Covid-19 has given us a stark and unwelcome vision of what governments should and should not be doing in a time of global crisis. We have ample evidence from around the planet on what does and does not work. Nations like the United States and Brazil that bluster against a viral outbreak, that frame it in political terms instead of organizing and coalescing to fight it are suffering greatly.
First, we need a national government capable of mustering and focusing resources, capable of efficient and and effective action. Our federal government has failed badly, starting with downplaying and denying the pandemic, graduating to disorganized and chaotic attempts to roll out testing and PPE, and finally both leaving it to the governors while undercutting the efforts of individual states, with the president sowing political discord and misinformation instead of bringing us together.
By comparison, Vermont has been a model of co-ordinated response based on science and expertise, driven largely by Governor Scott and a Democratic legislature committed to working together to act in a unified and responsive manner. Within the House, a leadership team of Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, and Independents has been meeting twice a week to ensure that legislative action is unified. Granted, the administration has experienced some serious troubles, with the absolute overwhelming of the Department of Labor’s unemployment division and the mess of getting benefits out to people in a timely way being one example. But with time, these have ironed out, and Vermont is solidly in the top five states in terms of flattening the curve and coming out the other side.
Overall Vermont’s response has been thoughtful, pro-active, and effective. Our infection rate has been steadily declining, and restrictions are loosening methodically and appropriately. But I truly hope that Vermonters will continue to follow health guidelines regarding physical distancing and mask wearing.
COVID-19 Rutland County Resource Guide
The Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office is pleased to give you this Resource Guide to Services during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
Information and Links for assistance with Food, Unemployment, Online Education Alternatives, Domestic Violence Services, Mental Health Resources, National Hotlines & more.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips on how to protect yourself and updated information on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
For informational videos presented in many languages, go to https://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/other-languages?Sort=Lang%3A%3Aasc
CDC Helpful Links:
Translated material: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/translated-materials-0
Disinfectant Exposure Information: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6916e1.htm
Household Disinfecting: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
Northern New England Poison Control Center website offers information and a chat option at https://www.nnepc.org/ or call 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 85511.
The Vermont Department of Health provides information on COVID-19 Vermont Activity, Alerts, and Information on what Vermont is Doing. Visit https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus for the most updated information. Fact sheets translated into nine different languages are also available on the site.Translated videos are available at healthvermont.gov/covid19
If you have questions about COVID-19 or need assistance connecting with government agencies: Dial 2-1-1 Available 24/7 or TEXT your ZIP CODE to 898211. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636.
Wearing Cloth Coverings (Masks)
The Health Department now recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings. For guidance, instructions on how to make, and suggestions on where to purchase cloth face coverings visit https://vem.vermont.gov/covid19/facecovering or the CDC’s devoted webpagehttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html As Vermont gradually opens, wearing face coverings is more important than ever. Recent evidence indicates masks do seem to reduce respiratory droplet transmission, but compliance must be high for this strategy to work. Taking our mask with us when we go out is as important as is taking our car keys and wallets. Even with a mask, we still need to keep 6 feet between ourselves and other people.
Quarantine Guidance for People Returning to Vermont
If you are a returning Vermonter (winter outside of VT, second homeowners, college students) you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you are without COVID-19 symptoms at day 7 of your quarantine, you can be tested at one of the pop-up clinics being conducted around the state. If your test is negative, you can end your quarantine period, as long as you still have no symptoms. Learn more at https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid19
Traveling to Vermont or coming back from a trip out of state? The Health Department’s new travel web page is dedicated to providing Vermonters with travel-related information and guidance, including for quarantining and testing. Go to https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/traveling-vermont
Anyone coming to VT is strongly encouraged to sign up for daily symptom check reminders should go to https://apps.health.vermont.gov/EpiInfoWebSurvey/Home/9c2e5941-1ba7-4ab4-84be-558ba7684f5d where you can
- Get fast, easy, and free reminders by email, text or phone to check yourself for symptoms
- Access the Health Department for guidance and information quickly if you develop symptoms
- Help our public health teams contain the spread of COVID-19
The symptom check reminder system, called Sara Alert, is not a contact tracing system. It is not GPS-based, so it does not monitor a person’s movements or track their location.
