COVID-19

Together, we are continuing to navigate an uncertain time. There may be an end in sight, but COVID-19's damage will take years to overcome.

Our work is far from over. United Way is committed to ensuring communities become stronger, more inclusive, and more sustainable as they recover.

With your support, we can help every person have an equal opportunity to thrive.

Start today, United!

Event Recording: COVID-19 Update, The Delta Variant, Vaccines & Masking

UWJWC COVID-19 Update Panel Discussion

 

Event Recording: Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine?

Talk Of Iowa: Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy

uwjwc iowa public radio talk of iowa

Event Recording: COVID Vaccine in Johnson County

 

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is committed to sharing relevant information with our community. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties participates in the Johnson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as the local United Way Volunteer Center & supporting state wide 211 provider. 211 is the go-to information resource in times of crisis. There is no other network in the country with a similar pulse on America’s needs.  211 is working closely with health officials all over the country to provide accurate updates to the public.

NOTE: You can dial 211 to speak to someone about local assistance at any time. The 1-866-211-9966 number you may have seen on social media is only available for residents of Indianapolis. Please be aware that financial assistance related to COVID-19 is not available for individuals everywhere.

If you are well and have general questions about the COVID-19 call: 

Landline: 2-1-1 | Mobile: 319-739-4211 | Toll free: 1-866-469-2211 | Download the 211 app |

Text your zip code to 898211 | Visit 211iowa.org.

If you, or someone you love, is looking to get registered for the COVID-19 vaccination, information can be found at:

What Can You Do? To support this rapidly escalating need, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties has opened our Community Disaster Relief Fund. Our fund supports our communities struggling in the wake of the new virus, by supporting local needs. Please consider a donation to the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.

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Interested in receiving United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties Weekday COVID-19 Updates? Email: Trisha.Smith@UnitedWayJWC.org

Weekly Update

6.08.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: CELEBRATING RESILIENCE AND RE-ENVISIONING THE FUTURE

After 15 months of bringing you the latest pandemic-related information, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ COVID-19 Updates email will be coming to a close. We have proudly provided 112 emails fulfilling our mission to keep you informed of national, state, and local issues impacted by the pandemic centering around Education, Health & Financial Stability. As the pandemic has evolved, our coverage changed with it, and our dedication to delivering essential updates did not waiver. Thank you for your content contributions, sharing emails with co-workers, friends and family, and for subscribing. Please find below the last COVID-19 Update…

uwJWC LAST COVID UPDATE

News -Celebrating Resilience and Re-Envisioning the Future-Join the Project Better Together team as we host a celebratory event on June 16th at the Xtream Arena. The Building Better Together celebration will recap the year that was and look ahead to an emerging and rebuilt future. You will hear from city and county leaders about exciting plans for the year ahead, learn more about the various initiatives that developed during the pandemic and rally around the future of Project Better Together. You won't want to miss:

  • City Managers Geoff Fruin (Iowa City), Kelly Hayworth (Coralville), Ryan Heiar (North Liberty), and Royceann Porter (Johnson County) will share their Top 5 List of things they learned during the pandemic
  • A special project Better Together video looking back on the last year and looking forward towards the future
  • Presentation of Better Together Awards
  • A sneak peek at PBT 2.0

Doors open at 4:30, with a full program to follow at 5:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is hosted by Iowa City Area Development Group, Think Iowa City and Iowa City Area Business Partnership.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

A COVID Year in the Yearbook-A school year that found itself learning remotely, through a hybrid model and/or in some cases in-person classes created issues for students, including making it difficult for editors to get a high school yearbook together. Yearbooks are usually full of colorful photos of big events from football games to dances, but pandemic yearbooks were posed to look a little empty. For many schools, this same very same issue was a chance to reimagine the yearbook. Some chose to restyle to a magazine approach, some took deep dives into with detailed spreads about individuals and what they do outside school, or others gave more attention to substantial issues that students faced. No matter how our young editors pivoted to reflect the year, their commitment to providing a snapshot into the life of our high school teenagers' experience with COVID-19 will inevitably be one for the history books.

A New Vaccine?-A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as this summer. It's what's known as a protein subunit vaccine. It works somewhat differently from the current crop of vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. but is based on a well-understood technology and doesn't require special refrigeration. The vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer contain genetic instructions for the spike protein, and it's up to the cells in our bodies to make the protein itself. The first protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine to become available will likely come from the biotech company Novavax. Read more from NPR HERE.

A Vaccine Ceiling-Forbes recently report of the American adults who don’t plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine, 78% say they’re unlikely to or definitely won’t change their minds, a new Gallup poll finds—but enough unvaccinated Americans say they’re still planning to get the shot for the country to likely hit President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of U.S. adults receiving at least one vaccine dose by July 4. The poll, conducted May 18-23 among 3,572 U.S. adults, found 64% of respondents were either fully or partially vaccinated—in line with the 63.5% of U.S. adults that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports have gotten at least one shot—while 12% still plan to get the vaccine and 24% do not plan to get it. Of the 24% who say they don’t plan to get it, 78% say they are “unlikely” to change their minds, including 51% who are “not likely at all” to be persuaded. Approximately one in five vaccine-hesitant respondents could be persuaded, however: two percent say they’re “very likely” to change their mind and 19% say they’re “somewhat likely” to change it, which Gallup calculates is equivalent to five percent of all U.S. adults. Based on Gallup’s polling, the U.S. could have a ceiling of approximately 80% of adults who ultimately get vaccinated. Learn more HERE.

Unlocking the World-Restaurant and hotel bookings are up. Airplane tickets are selling fast with many taking a look at international travel US passport holders have more international travel options now than at any point during the Covid-19 pandemic. On June 2, an EU Commission spokesperson told CNN that the EU digital Covid-19 certificate for travel can be opened to non-EU international travelers, including those from the United States. All of this is subject to individual member states' acceptance of proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or recovery from Covid infection. Click HERE to find the links CNN has provided with very important details on presenting negative results from Covid-19 tests to enter (including time limits, types of tests allowed, and additional tests upon arrival), quarantines (if any), possible exemptions for the fully vaccinated, health insurance requirements, curfews, lockdowns and more. People testing positive for Covid-19 upon arrival or while visiting can expect to go into quarantine.

UWJWC COVID-19 Origins

6.01.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: NEW NAME FOR COVID-19

New Name for COVID-19-Coronavirus variants will now be referred to by letters of the Greek alphabet instead of where they were first discovered, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday, in a bid to prevent the stigmatization of entire communities. For example, instead of the "UK variant" (B.1.1.7), the WHO will now say "Alpha;” the "South African variant" (B.1.351) is now "Beta;" and the P.1 variant, first detected in Brazil, has been labeled "Gamma," according to CNN. Throughout history, infectious diseases have been named after geographic locations where they were thought to have originated: West Nile virus, Zika and Ebola, to mention a few. But those associations can be damaging for those places, its people and, in some cases, be inaccurate. There is no universal consensus on where Spanish flu began, for example. The United States has joined calls for a more in-depth, transparent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, after an international probe in China earlier this year yielded little in the way of firm conclusions. Speaking at the World Health Organization's annual summit for member states in Geneva on Tuesday, representatives from the US and several other countries emphasized the importance of identifying how Covid-19 began spreading.

Join Us-Don’t forget to register for United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties 2020-21 Community Celebration event "An Invitation to Laugh" this Wednesday, June 2, 2021, via Zoom beginning at 5 pm. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties will be celebrating a year of achievements, volunteer/donor recognition, and our community partners. Awards and recognitions will be presented to companies and local individuals for their work not only in fundraising but for outstanding volunteerism and disaster assistance during COVID-19 & the derecho storm. Finding humor in the circumstances of life can lift moods with laughter and help people to better deal with and overcome difficult experiences-and what a difficult experience 2020 has been! To assist us with a little laughter, comedian Sarah Michels will take the virtual stage as the keynote speaker for the event. To register and receive your Zoom link visit UnitedWayJWC.org/2020. United Way would like to thank our event sponsors The Celebration Farm and City Channel 4 for providing technical support.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Summer Reading-In a year when the usual summer slide in learning has stretched into a school-year slide, librarians say it is more important than ever to make reading a part of every child’s summer, especially underserved children and teens. The Iowa City Community School District Librarians have put together a variety of resources to help students of all ages spend some time reading and exploring throughout the summer. 

  • Stay busy this summer reading and attending events! The Iowa City Summer Reading program is available to readers of all ages and abilities, babies through adults. Participants will receive a game card to track their summer reading goals. 
  • Coralville Library is hosting the Reading Colors Your World - Summer Reading 2021. Read, try something new, earn a chance to win prizes, and prevent the summer slide! Online summer reading programs for all ages begin June 1.
  • Log your reading minutes June 15-July 31 and join in the activities all summer long with the North Liberty library.

While the resources are listed under grade level bands, students and parents are encouraged to check out all the resources shared, especially those that don't list a grade level as they will appeal to a wide range of ages. Books are for EVERYONE! Learn more HERE.

First Time in More Than A Year-Yesterday morning, the state of Iowa reported 95 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Now dipping below 100 for the first time in more than a year, COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Iowa continue to decrease. The state of Iowa is also on a reported to two da run with no additional COVID-19 deaths. See up-to-date data HERE.

Tips for 12 and Up-The CDC is continuing to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for individuals 12 years of age and older to help protect against COVID-19. The CDC has received increased reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults after COVID-19 vaccination. The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. Preparing for your child for their vaccination visit is important and the CDC is providing these tips:

  • Get tips for how to support your child before, during, and after the visit.
  • Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given.
  • After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

Read more from the CDC on the COVID-19 vaccine and your child HERE.

Mandating Vaccine for Workers-If an employer wants its workers back in the office, can it mandate a vaccine to come back? And if a reluctant worker refuses to get immunized, can an employer show them the door? A recent report by Iowa National Public Radio shared there is no federal law specifically addressing the issue. The matter remains up to private businesses, state, or other local laws, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under recent guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers have the legal right to make such a requirement. Many major employers are stopping short of making a COVID-19 vaccine a requirement to return to work, for now. Employers such as KrogerTarget, and Petco are relying on monetary incentives and other perks to get otherwise reluctant workers to vaccinate. Learn more HERE.

Celebrating Resilience and Re-envisioning the Future-Join the Project Better Together team as we host a celebratory event on June 16th at the Xtream Arena. The Building Better Together celebration will recap the year that was and look ahead to an emerging and rebuilt future. You will hear from city and county leaders about exciting plans for the year ahead, learn more about the various initiatives that developed during the pandemic and rally around the future of Project Better Together. You won't want to miss:

  • City Managers Geoff Fruin (Iowa City), Kelly Hayworth (Coralville), Ryan Heiar (North Liberty), and Royceann Porter (Johnson County) will share their Top 5 List of things they learned during the pandemic
  • A special project Better Together video looking back on the last year and looking forward towards the future
  • Presentation of Better Together Awards
  • A sneak peek at PBT 2.0

Doors open at 4:30, with a full program to follow at 5:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is hosted by Iowa City Area Development GroupThink Iowa City and Iowa City Area Business Partnership.

UWJWC Community Celebration

5.24.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: JOIN US

Join Us-United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties will be hosting their 2020-21 Community Celebration event "An Invitation to Laugh" on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, via Zoom beginning at 5 pm. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties will be celebrating a year of achievements, volunteer/donor recognition, and our community partners. Awards and recognitions will be presented to companies and local individuals for their work not only in fundraising but for outstanding volunteerism and disaster assistance during COVID-19 & the derecho storm. Finding humor in the circumstances of life can lift moods with laughter and help people to better deal with and overcome difficult experiences-and what a difficult experience 2020 has been! To assist us with a little laughter, comedian Sarah Michels will take the virtual stage as the keynote speaker for the event. To register and receive your Zoom link visit UnitedWayJWC.org/2020. United Way would like to thank our event sponsor The Celebration Farm and City Channel 4 for providing technical support.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

Leveraging Federal Relief Dollars-As schools and districts leverage the use of federal relief dollars, ACT is offering to help as educational entities consider academic and workforce needs. Whether it’s through professional development, social and emotional learning resources, assessments, or workforce development, ACT resources can help educators and students succeed. Learn more about how federal funding aligns to ACT's comprehensive solutions in:

  • Diagnose and meet the needs of the whole child
  • Help educators and students address learning loss
  • Enhance social-emotional learning skills

Find out more HERE.

COVID-19 Booster-Got your Covid-19 vaccine? Great. But you may need another round within a year. A booster dose for people who have already been vaccinated may be needed as soon as eight to 12 months after their second shot, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated. As inoculations around the world continue to increase, medical experts believe coronavirus may end up being like influenza, which requires a new vaccine every year. This is because the circulating strains mutate quickly, and immunity from the vaccine soon wears off. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are already looking into whether a booster specific to variants that are already in the US will be needed as well if protection against the virus fades over time. Learn more HERE.

Reported Birth Outcomes Among Those Pregnant with COVID-19-Health departments report data to CDC on birth outcomes among pregnant people with COVID-19. Pregnant women might be at increased risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1,2). The COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) (3) collects data on hospitalized pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; to date, such data have been limited. During March 1–August 22, 2020, approximately one in four hospitalized women aged 15–49 years with COVID-19 was pregnant. Among 598 hospitalized pregnant women with COVID-19, 54.5% were asymptomatic at admission. Among 272 pregnant women with COVID-19 who were symptomatic at hospital admission, 16.2% were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), and 8.5% required invasive mechanical ventilation. During COVID-19–associated hospitalizations, 448 of 458 (97.8%) completed pregnancies resulted in a live birth, and 10 (2.2%) resulted in a pregnancy loss. Learn more HERE.

Free Food Box & Vaccine Clinic-A second food box and vaccine clinic drive-thru will take place this Thursday, May 27th at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, from 3 to 6 p.m. There will be supplies on hand to distribute 1200 boxes filled with a gallon of 2% milk, white cheddar cheese, yogurt, hot dogs, chicken drumsticks, and three pounds each of apples, oranges, onions, and potatoes. No registration is required for food boxes, however, boxes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. First and second shots of the vaccine will be available. Properly worn face covering is required and all attendees are to remain in their vehicles. If you have questions contact Royceann Porter at rporter@johnsoncountyiowa.gov or 316.356.6000.

MVP COVID-19 Survey -The VA Million Veteran Program (MVP) is partnering with Veterans to respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. MVP is dedicated to learning more about diseases that impact both Veterans and humankind to help with prevention and treatment. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the health community is working quickly to better understand how to treat and prevent the virus. MVP is ready to help with these efforts. The MVP COVID-19 Survey provides an opportunity for Veterans to help MVP learn more about their experience with COVID-19, including how the pandemic is affecting their physical and mental health. Survey information can be found HERE.

uwjwc covid update

5.18.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: WHEN YOU'VE BEEN FULLY VACCINATED

When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated-Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Learn More HERE.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

Vaccine Passports-Many families add educational components to their summer vacations to enhance their children's experience of a destination, but what does a 2021 summer vacation look like? And does it include a wild card: vaccine passports? These IDs, which use smartphone apps to verify vaccination status or negative coronavirus test results, are still under development. Several cruise lines have announced that they will require passengers to be vaccinated, and some people are worried that the travel industry might begin segregating customers based on vaccination status. The European Union is expected to introduce a vaccine passport, called a Digital Green Certificate, by June. Learn more about what to expect for summer travel HERE.

“Long Haulers”-As public health officials race to vaccinate Americans amid the rapid spread of viral variants, physicians and scientists are turning their attention to a growing population of those who seem locked into COVID-19’s misery months after the acute phase has passed. These so-called “COVID long-haulers” or sufferers of “long COVID” are those who continue to feel symptoms long after the days or weeks that represent a typical course of the disease. These patients tend to be younger and, puzzlingly, in some cases suffered just mild initial conditions. According to the CDC, the most common lasting symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain. Other issues include cognitive problems, difficulty concentrating, depression, muscle pain, headache, rapid heartbeat and intermittent fever. Other long term issues include:

  • Breathing issues
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Lost or distorted senses of smell and taste
  • Neurologic Problems
  • Autonomic nervous system symptoms
  • Mental health issues
  • Diabetes

Learn more HERE.

At Home COVID-19 Tests-If you need to be tested for COVID-19 and can’t get tested by a healthcare provider, you can consider using either a self-collection kit or a self-test that can be performed at home or anywhere else. These self-collection kits and tests are available either by prescription or over the counter, without a prescription, in a pharmacy or retail store. Rapid COVID-19 tests often provide results within minutes and don’t need to be analyzed in a laboratory by a specialist. Store all test components according to the manufacturer’s instructions until ready for use. The CDC recommends following these tips when testing at home:

  • Check the expiration date. Don’t use expired tests or test components that are damaged or discolored.
  • Disinfect the countertop, table, or other surface where you will do the test.
  • Don’t open test devices or other test components until you are ready to start the testing process.
  • Read and record test results only within the amount of time specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. A result read before or after the specified timeframe may be incorrect.
  • Don’t reuse test devices or other components.
  • After you have the results, discard the specimen collection swab and test kit in the trash, disinfect all surfaces that the specimen may have touched, and wash your hands.

More information including what do to if you test positive can be found HERE.

COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force -U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud. In a recent memo announcing the task force, Attorney General Garland wrote: “The Department of Justice will use every available federal tool—including criminal, civil, and administrative actions—to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud. We look forward to working with our federal government colleagues to bring to justice those who seek to profit unlawfully from the pandemic.” Organized and led by the Deputy Attorney General, the Task Force includes several entities within the Department of Justice, including the Criminal and Civil Divisions, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Key interagency partners, such as the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Homeland Security, the Small Business Administration, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Relief (SIGPR), the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), and others, have been invited to be part of the Task Force. Read more HERE.

UWJWC Vaccine for Teens

5.11.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: VACCINE FOR 12-15

Vaccine for 12-15-The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded emergency use authorization for the Pfizer shot to include youths aged 12-15 on Monday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine authorized for younger teens and adolescents reported CNN. States will be given the go-ahead to administer the shot to the new age group as soon as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives its final approval, expected tomorrow Wednesday, although doctors who already have doses on hand can use their discretion in using them before that. The move opens the door for another 5% of Americans (nearly 17 million people) to get inoculated and 85% of the US population will soon be eligible for the vaccine. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health, and  Financial Stability

Teen Vaccine & Schools-Being able to have teens vaccinated will no doubt be reassuring to many parents, including some who have not felt comfortable sending their children back to school in person yet. This round of vaccination will most likely mean more students attending in-person classes next school year. (Some states have already said that remote learning will not continue to be an option for most students in the fall.) For public schools, vaccine requirements are set by states, and it is unclear if any will mandate coronavirus vaccines for students. But private schools may be able to require that students be vaccinated. Learn more from the NY Times HERE.

Vaccine Distribution in Iowa-State health officials say Monona and Emmett are the only Iowa counties to accept their full allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses for next week. According to data released on Friday, 40 counties accepted part of their allocation, and 57 counties declined all-new doses. Iowa, like many states, has seen a decline in demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks. According to state data, nearly half of adult Iowans are fully vaccinated. Close to 60 percent have had at least one dose. Learn more HERE.

Auditory Problems & COVID-19-Hearing loss and other auditory problems are strongly associated with Covid-19 according to a systematic review of research evidence led by the University of Manchester and NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) scientists. They pooled data from 24 of the studies to estimate that the prevalence of hearing loss was 7.6%, tinnitus was 14.8% and vertigo was 7.2%. Researchers are trying to study the link between COVID-19 and long term side effects, including tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Locally, KCRG reported Dr. Richard Tyler at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said one of his patients with tinnitus experienced worsened conditions after contracting the virus. In March, the International Journal of Audiology published a study that found nearly 15 percent of adults experienced tinnitus after getting COVID-19. Learn more HERE.

Broadband Benefit-The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of theFederal Poverty Guidelinesor participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Starting tomorrow May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount on the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org. Learn more HERE.

UWJWC COVID Pill

5.4.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: TREATING COVID WITH A PILL

Treating COVID with a Pill-Fending off COVID-19 and avoiding potential trips to the hospital could soon be as simple as taking a pill. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC that the drug maker is working to introduce an experimental drug to treat the disease at its onset by year-end. Pfizer in March began an early-stage clinical trial of a new antiviral therapy for the coronavirus, which has killed more than 573,000 Americans. Should clinical trials prove successful and the Food and Drug Administration approves the drug, it could be available across the nation later in 2021. Read more HERE.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Summer Camps Needed Now More Than Ever-Summer camps can be a chance for children and teens to make friends, learn new skills, and spend time outdoors. Kids have missed out on a lot of these opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has put out regulations on what Summer Camps should do to prevent and respond to COVID cases. Connecting local children to summer camps is the focus of United Way’s "Summership" program. A Summership provides a K-12 student from Johnson and Washington Counties, who are eligible for Free & Reduced Lunch, with a camp scholarship. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties and the Community Foundation of Johnson County are proud to partner to coordinate this scholarship program. If you would like to submit a Summership application click HERE or to fund a Summership Scholarship, click HERE. In addition, free summer playground activities at various Iowa City locations are available for two hours either in the morning time or afternoon.  Iowa City Parks and Rec would like families to sign up their children online ahead of time but onsite sign-up will also be available. Learn more HERE.

Vaccine for All-Though the vaccine is delivered at no cost, according to the Household Pulse Survey’s COVID-19 Tracker, 51.2 percent of Americans who have health insurance have received a COVID-19 vaccine, but that number drops to 23.7 percent for uninsured Americans. The Iowa City Free Medical & Dental Clinic is working hard to get uninsured patients at the clinic access to the COVID-19 vaccine. They are working to contact and educate patients about the vaccine and schedule appointments. Learn more HERE.

Walk-In Vaccines-Hy-Vee, Inc. announced last week that all Hy-Vee pharmacy locations now offer free COVID-19 vaccines with no appointment necessary to provide the option to walk-in and receive the vaccine when it’s convenient for the recipient. The new walk-in vaccination policy was announced in a news release last week. There is no charge for the vaccination. Individuals with health insurance are asked to bring their policy cards, as are those enrolled in Medicare Part B. People without health insurance will be asked to supply their Social Security numbers as part of the registration process. Read more from Little Village HERE.

What We've Learned in the Past Year-Join Project Better Together on Wednesday, May 5th at 2:00 pm for a live webinar: State of the Community - What We've Learned in the Past Year. The leaders of Project Better Together, Josh Schamberger (Think Iowa City), Kate Moreland (ICAD), Kim Casko (Iowa City Area Business Partnership), Nancy Bird (Iowa City Downtown District), and Mark Nolte (PBT Leader) will share their observations and lessons learned from the past year. RSVP to attend HERE

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund-The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun registration for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. All eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens. Following the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit HERE.

 

uwjwc why should I get a covid vaccine?

4.27.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: WATCH AND LEARN!

Watch And Learn! -If you missed last week’s virtual panel discussion-"Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine?”, you missed a lot! We learned so much about the COVID vaccine, what it is constructed from, and dispelled so many myths thanks to our host Rebecca Neades, Green State Credit Union, and panelists Dr. Stephen Scheckel, Mercy Iowa City & Randy McDonough, Towncrest Pharmacy. To watch a recording of the event, click HERE. If you are interested in receiving a COVID vaccine,

MidWestOne Bank is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic today Tuesday, April 27th at its 1906 Keokuk St., Iowa City, location. The clinic is open to the public and vaccinations are free of charge. Bring an insurance card if you have one. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins will be accommodated as vaccine supply allows. Individuals must be 18 years of age and older. The Moderna vaccine will be administrated by technicians from RX 4 Prevention. A second vaccination dose appointment will be scheduled on May 25 at the same time and location. To schedule an appointment, visit HERE.

Towncrest Pharmacy is offering several vaccination clinics in the Johnson County area. To schedule an appointment visit HERE or call 319-887-6121. Upcoming public COVID Vaccine clinics:

Pfizer Clinics:

  • Tuesday 04/27 11 am - 3 pm @Mercer Aquatic Center HERE

Moderna Clinic @Towncrest Pharmacy

  • Wednesday 04/28 8:30 am to 1 pm HERE

Attending a clinic will automatically register you for your second dose in 21 or 28 days (depending on the vaccine).  If you need a SECOND dose, register first then call the pharmacy (319.337.3526) and ask for Mike. Please bring your vaccination record if you are receiving a second dose. Additional options to schedule a COVID vaccine appointment can be found at:

For further assistance, visit: https://www.vaccinespotter.org/IA/

“We Are Determined to Help…”-President Joe Biden says the U.S is determined to help India as it grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases. In a tweet last Sunday, Biden said, “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.” Earlier Sunday the White House said the U.S. is “working around the clock” to immediately deploy to India drug treatments and rapid diagnostic COVID-19 testing kits. Also coming are ventilators and personal protective equipment, and the U.S. will seek to provide oxygen supplies as well. India, which is second only to the United States in total case count, broke global records for the fifth straight day with 352,991 new coronavirus infections. The country’s brutal second wave of the pandemic, which began in March, has overrun hospitals with medical facilities running out of oxygen and intensive care beds, with patients left to die at home or outside hospitals. Read more from an ABC report HERE.   

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

Secrets of My Stressed Out Brain: Session for Parent & Teens-Being an adolescent is stressful. COVID-19's disruptions have added significantly to that stress. Anxiety is a common response to the challenges of adolescence and all of the additional stresses brought by the pandemic. Have you ever wondered: "What's going on in there?" when your teen is overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out? Are you curious about how and why stress often leads to troubling patterns of thinking and behavior in teens? This presentation will explore new adolescent brain research that has dramatically improved our understanding of stress and how it impacts how they feel, think, and behave specifically related to stress and anxiety. This event is brought to you by Johnson County Social Services and Johnson County CPPC and can be viewed Thursday, April 29th at 6:30 pm online at us02web.zoom.us for FREE. A separate event for teens will begin at 4:30 pm on the 29th and can be found by following this link: us02web.zoom.us  

COVID Vaccine & Pregnancy-The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines don’t appear to pose any serious risks during pregnancy, shows an early analysis of data. The analysis only looked at Pfizer and Moderna shots, which are both based on newer mRNA technology, so the findings are not relevant to vaccines such as those made by AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had long advised that while there was a lack of data in this area, pregnant people should still be offered Covid-19 shots, stressing that they are "unlikely to pose a specific risk" for people who are pregnant. Health authorities around the world, including the CDC, have warned that pregnant women with Covid-19 are at increased risk for severe illness and may be at increased risk for adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth. The new data, along with existing research showing mRNA vaccines are effective in pregnant and breastfeeding people, suggest that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks. The researchers say more long-term studies are needed to assess the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy, and that this research should include follow-up with a large population who are vaccinated early in pregnancy. The complete CNN report can be found HERE.

State of the Community - What We've Learned in the Past Year -It has been just over a year since Project Better Together took shape. The leaders of the organizations that spearhead the initiative will come together on Wednesday, May 5 at 2:00 pm to discuss what they've learned in the past year. Join Nancy Bird, Executive Director of the Iowa City Downtown District, Kim Casko, President of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Kate Moreland, President of the Iowa City Area Development Group, Josh Schamberger, President, Think Iowa City, and Mark Nolte, Project Director, Project Better Together for a lively conversation with insights, reflection, and visioning. Pre-registration can be found HERE.

 Stay Home | Stay Safe! 

 

Past United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties COVID Updates

3.31.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE:  FOOD RESOURCE MAP

Washington County

Two people have died from COVID-19 in Washington County. According to Washington County Public Health, the first two deaths associated with novel coronavirus were reported in Washington County. Learn more from KCII.

Think Iowa City, Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City Area Business Partnership & the Iowa City Downtown District, have collaborated to create a new website which will provide continuing updates and resources around the COVID-19 Pandemic. Visit ICAreaTogether to learn more.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

URGENT-We Need Volunteers!!

Laundromania has generously offered to provide free laundry services to those in need from 8:00am-5:00pm on Wednesday, April 1st at each of their five local locations. Volunteers are needed to manage the free laundry process with patrons and sanitize at each location during the free laundry offering. Not safe for you to volunteer? – You can help by sharing this opportunity with your co-workers & friends. Learn more HERE.

Donations

To support Laundromania’ s Free Laundry Day, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is collecting donations of laundry detergent to support our neighbors in need. Donations can be left inside the door of the United Way office: 1150-5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, IA from 9:00am-5:00pm today, Tuesday-3/31 and Wednesday, 4/1/2020. For questions, call: (319) 338.7823. Please remember to use social distancing guidelines when dropping off your donation. Thank you! 

Victim/survivors at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program’s (DVIP) emergency shelter are on the move to temporary and permanent housing in order to maintain safety and practice social distancing. If you have any of the following please reach out to DVIP through Ashlee at 319.359.9353 or email dvip@dvipiowa.org .

  • Beds and sheet sets (all sizes)

  • Dining Sets (table and chairs)

  • Living Room Furniture (all varieties)

DVIP's 24/7 hotline and emergency shelter are available to anyone in need now and always. 800.373.1043

Education Health & Financial Stability

Shed Aquarium invites you to continue to experience, explore and learn about the aquatic animal world online through several digital resources. Keep up-to-date on the daily lives of the aquarium’s animals on Facebook,  Instagram, and Twitter; create learning experiences for early learners through Sea Curious on YouTube series; check out live views from the Underwater Beauty special exhibit, and dive deep with 360-video views to Keep Sharks Swimming and more!

Take a virtual tour of these amazing museums which are closed because of COVID-19. Google Arts and Culture has partnered with more than 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to offer virtual tours of their collections and spaces. Choose a museum and hear stories, view collections, and take virtual tours.

A little closer to home, the Iowa City Children’s museum is providing creative at home activities. Follow them on Facebook and join in the fun!

Food Resource Map-Now available on the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ COVID-19 Food Resources webpage is a map of the locations in and around Iowa City where individuals can get either pre-made meals or find items for their pantry. This map includes each location’s operating hours (updated for the COVID-19 pandemic), eligibility needed to receive aid, and other relevant information. To find all resources, click on the map and zoom in. A special thank you to UI student, and longtime resident of the Iowa City area, Russell Martin for his work to research and share this information with our community. View the Food Resource Map HERE.

Unforeseen disruptions from the coronavirus (COVID-19) to natural disasters can create many uncertainties. CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) is providing resources on related to the COVID-19 tax/legislation changes. CLA is sharing webinars that focus on various relevant topics every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. These are free and open to anyone. The topic today, Tuesday 3.31.2020, from 2:00-3:00 pm is Interpreting the CARES Act and tomorrow’s topic is Workforce Implications as a Result of Recent Legislation. Learn more at CLA or to view upcoming webinars click HERE.

