Covid-19 Helpful Resources

We have compiled a list of resources to help you navigate this unexpected period brought on by Covid-19. These are for informational purposes only and are not direct endorsements by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. If you have additional resources, please send us an email and let us know, or leave a comment below.

Please check back as we continue to update this page with relevant news announcements.

Very Important

We understand not everyone wants to deal with technology to get what they need. Please, we need everyone to work together. We’re asking you to please work with fellow members to have them help you where needed. Consider reaching out to your local chapter, and ask about someone placing an order on your behalf. You guys can arrange for payment off-line.

Government Resources

Before the technology suggestions, Potomac Chapter President John Halverson has compiled a list of government resources for up-to-date guidance.

Federal Information

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a wealth of information on the Coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic. The initial web address is www.hhs.gov. This site gives an overview of Coronavirus information. At the very top of the site is a URL to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That URL is www.cdc.gov. Further down the home page is a link to coronavirus.gov. This gives additional current information. A further link discusses the federal government’s specific response to the pandemic.

The CDC site gives specific public health guidance on what we should do to avoid the virus. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also part of the DHHS offers additional information. Its link is www.cms.gov. This site discusses the CMS response to the pandemic. For specific information about Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) consult the Virginia Department of Health or your county or city department of health or human services. As each state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs are different. The CHIP program is available to families who’s limited income is too high for Medicaid. Children up to age 18 are covered.

Medicare information can be found by clicking on www.cms.gov followed by Medicare.com.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a part of HHS, is also involved with the pandemic. Its website is www.fda.gov. Its website discusses the development of vaccines and possible drug therapy’s to combat the pandemic.

State of Virginia

Unemployment: The standard one week waiting period for unemployment benefits has been waived. If you or someone you know has lost their job or had a significant reduction in hours due to Coronavirus, follow this link. This information from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) will help answer questions about unemployment benefits.

Small Business Assistance: If you're a business owner, the Small Business Administration has been given authority to grant low-interest loans to all parts of Virginia. If that sort of assistance can help your small business keep the lights on, you are encouraged you to click the link below and fill out the application. SBA Disaster Loan Information.

COVID-19 Information: The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus, including recommendations on social distancing and precautions for high-risk individuals. Click here to access that information. The contact phone number for the Virginia Department of Health is 877-ASK-VDH3 (877) 275-8343. You can also keep up to date with various health and safety measures being recommended by state officials by clicking here.

Northern Virginia

Arlington County: A wealth of information is available from Arlington County on www.arlingtonva.us. At the top of the home page is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates. A sample of Sub topics under this URL include: FAQ

· What You Can Do

· How Can You Help Others?

· Food, Financial and Medical Assistance

The Arlington County Coronavirus hotline is: 703-228-7999. This page contains much additional information. Finally there is a list of restaurants that has curbside pickup or delivery.

Alexandria: The city of Alexandria Virginia has a website https://www.alexandriava.gov/ It offers localized information on the pandemic as well as connections to the city department of health. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line at 877-ASK-VDH3.

Falls Church: Falls Church also has a website with some localized information. The URL is https://www.fallschurchva.gov. It discusses local closure, guidelines, and lists restaurants having curbside pick-up and or delivery. As well as grocery store status.

Fairfax County: The Fairfax County also has a website with localized Coronavirus information. The URL is https://fairfax.gov. Next click on coronavirus updates and finally click on Coronavirus. Thus, you go through three levels before getting the important information. As of March 24 27 localized items are mentioned.

• A sample of items include: Health Director and County Executive Provide Updates About Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Special Edition of Connect with County Leaders
• Park (Indoor), Library and Other Community Facilities to Remain Closed Until Further Notice
• How to Support Local Businesses During COVID-19
• Tools for Local Business Leaders to Navigate COVID-19; Webinar Set for March 23
• Ways to Volunteer During COVID-19
• Fairfax Health District Urges Vigilant Social Distancing with News of Community Transmission of COVID-19 in Parts of Northern Virginia
• Keeping Children Safe in Child Care Programs During COVID-19
• Low-Interest Loans Now Available for Fairfax County Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus
• Update on COVID-19 Testing in Fairfax County
• Health Department Announces Positive Case of Coronavirus in Senior Living Center
• COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
• Find Food Resources in Fairfax County During COVID-19 Emergency
• Video: What is a Contact Investigation for COVID-19?