Those traveling to/returning to Burlington to attend the University of Vermont (UVM), Champlain College, and other institutions can use the city’s Supportive Quarantine Pilot Program as a resource at https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/covid-19/quarantine and sign up for Sara Alert there as well.
COVID-19 Testing Sites Open to Vermonters Without Symptoms
Vermont health officials are offering free COVID-19 testing at pop-up testing sites around the state for any Vermonters without symptoms. We welcome health care workers, first responders (EMS, fire, and law enforcement), childcare providers, people returning to Vermont (on day 7 of their quarantine)-such as college students, people who winter out of state and second home owners, and any other Vermonter without symptoms who wants to be tested. The clinics are part of the state’s efforts to ramp up testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The test will tell you if you have a current infection. It is not a serology/antibody test, which means it will not tell you if you were infected in the past. Testing sites have been set up throughout Vermont. Find locations and make an appointment to be tested at https://humanresources.vermont.gov/popups or by calling 2-1-1 or 1-802-828-2828. All clinics operate from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can also fill out this form to receive information of any future clinics that may be scheduled in your area.
Vermonters with mild symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested
All Vermonters with even mild symptoms are encouraged to call their health care provider to get tested. This includes parents of children who have symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. Your provider will refer you to a hospital or health center near you for the free testing. If you don’t have a health care provider call 2-1-1 to connect with a community or hospital-connected clinic.
Keep a List of Your Close Contacts
Health officials suggest that Vermonters keep a journal of contacts – a list of other people with whom you have been in close contact with each day. If you get sick, this will make it easier to get in touch with those people and so they can take precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19, including being tested if recommended.
RUTLAND COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES
Rutland County Emergency Services are still available during this time. For Emergencies, dial 9-1-1. Contact your local law enforcement agencies regarding non-emergency matters.
Vermont State Police is offering updates on their response to COVID-19 at https://vsp.vermont.gov/covid19
Department of Childrens and Families is offering updates at https://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/covid-19 The 24/7 Child Abuse Reporting Line is available at 1-800-649-5285.
Adult Protective Services
You can still make reports to APS if you believe a vulnerable adult was abused, neglected, or exploited by an alleged perpetrator. Call the 24/7 Reporting line at 1–(800) 564-1612 or visit www.dlp.vermont.gov to make a report.
Accessing Emergency Medical Care
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, is urging Vermonters in need of emergency care to not hesitate to seek that care, including going to a hospital. If you are having symptoms of a serious medical condition, such as heart attack or stroke, it is important to get medical care right away. Call 9-1-1, go to the emergency room, or call your doctor if your symptoms are not life threatening.
Vermont hospitals are safe. They have measures in place to protect patients and staff from contracting COVID-19. This includes separating patients with COVID-19 from other patients. There is a greater risk to your health and life by staying home when experiencing symptoms of a serious medical condition than by going to the hospital.
DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESOURCES
Quarantine and Self Isolation create additional risks for victims of Domestic Violence. See the information below for local and national resources.
NewStory Center is Rutland County’s Domestic and Sexual Violence resource center. During this pandemic, NewStory Center’s services including emergency shelter, the 24/7 crisis line, supportive case management, medical and legal advocacy all remain available. The Administrative Office is closed and staff are working remotely, when possible and appropriate. Visit their website at http://www.nscvt.org/ or find them on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information. Survivors seeking assistance can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWSTORY 24 HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE 802-775-3232
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Visit https://www.thehotline.org/ for tips on how to stay safe during COVID-19. Some tips include creating a safety plan, practicing self care, and reaching out for help.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 24/7 HOTLINE 1-800-799-7233
Text LOVEIS to 22522 to reach 24/7 DV CRISIS TEXT LINE
NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE 1-800-HOPE (4673)
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
RUTLAND MENTAL HEALTH 24/7 CRISIS LINE 802-775-1000
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION 24/7 LIFELINE 1-800-273-8255
Text VT to 741741 to reach the 24/7 CRISIS TEXT LINE
Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services continues to provide services through telehealth and phone. Clinicians are screening new clients over the phone. Intake workers will conduct abbreviated assessments and screenings, and clinicians will devise a treatment plan. The following are the intake numbers for their various programs:
Children’s Services: 802-775-2381
Adult Services: 802-775-4308
Substance Abuse Services: 802-747-3588
Developmental Disabilities: 802-775-0828
For Covid-19 updates on all RMH services go to
Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, Inc. is an independent, statewide mutual support
and civil rights advocacy organization run by and for psychiatric survivors. For support
in Rutland County contact:
Walt Wade, Outreach Specialist/Peer Support, call (802) 779-7019 or email
Isaac Lezcano, Patient Representative/Peer Support, call (802) 417-2362 or email
Christophre Wood, Executive Director/Peer Support, call (802) 779-8301 or email email@example.com
Rutland Behavioral Health is offering Telecounseling. They can be reached at 802.747.1857 or visit https://www.rrmc.org/services/behavioral-health/ to see their list of services.