To increase awareness of public transit in Johnson County during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Johnson County mobility webpage helps riders navigate service changes and identify a plan to access critical services. The most recent, significant update: Iowa City Transit implementing reductions to its weekday services effective today, Tuesday 3.30.2020. To see full details and route information, please click HERE.

 

3.30.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE:  WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

The Coralville Marriott is sending a message to our community. Utilizing their creativity and staff ingenuity, they are lighting up the front of the Coralville Marriott with the word HOPE. It will be lit up again tonight-3.30.2020. Drive by & take a look, but please stay in your vehicle to practice safe social distancing.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

URGETNT-We Need Volunteers!!

Laundromania has generously offered to provide free laundry services to those in need from 8:00am-5:00pm on Wednesday, April 1st at each of their five local locations. Volunteers are needed to manage the free laundry process with patrons and sanitize at each location during the free laundry offering. Not safe for you to volunteer? – You can help by sharing this opportunity with your co-workers & friends. Learn more HERE.

Donations

To support Laundromania’ s Free Laundry Day, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is collecting donations of laundry detergent to support our neighbors in need. Donations can be left inside the door of the United Way office: 1150-5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, IA from 9:00am-5:00pm today Monday-3/30, Tuesday-3/31 and Wednesday-4/1. For questions, call: (319) 338.7823. Please remember to use social distancing guidelines when dropping off your donation. Thank you! 

Education Health & Financial Stability

The Iowa City Community School District shared on Friday they provided over 10,000 meals to children last week and beginning this week are no longer requiring children to be present to receive meals. The Mid-Prairie School District started providing breakfast and lunch last week to district students through six pick-up spots located throughout the district. Almost 300 students are receiving meals through this program daily. Learn more about what your school district is doing to feed students during closures:

While The Iowa City Senior Center is closed, staff and volunteers are working to check in with every Center member by phone and/or email. They remain committed to reducing social isolation for all older adults in our community. If you are a senior, or know a senior, and would like to answer a brief, online survey please click HERE 

Latest numbers from Iowa Dept. of Public Health Updated at Sunday, March 29, 2020, at 6:26 p.m.

  • COVID-19 Reported Cases in Iowa: 336
  • COVID-19 Deaths in Iowa: 4
  • Click HERE for a county-by-county breakdown of cases

United, Iowa City Area Development, THINK IC, Iowa City Area Business Partnership & the Iowa City Downton District are providing business resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information can be found at:

Don’t forget to check out the State of the Community this week Wednesday, April 1st !

 

3.27.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE:  VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

In the last 30 days the Iowa 211 call center has received over 400 incoming calls from Johnson County and 46 calls from Washington County in the last 30 days related to COVID-19.  United Way’s 211 is under contract to serve as the statewide hotline for General Information regarding COVID-19 with coverage for all 99 counties. All information provided by the 211 hotline is provided by Iowa Department of Public Health.

You can access 211: Dial 2-1-1 | Toll-Free: (866) 469-2211 | Alternative: (319) 739-4211

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

We Need Volunteers!! Laundromania has generously offered to provide free laundry services to those in need from 8:00am-5:00pm on Wednesday, April 1st at each of their five local locations. Volunteers are needed to manage the free laundry process with patrons and sanitize at each location during the free laundry offering.  Learn more HERE.

Donations

To support Laundromania’ s Free Laundry Day, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is collecting donations of laundry detergent to support our neighbors in need. Donations can be left inside the door of the United Way office: 1150-5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, IA from 9:00am-5:00pm beginning this Friday-3/27 and continuing Monday-3/30, Tuesday-3/31 and Wednesday-4/1. For questions, call: (319) 338.7823. Please remember to use social distancing guidelines when dropping off your donation. Thank you! 

Education Health & Financial Stability

We all are looking for ways to make it through these days of isolation and uncertainty, and turning to books for solace and diversion is one method. Starting April 1 and for the three-plus months that follow, The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature will gather virtually to read The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Join them for “100 Days of Decameron”  .

Food delivery is now available to anyone living in Johnson County who needs food but cannot access other resources due to COVID-19. People can call (319) 519-6165 between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday through Friday to request food delivery. Agencies can also contact this line to set up a time to pick-up food for their clients. Recipients will receive pre-packed bags of food based on what is available. This service is a partnership between CommUnity Crisis Services and Food BankCoralville Community Food PantryIC Compassion, and North Liberty Community Pantry. Johnson County SEATS is providing delivery service to rural addresses.

Do you have open units and are concerned about the financial impact COVID-19 will have on your business? Now is the time to partner with Shelter House’s Rapid Re-Housing team who provides financial assistance (deposit and rent) to individuals and families immediately. Contact Rachel.lehmann@shelterhouseiowa.org or 319-338-5416 ext. 211 to find out how to access these funds as well as support social distancing by moving people out of shelter and into permanent housing.

Monday, March 23, Governor Reynolds announced a new Iowa Small Business Relief Program that will provide financial assistance including grants to eligible small businesses ranging from $5,000-$25,000 and tax deferrals to any Iowa businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be available HERE   Application deadline is Tuesday, March 31, at 12 p.m.

SBA Business Assistance: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a disaster declaration for the state of Iowa. The declaration allows pandemic-impacted small businesses to apply for low-interest support loans.

Applications can be made and monitored via the SBA’s website.  For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Additional Resources:

Comprehensive list of Iowa Resources

Assistance for Employees Impacted by Covid-19

Explore grant resources for small businesses and non-profits:

Transit Updates

Iowa City Transit -- Running at Spring Break service levels indefinitely

The Downtown Free Shuttle, the AM & PM Eastside Loop will not operate for the time being

All other service will be provided per normal schedules and times, and service will continue to be free of charge www.icgov.org/transit  319-356-5151

Coralville Transit -- Effective 3/30:

  • The 10th Street route will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange on the hour beginning at 7:00 am with the last bus departing at 5:00 pm. 

  • The Lantern Park route will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange on the half hour beginning at 6:30 am with the last bus departing at 5:30 pm.

  • The last Night bus will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange at 9:10 pm with service ending at 10:00 pm. 

  • The North Liberty route will not be operating until further notice.

  • The AM Express, Express, and 1st Avenue schedules will not change.

Beginning Saturday, April 4, the last Saturday bus will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange at 5:15 pm with service ending at 6:00 pm www.coralville.org/transit 319-248-1790

CAMBUS--

Suspending weekends service, increased service to parking lots 65 and 75, adjustments made to Hawkeye Parking Lot service (see specifics in link below)

transportation.uiowa.edu/cambus  319-335-8633

Johnson County SEATS--

Will continue to do life sustaining trips for North Liberty paratransit riders, other paratransit riders and rural riders.

www.johnson-county.com/seats 319-339-6128

380 Express Bus--

www.380express.com 319-362-0375

North Liberty Transportation Assistance Program-- Still operating at full capacity

North Liberty residents can apply here: NLTAP webpage

55 Plus RSVP – Volunteer Medical Transportation Program

Temporarily suspended

American Cancer Society – Road to Recovery Volunteer Transportation Program

Temporarily suspended

3.26.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE:  National Unemployement & Local Employment Opps.

A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus disrupts the economy. US Department of Labor statistics can be found HERE and Iowa unemployment statistics can be found HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

The Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center is currently closed but they have started a pet food pantry. If you are looking for pet food or to make a donation to the pantry, please call 319.356.5295.

COVID-19 has affected all of us, and that's certainly true of our friends in the hospitality industry. The abrupt university closures coupled with the necessary government shut-down of our favorite service-based businesses has put many of our friends and family out of work for the foreseeable future. "Flatten the Curve" shirts are now available with the proceeds being split among the various participating local businesses being affected by the shutdown. You can access an order form HERE.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Our community school districts are providing many resources to students throughout the duration of the school closure period. Find your child’s school district information:

Our non-profit food community is committed to continuing to provide food for those in need through the COIVD-19 pandemic. For a listing of food banks, pantries and meals that are being served in our community please click HERE

Remedy Staffing is currently supporting all of their essential service clients and we will remain open as long as the essential clients need help with staffing. ( i.e. UIHC, P&G, GMI, NFI, etc.) They are currently hiring for manufacturing, logistics, office/admin, accounting, and more.  If you have hiring needs please email Terri Hunter . If you are looking for work, Remedy Staffing is hiring. Applications are being taken online at RemedyStaff.com

The dedicated staff at Shelter House continue to provide emergency services and shelter to hundreds of men, women, and children each day. COVID-19 has put an additional strain on staffing needs and they are looking for committed individuals to join their team. For a list of job opportunities, visit HERE.

The National Consumer Law Center is keeping an eye on actions taken by states and the federal government to protect consumer activities (mortgage, bankruptcy, fees and fines, price gouging).  They are posting items that have passed final decision. To review this information visit HERE .

 

3.25.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Our Schools Feeding Our Children

The IRS has issued a Guidance on the 90-Day Extension for Federal Tax Payments, Filing. Any individual, corporation, trust, estate, or partnership with a federal income tax payment or a federal income tax return due April 15, 2020, will be granted an extension. FAQs

The Iowa Department of Revenue extended the filing and payment deadline for several state tax types, including income tax. The extended filing and payment deadlines for income, franchise, and moneys and credits taxes with a due date on or after March 19, 2020, and before July 31, 2020, to a new deadline of July 31, 2020.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Table to Table Food Rescue Volunteer: Table to Table is looking for food rescue route volunteers to box and load food from grocery stores and, using Table to Table vehicles, transport to local food pantries and shelters.  Volunteers are also needed to help with food rescue vehicle preparation.

DONATIONS

Following CDC guidelines, each day our local nonprofits who provide daily food to our community are packaging “To Go” meals. Agencies are looking for donations of “clam shell” containers, disposable lidded cups and silverware to support their programs. If you have access to any of these resource please contact Info@UnitedWayJWC.org .

Education Health & Financial Stability

While not often included with first responders, the service child care is providing is critical. Childcare for essential workforce, including healthcare, first responders, critical infrastructure—which includes food service and grocery workers is needed. Child care facilities are open and local providers can be found on the DHS Childcare Availability . Additional information for clients and providers can be found at Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral  with other supportive information found at:

On Monday, March 23, 2020 the Iowa City Community School District activated their drive-through or walk-up meal pick-up. Meals are distributed between 11 am and 1 pm and, per USDA federal guidelines, to children ages 1-18 who must be present in order for meals to be provided. Each child receives a lunch as well as a breakfast for the next day.  The ICCSD served 640 children with a lunch/breakfast meal package on Monday and 940 on Tuesday. To learn more on how you can support our schools visit the Iowa City Community School District Foundation.

State of the Community Webinar:  Join the Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City, and the Iowa City Downtown District on Wednesday, March 25th at 2pm for a live webinar with Iowa City Area community leaders for city and University of Iowa updates and information regarding economic support. Attendees of the live webinar will have the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists.

Business Resources Webinar: SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans:  To help provide important information about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans the Iowa City Area Business Partnership will be hosting a webinar with Iowa District Director of the SBA on Wednesday, March 25th at 3:30 pm. Register now to get answers to your questions and more information about the loan process. 

The Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Washington, WEDG & City of Washington are providing updates for county businesses as affected by COVID-19. To review these updates visit WashingtonIowa.Gov or to add business updates, please email sarah@washingtoniowa.org  or alisha@washingtoniowa.org.

3.24.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Say Thank You To Our Healthcare Providers

Olympics Suspended-This morning, the International Olympic Committee has announced the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed, likely to 2021. Further details are to be worked out during the next month. Find the complete article HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

COVID-19 Emergency CommUnity Food Bank Volunteer-In order to maintain social distancing and keep the Food Bank occupancy at 10 individuals or less all volunteers must sign up.  Drop-in volunteers are not accepted. Please find additional information and the opportunity to sign up HERE.

DONATIONS

Our local hospitals and clinics are collecting in-kind donations of personal protective equipment or PPEs. Please use the below links to connection with your local hospitals and clinics:

Mercy Iowa City

University of iowa Hospitals & Clinics

Washington County Hospitals & Clinics

Education Health & Financial Stability

It is important that students and families are able to gain access to educational, news, and communication resources during this challenging time.  The Iowa City Community School District Technology & Innovation staff are preparing to make Chromebooks available to elementary school students who do not have access to computers within the home. Families of elementary students that do not have access to a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet in the home may complete this request form or call (319) 688-1950. Learn more HERE.

These are challenging and unprecedented times for healthcare workers. Small gestures of appreciation can make a big difference for those who are working in healthcare. Please consider posting your appreciation on social media and tagging our community hospitals and clinics.

Due to the Coronavirus, and in attempt to help slow the spread of the virus, the cities of Iowa City & Coralville are waiving bus fares for the duration of COVID-19 emergency. For driver safety, all riders who are able will also be asked to enter from the back door. Please only use transit if absolutely necessary.

Webinar: Family First Response Act & Iowa UnemploymentJoin the Iowa City Area Business Partnership for a live webinar today from 10am-11am with local HR expert, Brenda LaMarche, President of BRL Human Consulting. This free webinar is geared towards business owners and leaders with 500 employees or less. See the Facebook event HERE

 

3.23.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Johnson County Mayors Joint Release

Johnson County Mayors Urge Residents to Stay Home and Limit Non-Essential Activities

After continued consultation with local medical, public health and emergency management officials, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, Coralville Mayor John Lundell and North Liberty Mayor Terry Donahue urge residents to take all necessary precautions to stay healthy in effort to assist our local healthcare providers as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the full release HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Do You Need Volunteers? United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is designated in the Johnson County Disaster Plan as the coordinator for disaster-related volunteers before, during and after a disaster.  The Emergency Volunteer Center has been activated will connect volunteers with the COVID-19 related Volunteer Needs and Opportunities. Any community volunteers that would like to register and sign-up to volunteer should go to the COVID-19 Volunteer website or call 319-337-VOLS(8657) to learn about current volunteers needs and urgent skill requests. Organizations and individuals that need volunteers should call 319-337-VOLS(8657) or email Patti.Fields@UnitedWayJWC.org with their information.

Donations

Washington County-Groceries for Good Food Drive: Main Street Washington & Washington Chamber of Commerce are asking individuals & businesses to consider donating to HACAP through the “Groceries for Good” campaign.  HACAP will be able to purchase $12 of food for every $1 donated directly from the Reservoir in Hiawatha.  Learn more HERE - 100% of proceeds will go to HACAP for Washington County.

Education Health & Financial Stability

In an effort to keep our communities safe, our local libraries are closed however, libraries continue to provide services. Libraries provide a wide array of digital offerings and be very valuable for in home education as well as providing research resources such as free databases, books for free reading and much more.  Local Library Links:

Coralivlle Public Library | Iowa City Public Library | Kalona Public Library | North Liberty Public Library | Oxford Public Library | Solon Public Library | Swisher Public Library | Tiffin Public Library | Washington Public Library | Welman Public Library 

This is a stressful and uncertain time for many. It is normal to feel stress or anxiety with the constant changes of the coronavirus pandemic, but we are not alone. Please refer to the below listing of emotional support resources:

As our communities respond to the local and national recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, you can still support our local restaurants. A number of restaurants are offering curbside, takeout or delivery services. Click HERE to see a listing from ThinkIC for restaurants & more or, for more information on the Iowa City Downtown District Gift Car Promo visit their Facebook HERE or to claim your gift card online click HERE.

The SBA is now making loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Applications can be made via the SBA’s website. Applicants can monitor the status of their applications online after submission. For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

3.20.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Box Breathing

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities: All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Giving blood is critical to ensure there is an adequate supply to meet patient needs. 

Donations

Check in on your neighbors and friends that may need help running errands. Public health officials say vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions, should avoid unnecessary trips outside of their home where they can be exposed to coronavirus.

Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center is asking the community to be "emergency fosters." Pet owners need to make emergency plans for their animals in case someone at homes falls ill. Stock up on two weeks of supplies for your pets and plan on who will care for the pet if the owner is hospitalized. There is no evidence that pets can infect you with or carry the virus. If you are interested in being a pet emergency foster care provider,  please email Lisa-Bragg@iowa-city.org.

Education Health & Financial Stability

The Iowa City Community School District, through the Nutrition Services Department, is establishing drive-through or walk-up meal pick-up locations at a number of our school sites. Meal service will begin Monday, March 23. Students will be provided lunch for the day and breakfast for the following day. Meals will be distributed between 11 am and 1 pm, Monday through Friday. Families are asked to stay in their vehicle and the meals will be brought to them. Meal Pick Up Sites can be found HERE.

Washington Schools will continue offering FREE lunch for kids age 1-18.  In order to help them serve their students and community better, they are asking residents to place a lunch order for Monday, March 23rd and Tuesday, March 24th of next week. Order information and Meal Pick Up Sites can be found HERE

The Iowa City Community School District shared yesterday that the City High Healthy Kids School Based Clinic will remain open. Northwest Junior High and South East Junior High clinics will be closing in alignment with the school closures. The clinic will only take appointments for well children who need vaccines or for routine follow up of chronic problems. Children who are ill with NON-respiratory illnesses can also be scheduled for appointments if needed. All respiratory illness will be diverted to the UIHC screening system.

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a technique used when taking slow, deep breaths. It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever. It’s also called four-square breathing. This technique can be beneficial to anyone, especially those who want to meditate or reduce stress. Box Breathing can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm. Here are the simple steps to Box Breathing:

  1. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.

  2. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.

  3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.

  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until calm returns.

Local leaders are recommending those who are returning from Spring Break from any area outside of their regular living area should self-quarantine. The consensus recommendation is that individuals should self-quarantine for two weeks.

Alliant Energy is temporarily suspending disconnections for all of Iowa and Wisconsin customers during the public health emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, the company plans to waive late fees in Iowa to help customers who are suffering financial hardships.

 

3.19.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Education, Health & Financial Stability

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities

HACAP- In response to the recent developments of COVID-19, the HACAP Food Reservoir will be working to have more prepackaged boxes of food readily available for partner agencies to prevent the spread of germs. Because of this, we will be needing more volunteers to pack these boxes. Below is a sign-up form where you can sign-up for a volunteer slot to help us out if you are healthy, willing, and available. VOLUNTEER HERE

Houses into Homes- To help families with critical in home needs, Houses into Homes seeks volunteers who may be able to lift up to 50 pounds, to help deliver critical furniture and household items to families and individuals throughout the local community. VOLUNTEER HERE

Donations

Following CDC guidelines, our local nonprofits who provide daily food to our community are now packaging To Go meals. Agencies are looking for donations of “clam shell” containers, disposable lidded cups and silverware to support their programs. If you have access to any of these resource please contact Info@UnitedWayJWC.org .

Education Health & Financial Stability

Many of our students and school district families will be facing significant challenges in the coming days. If you would like to help as we explore ways to provide educational experiences and resources for our District families visit Iowa City Community School District Foundation

Taking care of your behavioral health in times of crisis is very important. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists these Tips for Survivors of Disaster of Other Traumatic Event.

The Iowa Department on Aging has shared this information video What Older Adults Need to Know. If you have concerns about an elderly person, you can call LifeLong Links at 1.866.468.7887 or visit Iowa Department of Aging for further assistance.

MidAmerican Energy said they would stop disconnecting customers for non-payment, as well as waive deposits and late fees. The company will also work with customers to set up payment plans if needed, according to officials. For contact information visit MidAmerican Energy Company.

The COVID-19 epidemic has forced many businesses into operating differently and having employees work remote. We are working with our partners at the NextGen Marketing Group and Remedium Systems in Iowa City who have strong experience operating virtual businesses and advising many clients on how to do this the right way. If you need assistance, please contact them HERE or call 319-621-2424 for a free consultation.

3.18.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: State of Public Health Disaster Emergency & Call for Volunteers

On March 17, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. The State Disaster Emergency Plan takes significant steps to require social distancing and limit community spread of the virus by implementing temporary measures including moving restaurants to drive-through, carry-out, and delivery only and closures of certain entities such as bars and recreational facilities. The proclamation also allows state agencies additional flexibility in responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, and supports the critical work of public health. 

Food Distribution-Table to Table is looking for volunteers to box and load food from grocery stores and, using Table to Table vehicles, transport to local food pantries and shelters. Volunteers must be able to lift up to 40 lbs., driving not required. VOLUNTEER HERE

Blood & Platelet Donations-Volunteers are needed any day, Monday through Friday to donate blood or platelets at DeGowin Blood Center. Volunteers need to be at least 16 years of age, weigh 110 pounds, and be free of cold and flu symptoms for the past 5 days. VOLUNTEER HERE 

3.17.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Closure of Restraunts, bars, gyms...

Gov. Reynolds has issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, ordering all restaurants, bars, gyms, and theaters in Iowa to close from noon today through March 31. Learn More

3.17.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Emergency Volunteer Center

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’  (UWJWC) United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is designated in the Johnson County Disaster Plan as the coordinator for disaster-related volunteers before, during and after a disaster.  The Emergency Volunteer Center has been activated as of March 16, 2020 and will connect volunteers with the COVID-19 related Volunteer Needs and Opportunities. The community needs and volunteer opportunities will be listed on the Volunteer Website, www.covid19volunteers.org. Any community volunteers that would like to register and sign-up to volunteer should go to the website or call 319-337-VOLS(8657) to learn about current volunteers needs and urgent skill requests. Organizations and individuals that need volunteers should call 319-337-VOLS(8657) or email Patti.Fields@UnitedWayJWC.org with their information.

The United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Community Disaster Relief Fund is open for contributions to support our local individuals, families and organizations in our communities. Unlike other fundraising efforts done by UWJWC, all the donated funds toward disaster recovery will be distributed back into the community with no percentage allocated toward administration.

3.17.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Community Disaster Relief Fund

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties has a strong history of providing care for our community in disaster. The United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Disaster Relief Fund originated with the tornado in 2006, was the trusted fund for the floods of 2008 as well as throughout many other local disasters. This fund is ready to be utilized during the COVID-19 crisis.  Our community has pulled together in the past and we rely on the in-kind donations of financial institutions to provide the administration of the funding during the time of recovery.  The United Way serves as the coordinator and facilitator for the COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) to ensure continuous communication, planning, preparedness and response across community sectors.

 

3.16.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Cleaning Solutions

Registered Disinfectants for COVID-19: The Medical Examiner shared a study, released on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that indicated how long COVID-19 can last on surfaces. “They found that viable virus could be detected up to three hours later in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” Here is the link to the actual Scientist Report. The EPA has released a list of EPA- Registered Disinfectants that can be used against COVID-19. This can be helpful as some supplies are disappearing out of stores. Here is the link to their Announcement and the link in the article for the list of Registered Disinfectants. Quick Access for the proper Bleach:Water Cleaning Mixture:

Iowa City Community School District

Governor Reynolds made the recommendation to close Iowa schools for four weeks in response to the confirmed community spread of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). The ICCSD will follow Governor Reynolds’ recommendation and schools will be closed until Monday, April 13, 2020.  At this time, the closure affects all school programming, including before- and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, all facility rentals, and all weekend events. However, BASP programming and the school-based health clinics will remain open during the week of March 16-20.

The ICCSD is actively preparing plans for continued learning and school meal services throughout the closure. Details on these plans will be shared within the ICCSD daily updates to families and staff as soon as things are finalized.

3.15.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Protecting Your Mental Health

At United Way of Johnson & Washington Counites we are committed to providing physical & emotional support during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about Protecting Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak

3.13.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Video Visits

For medical emergencies, dial 911. If you have flu symptoms or health concerns related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Schedule a video visit with a provider via MyChart or call 1-319-384-9010. Unless there is an emergency, UI Health Care requests people to call or have a video visit first. A video visit using your smartphone or computer reduces the risk of transmitting illness from person to person. You will get the same great care without leaving your house. Video visits are fast, easy, and safe.  Symptoms may include: Fever, Cough &/or Shortness of breath

  3.12.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Mass Gatherings

 

IDPH has released Guidance for Mass GatheringsIf you are planning an event please review the guidelines for proper compliance.  

3.11.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Where to call for information

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) established 211 as the hotline for General Information regarding COVID-19. 211 is now under contract to serve as the statewide hotline for General Information regarding COVID-19 with coverage for all 99 counties. All information provided by the 211 hotline is provided by IDPH and is changing almost hourly. You can access: Dial 2-1-1 | Toll-Free: (866) 469-2211 | Alternative: (319) 739-4211

 

 

4.30.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: #Iowansunite

#IowansUnite-We may be staying home, but Iowans are uniting like never before. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, when the news is full of worrying statistics, there is a bright light to be found in the acts of kindness that everyday people and companies are sharing. You can find photos of local Iowans doing good in the Iowan’s Unite Gallery. See inspiring acts worth sharing? Use the #IowansUnite hashtag on social media and you may find your image featured in the gallery!

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Personal & Household Supplies-Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County is in need of Diapers sizes 2, 3, 4, 5 , Baby Clothes – all sizes, feminine pads, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, hand soap, bar soaps, laundry detergent, tooth paste, deodorant (for male and female), razor, shaving cream, 2 pack & Plays, 2 car seats, shelf stable food items, basic kids’ art supplies, and all essential's items for twins (clothes / blankets/diapers etc). Message their Facebook page or email chastity-dillard@ncjc.org  to make donation arrangements.

A Glass of All Together-This week, Big Grove is proud to share All Together, a new hazy IPA that's going to do a lot of good in the Hawkeye State. For every 4-pack of 16oz. cans you purchase, they are donating $5 to the Iowa Restaurant Association Employee Relief Fund. Dollars raised in this fund support Iowa’s restaurant industry employees, assisting them in paying rent and utilities, filling prescriptions, and putting food on the table for their families.  Learn more listening to their Facebook interview HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

ACT Test At Home-In addition to three previously planned fall test dates on September 12, October 24 and December 12, ACT will also offer a remote proctoring option for the ACT test in late fall/early winter 2020, allowing students to take the test at their home on a computer. ACT’s new remote proctoring option builds upon the extensive research and development work that underpins the new online ACT test option, section retesting and super-scoring enhancements that will be available at national test centers starting in September 2020.Learn more HERE.

Spring Cleaning-As many of us are working full or part-time from home, the chore of spring cleaning is looming right in front of us and with COVID-19 we are also thinking about disinfecting. Experts suggest to take spring cleaning one room at a time, starting in the bathroom because it’s often the smallest room in the home. Once that space is finished, you’ll have the confidence to take on larger spaces. However, the CDC shares there are actually different levels of cleaning. The CDC is offering information on cleaning and disinfecting. Learn more HERE.

Gift Cards-Fareway Stores, Inc. recently announced a $200,000 donation to the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives (ICCE). The donation provided for $2,150 in gift cards to ICCE chamber of commerce member, The Washington Chamber of Commerce, who worked with the Fareway management and family to distribute these to local small businesses and their employees-learn more HERE.

 

4.29.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Looking for a bear?

Iowa COVID-19 Dashboard-The U.S. has now reached more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 — more than anywhere else in the world. Iowa has created a webpage dashboard providing information, maps, and resources about the Coronavirus response in our local area. Information is available in English and the site provides a link for Resources in Other Languages. To access this helpful webpage click HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Volunteer-Food banks and food pantries are continuing to feed our neighbors every day. Volunteers are still needed to assist with food distribution at local sites. To find a complete listing of COVID-19 volunteer opportunities visit COVID19Volunteers.org.

Donations

Local Mask Donations In High Demand-United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties has been asked to collect masks for local nonprofits. Many of our local agencies have remained open providing essential services to our neighbors throughout the pandemic. Currently, they are in desperate need of face masks to continue to keep their staff safe and able to fulfill their agency commitments. Both commercial and homemade masks are being accepted. To respect social distancing, your donations can be left outside the United Way office door – 1150 5th  Street, Suite 290 Coralville, Iowa. United Way will then deliver your donation to area nonprofits in need. Please keep in mind for homemade masks, all fabric must be new and when laundering the fabric prior to construction, please use non-scented/allergen-free detergent with no fabric softener in either the wash or dryer cycle. Patterns, provided by UIHC, for three different mask can be found here:

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Did You Find Our Bear?-The Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County’s Bear Hunt is still on! For this week’s hunt, they have a bear peeking out a familiar, second story window in Coralville. Read the poem below to find this furry friend:

This century old non-profit finds a way  

To unite people every day. 

Providing aid in education, income and health, 

The caring power of communities is a true measure of wealth. 

Volunteer to find this bear. 

Make your way to 1150 5th Street, look up there! 

Sitting in a window, united by care.

When you solve the clues in this poem drive by, take a picture, and tag us: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn.

Pop Up Pantries-On May 2nd, the communities of Riverside, Wellman, and Kalona will again be hosting a "Pop Up Food Pantry" from 9:00-11:00 AM thanks to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) . If you are experiencing food insecurity and need assistance, please stop by the location that is most convenient. Each of the Washington County towns will be offering a drive-up service at the addresses below.

  • Kalona - 711 A Avenue (City Shop)
  • Wellman - 316 8th Avenue (City Hall)
  • Riverside - Hall Park on South Ella

To keep social distancing, they ask that you pull up to the location and stay in your vehicle and they will load the food box for you. Please call your City Hall or Ryan at 319-936-9354 if you need to schedule an alternate pick up time or delivery.

A Public Health Reminder-An additional 508 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 on 4.28.2020. Iowa’s overall positive cases now total 6,376. Currently, 1 in 79 people living in Iowa have been tested. Public Health is informed when community residents test positive for COVID-19. Public Health reminds everyone they treat the information they receive from health care providers with the utmost confidentiality. Visit Johnson County Public Health or Washington County Public Health to learn more.

State of the Community Webinar: Economy-On Wednesday, April 29th at 2:00 pm We’re In This Together will host a live webinar with local and state economic development leaders to learn more about the current state of our economy and hear thoughts on what recovery might entail. This webinar will be recorded and shared once complete in case you cannot join us live. Moderated by: Kim Casko, President & CEO, Iowa City Area Business Partnership, panelists will include:

Register to attend HERE.

Anticipating Iowa’s Road to Recovery-Join ICR for a conversation with Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and moderator/ICR Iowa Board Chair, Lydia Brown. Director Durham will share her perspective on the economic development state of the state, how state program delivery is going so far, and what she is anticipating for Iowa’s road to recovery. The webinar will be on Wednesday, April 29,2020 from 9:30-10:30 am, is free of charge, and will include time for participant questions. Registration is required and can be found HERE.