This is not an exhaustive enumeration of Coronavirus related government websites, but it gives guidance to the vast amount of information available. As a starting point, for areas in Virginia not mentioned here, for localized information contact your county or city department of health or social services or google your local government website. Finally, it should be noted, that many of these sites give virtually identical information.

Restaurant Delivery Options

Use these popular options to have meals delivered from your local restaurants. Note these links are referral links, earning you more savings for using the service for the first time.

DoorDash

"You’ve got stuff to do. We’ve got options. Get it delivered right to your door. Or, try Pickup on your way home. It’s mealtime on your time."

Grubhub

"Satisfy any craving with delivery from popular neighborhood restaurants and chains. Reorder go-tos or find something new."

Postmates

Get anything delivered. Food, drinks, and groceries available for delivery or pickup.

Grocery Delivery Services

Use these services to have groceries delivered from local area grocery stores. Store availability may vary by location.

Peapod

“With more than 8,000 items in stock, Peapod offers as much variety as your local grocery chain store. In addition, they offer a variety of products for many lifestyles, including organic foods and kosher foods, as well as fresh sushi delivery. In some large markets, Peapod tailors offerings to reflect hometown tastes. For instance, in Chicago, they offer frozen Gino’s East Pizza.”

Instacart

Groceries delivered in as little as 1 hour! Stores vary by local area but may include: Wegmans, Aldi, Food Lion, Giant, Safeway, Total Wine and More, Costco, Shoppers, CVS, Harris Teeter, Petco, and BJ's.

Shipt

“We know you have your go-to products from your favorite stores. That’s why we deliver from local and national retailers people love - like Target, Petco, or CVS.”

Virtual Meetings

Per National Office guidelines, all NFB gatherings have been temporarily suspended. As an alternative, local chapters may consider using a conference bridge such as Free Conference Pro to conduct their business.

Alternatively, chapters may opt to use the ever popular Zoom platform, which allows for online and telephone connections. In addition to mobile apps, there is a downloadable app for the PC. There are free basic scripts available for use with the JAWS screen reader.

Jonathan Mosen produced an audio book walking listeners through the various features of the Zoom platform. For the time being he has made the book available free of charge. You can download it here.

“Meet Me Accessibly is a three-hour audiobook, written and narrated by Jonathan Mosen. It takes you from the basics of attending your first Zoom meeting, all the way to content sharing of your video and audio from a computer or iDevice.”

Remote Sighted Assistance

The following services make use of your phone camera to help you achieve tasks around the house.

Aira

When you need to do something where some extra information can help you save time and be more efficient, just open the app and give us a call. You'll connect with real, highly-trained people who can see your surroundings through your phone's camera. A live, trained agent is just one tap away, ready and waiting to help you save time and do more.

College Students in Need of Aira- As universities and colleges are shifting to distance learning, some materials and software are inaccessible. Aira is offering free service to college students for the remainder of the spring semester. Email support@aira.io for more information on the program.

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. Every day, sighted volunteers lend their eyes to solve tasks big and small to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives.

Newsline

In response to the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the National Federation of the Blind has decided to provide up-to-date information to all eligible subscribers of the service.

COVID-19 updates are available in the Breaking News Online category of NFB-NEWSLINE. This information is being obtained by the system searching the thirty-four publications in the Breaking News Online category for "coronavirus" and displaying the results. This information will also be available for those few states that are currently not sponsored for the next sixty days starting Monday, March 16th.

Access the coronavirus COVID-19 information using the telephone by pressing 5 from the main menu, then press 1 for the Breaking News Online category, followed by pressing the 1 key which will bring you to the virus information. If you are using the NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile IOS app, look for the virus information under the "All Publications" section. The content can be accessed with Braille devices such as note-takers and refreshable Braille displays.

For further information, contact:

National Federation of the Blind
nfb.org
Phone: 866-504-7300
Email: nfbnewsline@nfb.org

Student Resources

Free short-term licenses for JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion

Educational institutions in the United States with up-to-date multi-user licenses of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion, are qualified, All students, faculty, and staff with an active email address are entitled to receive free home annual licenses for their personally owned equipment.