Vermont Dept of Mental Health https://mentalhealth.vermont.gov/Corona-MH
Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging is providing mental health supports to seniors through its Eldercare Clinician Program. Please see Resources for Seniors section below.
ALCOHOL & SUBSTANCE ABUSE RECOVERY
The Vermont Department of Health has launched VTHelplink, a new, single source clearinghouse for Vermonters to receive free, confidential and personalized information and referrals to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout the state. VTHelplink features a call center of trained staff and clinicians. Callers can get information, referrals, resources and educational materials on substance use for themselves, family and friends, or on behalf of clients.
Access VTHelplink Here: VTHelplink.org OR Dial 802-565-LINK (5465).
The call center is open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays, and 8:00 a.m to -6:00 p.m. weekends and holidays, 365 days per year.
AA & NA Use the following contact information to find updated times and locations for recovery meetings:
Rutland AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Hotline: 802-775-0402, https://aavt.org/
NA (Narcotics Anonymous) National Hotline 800-407-7195, or Chat with someone at https://www.narcotics.com/
NA also offers a variety of online and skype meeting options https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/
Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse intake line 802-747-3588
Turning Point in Rutland is Offering support via phone and email. Contact them at 802-773-6010 or their website https://www.turningpointrutlandvt.org/
To contact specific staff members, use the information below:
Tracie Hauck,Center Director, call (802) 558-6799
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonya Wright, Assistant Director, call (802) 376-3480
or email email@example.com
Dave Carlson,Recovery Coach, call (802) 342-5376
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kris Harvey, Program Coordinator, call (802) 558-8939
or email email@example.com
Kyle Burditt, Resource Coordinator, call (802) 342-5614
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lewis Nielson, Recovery Coach, call (440) 935-5978 or email email@example.com
Vermont Telephone Recovery Support Service (802) 808-8877
This line is available 9am-9pm, 7 days a week for incoming calls
for peer support. Once individuals are added to the call schedule,
they will be contacted regularly by a Peer Recovery Coach.
Recovery Vermont’s link to online resources: https://recoveryvermont.org/online-resources/
Cocaine Anonymous offers online support and services https://www.ca-online.org/
Marijuana Anonymous offers virtual support https://ma-online.org/
LifeRing Secular Recovery https://www.lifering.org/online-meetings
In The Rooms- Online Recovery Meetings provides live meetings and discussion groups https://www.intherooms.com/home/
Reddit Recovery offers a virtual hang out and support during recovery https://www.reddit.com/r/REDDITORSINRECOVERY/
Refuge Recovery provides online and virtual support http://bit.ly/refuge-recovery1
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery offers global community of mutual-support groups, forums including a chat room and message board https://www.smartrecovery.org/community/
Sobergrid offers an an app to help get sober and stay sober https://www.sobergrid.com/
Soberistas provides a women-only international online recovery community https://soberistas.com/
Unity Recovery + WEconnect + Alano Club provides daily virtual meetings for those in recovery and for their family members https://unityrecovery.org/digital-recovery-meetings
802Quits The new coronavirus attacks the lungs, making it harder for people who smoke or vape to fight off the virus. There has never been a better time to quit. Find resources at https://802quits.org/
*See the School Districts section for information on meals available to students
The Vermont Foodbank and the Vermont National continue to distribute meals to those in need throughout May and June. Supplies at each site are limited. For the full list of locations and details, go to https://vem.vermont.gov/pods
Vermont Department of Health WIC Program provides healthy foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support. If you are pregnant, postpartum, or are the caregiver for an infant or child under 5, apply below. Please note: If your family financial circumstances have changed due to a job loss or reduced hours, you may now be eligible for WIC. https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5469549/Vermont-WIC-Online-Applicatonapply today
Visit https://www.vtfoodbank.org/ for updated information and assistance with Coronavirus Services, finding a Food Shelf, and more food resources in Vermont. Find your local food shelf at https://www.foodpantries.org/
Below are food pantries in Rutland County.