 

4.28.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: 77/22

77/22-Gov. Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration until May 27, 2020. The proclamation loosens social distancing measures in 77 Iowa counties where cases are trending downward effective Friday, May 1. The proclamation permits restaurants, fitness centers, malls, libraries, race tracks, and certain other retail establishments to reopen in a limited fashion with public health measures in place. In addition, the proclamation lifts the restriction on religious and spiritual gatherings so long as social distancing is observed. For the complete list of counties and their restrictions click HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Paying the Rent-Overseeing the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund is much more than simply monitoring fund movement. It is learning what is happening to our community. We are talking with our neighbors who, prior to COVID-19, were self-sustaining but are now reaching out for support. We’ve met:

  • A wife and caretaker. A woman whose husband was diagnosed with COVID-19 and she is trying to take care of him. She was forced to be away from work for 2 weeks because of his diagnosis and does not have sick pay to cover her loss of time. She is worried about her husband and not being able to pay their rent.

  • A stressed young family. The father, who normally works 60 hours/week and receives overtime, has had his work cut to 30 hours/week. The mother stays at home to care for their one year old. With the big change in income, the family is struggling to pay rent and utility bills.

These are just two of the many real families who have been directly, financially impacted by COVID-19. The need is real, please consider a contribution of support today HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Virtual Girl Scouts-Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) understands that girls might be feeling scared, confused, and disconnected during this uncertain time, so they are offering virtual events and online activities to keep girls engaged and connected right now. Thousands of girls from IA, IL, and all over the country have been participating in our virtual programs. They encourage everyone with kids to check out their Girls Scouts Today website to find ideas for fun at-home activities.

Hawki-Health insurance for your kiddos is always important, but it definitely sits at the forefront of your mind when faced with a crisis like COVID-19. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is offered through the Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa program, also known as Hawki. Iowa offers Hawki health coverage for uninsured children of working families. If you have questions about Hawki, an outreach coordinator can work with your family to get your children covered. Learn more HERE .

Plant-Forward Eating-Besides washing your hands, there is a lot you can do from a nutrition standpoint to boost your immune system – eat more vegetables and fruits, legumes and whole grains. A healthy diet can help strengthen your immune system to help fight any virus. Find some nutrient information found in plant-based foods that are vital for a strong and robust immune system HERE.

State of the Community Webinar: Economy-On Wednesday, April 29th at 2:00 pm We’re In This Together will host a live webinar with local and state economic development leaders to learn more about the current state of our economy and hear thoughts on what recovery might entail. This webinar will be recorded and shared once complete in case you cannot join us live. Moderated by: Kim Casko, President & CEO, Iowa City Area Business Partnership, panelists will include:

Register to attend HERE.

Anticipating Iowa’s Road to Recovery-Join ICR for a conversation with Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and moderator/ICR Iowa Board Chair, Lydia Brown. Director Durham will share her perspective on the economic development state of the state, how state program delivery is going so far, and what she is anticipating for Iowa’s road to recovery. The webinar will be on Wednesday, April 29,2020 from 9:30-10:30 am, is free of charge, and will include time for participant questions. Registration is required and can be found HERE.

(Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins)
4.27.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: "WHEN IN DOUBT, STAND STILL, AND WAIT UNTIL THE WAY FORWARD IS CLEAR."

Additional Symptoms-People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. The CDC has long said that fever, cough and shortness of breath were indications that someone might have the disease caused by the Coronavirus. It has now added six more conditions that may come with the disease: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Learn more HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

iSERV Call-Governor Kim Reynolds is asking for health-care professionals, particularly nurses but even chaplains, to volunteer their services across the state. This last Friday, Reynolds requested people to register with the Iowa Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers (iSERV) an online registry for individuals wishing to volunteer in the event of a large scale disaster or public health emergency.  As of April 1, 2020 there are 3,524 volunteers registered in iSERV. For more information click HERE.

Donations

Cricut Maker Creating Relief-A Washington County woman has repurposed her Cricut Maker machine to make a device to help provide comfort for medical providers fighting COVID-19. Brittney McElroy has been cutting out vinyl pieces which attach to the ear loops of face masks which are creating sores on the backs of the ears because of excess use. McElroy is relying on donations to create these products and is providing them at no cost to area facilities. To read the full story from KCII radio click HERE.

Communities That Care-Join together to help save lives. Phys Med Iowa Home Healthcare Blood Drive will be hosting a blood drive Tuesday April 28th 9am-1pm at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code: PhysMed or call 563-275-0597.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

"When In Doubt, Stand Still, and Wait Until the Way Forward is Clear"-Julie Andrews is set to launch a podcast for children called 'Julie's Library: Story Time with Julie Andrews'.  Starting April 29, six episodes will be available with new installments added weekly. In a recent interview with CBS, when asked about COVID-19, Julie Andrews shared a quote from her mother, "When it doubt, stand still, and wait until the way forward is clear." More information can be found at Julia’s Library.

35,000 & Counting-Iowa 211 announced today that it has just reached the milestone of 35,000 calls from Iowans since the pandemic began. Iowa 211 began fielding calls using information provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health on March 8. Since beginning that partnership, nearly 20,000 Iowans from all 99 counties have contacted 211 via telephone, text or the 211 app to ask questions specifically related to COVID-19. An additional 15,000 calls have been received with more typical 211 requests related to employment, housing, food, transportation, utility assistance and other human service needs. Locally, from March 8, 2020- April 18, 2020, 2-1-1 has taken 845 calls from Johnson County & 166 calls from Washington County. Learn more about 211 HERE.

Horizons’ Meals on Wheels-Meals on Wheels is a program of Horizons which delivers hot noon meals up to five days a week for persons home-bound by reason of illness, incapacitating disability or are otherwise isolated. Breakfast Bags, Frozen Entrees, and Liquid Supplements are also available. Rural Meals provides bi-monthly home delivery to seniors in Johnson, Cedar, Iowa and Washington Counties. For more information, call 319-338-0515 or visit their Facebook page for eligibility.

During a Crisis You are Trying to Work-For those of you who have been working from home for the last several weeks and are looking at continuing to do so, remember “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”-Neil Webb, Twitter. This is an important distinction to recognize. Keeping the focus on your family, your wellness and communicating with your workmates will help you get through this. Be kind to yourself and others and keep up the great work you are doing!

Anticipating Iowa’s Road to Recovery-Join ICR for a conversation with Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and moderator/ICR Iowa Board Chair, Lydia Brown. Director Durham will share her perspective on the economic development state of the state, how state program delivery is going so far, and what she is anticipating for Iowa’s road to recovery. The webinar will be on Wednesday, April 29,2020 from 9:30-10:30 am, is free of charge, and will include time for participant questions. Registration is required and can be found HERE.

4.24.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: THE SURVEY SAYS

And the Survey Says-The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) partnered with the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making (IDM) and Strategic Marketing Services (SMS) to survey businesses and organizations across the state about what they are experiencing and how businesses and organization are handling the current COVID-19 crisis. The survey closed on March 23, 2020 with a total of 13,905 business participating, 1,455 of which were nonprofit organizations. The survey revealed the top three organizational areas impacted by COVID-19 as; business operations (81.1%), customer demand for product/services (50.9%), and business development sales (48.8%). To review the complete Executive Summary click HERE and or to download the United Way of Iowa Survey Results Summary for Nonprofits click HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Volunteer An Image of Your Workspace-Some of us are having an easier time than others adapting to the potentially disruptive environment of working from home among our pets and other humans, but we’re all in this together!  The Iowa City Area Business Partnership has created an Instagram contest to show off your at home workspace. They have 3 different categories in this competition: Most Functional, Best Attempt, and Most Family Friendly. Post a photo of your work from home set up using #WFHICArea and tag @icareachamber. Entrants receive a chance to win a $25 gift card to an Iowa City Area Business Partnership member business of their choosing!. Find links to each platform here: Instagram Facebook Twitter

Donations

Communities That Care-Join together to help save lives. Phys Med Iowa Home Healthcare Blood Drive will be hosting a blood drive Tuesday April 28th 9am-1pm at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code: PhysMed or call 563-275-0597.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Virtual Tours-The Iowa Children’s Museum is allowing you to interact with their museum from the safety of your home. This virtual tour allows you and your family to walk through the museum, download activity sheets, watch educational videos and more. To step into the museum, click HERE or to find a list of 10 Children Museums and their links to virtual/interactive tours click HERE.

A Reassuring Parental Voice-The Iowa City Community School District is providing a list of helpful resources for students and parents. These resources include; Continuous Learning, Student Enrichment, and more. A click on How to talk to your kids about COVID-19 will connect you to a PBS Kids site which shares how our initial conversations with our children about COVID-19 may not have been good enough. With the news hyper-focused on the Coronavirus outbreak, a reassuring parental voice is needed. Learn more HERE. Find and connect to your community school district resources:

Essential Supply Needs Registry-A new Unmet Personal Care/Essential Supply Needs Registry has been created by Heritage Area Agency on Aging to help older adults get the personal care items they need. Older adults are finding they are in need of essential supplies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. To learn about eligibility guidelines and how to register, click HERE.

NAMI Family Support Group On Zoom-NAMI of Johnson County’s Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. To continue to serve adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions, Nami of Johnson County has moved their 60 minute Family Support Group to Zoom . This group is led by family members of people with mental health conditions and free of cost to participants. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar circumstances. For more information visit HERE or contact Mary Issah at mary.issah@namijc.org.

Looking for Restaurant Partners-Johnson County Hy-Vee stores are seeking local restaurants to partner with to sell signature menu items in their stores. Restaurants would be asked to prepare the food and deliver it to Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee will market it, sell it, and pass the proceeds back to the restaurant. To learn more, contact Hy-Vee Operations Manager Clay Howard: 319-541-2469 or email 1281mgrsop1@Hy-Vee.com

Preparing to Thrive in the Post Pandemic Business Climate-COVID-19 has created serious disruption to normal business operations, and we have no idea what the future holds after the crisis ends. Almost all markets (consumers and business) are seeing significant shifts in customers' needs and buying behaviors. Many of these shifts will continue post pandemic. Those companies who pro-actively anticipate the future market conditions and adjust their models accordingly with be at an advantage. Join the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City, the Iowa City Downtown District, and the Iowa City Area Development Group for a live webinar with Julie Zielinski, VP of Marketing & Strategy for EDC. Learn how to identify these shifts and create resulting plans to flourish during and after the crisis. The live webinar will be held on Friday April 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM Register HERE.

 

4.23.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: STAY HOME | STAY SAFE | STAY UNITED

Stay Home | Stay Safe | Stay United-As of today, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are 3,748 confirmed Iowa cases of COVID-19. With this number continuing to rise, community members recently came together to send a special message: Stay Home | Stay Safe | Stay United.” Many of us are struggling with social isolation during the pandemic and for some staying committed to staying home is getting more and more difficult. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, and friends, are encouraging our community members to continue to social distance and stay home if you are able. A huge thank you goes out to all of the stars in this video and their videographers as, to keep everyone safe, each star recorded their own section and then shared it with United Way. You can see the complete video on Facebook, Twitter, or United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ COVID-19 webpage.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Finding Opportunity-With the Free Lunch Program of Iowa City providing 90-120 meals per day and local pantries responding to a significant uptick in individuals and families who are in need of food, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is continually looking for opportunities from local resources. A recent donation of 5,000 lbs. of rice to Johnson County pantries was welcomed as a much needed item however, dividing the 50 lb. bags into family size portions quickly posed a problem. Through the help of a United Way connection, Matt Swift of Big Grove Brewery & Taproom in Iowa City volunteered his kitchen to portion out the rice and ensured delivery to pantries and local families.

Donations

Communities That Care-Join together to help save lives. Phys Med Iowa Home Healthcare Blood Drive will be hosting a blood drive Tuesday April 28th 9am-1pm at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code: PhysMed or call 563-275-0597.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Adopt A Senior-Recently a Facebook group was created to brighten a Senior's Day during this devastating time. As the 2020 school session has been suspended for the remainder of the year, they are asking individuals to Adopt A Senior from area High Schools to recognize them for their all of their hard work and graduation from high school. For more information, click HERE .

Struggling Students-Kirkwood Community College is doing everything they can to support their student population and their financial struggles during COVID-19.  Kirkwood will be receiving CARES Act funding, but they know this will not be enough. Many of their students have lost their jobs and are now having difficulty paying for rent, bills, and even food. One student shared she has contracted the virus and has been very sick. A single mother with two teenage sons, one of which is special needs, she has not paid April rent and does not know how she will pay in the coming months. If you would like to learn more about how you can help, click HERE.

Help Filing Protective Orders-Over the past month, concerns about under-reporting of domestic violence incidents have emerged. Although the courts are closed, victims/survivors can still apply for a protective order if they need one. The Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) is available to answer questions about protective orders and to help with the application process. For information or help filing, please call DVIP at 1-800-373-1043.

Employment Connections-Remedy Staffing is currently supporting all of their essential service clients and will remain open as long as they need help with staffing. They are currently hiring for manufacturing, logistics, office/admin, accounting, and more in the Iowa City/Johnson County area.  For a complete lists of job openings visit RemedyStaff.com

The CARES Act Information for Nonprofits-The lifeline CARES Act can help nonprofits survive but unravelling its benefits has been difficult. Join this webinar Thursday April 23rd at 11am for information about what benefits are available and what you can expect by applying. Their panel will also discuss:

  • Why (and what) issues are cropping up and how they can be mitigated

  • What we can expect from banks providing loans

  • How we should pivot our fundraising to take advantage of the new tax guidance

  • What kinds of organizations are eligible for further benefits

To learn more and register click HERE

Nonprofits Pivot During Coronavirus Crisis-Local nonprofit leaders will discuss how nonprofit organizations throughout the Corridor are operating differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ll explore how fundraising has changed, interesting projects and initiatives they’re seeing in response to the coronavirus, and more. Join CBJ for a webinar on Thursday April 23rd from noon-1pm. Speakers will include:

Katie Knight, President & CEO United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Shelly Maharry, Executive Director Community Foundation of Johnson County

Kristin Roberts, President & CEO United Way of East Central Iowa

Karla Twedt-Ball, Sr. Vice President, Programs and Community Investment Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Register HERE.

Preparing to Thrive in the Post Pandemic Business Climate-COVID-19 has created serious disruption to normal business operations, and we have no idea what the future holds after the crisis ends. Almost all markets (consumers and business) are seeing significant shifts in customers' needs and buying behaviors. Many of these shifts will continue post pandemic. Those companies who pro-actively anticipate the future market conditions and adjust their models accordingly with be at an advantage. Join the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City, the Iowa City Downtown District, and the Iowa City Area Development Group for a live webinar with Julie Zielinski, VP of Marketing & Strategy for EDC. Learn how to identify these shifts and create resulting plans to flourish during and after the crisis. The live webinar will be held on Friday April 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM Register HERE.

Haley Joel Osment in Pay It Forward (2000)

4.22.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: PAY IT FORWARD

TestIowa-Governor Kim Reynolds launched the TestIowa Initiative to expand testing capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. TestIowa is a new initiative in partnership with state leaders and private corporations. The goal is to dramatically increase the rate of COVID-19 testing so Iowans can have better access to testing and help stem the spread of COVID-19 to get Iowa back to normal as quickly as possible. Learn More HERE.

Saving Our Selves-BET, in partnership with the NAACP, United Way Worldwide and leaders in the African-American creative, civil rights and business communities, will provide critical financial, educational and community support directly to the African Americans hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. These initiatives include the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special; the creation of a relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to assist people of color most impacted by this health and financial crisis, and our support of the NAACP’s Town Hall Series. Learn more HERE or support your local fund HERE.

Candyland-For those of you who are still wandering the name of the board game in yesterday’s email…Candyland!

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

On Call Volunteers-During the COVID-19 Emergency, on-call/short notice volunteers are needed by the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) to assist with moving clients and furniture to safe locations.  When moving assistance is needed, volunteers will be contacted to determine if they are available. To learn more and/or sign up as a COVID-19 Emergency Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) On Call Volunteer click HERE.

Donations

Paying It Forward-Have you received your stimulus check? In the last week, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Community Disaster Relief Fund has received donations from local individuals who are passing along part or all of their stimulus check to relief efforts. According to the most recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, approximately 38% of Iowa’s population-over 450,000 Iowa households, struggle to afford basic household expenses and, with unemployment rates soaring, more of our neighbors are facing financial instability every day.

Can I provide for my Children? A self-employed hair stylist reached out to United Way. She is trying to meet her bills and care for her 5 children. Her concerns are keeping a home for her family and covering the cost of personal supplies that are in heavy use with her children home 24/7. Her business is closed until at least April 30, 2020.

The need is great and as quickly as donations are received, requests are fulfilled. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is proud to partner with organizations and individuals to fund urgent needs for rental assistance, medications and/or household supply essentials for those directly impacted by COVID-19 with 100% of the funds donated distributed back into the community and no percentage retained for United Way administration. Your contribution can be made at UnitedWayJWC.org and remember, every gift matters-Thank you!

Communities That Care-Join together to help save lives. Phys Med Iowa Home Healthcare Blood Drive will be hosting a blood drive Tuesday April 28th 9am-1pm at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code: PhysMed or call 563-275-0597.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Bedtime Stories-Disney Bedtime Hotline is now available to help bring a little pixie dust to fans and families everywhere. Fans can hear a message from favorite Disney characters before falling asleep. Parents, simply call 1-877-7-MICKEY for one of five special messages for your little ones from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck or Goofy. The toll-free hotline will run for a limited time only, so be sure to make your call before the end of April. For other entertaining Disney ideas at home click HERE.

State of the Community: Education-Wednesday, April 22nd at 2:00 pm We’re In This Together will host the next State of the Community live webinar with our local education leaders to provide updates from our school districts, the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, and ACT. Moderated by: Kate Moreland, President, Iowa City Area Development Group panelists will include:

Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President, University of Iowa
Lori Sundberg, President, Kirkwood Community College
Janet Godwin, Chief Operating Officer, ACT
Matt Degner, Assistant Superintendent, Iowa City Community School District
Tim Kuehl, Superintendent, Clear Creek Amana High School
Glenn Plummer, High School Principal, Regina High School (Iowa)
Michal Eynon-Lynch, Co-founder and Chief Educator, Pear Deck

Register to attend HERE:

Get Connected, Get Help-United Way’s 2-1-1 is continuing to support Iowans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) established 2-1-1 as the hotline for general information regarding COVID-19 and use continues to be strong. In March, 2-1-1 took nearly 17,000 COVID-19 calls and, during the first two in a half weeks in April, it has already taken almost 10,000 calls related to the Coronavirus. From March 8th-April 18th, United Way’s 2-1-1 took 845 calls from Johnson County and 166 from Washington County. If you have questions related to COVID-19, or need assistance connecting with local resources, visit Iowa 2-1-1, dial 2-1-1 on your cell phone or text 898211. The free 2-1-1 App is also available for iOS or Android for instant access to the 211 database.

Iowa Multi-lingual COVID-19 Phone Line-Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts our life, information and services. Help is available in your language to answer questions and connect you to doctors and support services for any needs.  Calls are free and confidential Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm or by leaving a message they will call you back. Native Language Voicemail is available 24 hours/7 days a week. Please call 877.558.2609 and select your language from the menu to be connected to an operator and interpreter or to leave a message. See below for a complete list of languages available:

  • Spanish – 1

  • Arabic - 2

  • Swahili – 3

  • Kinyarwanda – 3

  • Kirundi/Kinyamulenge – 3

  • French – 4

  • Burmese – 5

  • Karen – 5

  • Karenni – 5

  • Nepali – 6

  • Somali – 7

  • Tigrinya – 8

  • Kunama – 8

  • Amharic – 8

  • Nuer – 9

  • Maban – 9

  • Vietnamese – 0

  • Mandarin Chinese - *

  • Other Languages/English - #

ICR Next: Workforce-Join ICR for a conversation with Director Beth Townsend, Joshua Wright, and President Lori Sundberg about our state and regional workforce outlook, using data to help job seekers and recruiters leverage transferable skills, upskilling opportunities, and workforce strategies post-pandemic. The session will include time for questions from participants. The free webinar is on Wednesday, April 22 from 9:30-10:30 am. To submit your required registration click HERE.

Nonprofits Pivot During Coronavirus Crisis-Local nonprofit leaders will discuss how nonprofit organizations throughout the Corridor are operating differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ll explore how fundraising has changed, interesting projects and initiatives they’re seeing in response to the coronavirus, and more. Join CBJ for a webinar on Thursday April 23rd from noon-1pm. Speakers will include:

Katie Knight, President & CEO United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Shelly Maharry, Executive Director Community Foundation of Johnson County

Kristin Roberts, President & CEO United Way of East Central Iowa

Karla Twedt-Ball, Sr. Vice President, Programs and Community Investment Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Register HERE.

Preparing to Thrive in the Post Pandemic Business Climate-COVID-19 has created serious disruption to normal business operations, and we have no idea what the future holds after the crisis ends. Almost all markets (consumers and business) are seeing significant shifts in customers' needs and buying behaviors. Many of these shifts will continue post pandemic. Those companies who pro-actively anticipate the future market conditions and adjust their models accordingly with be at an advantage. Join the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City, the Iowa City Downtown District, and the Iowa City Area Development Group for a live webinar with Julie Zielinski, VP of Marketing & Strategy for EDC. Learn how to identify these shifts and create resulting plans to flourish during and after the crisis. The live webinar will be held on Friday April 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM Register HERE.

4.21.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: GAMES

Games-With the recent release of the postponement of RAGBRAI 2020 to July 25-31, 2021, and the unknown status of the Iowa Games, home-based family activities continue to be a focus.  A past community wide health crisis was the inspiration for one long standing board game. In the late 1940s, polio was still a looming threat to the population. While convalescing in the polio wing of a San Diego hospital in 1948, a retired schoolteacher named Eleanor Abbott decided to create a board game that could become a distraction for patients. Abbott created the game inside a polio ward, as a patient herself, with the hope of giving the immobilized children around her a momentary sense of freedom and mobility.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Project Love Letter-Together we can warm the hearts of the many residents living in Corridor nursing homes & assisted living facilities. These individuals would love to receive a homemade letter, coloring page, words of encouragement or anything that you would love to prepare. How can you participate? Follow the steps below by Friday, April 24th:

  • Step One: Sign up using the link found HERE and make 5 cards -If you are looking to make more than 5 cards, no problem, the organizer will keep your cards for another location.

  • Step Two: Mail your cards or drop them off, bundled together, to North Liberty City Hall C/O Coordinator Angela McConville 3 Quail Creek Circle North Liberty, IA 52317.
    ** Before you drop off, please send a message to organizer to ensure that someone will be working from City Hall on the day you're arriving.
    ** If you're not able to provide postage or drop cards in the mail, we can make other arrangements. Please email Ashbermel@gmail.com.

  • Step Three: Share the idea with your friends!

Learn More HERE

Donations

Communities That Care-Join together to help save lives. Phys Med Iowa Home Healthcare Blood Drive will be hosting a blood drive Tuesday April 28th 9am-1pm at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and search sponsor code: PhysMed or call 563-275-0597.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

State of the Community: Education-Wednesday, April 22nd at 2:00 pm We’re In This Together will host the next State of the Community live webinar with our local education leaders to provide updates from our school districts, the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, and ACT. Moderated by: Kate Moreland, President, Iowa City Area Development Group panelists will include:

Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President, University of Iowa
Lori Sundberg, President, Kirkwood Community College
Janet Godwin, Chief Operating Officer, ACT
Matt Degner, Assistant Superintendent, Iowa City Community School District
Tim Kuehl, Superintendent, Clear Creek Amana High School
Glenn Plummer, High School Principal, Regina High School (Iowa)
Michal Eynon-Lynch, Co-founder and Chief Educator, Pear Deck

Register to attend HERE:

Steindler Supports House Calls!-Steindler Orthopedic has launched a secure and HIPAA-compliant video telemedicine platform for our patients. This telehealth option is one more thing they are doing to promote social distancing and help safeguard their patients, staff, and community from COVID-19. If a Steindler provider determines that an appointment can be done over a video call, they will contact you and provide a simple text or email link to connect a Steindler doctor to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Learn more HERE.

Additional Support-An additional $600 per week of unemployment benefits should begin to arrive this week for many Americans. By the end of this week, qualified individuals should start to see the additional support that is being allotted under the Federal CARES Act for unemployment. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act expands unemployment benefits to include part-time and self-employed workers, including contractors and gig workers. It also supplements state benefits with an additional $600 a week, which more than doubles the weekly maximum unemployment benefits in most states. Beyond expanding unemployment, the act also provides billions of dollars in emergency funding for hospitals and businesses affected by the coronavirus and includes direct relief payments to most Americans. Learn more about unemployment benefits HERE.

ICR Next: Workforce-Join ICR for a conversation with Director Beth Townsend, Joshua Wright, and President Lori Sundberg about our state and regional workforce outlook, using data to help job seekers and recruiters leverage transferable skills, upskilling opportunities, and workforce strategies post-pandemic. The session will include time for questions from participants. The free webinar is on Wednesday, April 22 from 9:30-10:30 am. To submit your required registration click HERE.

Nonprofits Pivot During Coronavirus Crisis-Local nonprofit leaders will discuss how nonprofit organizations throughout the Corridor are operating differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ll explore how fundraising has changed, interesting projects and initiatives they’re seeing in response to the coronavirus, and more. Join CBJ for a webinar on Thursday April 23rd from noon-1pm. Speakers will include:

Katie Knight, President & CEO United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Shelly Maharry, Executive Director Community Foundation of Johnson County

Kristin Roberts, President & CEO United Way of East Central Iowa

Karla Twedt-Ball, Sr. Vice President, Programs and Community Investment Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Register HERE.

Preparing to Thrive in the Post Pandemic Business Climate-COVID-19 has created serious disruption to normal business operations, and we have no idea what the future holds after the crisis ends. Almost all markets (consumers and business) are seeing significant shifts in customers' needs and buying behaviors. Many of these shifts will continue post pandemic. Those companies who pro-actively anticipate the future market conditions and adjust their models accordingly with be at an advantage. Join the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City, the Iowa City Downtown District, and the Iowa City Area Development Group for a live webinar with Julie Zielinski, VP of Marketing & Strategy for EDC. Learn how to identify these shifts and create resulting plans to flourish during and after the crisis. The live webinar will be held on Friday April 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM Register HERE.

4.20.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: GOING ON A BEAR HUNT

Rivals, Working Together-Recently, CBS Sunday Morning reported Apple and Google have come together to create a new component for cell phones. Very soon, iPhones and Android phones will have an app, voluntarily activated, which will broadcast a Bluetooth beacon to phones within about 15 feet of your location. At the same time, your phone will be picking up the beacons from phones nearby and will store the phone contact information for 14 days. This app has been designed to assist with contact tracing. If an individual tests positively for COVID-19 they can, if willing, report their diagnosis to public health. The public health agency in turn will notify phone owners who were potentially exposed in the last two weeks and advise them to seek testing or to quarantine. Contact tracing has been used with other communicable diseases. The key concepts of this process include:

  • Trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Notify them of their exposure.

  • Support the quarantine of contacts. 

  • Expand staffing resources. 

  • Use digital support tools. 

Learn more from the CDC HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Happy National Volunteer Week!-National Volunteer Week is celebrated during the third week in April and is an opportunity to give a special thank you to all of the volunteers who keep our communities running. National Volunteer Week debuted in the United States in 1974 and has continued to grow every year since.  United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is proud to be the Volunteer Center for our community. With COVID-19, volunteer opportunities may have changed but our appreciation for those currently volunteering, and those who have volunteered in the past, has not. The commitment our volunteers show to our community is an inspiration for us all-Thank You!

Donations

In-Kind Donations-The dedicated staff of Shelter House continue to provide emergency services and shelter to hundreds of men, women, and children each day. Some of this week’s greatest needs include:

  • Rain Jackets

  • Umbrellas

  • Individual Snacks

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Clear Laundry Soap

Learn More HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Not Lions, Not Tigers, But Bears…Inspired by the beloved children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County (NCJC) is collaborating with local businesses and organizations in Johnson County to create options for children and their families to safely explore the neighborhoods they live in during these trying times. Each Tuesday a new riddle will be released which leads to a different teddy bear in the Johnson County area (Iowa City, Coralville, or North Liberty). The riddle will be posted on NCJC’s Facebook.  Here's the first teddy bear hunt riddle (for Iowa City) which was released last week:

Wander to South Dubuque St.  

Where book lovers meet and greet.  

Founded in 1978, this place helps make downtown great.  

When times are tough and there’s no end in sight, 

Let your imagination be the light.  

The Teddy Bear Hunt is purely for fun not profit, a simple but sincere way for families to connect and explore their communities. If your local business or organization would like to participate in the Teddy Bear Hunt, please let us know by emailing: fiona-zachel@ncjc.org. Be on the lookout, you never know where you may spy a bear!

Mid Prairie Community School District is logging the travels of Busy Bear during the COVID-19 school closure. Check out photos of this bear on the move throughout the Mid-Prairie CSD and see what fun he is having! Follow Busy Bear’s journeys on their Facebook Page.

Guidelines for Cloth Masks-Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, cloth face coverings have become more essential. However, it is important to remember they shouldn't be worn by children under 2 years old or anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance. Learn more from the CDC on cloth masks HERE.

Census 2020 Is Hiring-The Census requires contributions from so many individuals to assure every person is accounted for. To assure that every Iowan is counted to secure the proper representation and funding that Iowans deserve, the census is looking for census takers. This job is a great way to help out the community! The job pays $21 an hour in Johnson and Washington County and the hours are flexible. For more information, or help applying, call 1-855-JOB-2020 or visit 2020census.gov/jobs.

ICR Next: Workforce-Join ICR for a conversation with Director Beth Townsend, Joshua Wright, and President Lori Sundberg about our state and regional workforce outlook, using data to help job seekers and recruiters leverage transferable skills, upskilling opportunities, and workforce strategies post-pandemic. The session will include time for questions from participants. The free webinar is on Wednesday, April 22 from 9:30-10:30 am. Webinar Registration Required

4.17.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: TELEHEALTH

Our Neighbors to the North-Movements and gatherings for residents of 14 Northeast Iowa counties are under enhanced restrictions. Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday the extra precautions were put in place by a spike in coronavirus activity in the area which pushed its overall score to 10 on a state scale of 12. Learn more HERE

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Hospital Donations-Due to COVID-19/Coronavirus, UI Hospitals & Clinics is in critical need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including:

  • N95 masks

  • Isolation/surgeon masks

  • Face masks with attached eye shield

  • And more

For a complete list of donation needs and instructions on homemade times, click HERE.

Donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies are welcome at Mercy Iowa City during this time when supplies are short to protect our caregivers. Supplies needed at this time include:

  • General procedure masks

  • N95 (or greater) masks

  • Disposable gowns or jumpsuits (see DIY instructions below)

  • Liquid hand soap

  • And more

For a complete list of donation needs and instructions on homemade times, click HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

What’s happening at Kirkwood?-Classes are online for the rest of the semester, and faculty/staff are working from home until May 4.  Kirkwood Community College will host an online virtual Commencement Ceremony on May 16th to celebrate the achievements of our 2020 graduates.  The remainder of Spring College events and Kirkwood Foundation events have been postponed. Kirkwood students are adjusting to online classes, lost jobs and an uncertain future. Kirkwood is doing everything they can to help their students successfully complete their programs of study and meet special needs brought about by the coronavirus.

  • Kirkwood has established an Emergency Fund to assist students facing hardships caused by coronavirus. 

  • They have provided laptops and internet hotspots to ensure all students can participate in on-line classes.

  • They have made online tutoring available to help students in need of extra assistance to keep up with their online courses.

  • A mobile food pantry is visiting Kirkwood’s main campus each week to assist students and their families with food scarcity concerns.

Telehealth-Telemedicine and virtual care have quickly become important vital tools in healthcare with the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently shared information regarding telehealth and HIPAA -Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the HHS defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store and-forward imaging, streaming media, and landline and wireless communications. Learn more about options for telehealth from your local hospital:

North Liberty Senior Connections Lunch PARTY LINE!-Seniors, grab your computer, cell phone (or landline phone), and a sandwich at 11:30 AM on Fridays in April and May.  Enjoy your lunch and a talk with your friends.  If you need help setting up your computer for Zoom, contact the technology expert volunteers at CyberSeniors at 1-844-217-3057. Get to the party line on your computer by clicking this LINK at 11:30 am which will take you to a Zoom webpage with audio and video.  Or call-in to listen and talk at 312-626-6799 and enter meeting ID:  947 7305 2144.

Feeling the Love-As an expression of its appreciation, CBI Bank’s parent company is providing a $50 gift card/gift certificate to every employee in their organization, redeemable at a local restaurant of their choice for take-out now or for use after the pandemic has passed.  Individually, it's a great way to say "thanks" to their staff for going above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis.  Collectively, it adds up to an economic impact of over $12,000 across their three-bank footprint. Many businesses in Johnson & Washington Counites are supporting their employees with meals, gift cards, and more. We thank you all for doing everything you can for your employees and their families!

4.16.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: POP UP FOOD PANTRY

Dave Jacoby shared some local data points on COVID-19 patients in local care on Wednesday 4.15.2020:

  • 9 COVID-19 patients at Mercy Iowa City, 5 pending.

  • 4 COVID-19 patients at the VA Hospital, 5 pending.

  • 28 COVID-19 patients at UIHC, 3 of which are children.

  • Estimated peak 5/5/2020

Iowa MADE-MADE is a manufacturing and e-commerce initiative by the University of Iowa. They are currently producing Protostudios Face Shields which have a wraparound clear guard attached to a visor-like head piece with closed cell foam for comfort.  The Protostudios Face Shield is manufactured under an FDA-compliant quality system using parts sourced from Iowa and in response to PPE shortages during COVID-19. This reusable clear polyester plastic face shield protects the wearer from transfer of microorganisms, body fluids, and particulate material. Learn more HERE  or review a pdf HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donate Blood or Platelets-Volunteers are needed any day, Monday through Friday, to donate blood or platelets at DeGowin Blood Center. To register as an EVC volunteer and sign up to give blood or platelets, please click HERE

Donations

Find An Old Phone While COIVD-19 Cleaning?-Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) is in need of new and old phones (and chargers) to assist their clients’ ability to reach them for counseling and help. If you would like to donate a phone, please call DVIP at 319-359-9353.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Resources for Online Learning-ACT is offering digital learning and workforce resources to assist students, teachers, schools and workers impacted by COVID-19. They are committed to serving community needs during this challenging time. For a list of resources which are adaptable for use in home, through online learning and in workforce settings click HERE. Check back often to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape as new resources and announcements will be added.

Pop Up Food Pantry-This Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 - 11:00am the Communities of Kalona, Riverside and Wellman are coming together to provide and sponsor a "Pop Up Food Pantry" for those experiencing food insecurity. The event will be hosted in Kalona at the City of Kalona Public Works Building- 711 A Avenue Kalona, IA. They will have two lines/tents set up at the East side of the shop to help move vehicles through timely and in a socially responsible way. They ask that you enter off of 6th street and come east. Please stay in your vehicle. A volunteer will come to you, ask a few questions and, after food is boxed, it will be put into your vehicle. Should you need emergency food, or you are unable to make the trip, they are willing to work to assist you in getting food delivered or picked up at a later time. Please call your respective City Hall and share with them your needs or learn more HERE

  • City of Kalona 319-656-2310 (emergency 319-936-9354)

  • City of Wellman 319-646-2154

  • City of Riverside 319-648-3501

Washington County Food Resources-The Washington County Public Health’s Community Resource Guide lists helpful resources and contact information. For an additional list of Community Services click HERE

Your Economic Impact Payment-Most Americans receiving a stimulus payment should expect to see the money in their bank account by the end of this week. While the IRS is attempting to get payments to people as soon as possible by direct deposit, it's still going to have to issue paper checks to millions of people who haven't provided bank details. What has been shared includes:

  • Up to 80 million Americans who qualify for automatic stimulus payments are receiving them via direct deposit this week.

  • If the IRS doesn't have your bank information because you have no tax liability, you can use its new online tool to provide direct-deposit details.

  • On Wednesday the IRS dropped another tool that allows you to enter your direct-deposit information if you already filed a tax return but didn't provide bank details.

  • If you don't give the IRS direct-deposit info, it will send a paper check to your last known address. Those checks will be sent out starting at the end of April through early September.

To learn more about checking on the status of your Economic Impact Payment click HERE

Cyber Security: What You Need To Know-Friday, April 17th at 2:00pm- Aaron Warner, CEO of ProCircular, will discuss how to keep your business's information safe while your team is working remotely. This webinar will help to guide you through some of the unique issues you might face while your workforce is outside of your company’s borders. Register for the webinar HERE

4.15.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: 2-1-1 CALLS SHOW IOWA NEEDS 

2-1-1: Recent data released by Iowa’s United Way 2-1-1 is showing an outcry for Health Care, Housing, Income Support & Food. 2-1-1 centers in Iowa took 23,247 COVID-19 related calls from March 8, 2020- April 11, 2020. In the same time period, 2-1-1 took 3,968 COVID-19 related nurse calls and from March 29, 2020 to April 11, 2020 transferred 39 Mental Health calls. What are Iowan’s needing? Call statistics reflected the highest need areas, based upon call volume, are:

Health Care                                       18,293

Housing                                              812

Income Support/Assistance           771

Food/Meals                                       537

2-1-1 took 787 calls from Johnson County & 139 calls from Washington County in the same 35 day period. Learn more about United Way’s 2-1-1 HERE

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Face Masks-Prelude Behavior Services is dedicated to the possibilities of change and committed to enhancing quality of life through accessible behavioral health services. They are is diligently working to protect the health and safety of their employees and patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Currently, Prelude is accepting donations of face masks for their Iowa City location: 430 Southgate Ave, Iowa City, IA 52240. To make your donation contact Prelude at: 319-351-4357.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Week of the Young Child-Even though we are a few days in, we wanted to recognize the National Week of the Young Child. Now, more than ever, it is important to lift up our young children. Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County has created a calendar of online fun including: Wellness Wednesday, Artsy Thursday & Family / Friendship Friday.  Learn more HERE

Before You Visit-To protect the health of patients and their families local hospitals have updated their visitor policies.  Please be aware of the following newly revised guidelines before visiting one of our area hospitals:

Mindfulness-If you’re feeling anxiety, insecurity, and fear at this time, you are not alone. Self-care is more important than ever and participating in mindfulness exercises can be very beneficial for our health and vitality. Here are a few mindfulness resources:

New Tax Advantages For Donors-The new universal tax break for charitable donations was included in the final $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law last week and will go into effect starting with the 2020 tax year. The measure grants taxpayers an above-the-line deduction for up to $300 in charitable donations given in 2020. For example, if you take the standard deduction and give $300 to charity, you will get a $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this “above-the-line” opportunity and give to qualifying charities providing critical services to our community during this health and economic crisis. Learn more HERE.

State of the Community-On Wednesday, April 15th at 2:00pm the State of the Community live webinar will host local Arts & Culture leaders. The Iowa City area community is known for arts, culture, and signature community events. Moderated by Nancy Bird, Executive Director of the Iowa City Downtown District, leaders in these fields will share short term plans and longer-term COVID19 considerations for venues and gathering spaces and the role it may have on our larger economy. Register HERE.

 

4.14.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: ABSENTEE VOTING

June Primary Election-Absentee Voting-Dave Jacoby, State Representative, shared in a recent Statehouse News, the state of Iowa will be mailing vote by mail requests to all 2 million registered Iowa voters to assure the June Primary voting is safe and easy for everyone. The state will also expand the early voting period to 40 days thus allowing Iowans to cast their vote as early as April 23 for the June 2 primary election. Iowans can expect to receive their request for an absentee ballot in mid to late April. You can also request an absentee ballot on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website HERE.

Facebook Group-The Facebook Group IC Quarantine Survival has been, and continues to be, a valuable local resource for our community. The page, created by Katy Brown, began as a central location to share what restaurants were open and/or offering takeout or curbside service but has grown into a hub of information on eating, drinking, shopping & doing about anything during the pandemic. Learn more HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Community Connections-Recently United Way worked with Josh Schamberger of Think Iowa City to connect donations from two local businesses to area nonprofits. Donations included no leak tapered food cartons from Spectra, with Xtreme Arena, to the Free Lunch Program of Iowa City and smart lock food containers from Coralville HyVee to The Salvation Army.  Merit Construction contacted United Way for a donation of reusable bags which were provided to Coralville Community Food PantryIf you have donatable item, please reach out to United Way of Johnson & Washington County to get connected to the organization that can benefit from your generosity. 

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Continued Learning Plan Deadline-Iowa School Districts and nonpublic schools have been given a deadline to decide how to proceed during the COVID-19 crisis. Schools have three options with a deadline of Friday, April 10th  to indicate what they will do. The three options include:

  • Required Continuous Learning:  Attendance will be taken, lessons offered and grades administered this requires a plan on exactly how the school will administer the required distance learning.

  • Provide Resources for Voluntary Learning: School will be offering programs that further students’ learning, but student participation is voluntary.

  • Nothing – If a district chooses neither option, they will have to make up the hours/days. 

Learn more about what is happening in Iowa schools HERE.

Food Resources-Updated-Several updates have been made to United Way’s COVID-19 Food Resources information. This one pager provides information include days and times of food distribution throughout our community. To review the changes, or download a .pdf version, visit our COVID-19 Food Resources webpage. In addition, the page hosts the IC Food Resource Map where you can find locations in and around Iowa City to get pre-made meals or find items for your pantry, eligibility needed to receive aid, and other relevant information about each site. For a listing of Washington County Food Resources, please use the link on our website or click HERE.

Business & Personal Resources-Many sites are listing useful links of both personal and business resources.

  • The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) as established a new website with information for small businesses.  The website IowaBusinessRecovery.com has helpful links to both state and federal assistance. 

  • Relion Insurance Solutions has posted a number of resources related to COVID-19.  The COVID-19 Resources webpage offers helpful links and the opportunity to download or print any of the materials that you may find useful for your business and/or personal use. 

  • The Washington Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Washington, & the Washington Economic Development Group are working hard to continue to support local businesses during this time. They have compiled a list of resources to help small businesses navigate the COIVD-19 crisis. Learn more on their Business Resource Center for COVID-19 webpage.

  • The We’re In This Together Small Business Funding Resources webpage hosts information to assist small business to support resource. In addition, they have an archive of news and local webinars discussing COVID-19 related topics.

For additional resources check your city/county website.

State of the Community-On Wednesday, April 15th at 2:00pm the State of the Community live webinar will host local Arts & Culture leaders. The Iowa City area community is known for arts, culture, and signature community events. Moderated by Nancy Bird, Executive Director of the Iowa City Downtown District, leaders in these fields will share short term plans and longer-term COVID19 considerations for venues and gathering spaces and the role it may have on our larger economy. Register HERE

4.13.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: SENIORS WILL GRADUATE

Make Sure Your Counted-The 2020 Census matters! Communities receive federal funds for important things that benefit you and the dollars your community will receive each year, for the next 10 years, is based on the census count. A few minutes of your time can benefit your community. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Census Bureau is temporarily changing how they collect information through their ongoing demographic and economic activity surveys. You can complete your 2020 Census at my2020census.gov or over the phone with a Census Questionnaire Assistance representative, at 1-844-330-2020.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Sharing the Wealth-The initial rush to stock up on necessities as COIVD-19 began to spread across the US quickly became contagious. This rush made a particularly strong impact on those most vulnerable and our safety net food assistance network’s ability to access products. Throughout this pandemic our grocers/stores have remained committed to staying open and stocking products to meet our needs. If you have found you have more than your needed supply, please consider making a donation of extra items to a local nonprofit.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Seniors Will Graduate-Gov. Kim Reynolds suspended state graduation requirements for the class of 2020 late Friday, among 42 other emergency actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reynolds’ action suspends laws “requiring curriculum standards and completion of specific units of credit for completion of a high school program of study, to the extent such provisions would hinder Iowa school districts in assisting the Iowa high school graduating class of 2020 in completing a course of study during this disaster emergency.”

Food With Love -As food insecurity continues to grow for our neighbors, local restaurants are stepping up to prepare meals for local nonprofits. Food With Love is an emergency food relief program that matches community need with professional chefs and hospitality experts that are looking for ways to help while their restaurants are currently closed. Food With Love meals will be prepared in the safe and healthy kitchens such as St. Burch TavernDeluxe BakeryBig Grove and Pullman Bar & Diner.  These restaurants will collaborate with Table to Table and Common Table, to plan, prepare, cook and deliver fresh meals each day to nonprofits who will distribute to families in need. All restaurants participating in the project will prepare meals “at cost” and for no profit. Learn more HERE.

Service Allowances from Medicaid-Iowa Medicaid Enterprise has made allowances for certain services due to the COVID-19 Crisis. Home delivered meals, homemaker services, and companion services may now be authorized for :

  • Current Home- and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver members and members who are children under age 18 and are residents of a household in which a parent or guardian is eligible;

  • Medicaid members receiving Habilitation Services and members who are children under age 18 and are residents of a household in which a parent or guardian is eligible; and

  • Home bound Medicaid members meeting specific criteria  (outlined in the attached letter)

Members, or their representative, should call the Member’s Case Manager to get services authorized. If the member does not have a case manager, members need to call IME Member Services at 1-800-338-8366.

Local Employment-ICR Career Collective is a curated collection of information for job seekers and employers trying to navigate a rapidly changing workforce environment. The Collective offers an up-to-date list of employers in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) region who currently are hiring, along with workforce news, resources, and webinars for employers. To find your next opportunity visit HERE or find openings in their new Facebook Group.

Attention Landlords-Do you have open units and are concerned about the financial impact COVID-19 will have on your business? Now is the time to partner with Shelter House’s Rapid Re-Housing team who provides financial assistance (deposit and rent) to individuals and families immediately. Contact Rachel.lehmann@shelterhouseiowa.org or 319-338-5416 ext. 211 to find out how to access these funds as well as support social distancing by moving people out of shelter and into permanent housing.

 

4.10.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: WHAT OLDER ADULTS NEED TO KNOW

United Way’s 55+ RSVP -Retired Senior Volunteer Program-Many believe that a meaningful life is not complete without the fulfillment that comes from helping others. United Ways’ 55+ Retired Senior Volunteer Program provides a dual purpose of engaging persons 55 and older in volunteer service to meet critical community needs and to provide a high quality experience that will enrich the lives of volunteers. For the safety of our volunteers and clients during the pandemic, the programs activities have been suspended. However, we are still making wellness calls to our Medical Transportation clients and sending email communications.  

Today’s email focuses on what older adults may find helpful while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Sewing For Seniors-The CDC and national health officials is recommending the use of homemade masks when leaving home. In response, the Iowa City Senior Center is launching a "Sewing for Seniors" project to engage Senior Center volunteers that enjoy sewing to make face-masks for local older adults. The Center will provide the sewing pattern and material needed to make these masks and has partnered with TRAIL of Johnson County for contactless delivery to area seniors. With research showing that older adults are at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19 they hope to provide masks to as many area seniors as possible. Learn how you can help HERE .

Donations

Senior Activity Bags-Solon Senior Support is working on activity bags for Solon-area senior citizens who are at home. They are planning to include puzzle books (large print), puzzles, flower pots/seeds, books/magazines, adult coloring books/colored pencils, yarn for knitting, etc. and are looking for other ideas to include! If you would like to donate any of these items a bin can be found at the Solon United Methodist Church. Know a Solon-area senior who would benefit from an activity bag? FB message Solon Senior Support.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Connecting Generations-Cyber-Seniors is a senior tech help webpage committed to keeping senior citizens socially connected while remaining safe in their homes-for FREE. Want to know how to:

  • Connect to Zoom, so we can video chat?

  • Access your email on your computer?

  • Watch Netflix or Amazon Prime videos on your computer?

  • Navigate Facebook or other social media?

  • Use your smartphone?

On their site you will find 1,200 videos which will walk you through various computer skills.  Volunteers are ready to help you with your computer needs. Visit Cyber-Seniors or call 1-844-217-3057.  Note: You do not need to donate to access this service, click on the X in the upper right hand corner if a message box appears.

Chat Line for Seniors-Given the community spread of COVID-19 in the state of Iowa, many schools, businesses, churches, and other community sites have temporarily closed. In this time of social distancing, the Iowa City Senior Center remains committed to reducing social isolation and anxiety for all older adults in our community. While The Iowa City Senior Center building is closed, their staff is still working to help seniors in the area stay active, curious, and most importantly right now, connected. The Iowa City Senior Center is inviting local seniors to answer a few questions to let them know how they are doing, what needs and challenges they are facing at this time, and how the center can help. Seniors can connect to the Iowa City Senior Center team HERE

North Liberty Senior Squad-The North Liberty Senior Squad Facebook page was created for the benefit of local older adults and their family members, to keep on top of all the northern Johnson County, Iowa services, events, and happenings that may appeal to them. They are sending out regular emails to seniors in the North Liberty area with updates and activity ideas. Learn more on their Facebook page HERE.

Finding Your Trail-More energy, stronger bones, a better mood. It’s no secret why fitting exercise into your day is a good idea for all of us but especially for seniors. If you're tired of waking the sidewalks around your home, Coralville EngAGE recently shared a link to the trails throughout Coralville. Check them out HERE and make a plan for the next nice day!

Legal Hotline-Iowa Legal Aid, the Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project has launched an information hotline for individuals experiencing legal problems due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline is here to help Iowans with free legal advice regarding their legal problems related to the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis. The COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline — 1-800-332-0419 — is now live. Iowans age 60 and over: please call the Iowa Legal Aid, Legal Hotline for Older Iowans at 1-800-992-8161 for legal assistance.

2020 Elder Law Webinar Series-The Legal Hotline for Older Iowans invites you to join them this Spring from your home or office for three FREE Elder Law Webinars. Click HERE for more information

 

4.9.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: CYBERSECURITY DURING COVID-19

Local Farmers’ Market Check In-The Iowa City Farmers Market is postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of opening in the first week of May, the market is now scheduled to open on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Information on how to support local vendors directly for goods and services can be found HERE

Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of Coralville Parks and Recreation programs and events, the start of the Coralville Farmers' Market season has been delayed by one week. The first Market of the 2020 season will be on Monday, May 11, 5:00-7:00 pm. Learn more HERE .

Check with your local market to learn about openings and how to support local vendors.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Volunteer and Community Needs are being collected, posted  and will continually change. If you do not find an opportunity posted right now that is a match for you, please keep checking back. Actions that you can do:

  • Register as a user with this website and click RESPOND button to this general opportunity. All COVID-19 Volunteers need to register so that hours can be collected and tracked to leverage federal reimbursement funds for the community.

  • If you do not wish to register as a user with the website at this time, sign-up to receive Volunteer and Community Needs update emails: HERE

Donations

Hold On to Those Donations-As of Friday, March 20th, Goodwill of the Heartland’s 17 retail locations were closed until further notice. They value your donations and ask that you please not leave donations outside in the elements while their stores are closed. However, you can still support Goodwill during the pandemic by bagging up your donations and holding on to them until donation sites reopen. Don’t’ forget that you can shop online. Goodwill is open for business 24/7 at shopgoodwill.com .

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Teacher Appreciation: A Little Early-Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May each year, however we encourage you to lift up your educators throughout this pandemic. Inspired by Ken Buck’s tweet, we were reminded that literally within hours our local schools "Apollo 13'ed" the problem COVID-19 had challenged them with and completely redesigned what school looks like. They quickly addressed how students could continue to learn, how children would be fed, and how to meet so many other student needs they deal with daily -all in the midst of a global crisis. Show your appreciation by sending your favorite teacher/administrator a note of thanks by email/mail, create a poster to display in your window, or tag them on social media.

Learning About Test Kits-Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) continues its commitment to “unleash the power of collaborative effort to achieve the unimaginable.” As of March 23, 2020 Integrated IDT has shipped primer and probe kits sufficient to enable more than 10 million tests to be conducted in the US pursuant to the CDC EUA testing protocol. Find the FDA guidelines for High Complexity Molecular-Based Laboratory Developed Tests HERE.

Webinar: CyberSecurity for Small Businesses-The current COVID-19 pandemic raises some significant issues and risks relating to cybersecurity and data privacy. Concerns range from cybercriminals targeting a newly-remote workforce with clever phishing scams to worries the crisis will give cover to expanded and potentially problematic uses of technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced small businesses to get creative with how to stay productive while also ensuring the safety of employees, families, and communities. Now that so many organizations have moved to remote working, it’s an excellent time to take a look at where their risks may lay. Join the webinar on Friday, April 17, 2020 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM to learn more. Register today HERE

Watch for Relief Check Scams-Authorities recently urged people to watch out for possible scams related to the federal government’s coronavirus assistance. As Congress is working out the details, these tips have been shared:

  • You don’t need to do anything.

  • Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check.

  • To set up direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus.

  • No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to is a scammer.

To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on economic impact payments.

 

4.8.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

3.16.2020
UWJWC Community Disaster Relief Fund opened.
4.1.2020
UWJWC began taking applications from our neighbors for assistance directly due to COVID-19.
4.7.2020
UWJWC has processed over $11,000 in requests from 14 households serving 26 children.

Every gift matters! Learn More HERE. Show your support HERE

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Disaster Assistance funds are available for individuals with COVID-19-related needs from March 16, 2020 forward. Urgent needs for rental assistance, medications and household supply needs are prioritized at this time. If you need help, call 319-259-9218 or for more information click HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Volunteer and Community Needs are being collected, posted  and will continually change. If you do not find an opportunity posted right now that is a match for you, please keep checking back. Actions that you can do:

  • Register as a user with this website and click RESPOND button to this general opportunity. All COVID-19 Volunteers need to register so that hours can be collected and tracked to leverage federal reimbursement funds for the community.

  • If you do not wish to register as a user with the website at this time, sign-up to receive Volunteer and Community Needs update emails: HERE

Donations

Blood Drive-Save a life, donate blood. The Lions Club is inviting the community of Washington to give blood. On Thursday, April 9, 2020 from 1:30-6:30pm the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will be having a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus, 606 W 3rd Street Washington, IA. To schedule an appointment, please go online at BloodCenter.org -make sure to use Group Sponsor Code 154, or call Ron Anderson at 319-461-3898.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Look For the Helpers-“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”-Fred Rogers. Our community school districts are some of those “helpers”. Many have been feeding our children two meals per day Monday-Friday for over 2 weeks. Last week alone, the Iowa City Community School District fed over 15,000 meals. Looking for a way to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? Send a note to your local school, faculty, &/or staff for all they are doing to help our community. Local school feeding program links can be found here:

COVID-19 Projections-Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world's most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health. Some of the COVID-19 resources they are providing include:

Keep Moving-During the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many of us are very restricted in our movements, it is even more important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. Even a short break from sitting, by doing 3-5 minutes of physical movement, such as walking or stretching, will help ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation and muscle activity. The World Health Organization has some simple suggestions to get you moving and much more can be found HERE:

  • Climb up the stairs as much as you can, think of it as an opportunity to be active.

  • Use household chores as a way to be more physical activity.

  • Join in an online exercise class or make up your own routine to music you enjoy that uses the major muscle groups and raises you heart rate.

  • Do some muscle strengthening activities such as lifting weights or improvise using full bottles of water or simply use your own body weight and do sets of press ups, sit ups and squats. 

  • Make time for fun, such as dancing to music.

Don’t Forget to Tip-While we continue to adjust our daily lives around the COVID-19 restrictions, a lot of us, our friends, neighbors, and family members have also been thrown into an uncertain and scary economic situation, especially workers who depend largely on tips. As Johnson & Washington County restaurants now can only offer takeout and delivery options, those tips will mean more than ever for the workers who are preparing your takeout order and delivering to your homes.

Who’s Hiring-Locally?-After yesterday’s email, we were contacted to share some local job opportunities. Find updates on our COVID-19 page. Is your company hiring? Let us help share your opportunities. Contact Trisha.Smith@UnitedWayJWC.org

 

4.7.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: TIPS TO HELP COLLEGE STUDENTS

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered more businesses closed yesterday. Included are shopping malls; tobacco stores; toy, gaming, music, instrument, movie and adult entertainment stores; social and fraternal clubs, including those at golf courses; bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades and amusement parks; museums, libraries, aquariums and zoos; race tracks and speedways; roller and ice skating rinks and skate parks; outdoor or indoor playgrounds and children’s play centers; and campgrounds. In addition, unsolicited door-to-door sales were prohibited.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Volunteer and Community Needs are being collected, posted  and will continually change. If you do not find an opportunity posted right now that is a match for you, please keep checking back. Actions that you can do:

  • Register as a user with this website and click RESPOND button to this general opportunity. All COVID-19 Volunteers need to register so that hours can be collected and tracked to leverage federal reimbursement funds for the community.

  • If you do not wish to register as a user with the website at this time, sign-up to receive Volunteer and Community Needs update emails: HERE

Donations

Homemade Gowns-As the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) continues, some organizations are utilizing homemade gowns. The Iowa Department of Health has put out these guidelines for the use of donated gowns as well as guidance for Iowans sewing health gowns for local care providers.  Please remember to always reach out to your local healthcare providers/organizations to see if they are accepting PPE donations.

Blood Drive-Save a life, donate blood. The Lions Club is inviting the community of Washington to give blood. On Thursday, April 9, 2020 from 1:30-6:30pm the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will be having a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus, 606 W 3rd Street Washington, IA. To schedule an appointment, please go online at BloodCenter.org -make sure to use Group Sponsor Code 154, or call Ron Anderson at 319-461-3898.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Tips to Help College Students-With the national emergency of the coronavirus pandemic, college students’ lives have been upended as they have been asked to leave campus and adjust to new living situations.  This is a sudden change, and a loss—of community, graduation ceremonies, living environments, sporting events, etc. which has put them in a unique position. Learn more HERE

First in Iowa-UIHC is the first hospital in Iowa to join an international clinical trial for Remdesivir—believed to be the most promising drug available to treat COVID-19. Learn more: HERE.

Cares Act Webinar-Join in for a conversation with Sen. Joni Ernst on Tuesday, April 7th @ 10:00 a.m. about the new federal economic stimulus package signed into law late last week. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn, among other things. Learn more HERE.

Who’s Hiring ?-As so many industries are being affected by COVID-19, some business are hiring. Locally and across the country:

  • Walmart announced that it will hire 150,000 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers.

  • Amazon says it’s looking to hire 100,000 new workers for its fulfillment centers and delivery network.

  • CVS Health is hiring 50,000 employees to serve in various capacities across its business.

  • Dollar General says it's looking to add 50,000 employees by the end of April.

  • Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 permanent employees to serve as drivers, shift leaders, cooks and managers.

  • Ace Hardware is hiring 30,000 people to work in its stores nationwide.

  • Lowe’s is hiring 30,000 employees to meet the demand created by the coronavirus.

  • Dollar Tree, which is also the parent company of Family Dollar, is hiring 25,000 workers for its stores and distribution centers.

  • Walgreens is hiring 25,000 employees for permanent and temporary roles.

  • Papa John's is hiring 20,000 workers to meet demand.

  • 7-Eleven is hiring up to 20,000 employees due to increased demand.

Local Updates:

Advance Auto - 6100 nationwide stores are looking for PT seasonal to permanent help including 2 stores in Johnson County and 4 stores in Cedar Rapids. 

If you are looking for local work opportunities you can visit: IowaWorks

 

4.6.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: TALKING WITH TEENS

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is providing an update on coronavirus in Iowa at 11 a.m. today.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

On Friday 4.6.20, Aramark donated approximately 400 to-go containers for Free Lunch and Salvation Army. United Way of Johnson & Washington County worked with THINKIC to connect these needed items with two of our local feeding programs. If you have access to items such as to-go containers, plastic silverware packs, napkins and/or cups with lids, please reach out to United Way at 319.338.7823.

Save a life, donate blood. The Lions Club is inviting the community of Washington to give blood. On Thursday, April 9, 2020 from 1:30-6:30pm the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will be having a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus, 606 W 3rd Street Washington, IA. To schedule an appointment, please go online at BloodCenter.org -make sure to use Group Sponsor Code 154, or call Ron Anderson at 319-461-3898.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Hunting for Eggs-Looking for an alternative to your traditional egg hunt this spring? The City of North Liberty is inviting you to A Physically Separated Egg Hunt. First, choose one or more of their egg images, print it and color it-no printer, no problem; just draw an egg and decorate it! Next, stick it where it will be visible from the sidewalk and street maybe a front window, on your front door, or on your garage door. As families walk around their neighborhoods, they can be on the hunt for eggs. -Remember: being outside is OK but please us social distancing and a maintain 6-foot separation from others.

Internet Access-Washington County: Families that live in the Washington area in need of internet service for their homes are encouraged to reach out to local internet providers They have options available, and discounts for those families that qualify for free or reduced school lunches.

Johnson County:  The Coralville Public Library offers free internet in their parking lot. Their free Wi-Fi reaches into our parking area and is on 24 hours a day. Patrons can sit in their cars while taking advantage of this valuable resource.  

What Teens May Be Experiencing-If your teen is feeling isolated, stressed or just plain bored, United Action for Youth is here for YOU! For the past several weeks, UAY has been offering virtual support groups, art workshops, music lessons and D&D groups to junior high and high school students. Remember, when talking with teens, be patient and explore the feelings below the surface. To learn more, click HERE. If things are getting too stressful between you and your child, please call UAY at 319-338-7518 and a counselor will call you back.

