider Moving Forward

  • How can we ensure all families have clear guidance about how to address medical needs during this time, including:
    • How to sign up for insurance, including Medicaid?
    • When and how to access medical services that are not related to coronavirus (existing conditions, check-ups – especially those that are required before returning to school))?
    • How to recognize and respond to symptoms of coronavirus.
    • Information about available testing and health services in the event a family or community member shows symptoms of coronavirus? 
  • How can we leverage schools and meal sites to make sure parents have access to necessary cleaning supplies to keep their families safe and healthy?