Brandon Area Emergency Food Shelf
Brandon Congregational Church
Brandon, VT 05733
*Delivery Only, Call Ahead
Rutland County Parent Child Center Food Pantry
34 Faivre Circle
Brandon, VT 05733
Fridays 1:00 – 3:00 (Meat, Produce, Diapers, Wipes, Shelf Stable Items)
Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Castleton Cares Inc.
504 Main Street
Castleton, VT – 05735
*By Appointment Only due to COVID-19
Fair Haven Concerned
73 Main St.
Fair Haven, VT 05743
Distributions on T, W, Th
Appointments can be made by phone or through Facebook
Poultney Emergency Food Shelf- The Stonebridge
The Stonebridge, 66 Beaman St
Poultney, VT 05764
Open Tuesdays 3pm-5pm for pre-packed bags
Call if need of food aside from Tuesday pick up
BROC Community Action
45 Union St.
Rutland, VT 05701
10 AM-12PM Mon-Fri
2PM-3PM Fri reserved for seniors
Rutland Community Cupboard
65 River St.
Rutland, VT 05701
Now run as self-service.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11-12:30 PM
Tuesday, Thursday 4-5:30 PM
*Closed the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month to restock
Rutland County Parent Child Center Food Pantry
61 Pleasant Street
Rutland, VT 05701
Fridays 1:00 – 3:00 (Meat, Produce, Diapers, Wipes, Shelf Stable Items)
Send emails to email@example.com
Wallingford Food Shelf
Wallingford Town Hall
75 School Street
pre-assembly and pick up at the back door
Visit https://downtownrutland.com/news/covid-19 for updated information on local Downtown Rutland Businesses. Included on this site is an updated list of restaurants that are open and offering family meals, takeout, curbside pickup and outside dining options. You can also visit Rutland Chamber of Commerce https://rutlandvermont.com/ for updates and restaurants offering curbside, takeout, and outdoor dining options in the Rutland County region. .
Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) is now offering an ONLINE MARKET for
pre-order of aggregate bags and Saturday curbside pick-up at the VFFC located at
251 West Street in Rutland. To place orders go to
https://vermontfarmersfoodcenter.square.site/ and follow the VFFC Facebook
page for up-to-date information https://www.facebook.com/VermontFarmersFoodCenter/
Summer Farmers Market
Opened for the season on Sat, May 16th in Depot Park in Rutland. The market runs from 9am-2pm on Saturdays. Please note that the market will no longer be a social event while COVID restrictions are in place. To discourage lingering, music will no longer be performed at the market. Please read guidelines for attendance before your visit https://vtfarmersmarket.org/farmers-market-guidelines-please-read-before-attending-the-market/
Price Chopper: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM daily, ALL stores will pre-open exclusively to seniors and those with disabilities from 6:00am-7:00 am each day. Visit https://www.pricechopper.com/ for updated information.
Hannafords: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM daily, Special hours for customers 60+ and those identifying as High Risk by the CDC from 6 AM. to 7 AM,Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week. For the most updated information go to https://www.hannaford.com/locations/rutland-hannaford-21111
Brandon Area Volunteer Delivery Service serving the towns of Brandon, Goshen, Leicester, Pittsford, Sudbury, and Whiting
Smaller businesses in the Brandon area are offering curbside service as well as participating in the volunteer delivery service. We encourage you to call ahead to see what they offer.
RESOURCES FOR SENIORS
Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging provides services to older Vermonters including home delivered meals through the Meals on Wheels program, case management, options counseling services, and mental health support. Contact SVCOA at 802-786-5990, https://www.svcoa.org/
SVCOA HelpLine: 1-800-642-5119
Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) go to https://dail.vermont.gov/ or call (802) 241-2401
Southern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA) is also offering a grocery and supply shopping service during the COVID-19 issue to support Vermonters in Rutland and Bennington counties who are ages 60+ and some younger disabled individuals who qualify. If you’re interested in accessing this service, please call SVCOA at 802-786-5990 and ask to speak with Ellen Green, Communications and Volunteer Coordinator.