Free Phone.Webcam Medical Appointments-UI Mobile Clinic provides free health screening, prevention, education, and basic health services to underserved populations in and around Iowa City. Their mission is to serve you. They utilize interdisciplinary skills

from the health sciences at the University of Iowa to help treat, raise awareness of existing local health resources for those ailments they cannot address, and to help connect you to the resources that best fit your needs.
Call or text (319) 535 - 2684 to request a FREE phone or webcam medical appointment.

HealthWell Foundation-We wanted to share a timely resource for Iowa families in need. The Health Well Foundation is providing up to $250 in assistance for families- via phone applications only- with costs associated with delivered food, medication diagnostics, transportation and telehealth as a result of COVID-19 risk or incidence. If you or anyone you know needs financial assistance for any of these supports, please reach out to Financial Assistance to Families.

Questions about the CARES ACT-Chairman Chuck Grassley, co-author of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, answered a series of commonly asked questions about the historic, bipartisan legislation. The below resources should only be used for informational purposes and should not be relied on for legal advice. Individuals should consult the IRS or a tax advisor to address questions related to their individual circumstances. Additional information on the coronavirus can be found at grassley.senate.gov/coronavirus.

Realty and COIVD-19-Recently, the Federal government labeled residential real estate “essential.” Why? Jan Crosby with Urban Acres shared this reminder last week: It’s not about sales. In reality, our government and the real estate industry are much more concerned about people with these sorts of challenges:

  • A mother of two boys who just lost her husband in a horrible car accident last night. They didn’t have life insurance. She realizes she can no longer afford the home her and her children live in. That mom desperately needs to sell the house and get a smaller one in the same school district because she doesn’t want the kids to be further dramatized by losing their friends right after just losing their dad.

  • The 80-year-old couple who just moved into a small condo to cut expenses and put their 4-bedroom colonial up for sale. They lost most of their life savings this month in the stock market crash. They must now sell their previous house immediately because they need the proceeds of that sale to sustain them financially.

  • A couple with an infant daughter who has special long-term medical needs. They must move closer to the hospital that specializes in the type of procedure required to heal their little one. They need to move now.

  • A woman and her two small kids who has been in an abusive relationship and finally had the courage to say enough is enough! Her priority is to get her kids to a safe home, she needs to move now.

Realtors serve many people through some extraordinarily difficult times. Death, divorce, sickness, job loss, etc. Situations like those mentioned above are taking place right now all over the country. It’s not about “sales” right now for our local realtors, it’s about serving those that need to move most!

Public Transportation-Reminder: Check Johnson-Count Mobility for the latest public transportation updates.

 

4.3.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: SEND A THANK YOU TO NONPROFIT ESSENTIAL STAFF

Yesterday, Governor Reynolds ordered restaurants, bars, casinos and many other businesses to stay closed until at least April 30,2020. Governor Reynolds explained her order is similar to a shelter-at-home directive in an attempt to keep Iowans from gathering in groups of more than 10 and maintaining social-distancing guidelines.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Our community has united and stepped up to serve the essential role of providing food to vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few opportunities for Emergency Volunteers:

North Liberty Community Pantry -North Liberty

Table to Table Food Rescue Volunteer-Iowa City

CommUnity Food Bank Volunteer-Iowa City

HACAP Food Reservoir Packaging Volunteers-Hiawatha Coralville

Coralville Community Food Pantry-If you are interested in learning about the limited, available volunteer opportunities, please email paola@coralvillefoodpantry.org.

Donations

Making A Difference During COVID-19-You can still make donations to local, nonprofit organizations during COVID-19. To assure they are accepting items, or to find out the greatest need, please call the nonprofit or visit the organizations website prior to making your contribution. Many local organizations have suspended community donations to reduce close contact and the need for volunteers to sort items. Looking for a way to help our local neighbors? Try one of these:

  • Purchase from online retailers and ship directly to the organization. 

  • Send your local nonprofit, essential staff a thank you note in appreciation of their ongoing commitment to our community.

  • Contribute to United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Caring for Each Other-Your friends on Sesame Street are here to support you during the COVID-19 health crisis. Their resources aren’t prescriptions you have to follow—just ideas to help your family find ways to breathe, laugh, and play together. Learn more HERE .

Frontline Coloring Sheets-Coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain. By decreasing the thoughts of a restless mind, coloring can induce a similar state as meditating. This generates mindfulness, which allows your mind to get some rest. Color and show your support for our area healthcare workers by bringing to life these hero signs, found at ICAreaTogether, and writing a personal message of support. Click HERE to print your signs and place them in your window or share them on social media.

Keeping Families On The Road-Last week one of our local Advance Auto stores helped a nurse purchase and install a battery at cost, discounted almost $120 dollars! This is only one of many stories of how Advance Auto is working with local families to assist in keeping them on the road, getting to the grocery store, and working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advance Auto is offering essential employees in healthcare, government, other services assistance by not only helping customers not only in the store, but also by donating parts to auto shops, donating gloves, masks and hand sanitizer and just yesterday got the greenlight to provide UIHC with 1,000 pairs of automotive grade gloves of for cleaning and non-doctoral/nurse use. To order parts to be shipped to your home or for curbside pickup, click HERE.

Shop Local-One of the best ways to help support the local economy at this time is to Shop Local! Now is the time to order food for pick up or delivery, get groceries, purchase a gift certificate to use later, or make online purchases at our local retailers.

  • The City of Washington & Chamber of Commerce are committed to incentivizing support of our business community. We invite residents to shop local and earn $10 in Washington Chamber Bucks when you spend $50 (excluding gas, utilities, tobacco products, medications or copays, gambling, and alcohol) at a business in the Washington area. As of April 1, if you spend $50 or more at any of our local businesses, take a photo of your receipt totaling $50 or more, complete the online form HERE, we will mail you $10 in Chamber Bucks for supporting local shopping!

  • Iowa City Downtown District Retailers are still operating amidst the closure. As of March 26th, all non-essential retail locations have been asked to close their doors to the general public. Please know, shops are still able to process online orders, do deliveries, and schedule no-contact pick-up orders.  ICDD is hoping to spark some cash flow spending for businesses, is offering a gift card incentive. If customers spend $100 online at a downtown business or by phone, ICDD will send them a $25 Downtown District gift card to say Thank You for supporting local. For $500 spent, customers will receive a $150 ICDD gift card. Customers are encouraged to go online and purchase gift cards FROM downtown businesses or order from them by phone. Learn more HERE. See the list of downtown businesses HERE. Submit proof of receipts HERE.

Business Planning in a Time of Uncertainty Webinar-Friday, April 3rd at 2 pm join a live webinar and which will conduct an open discussion with community experts. Five small business owners will share how they are developing 30 and 100-day business plans during times of closure. Webinar attendees are encouraged to share and ask questions on business strategy. Learn More HERE

 

4.2.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: A $300 "NONITEMIZER"

Johnson County 76 Washington County 34

No this is not a basketball score. COIVD-19 is not a game and it is important to have accurate information. At the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website, they are protecting and improving the health of Iowans by keeping you up to date on COVID-19 Cases By County throughout Iowa.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Registering as a volunteer with United Way’ EVC will assist local municipalities. After a presidential disaster declaration is issued and damages are documented, FEMA can provide up to a 75 percent cost reimbursement for eligible projects. State and local entities then must come up with a 25 percent shared cost match. Registered volunteer hours through the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Emergency Volunteer Center can count those substantial volunteer hours toward reimbursement. Register HERE.

Donations

Shelter House Needs

Shelter House is looking for donations for their emergency shelter services. If you have donations you would like to give, contact Jake Masters @ jake.masters@shelterhouseiowa.org to coordinate pickup times for Tuesdays and Thursdays in the coming weeks. Thank you so much for the continued support!

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Antibacterial Soap

  • Disinfectant

  • Clear Laundry Soap

  • Toilet Paper/Paper Towels

  • Bottle Water/Juice

  • Individual snacks

  • Adult Back Packs

  • Adult Underwear

A $300 "nonitemizer"

The CARES Act creates a $300 "nonitemizer" deduction for 2020. The deduction:

  • Is in full effect as of Friday, March 27, 2020, and will apply to donations made for all of 2020

  • Only for people who do not itemize their taxes

  • Donors who itemize their taxes are eligible for the existing charitable deduction

  • Only for cash donations (not in kind and not for stocks)

  • Can be used by the charity for any purpose (not limited to COVID-19 relief efforts)

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counites and our partners are committed to ensuring that our region’s most vulnerable families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.  100% of your donation to United Way’s Community Disaster Relief Fund will go to directly to someone directly impacted by COVID-19. Every donation makes a difference. To learn more, click HERE.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Talking with children in times of stress can be difficult. Parents are encouraged to allow your children to lead a conversation with their own questions, fears, concerns, and hopes. Use these helpful hints to help facilitate a discussion:

  • Take their lead.

  • Ask questions building on what they have shared.

  • Answer their questions with brief and honest responses.

  • Encourage them to continue to ask questions.

  • Be ready to repeat information as the child may repeat the same or similar questions and need to hear the answers more than once.

Find activity sheets to assist your children, created by Child Life Disaster Relief, HERE.

Child Life Disaster Relief empowers and support children and families in crises. They have recently shared some helpful information for parents and children coping with COVID-19. Learn more from these helpful one pagers: Practical Coping Techniques & Ways To Help Children Cope.

If you've been financially impacted by COVID-19, you're not alone. Thankfully, numerous financial institutions and banks are offering assistance to customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Many are providing deferral programs, waiving late fees, suspending foreclosures, and/or promising not to report missed payments to credit bureau agencies. Call your financial institution/bank today to find out how they are able to help. 

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is here for neighbors before, during and after a disaster. If you are experiencing an urgent need, please click HERE

Income from the upcoming stimulus check is NOT taxable income on your federal taxes. Here are two articles that explain some FAQs on the stimulus checks: New York Times and CNBC.

 

4.1.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: TOP 6 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE STIMULUS

Johnson County

The Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) is working hard to keep you up to date on the latest coronavirus news. To get the latest information click HERE

Washington County

KCII radio is keeping our community informed about closing or delays of events & activities in Washington County. To find the complete listing click HERE

Emergency Volunteer Center: Volunteer Opportunities All volunteer opportunities can be seen at: COVID19volunteers.org

Child Care Assist Needed-Due to COVID-19 a University of Iowa team, UI Child Assist, is working to match UI employees in need of no cost emergency childcare with volunteer childcare providers. Childcare could be provided at the volunteer's home or the family's home depending upon the need and agreement between the volunteer and the family.  Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and will be asked to provide two references which may be personal or professional. Learn more HERE

Donations

If you are still looking to donate laundry detergent to support Laundromania’ s Free Laundry Day, donations can be left inside/outside of the door of the United Way office: 1150-5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, IA from 9:00am-12:00pm today, Wednesday, 4/1/2020. For questions, call: (319) 338.7823. Please remember to use social distancing guidelines when dropping off your donation. Thank you! 

Education Health & Financial Stability

Join the State of the Community Webinar today Wednesday, April 1st at 2 pm for a live webinar with our local human services leaders to learn more about the challenges our non-profit agencies and most vulnerable populations are navigating during the COVID-19 pandemic and where the greatest needs are. Attendees of the live webinar will have the opportunity to ask questions and the webinar will be recorded. Register HERE.

Moderated by: Kim Casko, President & CEO of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership
Panelists include:

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies continue to be a challenge for Iowa and elsewhere. Yesterday, Governor Reynolds made a plea for people to make fabric masks, however she stressed to call before donating to any hospitals, long-term care facilities or other businesses/organizations. To find the IDPH Mask Guidance click HERE.

Top 6 Things To Know About The Stimulus

  1. It provides cash support to 125 million people. Congress will send payments of $1,200 to individuals earning up to $75,000 or married couples earning under $150,000. Benefits start to phase out above $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for married filers. Check out this stimulus check calculator to find out how much you’ll receive.

  2. It increases funding for food and shelter programs. It provides an additional $200 million in funding for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) to respond to urgent community needs for food, shelter and utilities services and ensures that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can accommodate new individuals and families in need of temporary food support.

  3. It helps children receive meals outside of the classroom. It provides additional funding for child nutrition programs so that children can access meals when school is not in session.

  4. It gives relief to small businesses. It includes $350 billion in loans for companies with 500 employees or fewer, including nonprofits, hotel and restaurant chains, and childcare providers. It also provides $10 billion in grants up to $10,000 for small businesses to cover operating costs.

  5. It extends emergency unemployment insurance. It includes an extra 13 weeks of coverage and covers part-time, self-employed and gig economy workers. It also provides an increase in the weekly benefit of up to $600.

  6. It encourages charitable giving to local solutions. The bill includes a temporary “above the line” or universal charitable deduction to enable all Americans to give up to $300 to charities, tax-free, through the end of 2020. United Way will continue to push for additional relief to charities on the frontlines in the weeks to come.

 

5.19.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: mask up

Prevent and Reduce COVID-19 Transmission with Employees-Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace. Employers are encouraged to respond in a way that takes into account the level of disease transmission in their communities and revise their business response plans as needed. The CDC provides information on:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home

  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks

  • Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work

  • Separate sick employees

  • Educate employees about steps they can take to protect themselves at work and at home

  • For employees who commute to work using public transportation or ride sharing

  • Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection

To receive email updates about COVID-19 from the CDC click HERE and enter your email in the box provided in the left margin. Additional information, including a Preventing COVID-19 at Work poster, can be found at the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

 

Donations

Mitzvah-Knowing the CDC recommendation to wear a face mask in settings where staying six feet away from others is difficult, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties (UWJWC) and The Community Foundation of Johnson County (CFJC) have set a goal to distribute 2,000 face masks to our community. Mask Up is a collaborative program focused on providing face masks to those who are in desperate need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Thanks to a generous gift from a donor through the Heartland-Mitzvah (the modern Hebrew term for an individual act of human kindness) fund, housed at the CFJC, United Way has purchased supplies and prepared kits for volunteers to assemble face masks. Kits include cut fabric, elastic strips, instructions, and a pattern for the assembly of either 10, 20 or 30 masks. Volunteers will supply their own thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine and other sewing equipment. Volunteers are asked to return the completed masks in the same bag the kit was received in to United Way who will then distribute them to service organizations, hospitals and community members which are in need masks. To comply with social distancing and safety recommendations, interested volunteers can call United Way at 319-338-7823 to arrange a time to pick up their mask kit. To learn more, click HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Return To Learn-Iowa's school districts are working to meet a July 1st deadline for submitting “Return to Learn” plans to the state Department of Education. COVID-19 Continuous Learning and Return-to-Learn Guidance, on the Iowa Department of Education website, addresses:

  • The waiver of instructional time requirements for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year

  • Canceling spring sports activities

  • Waiver of the start date in Iowa Code for the 2020-21academic year, and includes a timeline and preliminary process for schools to develop and submit Return-to-Learn plans by July 1

Schools can find information regarding the Department/AEA collaboration to provide districts/schools the supports necessary to complete required Return-to-Learn plans and an overview of the required Return-to-Learn plans.

You Can Be Tested-As Iowa's death toll from COVID-19 has elevated over 450, Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced the state's eight Test Iowa sites would be open to "anyone who thinks they should be tested," once they complete a TestIowa assessment. To learn more click HERE.

May 30th Pop-Up Pantry-HACAP will be providing another Pop-Up Food Pantry for Wellman, Kalona, & Riverside May 30th 9am-11am. The drive through Pop-Up Pantry will be located at the Public Works site: 711 A Avenue Kalona, IA. HACAP is reminding participants to wait in their vehicles and drive through for pick up. If clients do not have cars, they are asking that a line of participants be formed and they will call one person at a time up to receive their pre-boxed and bagged items.

Types of Spread-The CDC has updated their COVID-19 transmission webpage to clarify information about types of spread. The primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person. Based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what is known about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn more HERE.

Keeping The Lights On-On March 27, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) issued an order suspending all utility disconnections for the duration of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation of a public health emergency. The order expires for utility shutoffs due to nonpayment Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Utility companies must contact a customer 48 hours before a disconnection “either by telephone or door hanger.” MidAmerican Energy has filed a plan with the Iowa Utilities Board that says it will not disconnect anyone for nonpayment until July 24 at the earliest and will instead use a gradual process of outreach to customers and allow people to enter longer payment plans. If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the LIHEAP program. Learn more at MidAmerican Energy.

Rental Evictions “Un-Paused”-In March, Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a public health emergency declaration pausing most evictions, including those for nonpayment of rent, to keep people in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The order also included a ban on foreclosures. This order lifts in Iowa at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2020. If you are looking for housing resources call:

  • United Way: 211

  • Iowa Legal Aid: 800-332-0419

Or visit Iowa Legal Aid’s website HERE.

Small Business Crisis Resource Pages-iHeartRadio has created a Small Business Crisis Resource page, which provides critical information to help small business owners navigate and succeed through these uncertain times. Find links to Federal and State resources, including stimulus loans, grants and other financial aid. Learn more HERE. Employer resources can also be found on the IC Area Together, Business Resources webpage located HERE.

ICR Webinar: Business Attraction-What will future site selection decisions look like and how can ICR Iowa be well-positioned to capture business growth post-pandemic? A recent survey of Site Selector Guild members conducted in partnership with Development Counselors International (DCI), as well as interviews with leading economic development professionals across the country, offers insights into what economic development organizations (EDOs) can expect moving forward and how they can and should respond to this new reality. Join in for a conversation with Jay Garner, President of Garner Economics and Chair of the Site Selectors Guild, and Robyn Domber, Vice President of Research for DCI, as they share the findings of their research, captured in a DCiQ report, “The Great Coronavirus Pivot: Site Selection Consultants and Economic Developers Weigh In On COVID-19 Impact.” This session will be moderated by Kelly Hayworth, City Administrator of Coralville and will include time for questions from participants. Registration is free but required and can be found HERE.

 

5.19.2020 COVID-19 re-opening UPDATE: OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Multisystem Inflammatory Disorder in Children-Recent reports from Europe and the U.S. have described clusters of children and adolescents requiring admission to intensive care units with a multisystem inflammatory condition. Initial hypotheses are that this syndrome may be related to COVID-19 based on initial laboratory testing showing a positive antibody in a majority of patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a preliminary case definition and case report form for multisystem inflammatory disorder in children and adolescents. Iowa childcare workers and children who attend childcare have now been added to those who meet the criteria for testing. Learn more HERE.

Donations

We truly appreciate everyone who has reached out to ask how they can help support our local non-profits during this challenging time. Non-profit organizations are in need of face masks. Please continue to donate face masks in our donation box located outside the office of United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties – 1150 5th Street Ste. 290 Coralville Iowa 52241.-Thank You!

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Have Degree… Want to Work-New college graduates are entering the worst job market in over a decade, with lower starting salaries and increased competition for openings. Data is showing more applicants per job opening and new grads competing for positions with more experienced workers who are now out of a job. Research shows that economic fluctuations can have lasting consequences, this may result in reduced earnings for the next 10 to 15 years. Factored in with employers considering revoking offers that have already been made to the class of 2020 the job market may be looking bleak for many graduates. Advise from economists and public health officials — have patience as they try to bring the job market back online in the coming months.

All About The Test-The State Hygienic Laboratory will perform COVID-19 testing in accordance with one of the following criteria:

  • Hospitalized patient (of any age) with fever or respiratory illness for diagnosis or any hospitalized patient prior to discharge to a long term care facility or other nursing care facility.

  • Older adult (> 60 years of age) with fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing) and chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, or chronic kidney disease)

  • Person of any age with fever or respiratory illness who lives in a congregate setting (i.e., long term care facilities, dormitories, residential facilities, correctional facilities, treatment facilities

  • Children receiving care in and staff working in childcare homes and childcare centers with fever or respiratory illness without alternative diagnosis.

  • Healthcare worker, essential services personnel, first responder or critical infrastructure worker with fever or respiratory illness (e.g., healthcare worker, fire, EMS, law enforcement, residential facility staff, food supply and water plant operators)

Information can also be found on: how to order a test, find test results and testing hours. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

Project Better Together-Project Better Together aims to build a transformed future for our community with greater economic diversity, growth, inclusivity, resilience, and well-being for all. Led by The Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Iowa City Area Development Group, Think Iowa City, and the Iowa City Downtown District, this community-wide recovery effort includes leaders from the four partner organizations, all three hospitals, the school district, area non-profits, social services, private business, and elected officials from all levels of government. New additions to their website include:

  • The Iowa Economic Development Authority has released a second survey, IEDA'S COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, to collect data that will be vital in helping state efforts to understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Iowa businesses.  If you are a business owner, please take a few moments to complete this brief survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, May 22 at 5pm. 

  • Ready to reopen your business? Find a re-opening sign for you to download, print and adhere to your front entrance. It provides mindful statements for cleanliness, safety and social distancing.

  • As the community responds to the local and national recommendations on re-opening their businesses, customers are looking for information on which businesses are open, hours of operation, etc. Businesses throughout Johnson County that want to be featured on their website are encouraged to fill out the Open for Business form. Submit your business form HERE.

  • A complete list of COVID-19 Recovery FAQs can be found HERE.

Do you have an idea that can improve how we do things as a community? Are you willing to pitch in and make that idea come to life? Find out how you can join the team HERE.

5.15.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: open for business

CDC Release Reopening Guidelines-The CDC has released new guidelines for businesses and schools to help them decide whether they are ready to reopen. This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more HERE.

A Difficult Decision-Due to the ongoing social distancing guidelines and additional precautions taking place to help slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Johnson County Agricultural Association, has made the difficult decision to cancel the grounds and grandstand entertainment for the 2020 Johnson County Fair. The Johnson County Agricultural Association, in partnership with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Johnson County, are working to fulfill the fair vision of providing opportunities to the 4-H and FFA members to showcase their talents and accomplishments, despite the cancellation of all grounds and grandstand entertainment for the 2020 Johnson County Fair. For more information, regarding 4-H & FFA events at this year’s fair, please follow on Facebook or their website HERE.  

Reminder-Beginning next week, we will shift to a once a week update, delivered on Tuesdays, centering around the pivot our communities are undergoing to safely reopen. To see past weekday emails, visit HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Helping Our Neighbors-United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties thanks you for your support of the Community Disaster Relief Fund (CDRF). Who have you helped?

  • A mother who is not getting enough hours to cover her rent and basic expenses—her job went to an on-call (only as needed). She has health conditions and her child has asthma.

  • A grandmother who is raising her grandson and her employer reduce the hours of operation thus she is no longer able to get enough hours to pay rent.

  • A young family: the father normally works 60 hours/week plus overtime had his hours cut to 30/week- the family is struggling to pay rent and utility bills.

  • 140 more local households who have been directly impacted by COVID-19.

As of May 15th  the CDRF has dispersed $109,143.08 to support 143 households which includes 208 adults and 193 children. We will continue to support our neighbors with your support.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Childcare Support-Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, child care providers have struggled to keep their doors open and have had trouble getting the necessary cleaning supplies to keep the children in their care safe. Iowa has received $39.1 million to help these providers through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Iowa Department of Human Resources (DHS) has released a plan detailing how the money will be used. Highlights of the plan include:

  • Provide a monthly stipend of $2,000 to open licensed centers and $500 to open registered homes

  • Provide an additional monthly stipend of $2,000 to licensed centers and $500 to registered homes providing a 25 percent discount to essential services personnel

  • Pay providers for unlimited absences and full-day care for school-age children

  • Provide hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies directly to providers

To see the entire plan and instructions on how to apply for these funds, visit HERE.

Brightening Windows-Kalona Library is partnering with their local paper The News with a local coloring contest. They welcome everyone, adults and children, to help brighten local libraries by coloring the provided image to the best of their abilities and then submitting it to be displayed in the front windows of the library of their choosing. Entries can be placed in the book drop boxes at either library, Kalona or Wellman, or mailed to:

  • Kalona Public Library: P.O. Box 1212, Kalona, IA 52247

  • Wellman Scofield Public Library: P.O. Box 420, Wellman, IA 52356

Find your coloring sheet HERE.

A Voice Through Others-COVID-19 is teaching us the power of interconnection. The Oakdale Choir is comprised of men incarcerated in the Oakdale Prison (the Iowa Medical and Classification Center) and people from the community founded on a concept of interconnection: Ubuntu- “a person is a person through other people.” Although they have not been able to meet in the prison gym to rehearse since mid-March, outside singers rehearse virtually each Tuesday and exchange writing reflections with the inside singers. Join them virtually on Friday, May 15, 2020 from 11am-Noon for a first ever Oakdale Choir “Listening Exchange!”. Learn more HERE.

Local Food Flowing-On Saturday, May 16th, the communities of Riverside, Wellman, and Kalona will again be hosting a "Pop Up Food Pantry" from 9:00-11:00. HACAP sponsored Pop Up pantries allows food to get into the homes of families in need. All distribution will be in Kalona-- 711 A Avenue (The City Shop)- but is open to everyone. If you are experiencing food insecurity and need assistance, please stop by between 9:00 - 11:00. To keep social distancing they ask that you pull up to the location and stay in your vehicle and we will load the food box for you. Please call your City Hall or Ryan at 319-936-9354 if you need to schedule an alternate pick up time or delivery. More information can be found on Facebook HERE.

Let Us Know You’re Open-As the community responds to the local and national recommendations on re-opening their businesses, customers are looking for information on which businesses are open, hours of operation, etc. Businesses throughout Johnson County that want to be featured on the ICAreaTogether website are encouraged to fill out the Open for Business form. Submit your business form HERE or to see a complete list of COVID-19 Recovery FAQs click HERE.

 

 

5.14.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Keeping the spirit of our community alive

A Note From United Way-During the last 2 months of chaos and confusion, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties dedicated our staff, our platforms, and our voices to help our beloved communities. On March 16th we began our commitment to keep you advised of local COVID-19 related information in our weekday “COVID-19 Updates”. Though we were not a breaking news site, we tried to provide you with reliable content to keep yourselves, your family, and your community safe. Unbeknownst to us, as each email was sent an underlying mission began to evolve - keeping the spirit of the community alive. We would like to thank so many of you for your kind words over the last 8 weeks as well as the many, many resources you sent to us to share in our emails. Beginning next week, we will shift to a once a week update, delivered on Tuesdays, centering around the pivot our communities are undergoing to safely reopen. We will continue this weekly email until the end of May and then reassess the frequency of our COVID-19 Updates. As always, if you have important news to share, please reach out to Trisha Smith at: Trisha.Smith@UnitedWayJWC.org. In addition, United Way’s communication team will continue to provide:

  • Featured content on social media channels - Be sure to follow us on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn!

  • An up to date website providing engagement opportunities including individual and group volunteering, education on ever-changing local needs as well ways you can be a part of the change.

  • A quarterly newsletter sharing information surrounding all our community successes and needs. If you are not already receiving our newsletter, please select the “Sign Up For Updates” in the top, red bar of our website.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and continue to be, your community resource.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Mask Up-Coming soon-United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, thanks to the support of the “Heartland-Mitzvah” donor advised fund housed at the Community Foundation of Johnson County, will be offering face mask kits. To assist in keeping our community safe, United Way is creating kits which will include all of the supplies needed, including a pattern, to make face masks. Volunteers will soon be able to schedule appointments to pick up kits from the office of United Way. Completed masks will then be donated, through United Way, to local nonprofits who are in desperate need of PPE support. Stay tuned for updates and thank you for your ongoing support to ensure the health safety and well-being of all those we serve.

Donations

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

We Need Bags!-Does your business have branded tote bags sitting around collecting dust? Coralville Food Pantry would be happy to put them to use to pack up vital groceries to deliver to our food insecure neighbors. For donations, contact John Boller, Executive Director at  john@coralvillefoodpantry.org.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

You Can’t Serve Lunch Over Zoom-For many families in our community school meal programs are essential, the difference between fed kids and hungry ones. As schools closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus and learning moved virtual, schools quickly pivoted to assure every child could still receive lunch & breakfast. As of May 12th the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) had served 183,521 meals to local children. With the end of scheduled school year looming, ICCSD plans to continue providing meals throughout the summer but their meals sites will be a little different and planning will be contingent on what the USDA/DE approves for area eligibility. For the latest updates visit HERE.

Re-opening-Yesterday, in her morning press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds shared more businesses can re-open statewide starting this Friday, May 15th. Businesses include restaurants, salons/barber shops, fitness centers, and more. Guidelines are being provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) for safe reopening and information to support restaurants is being provided on the Iowa Government website. Restrictions for reopening include communication on the wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer and following capacity caps. Establishments that are to remain closed until May 28th include: bars, theaters, senior citizens and adult daycare facilities, amusements, museums, aquariums, zoos skating rinks/skate parks, playgrounds, swimming pools and door-to-door sales.

Local Food Flowing-On Saturday, May 16th, the communities of Riverside, Wellman, and Kalona will again be hosting a "Pop Up Food Pantry" from 9:00-11:00. HACAP sponsored Pop Up pantries allows food to get into the homes of families in need. All distribution will be in Kalona-- 711 A Avenue (The City Shop)- but is open to everyone. If you are experiencing food insecurity and need assistance, please stop by between 9:00 - 11:00. To keep social distancing they ask that you pull up to the location and stay in your vehicle and we will load the food box for you. Please call your City Hall or Ryan at 319-936-9354 if you need to schedule an alternate pick up time or delivery. More information can be found on Facebook HERE.

Unemployment Help Still Available-Thanks to an update from State Representative Dave Jacoby, since March 17th over 285,000 Iowans have filed for unemployment benefits. Nationally, over the last seven weeks, 1 in 5 Americans have filed for unemployment. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded unemployment benefits to those who were previously ineligible such as self-employed Iowans or employees of nonprofits. The bill also extended benefits an additional 13-weeks and offered additional funds to help offset income. However, if Iowans quit their job they are not eligible for benefits. Additionally, if Iowans receive benefits and get recalled to work they must report to or lose assistance, even if they fear their workplace is unsafe due to lack of testing or protective gear.  Iowans should contact their employer if they are sick, taking care of someone with COVID-19, or have at-risk conditions to see what accommodations are available. Learn more from the Iowa Labor Center HERE. To apply for unemployment benefits, visit HERE. More information about eligibility can be found HERE.