In addition, special licenses have been created to assist students and workers who must remain home during the COVID-19 crisis. A free short-term Home Annual license of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion (expires June 30, 2020) is available to anyone with a personal email address in the United States and Canada.

These products require either a Microsoft Windows 10 or 7 operating system. Remote desktop and Citrix support are not provided. Contact Freedom Scientific Customer Service at 727-803-8000 with any questions.

NABS Resource Page

The National Association of Blind Students has compiled a list of resources. Resources include:

  • New Inaccessibility in Online Education Support Form
  • Accessibility Guides to Common Online Platforms
  • The NFB’s blog post entitled “Don’t Be a Barrier: Be Accessible NOW”
  • The Accessible COVID-19 Statistics Tracker
  • Free sponsored software from Freedom Scientific during the COVID-19 Outbreak
  • Free Aira for students
  • Online Learning Strategies for Students with Disabilities from the DO-IT Center

Access the resource page and bookmark it for regular review.

Personal Entertainment

Because you have to keep yourself busy while at home...

Sero

Sero is the world’s largest consolidation of entertainment and social networking. Built with the blind and visually impaired in mind, the system is completely accessible. Your monthly or annual subscription unlocks thousands of Internet radio stations, personalized news, blogging, a personal web site, forums, chat rooms, and e-mail. Learn more here.

Free Downloads from NBP

Free downloads of three NBP titles To help with some of the practical challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we're offering free digital downloads of three relevant books, between now and April 30th:

Dinner Delivered: Accessible and Easy Ways to Receive Meals Direct to Your Door by Kim Loftis and Chris Grabowski

Getting Visual Assistance with an iPhone by Judith Dixon

Navigating Healthcare, When All They Can See Is that You Can't by Deborah Kendrick

Downloadable formats include DAISY, BRF, and Microsoft Word. Hard copy versions of these books are also available at half price.

Or order any of our books online at:

http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html

General Tips

The following tips have come from the membership. If you have something to add, please email us or leave a comment below.

Tip 1:

From Jacki Bruce of the Williamsburg Chapter: In Williamsburg, Food Lion is providing free grocery delivery. Also, the YMCA is said to be providing free childcare.

Tip 2:

Christine Grassman from the Potomac Chapter: Reminds us about these delivery options to the list above: Uber Eats and GoPuff.

Tip 3:

From Michael Kitchens of the Tidewater Chapter: He adds these additional resources: Walmart Grocery, Amazon Fresh, and Kroger.

Tip 4:

Brittany Ingram from the Fredericksburg Chapter: From what I have been able to gather here in Fredericksburg, the recommendation is to keep kids home as much as possible. Museums around the world are offering free online tours. ABCMouse is offering a 30 day free Trial. (Note, this service may not be accessible.) There is an app called KHAN Academy and KHAN kids academy which offer free educational material; our local library has apps called Overdrive and Canopy which has Free electronics and audio book as well as educational and family friendly entertainment videos and movies for kids with anyone who has a library card. Audible is running a program that has a selection of free audiobooks For kids from peddlers all the way up through high school and college education.

I have heard that sunlight is supposed to be detrimental to the virus, so it has been advised to me and my family to let our daughter run around outside and sunny days for at least an hour and not more. Anyone who is able to do it now (anyone who has a backyard or is able to comfortably take their children on a walk around the neighborhood) should take this into consideration as well.

I am not sure how helpful any of this really is. I know a lot of my suggestions are electronically Babe as well as educational TV, but there you go. Oh, I am also being reminded that Scott movie theaters and the light such as fandango are allowing people to rent movies for $20 to stream on their devices. I do not know It is a stream will have a feature for audio description or not, but my guess is that they should.

Tip 5:

Jessica Reed from the Fredericksburg Chapter: AppleVis has a list of fully accessible apps for education, and of course games. There’s a special concentration now on education for blind parents who are going to assist their children in continuing education while schools are shut down. Another one is K12.com. This is an online platform for public education that is also fully accessible.

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