Godnick Center is offering drive up meals to go in place of their communal meals on Mondays and Thursdays. Those who wish to participate can call 802-773-1853.
Contact Disability Rights Vermont for information, support, referrals and possible legal representation and/or advocacy regarding disability discrimination or crime victim assistance at 1-800-834-7890, firstname.lastname@example.org and on the web at http://www.disabilityrightsvt.org/.
For specific information while in the hospital during COVID-19 go to http://www.disabilityrightsvt.org/pdfs/COVID-19-Hospital-Outreach-Flyer-2020.pdf
Contact Vermont Center for Independent Living for intakes in Rutland County and intakes during Covid-19 at 1-800-639-1522
Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) go to https://dail.vermont.gov/ or call (802) 241-2401
Contact Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services for information about those with Developmental Disabilities at 802-775-0828
Some younger disabled individuals in Rutland and Bennington counties may also qualify for the services offered by Southern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA) including its new grocery and supply shopping service. For more information, call the SVCOA HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119.
The CDC currently offers 20 informational videos in ASL (American Sign Language)https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrp9iOILTQatwnqm61jqFrsfUB4RKh6J
An article about particular risks of COVID-19 to those with disabilities:
Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) can be found at labor.vermont.gov. For information on specific topics, see below:
FILING INITIAL UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Those looking to establish an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits may do so any time online at labor.vermont.gov or by calling 1-877-214-3330 or 1-888-807-7072 from 8:15am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday, or from 9:00am – 3:00pm on Saturday.
FILING FOR PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance)
PUA provides support for workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. Funding is provided by the federal government and distributed by the state, similar to Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). PUA benefits are calculated based on a claimants reported prior earnings. PUA will provide for lost wages, including an additional $600/week for each week of lost wages. To file for PUA, go to labor.vermont.gov.
FILING OF WEEKLY CLAIMS
Unemployment claims must be filed weekly. The VDOL has set up a weekly claim filing schedule based on claimant last names to prevent an overload to the online and phone systems. Mon A-E, Tue F-L, Wed M-R, Th S-Z, Sunday and Friday are open to everyone.
To file for weekly claims electronically, follow the last name schedule above and go to labor.vermont.gov which is available 24 hours on Sun, 3:30 AM-11:30 PM Mon-Th, and 3:30 AM to 4:30 PM on Fri.
To file for weekly claims by phone, follow the last name schedule above and call 1-800-983-2300 which is available 24 hours on Sunday and 5 AM-4:30 PM Mon-Fri.
CALLS FOR CLAIMANT ASSISTANCE
In an effort to prevent an overload to the system, VDOL has set up the following schedule based on claimant last names: Mon: A-E, Tues F-L, W M-R, Th S-Z, Friday and Saturday are open calling days for everyone. The Claimant Assistance Line can be reached at 1-877-214-3332 from 8:15am – 4:30pm Mon-Fri or from 9:00am – 3:00pm on Saturday.
VDOL COVID-19 UPDATES For COVID-19 specifics go to https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19
Vermont Legal Aid (VLA) continues to serve its clients via telephonic and electronic means. Clients may contact their intake helpline at 1-800-889-2047 or go to https://vtlawhelp.org/
VLA is also hosting Online Town Halls on such topics as unemployment compensation benefits, housing and foreclosures and health insurance.
For updates on the legal issues listed above and many others including court schedules and filings, immigration, special education, and long-term care, go to https://vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-updates
For information about your stimulus checks go to: IRS.gov/coronavirus or https://vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-economic-impact-stimulus-payments
For those with disabilities seeking legal representation, please refer to the information about Disability Rights Vermont under Disability Resources.
Homeless Prevention Center 775-9286, https://www.hpcvt.org/
Rutland Housing Authority is still accepting applications for housing. 802-775-2926 https://www.rhavt.org/
Contact BROC Community Action at https://www.broc.org/ for housing as well as crisis fuel and utility assistance.