5.13.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Nurse to Nurse hotline

Nurse to Nurse-During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are experiencing pressure, fear, exhaustion, isolation and ongoing emotional trauma. This ongoing stress and trauma can impact their mental health, safety, and ability to provide the best possible care.  A new hotline to provide support for nurses across the state during the pandemic is now offered by the Iowa Nurses Association. Nurse to Nurse is a confidential, no-charge hotline where nurses can share their stresses and concerns. The calls are answered by nurses who volunteer for the hotline.  Nurses needing help can call the hotline at 515-650-2295. For ongoing support, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association provides support for nurses including tips for managing stress and can be found HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Coloring Local Art-Little Village is offer a Quarantine Coloring Book filled with 32 pages of fresh, locally sourced Iowa art to keep you busy at home. 50% of proceeds will support free, local journalism and 50% will be split among the contributing artists. Grab your colored pencils and celebrate your community while you're stuck at home. Order a coloring book HERE or order the book plus digital download HERE.

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Required Online Learning-Washington Community High School has moved to required learning via Schoology. Beginning today, high school students are required to log in to the platform for classes. Students should already have an account and are familiar with how to use the program to communicate with staff and to receive content and assignments. Parents can sign up for an account by contacting Joan Hippen:  jhippen@washington.k12.ia.us for a code and instructions.  For office hour support, students can contact a teacher via email or Schoology Messenger to schedule a time to meet. Learn more HERE.

211 calls top 35,000-37,953 COVID-19 calls were taken by United Way’s Iowa 211 between March 8th and May 8, 2020. 211 has been a vital service during the coronavirus connecting people to the help they need. Iowa needs reflected in 211 calls showed over 30,000 callers were looking for health care assistance followed by housing and income support/assistance. From Johnson County, 211 fielded 1,207 while they also supported 250 calls from Washington Counties in the same time period. If you are looking for assistance, access is available 24/7, in multiple languages and completely confidential.  If you are well and have general questions about COVID-19 or are looking for a connection to local assistance, call 2-1-1 or Toll-Free: (866) 469-2211 or the alternative: (319) 739-4211. Learn more HERE.

Donations & Store Hours-Goodwill is back! Selected location donation drive-throughs are now open for donation acceptance only. Locations include all Cedar Rapids stores, Marion, Iowa City, Coralville, Washington, Muscatine, Bettendorf, Davenport and Burlington. These eleven stores will then open to shoppers Friday, MAY 15th . Hours of operation for donating and shopping will be reduced to Monday – Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm – 5 pm until further notice. All customers must wear facemasks prior to entering our stores. To review all of Goodwill’s safety guidelines click HERE .

Preparing for Reopening-The next State of the Community webinar will be this Wednesday, May 13th at 2 pm, and will include local business leaders, public health experts, and legal experts as they discuss approaches for safely re-opening businesses. Join us in the webinar and hear a discussion with Dan Blum, Co-Owner of 30 Hop, Joni Schrup, Owner of Discerning Eye, and others. Register HERE.

 

5.12.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: TAKE A MURAL WALK

Developing Leaders-Community leaders are a valuable source of comfort and support for our communities during times of crisis. The Iowa City Business Partnership Community Leadership Program (CLP) is committed to developing local leaders. CLP was created in 1990 to foster informed, well-equipped, and invested leaders in the Iowa City area. The program features ten full-day sessions that take place from September through June. Each session explores a specific theme, like Agriculture & Environment, Arts & Culture, Local Government, and Economics. CLP participants have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about the community itself and how it “works” so that they can operate effectively in the political context as leaders.

  • Develop a social network of individuals, many of whom will share mutual interests regarding the future of the community.

  • Learn how to collaborate, with other community focused individuals, for change.

The Iowa City Business Partnership are hopeful and optimistic that they will be able to proceed with the 30th CLP class, with appropriate precautions in place. To learn more about this high-quality, community-based experience click HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Take a Mural Walk-In downtown Iowa City, the brick walls of local businesses are the home to colorful, vibrant murals just waiting for you to view. Scattered around downtown on the side of buildings or hidden in alleyways, the most amazing murals can be seen, some rising 45-feet high and many full of color.  Take advantage of some extra time you may have with a mural walk, providing attainable art for all. For a map to guide your tour click HERE.

You're Invited!-Join Washington County Hospital and Clinics for Virtual KidzFest 2020! Check out the virtual "booths" that will discuss health, finances, fun activities, and more! Grab your smart devices, a healthy snack, a comfy chair and check Virtual KidzFest 2020 the week of May 18th!  Learn more on their Facebook Event found HERE and keep checking back for more updates and information.

Using Time At Home to Clean?-The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center will open to residential customers on Monday, May 18, 2020. All services, including yard waste, bulky items, electronics and appliances recycling, and compost and wood chips, will be available. The Landfill office will remain closed to customers. The use of cash is discouraged. Please plan to pay by credit card or debit card or check.  Staff anticipates high traffic volume following the first few weeks of reopening to the general public.

Preparing for Reopening-The next State of the Community webinar will be this Wednesday, May 13th at 2 pm, and will include local business leaders, public health experts, and legal experts as they discuss approaches for safely re-opening businesses. Join us in the webinar and hear a discussion with Dan Blum, Co-Owner of 30 Hop, Joni Schrup, Owner of Discerning Eye, and others. Register HERE.

Preparing to be Safe-As businesses prepare to re-open in our community, the IC Area Together team, whose brand shifted recently to We're Better Together, is gathering viable information and resources to help guide you in your efforts to safely open your business. As we navigate a new 'normal' for our business community, they will continue to update resources and information such as:

 

5.11.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE:  اللغة العربية

Honor, Remember, & Celebrate-As COVID-19 continues to spread around the country, the first responders in our communities continue to work the front lines with an ever increasing vulnerability of contracting the virus. This week is the start of National Police Week (May 10 – 16). A week to honor and say thank you to all law enforcement officers who serve and to recognize those who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. We invite you to honor, remember, and celebrate Iowa Law Enforcement with a social media post, a window display or a note of appreciation.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Camp Online-Looking for a way to ensure your child has a safe and enriching camp experience this summer? Many summer camps are working hard to bring high-quality adventure, fun, and learning for your child online. Apps, websites, and even full-fledged virtual camps offer a wide range of summer learning opportunities, and can provide the ideal activity for a summer that may be filled with "staycations". Some local camps to check out include:

  • This summer the Iowa Youth Writing Project is offering FREE online summer camps for children and teens! Check out the programs offered HERE.

  • Kirkwood Interactive Camps for Kids — or KICK for short — includes hands-on summer camps for kids ages 8 to 15. Learn more HERE.

  • Make your LEGOS come to life with the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ 2020 Summer Learning Camps. Lego camps and more can be found HERE.

Resources in Other Languages-As we continue our journey through coronavirus keeping up with the latest information is vital.  The Iowa Government coronavirus website offers multiple resources in many languages:

In addition, COVID-19 fact sheets in Arabic, Chinese German Serbian Spanish and Vietnamese, which have been reviewed and vetted by physicians and medical school faculty members, can be found HERE.

ICR NEXT > Our Ag and Food Economy-Join in for a conversation with former US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and Tom Benner, CEO of Lesaffre, on how the pandemic is impacting the agricultural economy and what opportunities our state and region may have post-pandemic to strengthen and innovate this industry. Doug Neumann, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will moderate the webinar on Wednesday, May 13th from 9:30-10:30 am. Webinar Registration Required and can be found HERE.

 

5.08.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Masks of wellness

A “Fairness Issue”-Changes for many Iowa counties, issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds, went into effective today, May 8th at 5:00 a.m. Reynolds modified her re-opening plan stating it was a “fairness issues” and relaxed the state's COVID-19 mitigation strategy for 22 counties. Beginning today, dentists may resume providing services, and campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities and medical spas all may reopen. Under the rule mandating only 50% of maximum capacity in a store at one time, retail establishments, such as bookstores, clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, cosmetic/beauty/perfume stores, florists, furniture or home furnishing stores, toy stores, music stores, movie stores, and more may also reopen. Stores must also ensure social distancing and other public health department guidance is followed. Restaurants and bars, swimming pools, salons, barbershops, libraries, and race tracks must remain closed through May 15th  in accordance with the previous proclamation Learn more HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

National Child Care Providers Day-Providing child care in the best of times requires complex skills. In times of chaos and trauma, skilled and trusted early childhood educators are needed more than ever to support children and families and keep them safe. National Child Care Providers Day is today Friday, May 8th. Help us recognize childcare providers as they are essential to the success of our children and our economy. Let your childcare provider know how much you appreciate all they do by reaching out and saying thank you.

Masks of Wellness-Two doctors in the Iowa City area — David C. Krupp, M.D., an emergency room doctor in Iowa City and Dr. Robbie Schwenker, PharmD, a community pharmacist — have launched Mask of Wellness, a free initiative designed to provide education and tools for businesses to operate in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mask of Wellness is a positive approach that promotes responsible behavior that is necessary to keep society open during this pandemic while benefiting social, physical, and economic wellness. Businesses can sign up and self-certify on their website, pledging that they will take three actions to maintain the safety of employees and patrons of their establishments: 

  • Masks - Worn by every employee in all areas of the work environment

  • Hygiene - Hand and surface hygiene practiced by all employees in conjunction with physical distancing when possible

  • Health - Employees attesting to no primary COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis

Learn more HERE.

We’re Better Together-After accessing whether or not it’s safe to reopen your business, you should consider how to sanitize your environment to limit the spread of germs to your employees and customers. Although not required by the CDC, it’s a good idea to have your plan written down and shared with employees and customers. The website ICAreaTogether, is assisting local business for reopening, offering information as we pivot to We’re Better Together. Learn about Communicating with your Team During COVID-19, find Suggestions for Safely Reopening Your Business and more. In addition, the Iowa City Downtown District has provided What To Do Right Now, Considerations as You Get Ready to Reopen-quick guide of considerations and resources for Downtown Iowa City businesses on how to get on top of the situation, stay ahead of the curve and come out the other end of it as we look toward reopening and recovery! *Please note that things are changing daily, this is a living document that they will update as much as possible but encourage everyone to review the CDC, Public Health, & Governor latest guidelines.

 

5.07.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: UNITED IN ISOLATION

Checking In-May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. However, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health and, with the additional stress of the recent pandemic, keeping our mental health in check is very important.  One way to check in on yourself is to take a mental health screen at mhascreening.org. It’s a quick, free and private way for someone to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems. Local support is available from:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Johnson County offers education, support, and advocacy for persons with mental illness (consumers) and their families. Evidence-based educational classes are provided for families/significant others, consumers, care providers, and the general public. 

  • Abbe Mental Health Center  provides services including: outpatient psychotherapy and psychiatry for children and adults, including play therapy, family services and school liaison counseling.  Services to the chronically mentally ill include supported community living, homeless outreach, and urgent services. Also available: consultation and education to the community.

  • CommUnity Crisis Center & Food offers: 24-Hour Crisis Line, Chat, and Text services. Assistance is available by phone 24/7 and mobile crisis outreach offered 24 hours to Iowa and Johnson Counties. Specializes in suicide prevention and crisis intervention services, and hosts monthly support groups for individuals with specific needs, with times and locations listed online.

  • Healthy Kids School-based Health Clinics  provides free health care, mental health services, dental care and vision care to children in Johnson County from birth through high school graduation who are uninsured, under-insured, or have other barriers to accessing healthcare.  Clinics are offered at South East Jr. High, City High, and Northwest Jr. High Schools.   

Please check agency websites or reach out by phone to get updates on service changes due to COVID-19. If you need someone to talk to, help is also available 24/7 at yourlifeiowa.org. It's free and confidential.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

United in Isolation-United in Isolation, presented by Cadenza and the UNICEF club of Iowa City West High, is an upcoming series of virtual performances which will be presented on Facebook and uploaded to their YouTube channel. Through these videos, they are encouraging their audience to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic and donate to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties Community Disaster Relief Fund.  Cadenza is a classical music charity club at West High School in Iowa City made up of talented instrumental student musicians with a passion for classical music and goodwill. Join them May 14th for United in Isolation, a virtual performance of classical music to support our community's most vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about United in Isolation visit the Facebook event HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Navigating the Changing World-ACT, Inc. and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced on May 4th they have joined forces to help teachers navigate the rapidly changing world of distance learning. Through the new relationship, ACT and the 1.7 million-member AFT will combine their strengths to bring effective online educational resources to America’s teachers and students. Share resources such as webinars, blog posts, and free access to learning tools with AFT's 1.7 million members will be available. On Thursday, May 7th at 12:00pm they will kick things off with a webinar, “How Parents Can Help Stem a COVID-19 Learning Slide,” with Mawi Asgedom. Parents are key to helping ensure that learning accelerates not decelerates during this unprecedented time. To learn more click HERE or to register for the webinar click HERE.

Healthy Habits All-Stars-Are you looking for new at-home learning materials for your child? Introduce them to the Healthy Habits All-Stars! The Healthy Habit All-Star program has been designed to assist in educating children about public health topics. This programs offers timely videos and activity sheets on handwashing, coughing into your sleeve, staying home when sick and other healthy habit topics. Animated videos are used to communicate complex health information to children in an age appropriate manner. Learn more HERE.

JCPH Survey-Have a business in Johnson County? Take this survey to help Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) understand the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic so they can better inform community planning.  This short survey collects business contact information, details of business impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, employee health and safety practices/strategies, future operations planning, and follow-up preferences. If selected, additional information may be gathered with a direct follow-up. Responses will be aggregated for analysis. Contact(s) information will not be shared. Take the survey HERE.

Webinar: Innovation Watch-Learn about up-and-coming discoveries made by companies in the Corridor and how innovation in Iowa is helping to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Join the Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) Innovation Watch webinar Tuesday May 12th at 10:30 a.m. – Noon. This new event features tech, STEM and innovation discussions with Iowa educators, students, business leaders, scientists and visionaries. Learn more HERE.

 

5.06.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: FARM TO CAR

Iowa Sees Highest Single-Day Deaths-Tuesday May 5, 2020, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds reported 19 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest in a 24-hour period to date. It's been nearly two months since the first coronavirus case was reported in Iowa. State Representative David Jacoby wants to hear from you on how your family, business, and lives have been impacted so he can learn more about what to do to help. Take his survey HERE.  

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Mask Donations-Demand for PPE equipment continues and United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is actively taking steps to secure masks for local nonprofits. Many individuals, groups and businesses from the community have generously offered to help assist in our efforts by sewing cloth masks. Masks are to be thoroughly laundered and sanitized before being donating. Hand-sewn masks can be dropped off anytime in the designated plastic bin outside the door of United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties- 1150 5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, Iowa. Thank you for your support.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Iowa Schools Receive $71 Million-Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo shared the state has received $71.6 million in federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. “These funds will provide critical support for schools, especially as they develop plans for what a return to learning will look like in the fall,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “Schools can use this funding to address coronavirus-related challenges, including online learning support, professional development, educational technology, mental health services and services to support students with disabilities.” Learn more HERE.

At Home, On Track-Staying on track for college during COVID-19 can be challenging. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean being stuck in planning for college. College Board is offering college planning steps for high school seniors and juniors that you can take from home. To assist in keeping college planning on track they provide support for students at home in these areas and more:

  • Get Ready for AP Exams

  • Earn Scholarships for College Planning

  • Build Your College List

  • Understand How Financial Aid Works

  • Keep Your Skills Sharp

  • Explore Careers with College Board Career Finder

Farm To Car-Iowa City Farmers Market has delayed it’s opening until at least Saturday, July 4, 2020. They are working with Field to Family to offer a contact-free version of the Iowa City Farmers Market. To assist you with accessing the market:

  • The deadline for ordering will be Wednesdays at noon.

  • Producers and customers can register online HERE

  • The Iowa City Farmers Market is able to continue to take EBT/SNAP dollars as payment.

  • Drive-through contact-free distribution instructions will be sent once orders are made. 

  • They encourage those who order to create a sign with their last name to display at pick-up.

  • All staff and volunteers at the distribution site will follow all guidelines from the Johnson County Public Health Department.

They are also reminding market goers to please be patient if you do experience difficulties. When things don't go as smoothly as expected, they will work with you to attempt to fix any issues. Learn more about the market HERE.

Iowa Fraud Fighters: Shield Your Savings-Arm yourself with knowledge of common scams and learn how to avoid and report fraud. You can become an Iowa Fraud Fighter by empowering yourself to fight and report fraud. The Trainer Resource Center will be coming soon to the Iowa Fraud Fighters website. To learn more about fraud and to stay up to date visit Iowa Fraud Fighters.

ICRD NEXT > Community Funding for Economic Development-Join in for an overview of EDA, USDA, and IEDA funding resources designed to help communities and regions recover post-pandemic Wednesday, May 6th from 9:30-10:30am. Speakers will share new programs available as a result of Covid-19, changes to existing programs, ideas being discussed as part of future funding packages, and tools or other resources our communities might benefit from. Speakers will include:

  • Steve Castner-US Economic Development Authority (EDA)

  • Grant Menke-Iowa State Director, USDA Rural Development

  • Nichole Hansen-Community Investments Team Leader, Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)

  • Karen Kurt-Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Government (ECICOG)

Webinar registration is required and can be found HERE.

5.05.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: #Givingtuesdaynow

IHME Model Updated-The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model was updated yesterday, May 4th showing the current wave of coronavirus will not diminish until after August 1, 2020. In addition the model predicts 134,475 U.S. COIVD-19 deaths by August 4th. Learn more HERE.

In This Together-#GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity, is set to take place today, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. This global day of action taps into the power of human connection and strengthens communities at the grassroots level. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties will be utilizing this special day to thank local, frontline workers, raise funds to support the Community Disaster Relief Fund, and partner with the Iowa City Noon Rotary to feed those in healthcare providing the backbone of the COVID-19 charge and those in our community most who are vulnerable. Learn More HERE.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Mask Donations-Demand for PPE equipment continues and United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is actively taking steps to secure masks for local nonprofits. Many individuals, groups and businesses from the community have generously offered to help assist in our efforts by sewing cloth masks. Masks are to be thoroughly laundered and sanitized before being donating. Hand-sewn masks can be dropped off anytime in the designated plastic bin outside the door of United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties- 1150 5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, Iowa. Thank you for your support.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Teacher Appreciation Week-Teachers has always served a valuable role for our children, but often were not recognized. Then our schools across the county, serving approximately 55 million children, closed leaving parents to oversee the academic progress of our children at home. With this shift, many of us learned that teachers are not just convenient but essential. During Teacher Appreciation week, May 4th-8th, giving teachers a shout out on social media is a great way to show your appreciation for the hard work they do. Looking for additional ways to say thank you? Visit PTO Today for a complete list of Teacher Appreciation ideas.

May is Bike Month! -With more individuals and families looking for physical exercise options from home, cycling is gaining momentum. Cycling has many physical and mental health benefits and May is Bike Month. The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative wants to celebrate with the 5-2-1-0 Feature:

  • 5 Or More Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables

  • 2 Hours Or Less Of Screen Time

  • 1 Hour Or More Of Physical Activity

  • 0 Sugary Drinks – More Water

Temporary Job Opportunities-There are current openings across the state of Iowa for temporary positions. Temporary job opportunities for employees impacted by Covid-19 closures can be found on the Iowa Workforce Development Temporary Job Opportunities page. To assure the most accurate information is available, the page is updated daily.

ICRD NEXT > Community Funding for Economic Development-Join in for an overview of EDA, USDA, and IEDA funding resources designed to help communities and regions recover post-pandemic Wednesday, May 6th from 9:30-10:30am. Speakers will share new programs available as a result of Covid-19, changes to existing programs, ideas being discussed as part of future funding packages, and tools or other resources our communities might benefit from. Speakers will include:

  • Steve Castner-US Economic Development Authority (EDA)

  • Grant Menke-Iowa State Director, USDA Rural Development

  • Nichole Hansen-Community Investments Team Leader, Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)

  • Karen Kurt-Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Government (ECICOG)

Webinar registration is required and can be found HERE.

 

5.04.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: GIVE IT A WASH

Shifts to Come for Summer-Summer of the Arts is doing its part to flatten the curve by cancelling and modifying some of their programming. They want our community to know that they are reworking their events to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our community.  The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) has also canceled and made tweaks to its summer schedule for the safety of our community.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Mask Donations-Demand for PPE equipment continues and United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is actively taking steps to secure masks for local nonprofits. Many individuals, groups and businesses from the community have generously offered to help assist in our efforts by sewing cloth masks. Masks are to be thoroughly laundered and sanitized before being donating. Hand-sewn masks can be dropped off anytime in the designated plastic bin outside the door of United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties- 1150 5th Street Suite 290 Coralville, Iowa. Thank you for your support.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Summer Camp Delays/Cancellations-The safety and health of campers and staff is always the highest priority for summer camps. With the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), camps are reviewing and updating health-related plans, delays, and/or cancellations. Be sure to communicate with your camp to see what schedule adaptations are being made. Some common local camp sites include:

City of North Liberty

City of Coralville

City of Iowa City

University of Iowa Camps

COVID-19 Resources and Information Guide-The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 600 state organizations and affiliates across the nation. They have recently released a comprehensive guide in hope that it will be helpful to the NAMI community and the greater public during this difficult period. Topics include:

  • I’m working from home and feel disconnected from my routines.

  • I don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor.   

  • I’m having financial trouble because of the effects of COVID-19.

  • I feel isolated and lonely. How can I find connection while quarantined or at home?    

The guide is available in English HERE and Spanish HERE. Additional local support can be found at NAMI of Johnson County.

Give It A Wash-To ensure that you and your loved ones are staying as safe and healthy as possible, it's important to clean cloth face masks regularly to limit the spread of germs. The CDC urges you to give cloth face masks the same level of care as your regular laundry, which means you should wash and dry them often per the CDC's guidelines. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering. Please remember:

  • Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

  • Masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.  

  • A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

COVID-19 and Your Workplace-Keep your employees and their families safe by properly preparing your workplace. Consider the strategies outlined by Relion Insurance Solutions to ensure that your workplace is prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. Find a workplace checklist and more HERE. For the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) click HERE.

ICRD NEXT > Community Funding for Economic Development-Join in for an overview of EDA, USDA, and IEDA funding resources designed to help communities and regions recover post-pandemic Wednesday, May 6th from 9:30-10:30am. Speakers will share new programs available as a result of Covid-19, changes to existing programs, ideas being discussed as part of future funding packages, and tools or other resources our communities might benefit from. Speakers will include:

  • Steve Castner-US Economic Development Authority (EDA)

  • Grant Menke-Iowa State Director, USDA Rural Development

  • Nichole Hansen-Community Investments Team Leader, Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)

  • Karen Kurt-Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Government (ECICOG)

Webinar registration is required and can be found HERE.

5.01.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: Happy May day!

#GivingTuesdayNow-Next week join us in saying thank you to frontline workers who continue to risk their lives to keep everyone safe. It’s all part of the special worldwide event #GivingTuesdayNow, a day of giving and unity. Locally, United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties has partnered with the Iowa City Noon Rotary to launch a 600 meal donation to say thank you to local health care workers and to lift up those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, May 5th Mercy Hospital Iowa City will receive 75 individually boxed lunches to share with those working on the front lines. The Iowa City Noon Rotary has been meeting via Zoom with nearly 90 of their 100+ members every Thursday in place of their regularly scheduled noon, lunch meetings at Brown Deer (owned by Marriott) during the winter and in the spring and summer at Big Grove Iowa City. To support these local restaurants, throughout the month of May Rotary, with the help of United Way, has arranged to purchase boxed lunches and donate them to Mercy Iowa City, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Free Lunch Program of Iowa City and Shelter House. You can a difference next Tuesday, #GivingTuesdayNow, by supporting United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Community Disaster Relief Fund -every gift matters.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Donations

Masks, Shields & More-University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics are requesting your help to donate homemade face masks and shields. Additional items they are in need of include:

  • N95 masks

  • Isolation/surgeon masks

  • Face masks with attached eye shield

  • Full face shields 

  • Isolation gowns

  • Latex-free gloves-Please no latex gloves at this time.

Gift cards are also being requested for goods such as food, groceries, gasoline, or merchandise. Please complete a donation form, and bring a copy with your donation. They will accept donated items outside the UI Hospitals & Clinics Main Entrance from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please call Concierge Services at 1-319-356-1900 or 1-319-678-5500 to schedule a donation drop-off. Please do not enter the Main Entrance with donated items. For your safety and the safety of their patients, visitors, and staff, they will meet you at your vehicle to accept donated items.

Saying Thank You-Our local McDonald’s are inspired each day by our healthcare and first responder heroes and would like to say thank you! Now through Tuesday May 5, first responders and healthcare workers in the U.S. will be able to receive a FREE “Thank You Meal" day or night, via carry out and drive thru by showing a work badge and all of our O'Brien Family McDonald's locations are participating! They hope this small token of gratitude offers a simple, feel good moment to the heroes in our communities.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Celebrate-May Day is a May 1st celebration with a long and varied history, dating back millennia. May Day is one of the four ancient Celtic cross-quarter days, making it an astronomical holiday as it falls between the March equinox and June solstice.  It is a day of unity, togetherness, and rebirth; a day for everyone to come together and celebrate life as we know it! Celebrate this special day by making a May Day Basket filled with flowers or fun things you find around your home. Or try sending a virtual May Day Basket by taking pictures of spring at bloom in your yard or while on a walk through your neighborhood. This holiday is made for social distancing as baskets are traditionally left on neighbors & friends doorsteps. Share a little spring today-Happy May Day!

“We don’t know the injury count, yet.”-Jed Bartlet-We are continually being updated on the physical numbers of the coronavirus pandemic in Iowa-7,145 confirmed cases, 162 deaths, 2,697 confirmed cases recovered- but there is another statistic that we cannot yet factor, mental health impact. Throughout the pandemic, many of us may be experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. Rochelle Honey-Arcement, Director of Mobile Crisis Outreach for CommUnity, recently posted a blog on Social Distancing and Supporting Your Metal Health. In her blog she shared, “ Social distancing is very close to social isolation and we know that isolation can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. Uncertainty about possible consequences for ourselves, our loved ones, and the economy can add to our distress.” Read her complete blog HERE or if you are looking for assistance, a complete listing of CommUnity’s Mental Health Resources can be found HERE.

Public Health Webinar-Join in for another “We’re in this Together” Business Resources webinar today, May 1st at 1:00 pm regarding Public Health considerations for best practices, and regulatory mandates as businesses begin to put together their plans for the future, safely re-opening, and the TestIowa program. The webinar will be moderated by Cady Sinnwell Gerlach, Director of Strategic Operations & Resource Management, Shelter House and panelists include:

  • Sam Jarvis-Community Health Manager, Johnson County Public Health

  • Dave Wilson-Director, Johnson County Emergency Management

Pre-registration is required and can be found HERE.

Employee Resources -We’re In This Together is a collaboration of Think Iowa City, Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City Area Business Partnership & the Iowa City Downtown District. Together they have built a local website to provide continuing updates and resources related to COVID-19. Looking for information on unemployment? How to file unemployment online? These helpful resources and more can be found on their Employee Resources page including local and regional Job Boards. Learn more HERE.

ICR NEXT > Community Funding for Economic Development-Join in for an overview of EDA, USDA, and IEDA funding resources designed to help communities and regions recover post-pandemic Wednesday, May 6th from 9:30-10:30am. Speakers will share new programs available as a result of Covid-19, changes to existing programs, ideas being discussed as part of future funding packages, and tools or other resources our communities might benefit from. Speakers will include:

  • Steve Castner-US Economic Development Authority (EDA)

  • Grant Menke-Iowa State Director, USDA Rural Development

  • Nichole Hansen-Community Investments Team Leader, Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)

  • Karen Kurt-Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Government (ECICOG)

Webinar registration is required and can be found HERE.

 

6.30.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Please wear a mask

On The Rise-Ending at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 29th,  Johnson County saw its second-highest one-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases as reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Monday’s total is one less than the 69 cases reported on April 21, the county’s highest one-day total. Monday was also the 13th consecutive day Johnson County has seen double-digit increases in new cases. The statewide positivity rate — the percentage of people being tested who were confirmed as having COVID-19 — for the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Monday was 6.6 percent with Johnson County’s posting a positivity rate of 12 percent. Recently an article in the Press Citizen shared how some businesses are adjusting their re-opening plans. You can help too, please wear a mask.

Volunteers/Donations

Mask Up - Update

  • 37 Volunteers
  • Over 1,000 Completed Face Masks
  • Nearly 1,000 Face Masks in Progress
  • 40  Face Masks Waiting To Be Made

With only a few masks yet to be made by our amazing volunteers, and the demand to receive masks to help keep our community safe increasing, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is accepting donations of face masks to share with community organizations. If you have face masks to donate-purchased or homemade, a donation bin has been placed outside of the United Way office at 1150 – 5th Street Suite 290 Coralville Iowa. To learn more about the Mask Up program, click HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Further Clarification-Thursday, June 25th, The Iowa Department of Education, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health, released reopening guidelines to meet the individual needs of more than 550,000 school children as well as faculty and other school staff in our state. These guidelines did not include the wearing of masks. This week the Department of Education acknowledged that the reopening guidance needs further clarification, and will release additional information in the near future as well as health and safety measures for teachers to use to assist students and families. Learn More HERE.

Need Tech?-The Coralville Library is pleased to share that their technology services are available to help community members. Some of the services include:

  • Curbside Laptops - Coralville residents can borrow laptops for use in the Library parking lot.  Call the reference desk 319-248-1870 to reserve a laptop.
  • Computer Lab -  Computers available for use in the Library.  Call the reference desk, 319-248-1870, to make a one hour reservation.
  • Wireless printing - Wireless printing available from anywhere. Print from home or your phone then call to schedule to pick it up. See their Wireless Printing Instructions to learn how.
  • Internet hotspots - Wireless hotspots available to borrow for two weeks. Put one on hold in their catalog and pick it up during curbside pickup.   

Learn More HERE.

Free Online Learning-Iowa Workforce Development announced it has partnered with online learning platform Coursera to offer free online learning opportunities to Iowans during the pandemic. Coursera offers more than 4,300 courses available from a variety of academic institutions and organizations worldwide. The online classes and certificate programs are available to Iowans at no cost if they register for and enroll in any of the courses by Sept. 20 and complete their courses by Dec. 31. Coursera participants can access courses and certificate programs in areas such as entrepreneurship, information technology and advanced manufacturing training. Additional information can be found HERE.

COVID Research Study-We recently learned from Corridor Community Action Network, Stead Family Department of Pediatrics Professor Hatem El-Shanti, M.D. has created a research study and is looking for subjects. In communication with Dr. El-Shanti, he shared the purpose of the study is to identify the genetic variations and similarities that influence the susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) and the severity of the disease and the final outcome of the illness. They are asking subjects collect saliva samples in their own homes - there would be no need for in-person visits for this study. If you or anyone you know, have previously tested positive for COVID-19, and are interested in learning more about the study so that you can make informed decision about whether or not you would like to participate, please contact (or have the other individual contact) one of the following members of the research group: Hatem El-Shanti, M.D. Professor Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-356-2675 hatem-el-shanti@uiowa.edu or Elizabeth Phillippi Research Assistant Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-335-1223 elizabeth-phillippi@uiowa.edu.

