The times, they are a-changin'.... Bob Dylan's words from 1964 have a new meaning today. With students being sent home from schools, shopping malls closing, and news updates happening multiple times a day, it's hard to keep up.
We wanted you to know our team at the Think College National Coordinating Center, housed at the Institute of Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston, has been following all recommendations made at state and local levels with regards to COVID-19. Our staff is working remotely, with access to each other via email, phone, online messaging, and Zoom.
Some of us may be doing some of our work at odd hours or with unexpected family members and pets in the background, but we are still focused on our mission to create and support postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disability.
Even in these uncertain times, we remain committed to keeping this community united and informed. Our website continues to be updated with new information related to college and employment for students with intellectual disability; our help desk is still being monitored every day and calls and emails are being made in response to questions asked; and our social media channels are updated daily. Here are a few ways our work has shifted to respond to recent changes related to COVID-19:
- We are in touch with the TPSID model demonstration projects to support them as colleges are closing and moving to online educational models. Cate Weir was recently invited invited to institute communication strategies for TPSID staff to help address the unique needs of students with ID shifting to online learning systems.
- We are collaborating with our partners to disseminate timely information to those who need it, regarding how best to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the front-line staff working with those people. See this plain language summary of COVID-19.
- We are checking on each other to make sure that, even with the rapid changes in everyone's lives, our co-workers and partners feel supported and as productive as possible in these challenging times.
- We are scouring the internet and incoming emails to ensure that the very best practices and the most current information is getting to you, via our website, email, and social media channels. If you have a resource you think could be helpful to others, please send it to us at ThinkcollegeTA@gmail.com.
- And, outside our work lives, some of us are making sure those in the local community have the essential items needed to survive. Read about what Clare Papay is doing in her local town.
We want you to know that the work goes on, that we're still here, doing what we always do.