Pride Center Vermont’s SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program’s mission is to end violence and discrimination in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQ+) people in Vermont. Go to
https://www.pridecentervt.org/safespace/ or call the LGBTQ+ Survivor Support line (802) 863-0003, advocates are available M-Th 10 am-6 pm and Fri 10 am-2 pm
Outright Vermont is offering virtual services including group meetings to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 13-22. Go to http://www.outrightvt.org/
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) understands this is a stressful time for all families and is offering parenting supports online https://dcf.vermont.gov/resources/parenting
You can also call a hotline for support 1-800-CHILDREN
For information on child care including for essential workers, go to https://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/covid-19
Vermont Kin as Parents provides support with educational, financial, and emotional concerns for those caring for children in a kinship relationship (grandchildren, nieces/nephews, children of close of friends or family) call
Vermont Dept of Health has posted parenting articles, mindfulness exercises, and educational activities: https://mentalhealth.vermont.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-information-specific-gr
See the Online Educational Resources section below for information on explaining COVID-19 to children, technology tutorials, and activities for the whole family.
Physical activity is key to mental health.
The Vermont Department of Health encourages you to go outdoors for air and exercise when you take the proper precautions. Please stay close to home, practice social distancing, choose low-risk activities, and respect all signs for closed areas.
- Be tick smart: Use insect repellent, avoid wooded and brushy areas, and always do a tick check when you get home. healthvermont.gov/BeTickSmart.
- Enjoy wildlife from a distance – Wild animals, like raccoons, skunks, bats, fox, and woodchucks can carry rabies. Call the Rabies Hotline at 1-800-4-RABIES if you see an animal that you think needs help or is acting suspicious.
- Stay safe in the sun-Apply a thick layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy or overcast days. Wear protective gear like a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays, and long-sleeves and pants when you can.
- Always wear a life jacket for boating and water sports. Use extra caution if you get in the water — temperatures are still cold.
- Never leave children, people with disabilities, older adults, or pets in parked vehicles. Look Before You Lock!
- For more summer safety tips, go to https://www.healthvermont.gov/summer-safety-tips
- For more outdoors info visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19
You can find suggestions for indoor and outdoor activities on the Rutland Recreation Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rutland.recreation
With schools closed and online learning commencing, Xfinity has announced as part of a COVID-19 response that Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. Xfinity (Comcast) is also offering 2 free months of service to new customers who qualify. Visit https://wifi.xfinity.com/
for more information.
For a map of public wifi hotspots in Vermont which should be accessed from within a parked car, go to
LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Visit your town or city website for specific updates regarding your municipality.
Many Rutland County libraries offer a wide variety of downloadable ebooks,
audiobooks, streaming video, databases for school & general use as well as
curbside pickup of library materials. Visit your library’s website or call to see what your library has to offer.
Schools in the Rutland County area have put together meal distribution schedules and plans for students as well as some education plan protocols. See the below information as it pertains to each district.
Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union
Poultney, Proctor, Middletown Springs, Wells, West Rutland
- Go to the district website for the latest updates: http://wp.grcsu.org/
Mill River Union United School District http://millriverschools.org/schools/ Clarendon, Mill River High School, Shrewsbury, Tinmouth, Wallingford
- Meals will now be distributed at the district offices in Clarendon on MONDAYS and THURSDAYS from 7am-5pm. For all the Mill River School District program updates go to:
- Special Education Services: Contact Coral Stone, Director of Student Services at email@example.com
Slate Valley Unified School District
Benson, Castleton, Fair Haven, Orwell
- Visit the district’s LIVE FEED of Covid-19 related postings at https://www.slatevalleyunified.org/
Rutland City Public Schools https://www.rutlandcitypublicschools.org/
- Meals available at multiple sites to children 18 and under regardless of school enrollment.
- An additional meal site pick up has been added at Hickory Street Playground from Noon-1:00 PM
Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union http://www.rnesu.org/
Barstow, Lothrop, Neshobe, Otter Valley, and Otter Creek Academy at Leicester, Sudbury, Whiting
- Meal Distribution: Grab & Go: Drive or walk up. Children do not need to be present. Come to Otter Valley UHS between 10:30 & 11 am to pick up a lunch/breakfast bag.
- Deliveries: Starting 3/19/2020, your school bus will bring you 1 breakfast & 1 lunch for each child in your home as indicated on your School Closure Form. If you did not enroll but wish to call 802-247-5757
- Chromebook sign out: If your student needs a chromebook to do schoolwork, please contact your school principal.