Iowa’s Limited Liability Act-The COVID-19 Response and Back-To-Business Limited Liability Act was signed into law on June 18, by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds This new law allows immunity for businesses, nursing homes and medical facilities from COVID-19-related lawsuits, except under specific circumstances. Going forward, individuals filing civil lawsuits will have to prove a business, church, or other organization was malicious or showed “reckless disregard” to the risk of COVID-19. This new law protects businesses, nursing homes, medical facilities, non-profits, and companies that produce COVID-19 related protection from lawsuits by defendants who are seeking damages related to COVID-19, except for cases that resulted in gross negligence, hospitalization or death. Companies that knowingly placed people in harm’s way can be sued. Learn More HERE.

Re-Opening Washington-Main Street Washington, in conjunction with Main Street Iowa, needs your help to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on Washington as we enter and progress through the reopening and recovery phases. They have developed a survey to collect your feedback. Your responses will be valuable to their efforts, and the efforts of Washington businesses, to welcome you back to a clean, safe, and comfortable setting; and to strategize and prioritize actions as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. All information is collected anonymously and this quick survey takes about three minutes or less to complete. To complete the survey, click HERE.

Help Sharing The Love-Scheels would love YOUR HELP in sharing which local non-profits you would like to see strengthened with their support. As the Scheel’s Family Fun Weekend was canceled this year, they will be giving away a total of $10,000 to local non-profits to help continue strengthening our outstanding community. To nominate your favorite charities, between June 29th and July 20th click HERE.

State of the Downtown – 2020 Annual Meeting-The Iowa City Downtown District is set to share its 2020 Annual Report highlights with the community, civic leaders, business partners, and Downtown members. Each year, the State of the Downtown is open to ICDD members and the community to celebrate the projects from the last year and hear what’s coming for the organization in the near future. The event will take place from 2:00 – 3:00pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 on Zoom. Learn More HERE.

A Night Under the Stars-While there is no way to simulate the experience of homelessness, there is a way to learn more about housing insecurity and to support those experiencing it. Shelter House's Virtual Sleep Out on July 11 will offer engagement and education opportunities to arm you with information to be part of the work toward change. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Shelter House’s operations, costs, and their ability to fund raise. Join Shelter House’s The Sleep Out: Virtual Edition in your backyard, living room floor, or wherever! Learn More HERE

 

6.23.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: 6 Feet Apart But Close At Heart

UI Updates-The University of Iowa is committed to the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. As a guiding principle, the UI recognizes the more an individual interacts with others, and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The university’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) is working to develop and disseminate policies and processes for returning employees and students to campus with the goals of limiting exposure to and slowing the spread of COVID-19. Click HERE to review information about:

  • Campus Health and Distancing Practices
  • Academics and the Classroom
  • Employee Experience
  • Facilities, Buildings, and Grounds
  • Finance and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Information Technology
  • Parking and Transportation
  • Procurement and Supply Chain
  • The Research Experience
  • The Student Experience

The University of Iowa announced Monday it has paused ticket sales for the 2020 football season. Only individuals who have renewed season tickets and completed per-seat contributions by June 30 will be included in potential Kinnick Stadium seating plans. New sales of the Fight for Iowa digital season pass, mini-plans, group, Hawkeye Village, and single-games ticket sales are paused until a clearer picture of Kinnick Stadium capacity and social distancing requirements are determined. “Hawkeye fans are excited for the upcoming season and we appreciate their continued enthusiasm and support,” said Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Gary Barta. “With the current information available, we need to pause additional sales and focus on reduced-capacity seating models based on our season ticket holders. We anticipate finalizing this by late July and will share with our fans. The option of having the ability to accommodate as many Hawkeye fans who are comfortable attending a game in Kinnick Stadium is still one of the scenarios.” See the complete update HERE.

Holding Our Own-To Iowans, there is nothing more important than family, friends, and community. During times of tragedy, we are resilient, we are strong, and we are proud. While every community throughout the world is weathering a Great Big Storm right now, here in the Iowa City area we will be Holding Our Own by supporting local businesses, helping those in need, and working together so that we come out BETTER TOGETHER. Enjoy this insightful video, released from We’re Better Together Project yesterday Monday, June 22nd on how we hold our own. Thanks to the support from MidWestOne Bank, West Bank, GreenState Credit Union, Great Western Bank, Hills BankTwo Rivers Bank, U.S. Bank and CBI Bank and Trust, and other area partners, the Project Better Together team (Think Iowa CityIowa City Downtown DistrictIowa City Area Business Partnership, and Iowa City Area Development Group) has created a new community-wide Shop Local program to help encourage and motivate local spending at Johnson County local businesses. The Holding Our Own Shop Local program intends to motivate over $1,000,000 of local spending through showcasing and incentivizing dollars spent.

Volunteers/Donations

Mask Up - Update

28 Volunteers

692 Completed Face Masks

943 Face Masks in Progress

470 Face Masks Waiting Yo Be Made

United Way has assembled kits for volunteers to sew cloth face masks. Mask Making Kits include cut fabric, elastic strips, instructions and a pattern for the assembly of either 10, 20 or 30 masks.  Volunteers will supply their own thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine and other sewing equipment. To comply with social distancing and safety recommendations, interested volunteers please contact United Way to schedule an appointment to check out a Mask Making Kit. Volunteers are asked to return the completed masks in the same bag the kit was received in to United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties at 1150 5th Street, Suite 290, Coralville, Iowa 52241. Masks will be distributed to service organizations, hospitals and community members which are in need of cloth masks. This volunteer opportunity was funded thanks to gift from a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Johnson County. Learn More HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Navigate Your Way to Higher Wages! -Take advantage of free training for in-demand jobs with Kirkwood Community College’s KPACE. Your journey is based on your interests, education level and life situation. Interested in gaining Medical Office Professional training and earning over $16/hour (State of Iowa Median Wage Source)? Tuition should run you close to $2,000 but with KPACE your cost is $0. And, you won’t go it alone. Guidance and support is available to navigate your journey to success. Visit HERE for more program information or to gain connections to call/email a KPACE team member.

2020 Innovation in Education Awards-The 2020 Innovation in Education awards, jointly presented by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership and the Iowa City Area Development Group, honor educators, students, and classroom programs that model the future of K-12 education. This event has been rescheduled from its original April date, and will now be hosted virtually on Tuesday, July 21. Now more than ever our educators deserve to be recognized for their heroic work on behalf of children and families. Nominations are now being accepted for 8 awards, including Volunteer of the Year and the Creative Collaboration Award, which recognizes a business or nonprofit that partners with schools or school programs. Multiple submissions and self-nominations are encouraged! Nominate through this form before 4:30 pm on Friday, June 26

6 Feet Apart But Close At Heart-Last week a donor dropped off free T-Shirts to the North Liberty Community Pantry. The shirt, designed for all of their staff and a few volunteers, has a front image sharing 6 Feet Apart But Close at Heart with the backside listing the Johnson County local community pantries’ websites for quick reference. We salute our community pantry and food rescue partners in Johnson & Washington Counties, as well as all of our Partner Agencies whose essential staff and volunteers have been working throughout the pandemic. Visit our website to learn more about United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Partner Agencies.

A Storybook Trail-Come out to the Johnson County Conservation Education Center each week to hike the half-mile trail loop and enjoy a nature-themed story along the way. Storybook Trails are a great combination of fitness, outdoor time, and reading! The storybook trail uses corrugated plastic boards (painted blue for aesthetics), and book pages laminated using heavy duty 10 mil lamination pouches. A new book will be featured weekly, and a virtual activity guide will be paired with each book to help extend the learning and engagement.

Road Closure, Restaurant Seating Expansion-In an effort to encourage social distancing and outdoor dining as businesses reopen, the city has closed a small stretch of North Linn Street — from Hamburg Inn to the Market Street intersection — to traffic, allowing restaurants to expand their patios into the road. This temporary, mini ped mall is affectionately called “Northside Outside” by area businesses. Tables, chairs, plants and patio umbrellas now decorate the street as Hamburg InnBrix Cheese and Wine Shop, Wild Culture Kombucha and Goosetown Café utilize the new space for outdoor seating. See the complete article from Little Village HERE.

Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Program-Recently, Ellen McCabe, Executive Director of the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County shared national data from the National Leased Housing Association siting 48.5 percent of renters reported being unemployed.  Federal Supplemental Unemployment Benefits are critical and scheduled to end on 7/31/20.  The Iowa Finance Authority recently launched the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program, which provides short-term relief to income-eligible renters and homeowners who have experienced a documented loss of income due to COVID-19.  The Iowa Finance Authority will be hosting a series of webinars to review the new program and address any questions. Eligible Iowans must be:

  • Current renters and homeowners that are at risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a documented COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020.
  • Have a household income at the time of application that does not exceed 80% of the median family income, which varies by household size and county.-A listing of income limits is available HERE
  • Has not received the $600 additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits.

For additional eligibility information is available HERE.  Assistance that is available include:

  • Rental assistance for up to four months, including up to two months in arrears, beginning with April 1 rent, ($3,200 maximum).
  • Manufactured home rent and lot rent.
  • Mortgage assistance for up to four months (this can include up to two months in arrears) beginning with April 1 mortgage payment, ($3,000 maximum).

Additional program details and the application are available at IowaHousingRecovery.com.

CBJ Mid-Year Economic Review-Join in this Wednesday, June 24 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. for the Corridor Business Journal’s Mid-Year Economic Review will examine how the economy has changed in 2020 and look ahead to the second half of the year. Charles Evans, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will deliver the keynote address. Following Mr. Evan’s remarks, a panel of local business leaders will discuss opportunities and challenges facing their industries in the wake of COVID-19. The webinar will be recorded and shared in its entirety with registrants who cannot watch live. Register HERE.

Business Operations in the Age of COVID-19-As the nation has gripped with shutdowns due to Coronavirus, business leaders have been pressed into creative problem-solving. While it appears that COVID-19 may be an ongoing threat to public health for some time, we are now in a place where businesses must continue to operate, while protecting their customers and employees from infection. Join in this virtual seminar hosted by Relion Insurance Group on June 25th at 9:00 a.m. Learn more and register HERE.

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Photo by Clarity Guerra.

6.16.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: FOR THE SAFETY OF STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

For the Safety of Students, Faculty & Staff-For the Safety of Students, Faculty & Staff-The University of Iowa is committed to the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff. In a recent email to UI vendors and contractors from Renee Funk, Senior Purchasing Agent-Strategic Sourcing at The University of Iowa, she shared as UI recognizes the more an individual interacts with others, and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread thus the university’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) is working to develop and disseminate policies and processes for returning employees and students to campus with the goals of limiting exposure to and slowing the spread of COVID-19. The policies and procedures provided in this guidance are those recommended by the CIMT, to university leadership. These policies and procedures will continue to align with policy decisions made by the governor and Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The university will continue to follow the latest guidance from UI campus experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other governmental agencies. Beginning June 22nd, vendors and contractors will be required to wear face coverings (cloth covering, mask or face shield) when entering a university building, in the presence of others and in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Volunteers/Donations

Table to Table-Table to Table is looking for food rescue route volunteers to box and load food from grocery stores and, using Table to Table vehicles, transport to local food pantries and shelters.  Volunteers are also needed to help with food rescue vehicle preparation. Food rescue route volunteer shifts take place between 8:00am-Noon Monday-Friday and 9:00am-Noon Saturday, and typically last 2 hours.  Vehicle preparation shifts are 11:00am-2:00pm Monday-Friday. Learn More HERE.

Mask Up-United Way has assembled kits for volunteers to sew cloth face masks. Mask Making Kits include cut fabric, elastic strips, instructions and a pattern for the assembly of either 10, 20 or 30 masks.  Volunteers will supply their own thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine and other sewing equipment. To comply with social distancing and safety recommendations, interested volunteers please contact United Way to schedule an appointment to check out a Mask Making Kit. Volunteers are asked to return the completed masks in the same bag the kit was received in to United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties at 1150 5th Street, Suite 290, Coralville, Iowa 52241. Masks will be distributed to service organizations, hospitals and community members which are in need of cloth masks. This volunteer opportunity was funded thanks to gift from a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Johnson County. Learn More HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

ICCSD Survey-As the Iowa City Community School District plans for their return to school for the 2020-2021 school year, they would like to hear from you. They are seeking feedback that will help inform their planning process. This work will help prepare for multiple scenarios for the start of the 2020-21 school year. They will be ready to help their students succeed academically while ensuring their health and safety are not compromised. They invite families to take part in a Parent Return-to-Learn survey. If you have not already done so, please take a few moments to participate HERE

Iowa Department of Education Technical Survey-The State of Iowa would like to ask you about technology access for your household. This information will help in planning for the next school year, should learning from home need to occur because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note:

  • The survey should take less than five minutes to complete.
  • The survey only needs to be taken one time for your entire household.
  • In your responses, only include students who will be in grades preschool through twelfth grade, or participating in post-secondary education, during the 2020-21 school year.
  • There is a drop-down in the upper left corner of the survey to change the survey language from English to Spanish.
  • The survey will be available through June 24th.

To complete the survey click HERE. If you have any difficulties while completing the survey, please email support_iowa@panoramaed.com, or contact your local school district.
 

UIHC Testing For All Patients-As of June 11th, UI Health Care’s newly expanded testing capabilities will now require testing for patients who are not currently displaying symptoms. Tests are processed on site at UI Health Care’s laboratory, which has the ability to process more than 700 COVID-19 tests per day. On-site testing enables patients to receive quicker results. Patients who test positive will be moved to an isolated COVID unit with additional safety measures in place to prevent the spread of disease. To learn more and discover the safety measures UIHC is activating to protect against the spread of COVID-19 click HERE .

Masked Emotions-Many of us are finding it hard to express our emotions as we interact with others while wearing a face mask.  However Ursula Hess, a psychologist and professor at Humboldt University of Berlin, has shared we can express our feelings in many different ways that don't rely on the lower part of our face. It can be subtle — a raising of one eyebrow, for example, or explicit — like hitting a fist on a table. Some emotions don't register on our faces at all, she added. For instance, hope.  “We have this expression, 'in a hopeful voice,' so clearly we think voices can express hope — but faces, they don't do that." How do you feel about masks? While most of us have the innate skills to decode and respond to emotions from the eye region, other factors are at play that can interfere with whether we actually do this. Learn more HERE.

Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Program-The Iowa Finance Authority recently launched the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program, which provides short-term relief to income-eligible renters and homeowners who have experienced a documented loss of income due to COVID-19.  The Iowa Finance Authority will be hosting a series of webinars to review the new program and address any questions. Eligible Iowans must be:

  • Current renters and homeowners that are at risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a documented COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020.
  • Have a household income at the time of application that does not exceed 80% of the median family income, which varies by household size and county.-A listing of income limits is available HERE
  • Has not received the $600 additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits.

For additional eligibility information is available HERE.  Assistance that is available include:

  • Rental assistance for up to four months, including up to two months in arrears, beginning with April 1 rent, ($3,200 maximum).
  • Manufactured home rent and lot rent.
  • Mortgage assistance for up to four months (this can include up to two months in arrears) beginning with April 1 mortgage payment, ($3,000 maximum).

Additional program details and the application are available at IowaHousingRecovery.com. Please register for the webinar on Wed, Jun 17, 2020 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT -after registering you will receive an email confirmation containing login instructions.

Local Rental Assistance-The City of Iowa City is working with Shelter House to offer financial assistance to those most at risk of eviction due to unpaid rent and/or utility bills and who are not eligible for Iowa’s Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program.   If you are working with a household who is not able to pay their rent, please have them complete the pre-application checklist for the State’s program at https://www.iowafinance.com/covid-application/.  If they are not eligible for the State’s program, please refer them to Shelter House to determine if we can assist.   Shelter House will provide emergency rent and/or utility assistance, up to $3,200, for Iowa City households with incomes up to 80% of area median income with a demonstrated loss of income after March 17, 2020.    Assistance for up to two months may be paid for unpaid rent and/or utilities incurred after April 1, 2020.  The tenant must be in arrears for rent and/or utility assistance to qualify.  To apply, please contact Gina Woolsey, Shelter House, at gina.woolsey@shelterhouseiowa.org or (319) 351-0326.  Gina will do an initial eligibility triage with the potential client and gather required documentation.  The client will be assisted through our Coordinated Entry process.   Appointments will need to be made if they want to go to Shelter House.  Shelter House is not allowing drop-in inquires due to COVID-19 at this time.  

The City of Iowa City anticipates additional funds through the federal CARES Act (CDBG-CV) for eviction prevention.   This program is a bridge for those tenants in need before we have access to our federal funds (most likely in late June or July), but who do not qualify for the State’s program.  When our CARES Act funding is available, staff will send you another email about funding availability, application process and who is eligible. Applicants for this program must meet the following qualifications:

  • Provide documentation of having a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) and provide documentation that the household sustained a loss of income after March 17, 2020.
  • If the Applicant is a full-time student under the age of 24, they must qualify per the HUD Section 8 Part 5 Definition as defined in 24 CFR Part 5.
  • The lease must be in the Applicant’s name or Applicant must submit documentation that they are responsible for rent or a portion of rent for that unit.
  • The household must not be able to qualify for IFA’s COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program.  Must either have a denial email or clearly demonstrate the applicant doesn’t qualify such as verification of receipt of the $600 per week in additional unemployment funds (a federal stimulus benefit).
  • Must have outstanding rent, verified by the landlord, for April, May or June of 2020.  For utility assistance must have notice that utilities are in arrears from the utility provider.
  • Housing Choice Voucher tenants, public housing or any tenant receiving monthly housing benefits, adjusted for income, from the government are not eligible for emergency rent as already receiving subsidized rental assistance.  These tenants are eligible for utility assistance.
  • Applicants may not apply for or receive other financial assistance to cover the assistance provided by this grant. 
  • The home/unit must be in the corporate limits of Iowa City.

State of the Community-Join in Wednesday, June 17th at 2:00 pm for a live webinar with community leaders to learn more about Project Better Together – a public/private/non-profit joint initiative to help our community recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a transformed future with greater economic diversity, growth, inclusivity, resilience, and well-being for all. Moderated by Kim Casko, President & CEO, Iowa City Area Business Partnership, you will learn more about the project, what is underway, and how you can get involved. Panelists include:

  • Mark Nolte-Project Director, Project Better Together
  • Tom Banta-Director of Strategic Growth, Iowa City Area Development Group
  • Nancy Bird-Executive Director, Iowa City Downtown District
  • Jim Conard-Eastern Iowa Market President, West Bank
  • Ying Sa-Founder and Principal Certified Public Accountant, Community CPA & Associates, Inc.
  • Cady Gerlach-Director of Strategic Operations & Resource Management, Shelter House
  • Jennifer Banta-Vice President, Advocacy & Community Development, Iowa City Area Business Partnership

Pre-Registration is required and can be found HERE.

 

 

6.09.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Getting CLear ON THE VISION

Getting Clear on the Vision-Project Better Together aims to build a transformed future for our community with greater economic diversity, growth, inclusivity, resilience, and well-being for all. As we pull together as a community, we don't just want to get back to "normal" we want to emerge stronger, better, more resilient. To do that we need to paint a clear picture of what "Better" looks like. To assist with getting clear on the vision of a “Better” Johnson County, Iowa, please take a moment to complete this survey to provide input to the steering committee-Click HERE now to take the survey.

Volunteers/Donations

Seeking Volunteers for “Mask Up”

  • Currently there are 13 volunteers working on constructing 380 face masks.
  • 60 face masks have been made and returned to United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties.
  • 1,020 masks are in kits waiting for volunteers to pick up.

United Way is seeking volunteers to assist in the sewing of protective fabric face masks. “Mask Up” is a collaborative program focused on providing face masks to those who are in desperate need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Thanks to a generous gift from a donor through the Heartland-Mitzvah (the modern Hebrew term for an individual act of human kindness) fund, housed at the Community Foundation of Johnson County, United Way has purchased supplies and prepared kits for volunteers to assemble face masks. Kits include cut fabric, elastic strips, instructions, and a pattern for the assembly of either 10, 20 or 30 masks. Volunteers will supply their own thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine and other sewing equipment. Learn More HERE or to Volunteer today click HERE.

Clam Shells Needed!-Although the dining room at United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties' Partner Agency Iowa City Free Lunch Program remains closed they are still preparing lunch 6 days a week and packaging it to go for those in need. Yesterday, thanks to a generous donation by Eco Care Supply, they received 400 "to go" containers to continue to safely full fill their mantra "An open door, a full plate, no questions asked."  These will go fast! If you know of an organization who is able to donate containers, please email info@UnitedWayJWC.org -Thank you! 

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Ready to Start Your Summer Reading?-Though local libraries are still closed for guests, curb side pickup is being offered to make sure you still can enjoy your summer reading.

  • The Iowa City Library is offering curbside service from 3.00pm-6.00pm, Monday through Friday, and from 10.00am-1.00pm on Saturdays. Safety continues to be their priority, and when you arrive to pick up your materials, you will see all staff wearing masks and assuring that the transfer of library materials is managed in a way that allows for social distancing. Call 319.356.5200 to learn more. 
  • Although the Coralville Library building will be closed, the library will continue to provide services and librarians will be available via phone (319-248-1850) and email (reference@coralville.org) the following hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm to assist you with your summer needs.
  • The North Liberty Library is offering Library Hop service for patrons who wish to borrow library materials while the Community Center is closed to the public. Library staff will sanitize, package, checkout up to six (6) items to your library account, and walk them to your car. Primary Hop is a “Librarian’s Dozen” bag of randomly selected and sanitized picture books for kids. To request hop services contact the library by email northlibertylibraryservices@gmail.com  or by calling (319)626-5701. If you are unable or prefer not to pick-up, materials may be mailed upon request. Please return library materials in the west side outdoor drop box. MONDAY - FRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 5 P.M.
  • The Washington Public Library building is CLOSED for an indefinite period in regard to the Covid-19 Pandemic outbreak in Iowa. They are offering no-contact curbside service with a check-out limit of 2 books per patron & 2 DVDs per family. Call 653-2726 or email tammy.valentine@washington.lib.ia.us  to request materials & schedule pick-up time once a week. Pick-up days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and pick-up bags will be on a cart at the front door of the library and will be labeled with your initials & the last 3 digits of your phone at your scheduled pick-up time. Please return all materials to the OUTSIDE book drops.  They will be quarantined for 7 days before going back into circulation.

Considerations for Travelers-COVID-19 cases and deaths have been reported in all 50 states, and the situation is constantly changing. As we begin to re-open, our travel habits will begin to extend. Knowing travel increases the chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. If you are considering travel for work or pleasure please consider:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?-You can get infected while traveling.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?-Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip?-Being within 6 feet of others increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?-Older adults and people of any age who have a serious underlying medical condition are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?-If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Does the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling?-Some state and local governments may require people who have recently traveled to stay home for 14 days.
  • If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work or school?-People with COVID-19 disease need to stay home until they are no longer considered infectious.

Learn more about traveling during a pandemic HERE.

Reopening Guidance-The State of Iowa’s complete Reopening Guidance for can be found on the COVID-19 In Iowa website providing information on:

To learn more on these areas: Health & Human Services, Employment, Transportation & Travel, Education, Business, Hospitality, & Leisure, and Public Safety visit HERE.

Not Received Your Economic Impact Payment Yet?-If you have yet to receive your Economic Impact Payment, you can watch an IRS video to learn more about the online tool that will tell you when you’ll get your Economic Impact Payment located HERE or for a direct link to:

  • Get your payment status
  • See your payment type
  • Provide your bank account information (in certain limited cases)

You can visit HERE -Data is updated once per day overnight, so there's no need to check back more than once per day.

What’s In The “PPPFA”?-On June 3, 2020, the Senate passed H.R. 7010 (previously passed by the House on May 28, 2020) entitled the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (the “PPPFA”). Once signed into law by the President, the PPPFA will amend the CARES Act in several meaningful ways. The ICAreaTogether website outlines 9 key points of the bill including:

  1. Creates a floor of 5 years for loan maturity.
  2. Extends the covered period for obtaining and using a loan until 12/31/2020.
  3. For purposes of loan forgiveness, redefines the covered period to begin on the date of loan origination and end on the earlier of (a) the date that is 24 weeks after loan origination or (b) 12/31/2020.
  4. For purposes of avoiding a reduction in the amount of loan forgiveness, extends the date for rehire of employees to 12/31/2020.

To review the remaining 5 points of change visit HERE or for an in-depth look at the bill visit the National Law Review site HERE.

 

6.02.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Eviction Prevention

Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Program-The Iowa governor’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expired Wednesday the 27th and last Friday, May 29th Gov. Kim Reynolds announced new details on how the state will help fund rent or mortgage costs for Iowans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa has received $1.25 billion in funding to pay for pandemic-related expenses through the CARES Act. Reynolds has allocated $22 million of that for the eviction and foreclosure program. The Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program will help renters and home owners who have lost wages by providing up to four months of assistance, with up to $3,200 available for renters, and $3,000 for home owners. To qualify, an individual or household must earn no more than 80% of the median family income for the county and cannot be receiving the extra $600 in additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and assistance will be provided to eligible applicants on a first come, first ready to proceed basis until all funds have been exhausted. Applications must be submitted online through the online application portal. Applications will not be accepted by email, U.S. mail, fax or any other means. All payments go to the landlord or the mortgage company. To learn more about the program, visit the Iowa Finance Authority's website HERE.

Donations

Mitzvah-Knowing the CDC recommendation to wear a face mask in settings where staying six feet away from others is difficult, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties (UWJWC) and The Community Foundation of Johnson County (CFJC) have set a goal to distribute 2,000 face masks to our community. Mask Up is a collaborative program focused on providing face masks to those who are in desperate need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Thanks to a generous gift from a donor through the Heartland-Mitzvah (the modern Hebrew term for an individual act of human kindness) fund, housed at the CFJC, United Way has purchased supplies and prepared kits for volunteers to assemble face masks. Kits include cut fabric, elastic strips, instructions, and a pattern for the assembly of either 10, 20 or 30 masks. Volunteers will supply their own thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine and other sewing equipment. Volunteers are asked to return the completed masks in the same bag the kit was received in to United Way who will then distribute them to service organizations, hospitals and community members which are in need masks. To comply with social distancing and safety recommendations, interested volunteers can call United Way at 319-338-7823 to arrange a time to pick up their mask kit. To learn more, click HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Student Food Aid-Thanks to a $63 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, more than 225,000 Iowa students will get $279 each to help pay for food as a replacement for free and reduced lunches they would have had at school.  The Iowa Department of Human Services is administering the Pandemic EBT program expects to issue benefits in late June on SNAP debit cards to cover costs from March, April and May. K-12th grade students of families already using SNAP would see the extra $279 deposited on their account. For families who don’t already have a SNAP card, they will receive one in the student’s name but parents will be able to use it. To learn more click HERE.

ICR NEXT > Virtual Education-ICR NEXT is a webinar series focused on helping the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) region thrive together post-pandemic. The initiative is driven by ICR IOWA, a joint venture of the Iowa City Area Development Group and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. Join in for the next webinar Virtual Education Wednesday, June 10th from 9:30-10:30 am moderated by Tom Banta, Director of Strategic Growth for the Iowa City Area Development Group. Speakers include:

  • Julie Murphy, Senior Director of Learning Resources for ACT
  • Michal Eynon-Lynch, Chief Educator and Co-Founder of Pear Deck

Register HERE.

COVID Recovery Iowa -The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) is pleased to announce the State of Iowa has received nearly $1 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer free counseling to any Iowan who has been affected, in any way, by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The program, called COVID Recovery Iowa, is available starting today. Counseling will take place via virtual sessions, chat or phone call. People of all ages may join groups online to find support and learn new strategies to cope with the effects of the pandemic in a variety of creative ways. Learn more HERE.

Medicaid Members Ensured Access to Service-In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the President’s issuance of an emergency declaration for all states, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has taken action to ensure Medicaid members have continued access to services. Effective March 13, 2020, DHS began waiving all co-pays, premiums, and contributions for Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAWP), Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities (MEPD), Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (Hawki), and Dental Wellness Plan (DWP) members until the emergency declaration is lifted. Learn more HERE.

Two New Unemployment Benefit Programs-Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) recently released information regarding two new unemployment benefit programs available to Iowans. 

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), was created by the CARES Act and provides an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits. PEUC is available for weeks of unemployment beginning on or after March 29, 2020, and continuing through the week ending December 26, 2020. The weekly benefit amount for PEUC is the same amount an individual receives for regular unemployment benefits. Payments will include all back payments for which the individual is eligible, in addition to $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments through the end of July. More Information can be found HERE.
  • State Extended Benefits (EB) have also been triggered. Unemployed workers who exhaust their allotted weeks of regular state unemployment and then the 13 weeks of federal PEUC benefits will now be eligible for State EB, which provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular unemployment benefits while State EB is still triggered “On” in Iowa. The weekly benefit amount for State EB is the same amount an individual receives for regular unemployment benefits and PEUC. No additional action is needed by individual claimants at this time as claimants will automatically be moved to the two new programs as they exhaust regular unemployment benefits. Iowans will not be eligible for State EB until PEUC benefits have first been exhausted. More information can be found HERE.

State of the Community: Project Better Together-Join in for a live webinar with community leaders to learn more about Project Better Together – a joint initiative to help our community recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and come out even stronger. Learn how you cano get involved! Moderated by: Josh Schamberger, President of Think Iowa City, and Mark Nolte, Director of Project Better Together. Panelists include:

  • Ying Sa-Founder and Principal Certified Public Accountant, Community CPA & Associates, Inc.
  • Kim Casko-President & CEO, Iowa City Area Business Partnership
  • Cady Gerlach-Director of Strategic Operations and Resource Management, Shelter House
  • Kate Moreland-President, Iowa City Area Development Group
  • Jim Conard-Eastern Iowa Market President, West Bank
  • Nancy Bird-Executive Director, Iowa City Downtown District

Register HERE

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7.28.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: CORONAVIRUS VACCINE CLINICAL TRIALS BEGIN

Coronavirus Vaccine Clinical Trials Begin-According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, there are more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 146,935 people have died. This week on Monday, July 27, 2020, marked the start of the first Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States. Moderna, a biotechnology company, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed an investigational vaccine according to CNN Health. The trial is to be conducted at nearly 100 US research sites. The trial is expected to enroll about 30,000 adult volunteers and evaluates the safety of the Moderna/NIH vaccine and whether it can prevent symptomatic Covid-19 after two doses, among other outcomes. Learn More HERE.

