Sharon: Hi Everyone!
I’m Sharon Applegate, the Executive Director of DEAF, Inc. I want to share our COVID-19 reopening plan with the community. DEAF, Inc. staff had training on the office safety guidelines last week. DEAF, Inc. wants to ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Reopening will proceed slowly and safely.
Please note that DEAF, Inc. reopening phases are subject to change. Public health data trends indicating significant increases in viral transmission, and/or increased absence of DEAF, Inc. staff could result in fewer open days or closing the agency that week.
In Part One, starting this week the Boston and Lawrence offices are open by appointment only once a week for a month. The Salem, New Bedford, Taunton and Cape offices will remain closed due to office relocations.
In Part Two, all DEAF, Inc. offices are open by appointment only on two days a week for three months.
In Part Three, all DEAF, Inc. offices are open by appointment only on three days a week for the next three months.
Part four is to be determined.
If you need in-person service, please contact DEAF, Inc. by VP, email, phone, website. It’s important that you are aware of the new safety rules before you visit DEAF, Inc. The rules will be explained in detail next.
Elvira: Hi, when you come to DEAF, Inc. for an appointment, please be aware of these safety rules:
In-office services will be provided by appointment made in advance. We are unable to provide walk-in services at this time.
If you are sick, stay home and call to cancel your appointment.
DEAF, Inc. main doors and side entrances are locked at all times. Please ring the doorbell and a staff member will meet you at the door at the time of your appointment.
Face masks must be worn before entering DEAF, Inc.
Before entering the DEAF, Inc. office, you will be asked to confirm that you are healthy and have no COVID-19 symptoms, and you will be asked to use hand sanitizer.
Please be mindful and maintain social distancing at 6 feet at all times.
All classrooms, kitchen, conference and library rooms, and videophone areas are closed.
Bathrooms are open.
After your appointment we ask that you leave the DEAF, Inc. office.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 after your visit to DEAF, Inc., you must inform us immediately.
If you have questions, please contact DEAF, Inc. Stay safe and well.
[Elaine is wearing a purple shirt and sitting in front of a dark blue wall]
Hello! I’m Elaine Ducharme, the director of the DeafBlind Community Access Network (DBCAN) program at DEAF, Inc. We are looking for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing people who are interested in working with DeafBlind people as Support Service Providers.
Providers work with independent DeafBlind adults in many regions across Massachusetts. Currently, we are looking for providers to work in the Boston area, Western Mass (Springfield, and Chicopee) as well as the Southeast region. Specifically, we are looking for a woman in the Boston area who is available to work weekends – Friday through Sunday, someone to work in Western Mass available weekdays during the day (gender doesn’t matter), and the same applies for Southeast.
For more information you can go to our website, www.deafinconline.org/DBCAN, where you’ll also find the application as well as a description of provider duties and how to work with DeafBlind individuals.
At this time due to the coronavirus pandemic, DBCAN staff will offer trainings virtually through Zoom or Video Phone (VP).
If you have questions after looking at the information on the website, please feel free to contact DBCAN staff. Thank you!
[DEAF, Inc. Logo]
White text on black background: The pandemic has affected everyone differently. We asked Ona, a DeafBlind DBCAN user, how she has handled new challenges.
Ona is standing in front of a light blue wall, she is a white woman with short hair and red-rimmed glasses, wearing a navy blue shirt.
Hello. My name is Ona Stewart, and I am Deaf and legally blind. DBCAN has asked me to come and talk about my experience with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Text slide: During the spring with the COVID-19 crisis, what challenges did you experience as a DeafBlind person?
When it first happened I was shocked and very confused. All had been going normally until March 15, when I saw the big announcement on the news. I quickly sent an email to my boss, who responded by explaining the situation, and that it would be safer for me to stay home.
Text slide: How did you manage your essential shopping and medical needs?
Later in March I realized I needed to go food shopping. I used Facebook and email to reach out to people who might volunteer to help. I was able to find someone, and they drove me to Market Basket, where I like to go, very early, at 7 in the morning. Once there I noticed that many products, like toilet paper, were out of stock. I’d never seen anything like it!
Since then I’ve done different types of things, like going shopping together, or giving someone my list for them to shop for me and paying them for the food later, or even getting a guide to go to the bank with me, and more recently to get a haircut.
Sometime around April or May I first started hearing about safety recommendations like wearing a mask and washing your hands with soap or sanitizer. A friend explained to me the importance of washing my hands after going food shopping with them, so that I wouldn’t get sick. It’s interesting, some providers I work with have different comfort levels. One doesn’t mind that I sit in the passenger seat, but another told me to sit in the back of their car.
I haven’t had many issues with food shopping. I’ve noticed some stores are more crowded and have much longer lines than others. Market Basket is a lot more crowded than Stop and Shop or Star Market. I try different ones to find the best option.
Like I said, DBCAN providers have different comfort levels. Some providers prefer to stay home, while others will go out to work as long as we are both wearing masks. It’s important to respect everyone’s decisions about working or not.
Text slide: Now it looks like Coronavirus will last for a long time. What are your plans for the future if the virus doesn’t go away soon?
I hope Coronavirus doesn’t last very long. I’m constantly watching the news on TV to see what’s going on. I keep track of the cases going up or down, and was disappointed to see them going up again. But I have a good support network. I ask friends for help when needed. I even bought masks from a friend who was making them.
I have Zoom meetings with my boss and we use the chat to communicate. Recently he asked me if I was comfortable going back to work in July, but I was too nervous. I would have to take public transportation, and it’s hard to maintain social distancing as a DeafBlind person, I could easily bump into someone, and I would have to use touch to find my way around. After some negotiation he agreed that I could wait until September to go back to work. I pray to God the cases decrease by then.
Take care of yourself everyone! Have a good one!
Hello! I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy as well as safe. We are here to explain about MA’s 4 phases and their color codes meanings.
As Many of you either watch or read news about the phases that Governor Baker has announced last week and that is already started as of May 18, 2020. This mean we are now in Phase 1.
What is phase 1? It is called “Phase 1: Start” or “Safer at Home” and the color is yellow. It means only specific businesses can be opened: construction, Manufacturing, places of worship like church and temple, and essential businesses.
However on May 25 next group of businesses can open: Lab space, office space, limited personal services such as hair salon, pet grooming and car washes. Also retail for remote fulfilment and curbside pick-ups, but for Boston only office space can open on June 1.
All places of businesses that open will have to follow many safety measures such as 6 ft distancing, wearing masks, and cleaning often.
Before we can move to Phase 2 we will have to wait at least 3 weeks, depending on the trend. For example, if the trend is upward that is negative, and it means we will move back to Stay at Home. If the trend is downward that is positive, and we can move on to phase 2.
As we move to Phase 1, please keep in mind that we will still have safety measures such as masks, social distancing, and staying home if possible.
However in phases 2, 3, and 4 the restrictions will continue to lessen. More details will be shared in future vlogs.
This is really important to know that there is still no vaccine as of today and virus is still deadly.
For more information, please visit mass.gov and click on “reopening Massachusetts”, then “read more”.]
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