- Resources for parents and guardians: https://sites.google.com/rnesu.org/rnesu-covid-info/parentsguardians
- Community sites offering technology access: Maclure Library – 840 Arch St, Pittsford, VT 05763 Please visit the library’s Facebook page for their latest update
- Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church – internet access, study space – 67 Gecha Lane, Pittsford, VT Please call the church at 802-483-2531 to make arrangements
ONLINE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Visit the below links for activities, educational websites, worksheets, and resources!
- “Wrinkles Doesn’t Like Social Distancing: I Don’t Blame Him”, the story of a basset hound
Wrinkles invites kids to send stories, drawings and suggestions for what he could do to be happier to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Children’s story about social distancing
- “The Oyster and the Butterfly”, a children’s story about feelings
- “Time to Come in, Bear”, a children’s story about social distancing
- A Comic explaining Coronavirus to kids
- Chromebook Guide
- Google Tips & Tricks
- Google Classroom
- Google Slides: Adding Audio & Video
- Google Hangout
- Printable Worksheets for Grades Pre-K – 12
- Free Virtual Field Trips: Zoos, Museums, Farms, & More!
- 45+ Free Educational Websites for Kids
- Story Time From Space
- Doodle & Draw with Mo Willems everyday, brought to you by the Kennedy Center
- A list of Educational Companies that are offering free subscriptions due to school closings
- Online learning Resources and Activities Provided by Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union School District
Governor Phil Scott is calling all Vermonters into service with the launch of a new website allowing people to sign up for volunteer assistance to support the state’s response to COVID-19: https://vermont.gov/volunteer. The website directs those with medical and healthcare skills to the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), and those with other needed skills to a quick registration process to sign up to help.
Donate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Donations of N95 masks, medical and industrial grade, or surgical masks can be brought to your nearest State Police Barracks. You can find the location nearest to you here: https://vsp.vermont.gov/stations
Give blood: Visit the American Red Cross to learn how to safely donate blood: https://www.redcross.org/local/new-hampshire-vermont.html.
Support your local Food Bank. Donate online at vtfoodbank.org or you can text GIVEHEALTH to 85511
Southern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA) is always looking for volunteers to support its various programs. To learn more, call 802-786-5990.
VolunteerMatch has a page dedicated to COVID-19 remote and on-site volunteer opportunities https://www.volunteermatch.org/covid19
Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. The coronavirus is the immediate crisis, but the climate change crisis is not going away any time soon. In fact, the reduction in fossil fuel use during this pandemic highlights that action and progress are possible.
But climate change is a global crisis requiring global action like the Paris Climate Accord. Washington D.C. is not just failing to provide leadership but actively reversing progress we have made in prior decades by rolling back auto mileage standards, withdrawing from international agreements, gutting clean water and air standards, and vowing to boost “clean coal”, whatever that is.
Vermont must act, but we can best have an impact by acting in concert with our neighboring states, using regional agreements. We have successfully participated in a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) too reduce electric generation emissions for over a decade. This could serve as a model for other collaborations like the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
The impacts of climate change are everyone’s problem. We must reduce our use of carbon based fuels – almost half of Vermont’s emissions come from transportation. Home weatherization is another area to take aggressive action. New technology holds a lot of promise, but changing our personal behavior is even more critical, and more difficult.
Taxes are one way governments incentivize behavior (tax credits for investing, and high taxes on cigarettes to discourage their use, for example), and a price on carbon emissions is one tool among many to consider.
I will work to keep Vermont moving forward on climate solutions. And I will ensure that such proposals, if they move forward, do not create additional hardships for farmers and rural Vermonters.
The fact that some farmers are dumping milk and other produce in a time of crisis is further proof of the disconnect between farm food production and the food industry. A silver lining of the pandemic is that we see renewed appreciation and increased purchasing of fresh, healthy food from local producers. I hope this trend continues for the health of our local economy.
We all know that dairy in Vermont faces an extreme threat. Farms continue to sell off their herds or land, and milk prices continue to stay stuck at 1977 levels. Milk prices are a federal policy and there is little that Vermont can do to directly change them. But we can put pressure on the processors to establish a milk quota, so farmers are paid fairly for a set amount of milk rather than their only option being to produce more, further driving down prices.
But we do have opportunities to market Vermont quality and freshness to 20 million consumers within a four hour drive. Farmers are already doing this on their own, fitting it in between chores. But our state government needs to help them more.
I have worked to successfully ease restrictions on on-farm slaughter and processing, on raw milk sales, and on on-farm events, creating more opportunities for farms to thrive. I successfully advocated for increased pollinator protection. I brought the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture to the district to visit local farms and speak directly with those on the front lines. I argued for actually reducing regulations on those who qualify as “regenerative farms”, rather than imposing yet another inspection and permit for doing the right thing.
As businesses, schools, services, state government, and healthcare shift heavily to internet basis, access to broadband shows the gaps between wealth and opportunity becomes a critical issue. Broadband is the new wealth and opportunity gap, and the new social isolation.
No one disagrees. The question is how to bridge the so-called digital divide: incentives to existing carriers to expand service, help to establish Communications Union Districts (CUDs) to create new community-based networks, or organizing and opening up existing resources? My work on the Energy and Technology Committee has been “all of the above”. But the real active question is how much federal money is available (and under what conditions) to help Vermont bridge the gaps.
Broadband is federally regulated, which greatly limits what states can actually do, but the state of emergency has made clear that equity in education and opportunity depend heavily on equal access to the internet.
I have worked successfully on legislation to create the Agency of Digital Services, to create new communications union districts, to protect net neutrality, to increase funding for broadband expansion, and to improve communications for emergency responders.
The challenges of “right sizing” and funding our system for a shrinking student body defy easy answers, but I continue to advocate for smart solutions.
I voted NO on Act 46, anticipating the difficulties for our rural communities. When it passed, I co-sponsored legislation for extensions of the deadlines, the incentives, and options to help districts comply.
In our district, communities met and debated fiercely the pros and cons of merging governance and with whom, which Supervisory Union to join, and the terms to do so. Rupert and Pawlet struggled hard over the question of expanding school choice or designating high schools in Salem and Granville. I believe that question is ultimately a local decision, so although I have my own opinion, as a non-resident of either town, I did not advocate either position.
The votes were taken and re-taken and each time, the majority decided for choice. State approval, new boards and budgets are in place in all towns and we move forward, not back, from here.
In the legislature I have proposed several amendments related to the education fund and what that money is spent on in efforts to simplify the budget. I also co-sponsored a bill to shift education funding from property taxes to income taxes (which is essentially what income sensitivity does but in a roundabout way).
This pandemic has revealed in stark terms how fragile our economy is. Our “essential workers” who are now “heroes” are not just frontline medical staff, but often the very workers who are usually overlooked as low-skilled or expendable.
The Legislature’s pandemic priority has been public health and safety, as it should be, and a critical piece of that has been creating a safety net that allows people affected by covid-19 to stay home for their own health or for their family’s health. The federal boost to unemployment insurance means that those “essential workers” remaining at their jobs often earn less than their unemployed counterparts. With many childcare centers closed for safety working full time is just not possible for some parents.
In the rest of the nation, many people who fear they may be infected have avoided testing (if it was available at all) for fear of the cost of the test, let alone the cost of treatment. The state of Vermont early and wisely made testing and treatment free.
These are all issues I have been fighting for in Montpelier: a livable wage, family leave, universal health care, and affordable child care. Now imagine if these safety nets were not emergency responses, but normal. Let’s work to make it the new normal.
I am a gun owner and I support the firearm legislation the Governor signed in the last session. Two of the laws are public safety laws which enable Extreme Risk Prevention orders and temporary confiscation of guns at domestic assaults. The third law:
- expands background checks to cover most firearm transactions
- bans bump stocks
- raises purchase age to 21, or 18 with completion of a hunter safety course
- prohibits new high capacity magazines.
These regulations are not anti-gun any more than speed limits and learner’s permits are anti-car. They are reasonable and constitutional regulation of deadly weapons. A VPR/PBS poll in July 2018 showed 67% of Vermonters support these measures.
In addition, the state continues to allocate money to improve school safety and to refine E-911 coverage. Because we recognize that gun violence and suicide have many causes, the legislature is also addressing those causes by expanding mental health treatment and addressing childhood trauma.
I continue to support harm reduction in all forms, whether it be suicide and domestic violence prevention or ensuring that firearms owners are educated and responsible. Is this a quote? Do we use an image?