Iowa City Area Resiliency Awards-Iowa City Area Development Group(ICAD) needs your input! ICAD wants to celebrate businesses and people in Johnson County that have shown leadership, strength, and resiliency in these difficult times. Learn more about the Iowa City Area Resiliency Awards and submit your nominations HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Volunteer to Help Neighbors CONNECT- United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ CONNECT pop up events will be on July 28, 29 & 30th from 4-6 pm at three Johnson County elementary schools. The pop ups will assist community members affected by COVID-19 to find information and resources.  Representatives from the Iowa City Community School DistrictJohnson County Social Services and local service organizations will be available to assist participants with signing up for services, information and more. Volunteers will help United Way make the CONNECT pop ups a valuable experience for all who attend! Click HERE to volunteer.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

How to Support Your Child for a Very Different School Year-As we all make plans for back-to-school this year, regardless of what it looks like, it's important to remember to make sure to take care of yourself, as well as your kids, and no matter what the school year brings, you as a parent or guardian will make an impact on their year - "your care and compassion will nurture their resilience. Just our presence in their lives is a strengthening force." Washington County, IA Emergency Management shared this helpful link with some good info from PBS, click HERE to read more.

Build A Trip-Summer is the perfect time to hit the road and explore! From the Great River Road to stops along I-80, there's nothing like getting to know Iowa from the driver's seat. Follow Travel Iowa’s road trip inspirations or create your own driving itinerary using their "Build a Trip" Iowa Route Map! Start your journey HERE.

Warning: Dangerous Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to warn consumers and health care professionals not to use certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the dangerous presence of methanol, or wood alcohol – a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. The FDA first warned about some of the methanol-containing hand sanitizers being sold in retail stores and online in June. The agency issued a further warning earlier this month about an increasing number of adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death, primarily reported to poison control centers and state departments of health. The agency has posted a do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products, which is being updated regularly. Learn more HERE.

CONNECT Pop Ups-People in our community are struggling daily with economic challenges as a direct result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is responding to this crisis by organizing CONNECT pop up sites strategically located in three Johnson County cities. Thanks to a partnership with the Iowa City Community School District, United Way will provide our neighbors with connections to financial help and resources. Information, applications, and resources will range from Employment & Public Benefits, Rent, Utility, & Mortgage Housing Assistance, Iowa City Community School District Services, Head Start/Early Head Start, and more – all under one roof. CONNECT pop up sites will also be provided:

All are welcome! Pre-Registration is required for all attendees and can be found HERE. Please continue to share this email, or our Facebook/Twitter posts to spread the word.

COVID-19 - Related Medical Legal Issues Facing Employers-Join Dr. Cindy Hanawalt, MD, PhD UnityPoint Health and Attorney Terri C. Davis Shuttleworth & Ingersoll & for a 90-minute presentation that covers frequently asked questions about the legal issues employers are experiencing as it relates to the medical implications of COVID-19.Topics to be addressed will include:

  • OSHA

  • FMLA & COVD

  • Employee Accommodation

  • Screening Programs in the workplace

  • Employees exposed to COVID positive coworker

  • Work place response to COVID Positive Employees

Learn about these topics and more. Information more on their Facebook event HERE.

Census & COVID-The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. Trying to get every community member counted, the Census Bureau has sent one last reminder to households that still need to take the 2020 Census. Respond now so that census workers won't need to knock on your door in August. Take the Census click HERE or call 1-844-330-2020 (English) or 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish).
 

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7.21.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: CONNECT POP UPS

Face Mask Mandate-Iowa City residents will be required to wear masks beginning Tuesday. Mayor Bruce Teague stated on Monday he is issuing an order requiring face coverings be worn in public in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa City. Johnson County Public health officials are distributing special signage to help promote, encourage, and normalize the use of facial coverings in public spaces. Businesses in the county can call the department (319) 356-6040 or send an email HERE to request one of the decals.

CONNECT Pop Ups-People in our community are struggling daily with economic challenges as a direct result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is responding to this crisis by organizing CONNECT pop up sites strategically located in three Johnson County cities. Thanks to a partnership with the Iowa City Community School District, beginning Tuesday, July 28, 2020, from 4-6 pm at Coralville Central Elementary School, United Way will provide our neighbors with connections to financial help and resources. Information, applications, and resources will range from Employment & Public Benefits, Rent, Utility, & Mortgage Housing Assistance, Iowa City Community School District Services, Head Start/Early Head Start, and more – all under one roof. CONNECT pop up sites will also be provided in North Liberty at Van Allen Elementary School on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, and in Iowa City at Alexander Elementary School on Thursday, July 30, 2020, both from 4-6 pm. All CONNECT pop up support is free to local individuals and families. Volunteers and staff from United WayGoodwillHACAP, and Johnson County Social Services will engage in an information-gathering process to identify the most pressing needs of attendees. They then will share relevant information and applications as well as make referrals to local non-profits. Also, a food box will be provided to everyone upon exit. Know someone who could benefit from connect? Please share this email, or our Facebook/Twitter posts, and the registration form found HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Volunteer to Help Neighbors CONNECT-United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ CONNECT pop up events will be on July 28, 29 & 30th from 4-6pm at three Johnson County elementary schools. The pop ups will assist community members affected by COVID-19 to find information and resources.  Representatives from the Iowa City Community School DistrictJohnson County Social Services and local service organizations will be available to assist participants with signing up for services, information and more. Volunteers will help United Way make the CONNECT pop ups a valuable experience for all who attend! Click HERE to volunteer.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Re-Review of Return To Learn Plans-In the Governor’s Press Conference last Friday, Reynolds stressed the need for schools to prioritize in-person learning in the fall. Reynolds next signed a proclamation outlining limited conditions under which schools could move to remote learning. She further shared, schools may offer online programs as voluntary options for parents to select for their children, but districts must receive state approval if they want to move an entire building or district to online-only lessons. The proclamation, which covers public and accredited private schools, does allow districts to conduct primarily online classes in certain situations:

  • If parents or guardians voluntarily select remote learning as an option for their children. 

  • If the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Department of Public Health approve a temporary switch to remote learning for an entire district or building because of public health conditions.

  • If schools work with state and local public health departments to temporarily move some students or classrooms to remote learning due to health conditions in the building. 

  • If schools temporarily move to remote learning in the case of inclement weather. 

According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the Iowa City Community School District officials are still working to understand the proclamation's implications and determine how many students will return to campus.

Tour The Park-Are you looking for an awesome social distancing activity that can get you outdoors? Look no further, Anders and Evan just completed an Iowa City park tour. The City of Iowa City is working on a newly designed park map that will include a complete listing of all 60 Iowa City parks and features for each location. To view our current park information visit, click HERE

Garden Recovery Program-Table to Table is excited to announce the beginning of a new Garden Recovery program! Are you a home gardener? Do you have more produce than you know what to do with? Table to Table would like to help you make use of that extra produce. By using an app called Fresh Food Connect, they plan to connect every home gardener with extra produce to a courier, who will pick it up from your home and then distribute this food to where it is needed in the community. For those of you who are familiar with Table To Table’s regular Food Rescue Program, the Garden Recovery Program is very similar, except you get to be the donor! If you have a home farm or garden and have produce that you would like to put to good use in your community, please reach out to zach@table2table.org.

Small Business Support-Friday, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced the launch of a new small business utility disruption prevention program. The program will provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that faced significant hardship in the payment of utility bills for service provided during the months of disruption to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program offers grants up to $7,500 to be applied to utility bill debt. Learn more HERE.

Coralville Transit Changes-Based on public feedback, research and data collected in the recent Iowa City Area Transit Study, Coralville Transit has purposed changes to routes and schedules available for view HERE: A public hearing for the proposed transit changes will be held during the Coralville City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 28 at 6:30 pm at Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th Street. For questions about routes, contact Vicky Robrock, Director of Parking and Transportation, at vrobrock@coralville.org  or 319.248.1790.  To submit written comments for the public hearing, send comments by 5:00 pm on July 28, 2020, to Thor Johnson, City Clerk, at tjohnson@coralville.org  or 1512 7th Street, Coralville, Iowa, 52241. If approved by the City Council, the new routes would go into effect in the fall of 2020.

 

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7.14.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS

Looking At the Numbers-The City of Iowa City Government recently shared the age groups of those with positive cases of COVID-19 in Johnson and nearby communities. 70%, of COVID-19 cases in Johnson County are from younger individuals 18-40 years of age. While in Polk County, 50% of cases are in that same age group followed by Linn County at 42% and Scott County at 46%. This is a good reminder for young people of all counties in Iowa that they are not immune to COVID-19 and to please, stay home as much as you can to help slow the spread.

Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) Volunteer Opportunities can be found at COVID19volunteers.org

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Kickstart Your Learning-Kirkwood Community College is offering FREE computer and digital classes to help you brush up on using technology  in the classroom and the workplace.  Learn everything from computer fundamentals and online safety to improving your communications and working in the new digital world. Register by calling 319-398-102 or visit HERE to learn more.

#TogetherWithGoblins-Dylan Jacobson, a comic writer/artist and illustrator and a Sioux Falls native, has created several comic series. Included on his resume is the Sioux Falls based series Champions, as well as This is my Private Life, Tide That Returns, and Unstoppable Ivy. Most recently he created a series of Goblin coloring pages (#TogetherWithGoblins) which he is offering free through is Facebook page to provide art that can be downloaded and colored at home during the pandemic. Check out his creative Goblins HERE.

Project Recovery Iowa-DHS has launched a new virtual counseling service that will help anyone struggling with pandemic related issues regardless of income status for free. These services are paid by the state and are set up for all Iowans to access. Project Recovery Iowa promotes resilience, empowerment and recovery for those affected by natural disasters. Their network of counselors connects you to resources for ongoing support. They provide free counseling as well as educational resources, information and emotional support. Connect with Project Recovery Iowa:

  • Visit COVIDRecoveryIowa.org and complete a contact form and a counselor will get back to you.

  • FacebookInstagram and Twitter: COVID Recovery Iowa

  • Call the Iowa Warm Line, 844-775-9276, to connect with a peer counselor or request to get in touch with a COVID Recovery Iowa counselor.

Investing in Mental Health-Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is putting an additional $50 million in federal stimulus money toward the state's mental health services, in part to address the increased need for help during the coronavirus pandemic. $30 million, will help the state's 14 mental health and disability services regions pay for ongoing adult and children's mental health services and meet increased needs. $20 million will be given to mental health and substance abuse providers to deal with increased costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. For a list of local crisis and online health visit HERE. Resources can also be found:

Did I Have COVID-19?-Monday, July 6th, Washington County Hospital and Clinics (WCHC) began offering an antibody test for COVID-19 directly to individuals for $75. Antibody testing, also called serology testing, is used to identify the presence of immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID19. The test is only intended to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 virus and does not diagnose active or recent infections. The test is available to individuals who are currently symptom free. The antibody test is considered a wellness test and does not require a physician order. This test will allow people to find out if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and results will be used to help better understand the extent and spread of COVID-19 and identify risk factors for infection. Learn more about the difference between testing for COVID-19 and the antibody test HERE. For more information about antibody testing at WCHC, visit HERE.

Considerations for Youth Sports-As some communities in the United States begin to start youth sports activities again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some considerations for ways in which youth sports organizations can protect players, families, and communities and slow the spread of the COVID-19. Implementation should be guided by what is practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. Administrators of youth sports organizations are encouraged to consult with state and local health officials to determine if and how to put into place these considerations. Learn more HERE.

Bipoc & Immigrant Business Grant-Project Better Together has partnered with the Community Foundation of Johnson County to assist in the administration of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and Immigrant Owned Business Grant. The purpose of Project Better Together’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and Immigrant Owned Business Grant is to provide short-term funding in the form of a one-time grant to BIPOC and immigrant-owned private businesses in Johnson County, Iowa who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need help with both short-term needs and long-term recovery efforts to continue their business.  Applications will close on Monday, July 27, 2020 and are provided in multiple languages.   Learn more HERE.

 

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7.07.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: UNITED WE VOTE

United We Count, United We Vote-Yesterday, Monday, July 6, was the first day you could submit a request for an absentee ballot in Iowa to vote in this fall's general election to your county auditor. Safety of voters and precinct officials has always been a top priority for our local auditors, but it is especially the case with regard to the upcoming election in November. The Johnson County Auditor's Office will mail every voter in the county a postage paid absentee ballot request form for the November 3 presidential election.  The auditor’s office encourages residents to vote from home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Johnson County Auditor’s Office said polling places will be open, but absentee ballot request forms will be sent to encourage voting from home. Mailings to Johnson County voters will be sent in four groups starting the last week of July. The first group will be rural areas and senior housing complexes, with high turnover neighborhoods and University of Iowa residence halls receiving requests by early September. For a ballot form from Washington County, please visit HERE or for all Iowa Counties, you can download an absentee ballot request form HERE to print it off and mail to your county auditor.

Volunteers/Donations

Your Donation Matters-It is also a great day to remember how fortunate we and to consider helping others. You can help University of Iowa DeGowin Blood Center fulfill their mission to help patients at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital! You can make an enormous difference in the lives of so many patients and their families. Volunteers are needed any day, Monday through Friday, to donate blood or platelets.Volunteers need to be at least 16 years of age, weigh 110 pounds, and be free of cold and flu symptoms for the past 5 days. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Return To Learn-Return-to-Learn plans were required to be submitted to the Iowa Department of Education (Department) by July 1, 2020. These plans are designed to help districts and nonpublic schools meet the challenges of 2020- 21 by:

  • Ensuring that remote learning  options are available for all students.

  • Planning to help students catch-up for the learning they may have missed during school closures.

  • Integrating public health strategies into Iowa’s schools.

  • Enabling schools to move between on-site and remote learning as needed.

  • Helping the Department and our partners at Iowa’s area  education agencies (AEAs) understand how best to support schools.

The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) is actively evaluating the necessary measures to safely welcome students and staff back into their buildings. The school calendar (August 24 through May 28) and day length will remain unchanged. Other information shared in the ICCSD plan includes:

  • Students will not be dropped from classes automatically due to excessive absences.

  • Attendance shall not be used as a criteria for grading in any course. Leniency should be given to students to accommodate their family needs and schedule.

  • Students and staff will be required to wear a face covering (i.e. facemask or face shield) while attending school and participating in school activities (certain circumstances, such as medical conditions, may allow for an exception to this requirement).

  • A combination of on-site delivery and Grab & Go meal sites will be utilized when school starts in August for meal distribution.

  • Plexiglass guards will be installed in all school main offices and will be considered in other high density areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart.

Three Learning Models have been proposed:

  • On-Site Learning-This model provides educational services on-site in traditional brick and mortar settings.

  • Required Continuous Learning-Required Continuous Learning (at-home) ensures that academic work is equivalent in effort and rigor to typical classroom work. All students are required to participate, attendance is taken, work is graded, and credit is granted. Typically, instruction is provided through some type of online learning.

  • Hybrid Learning-This model is a combination of Required Continuous Learning (at-home) and On-Site Learning Delivery. The methods may be combined by offering some student groups services on-site at different times or choosing which student groups get each delivery method by matching need.

The complete Board Presentation, presented on 6.30.2020, can be found HERE.

Washington Community Schools have been working on multiple plans to ensure the continuation of each child's education through this health crisis.  Classes are scheduled to resume on August 24th, 2020, and they are actively evaluating the necessary measures to welcome students and staff back into their buildings. Washington CSD will make decisions about requiring all safety measures at the local level based on their district's needs, local conditions, and community input. These safety measures include, but are not limited to, face coverings, gathering limitations, social distancing, and health screenings.  Washington CSD is encouraging all district families to complete a survey. This feedback will be vital to the decision making process as they continue to fine-tune their plan. This survey is for information purposes to receive input regarding possible options for RTL in August and the impact of those options on each family. This survey is not intended to cast a vote for a particular choice; it allows the school district to anticipate the potential impact of these tough decisions on their families. If you are a Washington Community School District family, please click HERE to take the survey.

Jump Back July-According to the 2019 America's Health Rankings, Iowa is #20 in the nation when it comes our state's physical, mental and social well-being.  The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. Check out their latest Resilience Calendar for July with this month’s theme: Jump Back July. The calendar is focused on how we can be more resilient in challenging times. A free download in English, and various other languages, is available HERE.

Visit State Parks. Check in. Get Rewards-The Iowa State Park Passport is your ticket to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our state park system, earn prizes and enjoy the outdoors. Make it a family-friendly challenge to visit parks across the state and track your progress with this personalized passport. It’s free to sign up and the more parks you visit, the more chances for prizes you earn! Learn more HERE

Double Up Bucks-Iowans facing food insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to access free fruits and vegetables at more than 100 grocery stores statewide. This month 106 Fareway Stores, 13 Hy-Vee stores, plus additional food co-ops and farmers markets are joining the Double Up Food Bucks program through the end of the year in an effort to help combat food insecurity caused by COVID-19. Learn more HERE.

PPP Deadline Extended-Recently legislation was approved to extend the deadline for businesses to apply for coronavirus aid under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Small businesses now have until Aug. 8th to apply for the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP). For more information and to download the a pdf copy of the form you will need to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program with an eligible lender and learn more, click HERE.

Business Support-Looking for resources to support your business as you navigate through COVID-19? Eventbrite provides a comprehensive listing of free and fee based webinars. Some upcoming sessions include:

  • Experience Retail in the Age of COVID-19: On the Frontline

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19) : "The Survival Strategies For" The Startups & Small Businesses

  • Responding to Covid-19 Challenges

View these and more HERE.

8.25.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: revolving door for students

UWJWC Revolving Door

Revolving Door For Students-A week into the fall semester, the University of Notre Dame announced yesterday that it would move to online instruction for at least the next two weeks in an attempt to control a growing coronavirus outbreak, and could move to shut down campus entirely. The announcement came as universities across the country are struggling to control fast-growing outbreaks among returning students. Monday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moved all of its undergraduate classes online, also a week into the fall semester, and Michigan State altered its reopening plans, telling students not to return for the start of classes in two weeks. As schools continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic at all levels across the county, we are again watching COVID-19 positivity cases rise at home. The COVID-19 in Iowa site has added a Public School District Summary to allow you to select a district or county and see the past 14 day average positivity rates. The formula for calculating the % Positivity 14-day average is the sum total of Individual Positive Cases (14 day) divided by the sum total of Total Individuals Tested (14 day).

Volunteers/Donations

Plasma Donations-People who live in Iowa who were diagnosed with COVID-19 who have now recovered may be eligible to help patients currently battling this illness. If you had COVID-19, your body may be producing specific COVID-19 antibodies. What does this mean? By donating plasma, which contains proteins in the form of antibodies, you may be helping to provide treatment for current and future COVID-19 patients. This is currently being studied in a trial as part of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. T Learn about donating plasma locally at Biomat, BioLife, or to donate blood UI DeGowin Blood Center.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Overstepping Authority?-The Iowa State Education Association and the Iowa City Community School District filed a lawsuit against the State of Iowa last Wednesday over the state's attempt to dictate when a school district can move to 100% online classes. ISEA, a teachers' union that represents educators throughout the state, and the Iowa City schools allege in their lawsuit that Gov. Kim Reynolds overstepped her authority by requiring school districts to primarily hold in-person classes. They also allege that the decision-making powers of school districts and school boards supersede Reynolds' proclamations, giving them the authority to choose how to return to school this fall. Learn More HERE.

State of the Community-Join in to hear from local business leaders on how our community continues to move forward in education, child care, and human resources. Kim Casko, Iowa City Area Business Partnership President, will moderate the panel discussion with: Janet Godwin, Interim CEO of ACT and ICCSD School Board Member, Soni Harney, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, MidWestOne Bank, and Jennifer Banta, Iowa City Area Business Partnership and community childcare liaison. Register HERE

COVID Vaccine Questions-When will a COIVD-19 vaccine be available? How will we know if it’s safe? Get answers to your questions and learn about the vaccine testing happening here at UI Health Care during a Facebook Live Q&A tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26th at 12:30pm. Featured speaker, Infectious Disease Specialist Pat Winokur, MD. Learn More HERE.

Eroding Mental Health-A new C.D.C. survey indicates that young people, as well as Blacks and Latinos of all ages, are showing signs of deteriorating mental health and some are resorting to substance abuse. In the research survey, U.S. residents reported signs of eroding mental health in reaction to the toll of coronavirus illnesses and deaths, and to the life-altering restrictions imposed by lockdowns. The researchers argue that the results point to an urgent need for expanded and culturally sensitive services for mental health and substance abuse, including telehealth counseling. Learn More HERE.

Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention-More Iowans will be eligible to receive assistance with their rent and mortgage payments through the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program. The program has assisted more than 1,100 renters and homeowners since launching in late May and is expected to assist many more. The program’s eligibility criteria have been expanded to allow Iowans who had been receiving $600 a week in federal unemployment stimulus benefits to apply for assistance through the program. The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program offers rent or mortgage assistance for up to four months, with a total household maximum of $3,200 for rental assistance and $3,000 for mortgage assistance. program. There is still $18 million available in assistance. Learn More HERE

 Iowa Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program Expanded-Eligibility criteria for the Iowa Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program has been expanded to include utility assistance for eligible small businesses and nonprofits for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 15, 2020. The program will accept applications through October 31 or until all funds have been exhausted. Learn more and apply HERE.

 

8.18.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: CHECKING THE NUMBERS

Due to the Derecho Storm we were not able to send out last week’s COVID-19 Re-Opening update. As a result of the storm, please note:

  • If you need assistance, please call United Way at 319.338.7823, visit UnitedWayJWC.org/derecho-storm, or connect with 2-1-1.
  • If you are interested in volunteering, or need the help of volunteers, please call United Way at 319.338.7823.
  • If you are ok and would like to make a donation to storm relief, please text “storm” to 243725 or visit UnitedWayJWC.org.

UWJWC Revolving Door

Checking the Numbers

KWWL reported yesterday, August 17th, that Iowa's coronavirus website has made the pandemic look less severe than it is because of a software error that artificially lowers the number of new confirmed cases. An Iowa City nurse practitioner, Dana Jones, reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health that the system has been inadvertently reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case. The department acknowledged the glitch last Friday and said the department is working on a fix. KWWL further shared Iowa's overall number of more than 52,600 who have tested positive since March is not affected.

Volunteers/Donations

Volunteer Safety-Cleanup after a natural disaster is complicated and potentially dangerous — and that’s without a pandemic to consider. While we are helping our neighbors, we need to remember to keep each other safe by following the appropriate social distancing guidelines & wearing protective gear. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is still accepting face mask donations for those who are unable to purchase their own. Contact us at 319.338.7823.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Preparing for Fall-The Project Better Together team presents their next State of the Community webinar on Wednesday, August 19th @ 2 pm. Join in for a live webinar with local educational leaders and healthcare experts to discuss where things stand as we prepare for this coming fall.  Panelists include:

  • Matt Degner, ICCSD Interim Superintendent
  • Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President University of Iowa Office of the President
  • Dr. Brooks Jackson, Vice President for Medical Affairs, and Dean of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa

Register HERE to join the zoom call.

UI COVID Study-A research group at the University of Iowa is looking for research subjects who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).  The purpose of the study is to identify the genetic variations and similarities that influence the susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and the severity of the disease and the final outcome of the illness. They would have subjects collect saliva samples in their own homes - there would be no need for in-person visits for this study. If you or anyone you know, have previously tested positive for COVID-19, and are interested in learning more about the study so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to participate, please contact (or have the other individual contact) one of the following members of the research group:  Hatem El-Shanti, M.D. Professor Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-356-2675 hatem-el-shanti@uiowa.edu  or Elizabeth Phillippi Research Assistant Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-335-1223 elizabeth-phillippi@uiowa.edu

Face Mask vs Face Shield-Good Morning America recently covered the benefits of wearing a face shield. Though originally designed for industrial settings and medical staff, using a face shield can be more comfortable way to protect yourself. “One great advantage this time of the year is that they, face shields, aren’t as hot as a face mask is. For most people, it feels easier to breathe when you have on a face shield, you don’t get the fogging that you get with a mask if you’re a person like me who wears glasses and they’re easy to clean.” Stated Dr. Michael Edmond, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Iowa Health Care. Read the complete story HERE.

Still Holding Our Own-To Iowans, there is nothing more important than family, friends, and community. During times of tragedy, we are resilient, we are strong, and we are proud. In the Iowa City area we will be Holding Our Own by supporting local businesses, helping those in need, and working together so that we come out BETTER TOGETHER. Thanks to the support from MidWestOne Bank, West Bank Strong, GreenState Credit Union, Great Western Bank, Hills Bank, Two Rivers Bank & Trust, U.S. Bank, CBI Bank & Trust, Johnson County, Iowa and other area partners, the Project Better Together team community-wide Shop Local program is working hard to help encourage and motivate local spending at Johnson County local businesses. The Holding Our Own Shop Local program intends to motivate over $1,000,000 of local spending through showcasing and incentivizing dollars spent. For every $150 spent shopping local, receive a $20 gift card of YOUR choice to a local business. Plus an additional $5 will be automatically donated to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and Immigrant Business Grant Fund. You can submit receipts HERE.

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8.4.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: UNDERSTANDING RETURN TO LEARN STATS

Athletic Department Experiencing More Positive Tests -Several more people in the University of Iowa athletics program have tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, according to school officials. KCRG reported on Monday the Hawkeye athletics department stated five more people among coaches, staff, and athletes tested positive for COVID-19 during the week of July 27 through August 2. A total of 32 positive test results have been reported out of 603 total tests since the department resumed activities in late May. Read more HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

CommUnity Food Bank Volunteer-CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank is looking for volunteers. Food Bank volunteers need no prior experience and each shift will be a 3-hour commitment. Minors aged 13-15 may volunteer but must be accompanied by an adult supervisor. Individuals 16 and up may volunteer independently. To learn more visit HERE.  

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Understanding Return To Learn Stats-On Thursday, the Governor announced the guidelines around how school districts will implement their Return To Learn plans. These strategies will be based on a community transmission rate that is calculated by the percent positivity in a county over a 14-day average. The schools covering more than one county will use the higher percentage to make their decisions. This information is being shared with our school districts daily. Here's the 14 day rolling average as of yesterday 8.4.2020:

  • Washington County: 6.7% positivity
  • Johnson County: 6.3% positivity

ISEA Rejects Iowa’s Return To Learn Plan-The Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) is rejecting Gov. Kim Reynolds’ definition of a safe return to schools and has released its guidance for a safe return to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan, found HERE, outlines The three key requirements for the safe return to In-Person Learning:

  1. The Covid-19 pandemic is under control in your community. 
  2. Specific protections have been put in place to keep the virus under control and protect students and staff.
  3. Plans are in place to ensure continuous learning for all students.

In addition, on the ISEA site, you can find the Nation Education Association Guidance (NEA) on Return to Learn Guidelines.

A Daily Act of Kindness-Altruism is vital for the human race to survive and thrive; and each of our lives is supported by countless kind acts from other people. Yet in our world today, we often forget the happiness that comes by caring for others. This August Action for Happiness is asking everyone to choose one kind act per day. The "Altruistic August" Action for Happiness calendar with an act of kindness suggestion for each day of the month can be found HERE.

Statewide Facemask Mandate?-Little Village recently shared former state epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk’s view on wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Quinlisk is quoted saying the state should require people to wear face coverings in public, when indoors or when they can’t maintain six feet of distance from others outdoors. Quinlisk told the Des Moines Register “I just don’t think we’re going to get this virus under control unless everybody wears a mask indoors in public places,”. “We have an obligation to keep each other safe.” Quinlisk compared wearing face coverings to other safety measures required by the government, such as wearing seat belts. Read more from Little Village HERE.

Tax-Free Weekend-Tax-Free Weekend is a great opportunity to stretch some already thin dollars for many COVID-19 affected families. On Friday, August 7th and Saturday, August 8th, the state of Iowa is offering zero state or local sales tax on shoes and clothing items priced under $100 each. On Saturday only,  families who make purchases at Iowa River Landing (IRL) businesses can receive a FREE voucher for goodies! Choose from:

• One (1) Free Coffee from The High Ground Cafe
• One (1) Free Cupcake from Scratch Cupcakery
• One (1) Free Ice Cream from Moo Moo's Ice Cream Truck (1 pm-4 pm)
• One (1) Free Smoothie from Evolve Juicery and Kitchen

Get your voucher during the 2020 Tax Holiday: Evereve, J.Jill, lululemon Iowa City, The Funky Zebras Boutique, True Style, Von Maur, Ethan Allen, Coralville, IA, Brides by Jessa ,Diamond Leaf Jewelers, or WineStyles Iowa River Landing. Quantities are limited—show up early to get your top pick! (Vouchers only available on Saturday)

 Volunteer Iowa, IEDA Launch Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund-Volunteer Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced today the launch of the Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund, an extension of the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant Program. The program will provide short-term relief to nonprofit organizations that have seen reduced revenue and/or increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible nonprofits may be awarded a grant of up to $25,000, based on income, expenses, outstanding obligations, and other state and federal assistance received. The program has $10 million available, which was allocated through federal CARES Act funds.  Applications will be reviewed in the order received and awarded on a first-come, first ready to process basis. Applications will be accepted until August 14 at 5:00 p.m. or until funds have been exhausted, whichever comes first. Questions regarding the Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund can be addressed by calling 515.348.8897 (toll-free: 855.854.2440). For more information on eligibility and assistance or to apply, visit HERE.

Double Up Food Bucks-Bring your EBT card to the market! During August, you can double up your food bucks at local Framer’s Markets. At your local market, simply find the information booth for ALL card payments: credit, debit, and SNAP and tell the market staff how much you’d like to spend at the market with your EBT card. They then will swipe your card, and then give you SNAP tokens. These tokens can be spent on any eligible food item that isn’t hot and ready at the market. Then, they will match the SNAP bucks $1 for $1 with Double Up Food Bucks, good for locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. If you spend $5, you get $5. If you spend $10, you get $10! They will match up to $10 every time you visit! Find a location near you HERE.

PPP- What You Should Know as an Employer -Join this call Thursday, August 6th from 3-4:15 PM to hear from Attorneys Jon C. Landon, Attorney and Vice President, Shuttleworth & Ingersoll and Betsy L. Souer, Associate Attorney, Shuttleworth & Ingersoll who will walk through the key elements impacting PPP, including:

• Paycheck Protection Program loan eligibility
• Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness
• Extensions and other rules

Shuttleworth & Ingersoll will be hosting the webinar and the last portion will be reserved for a Q&A, where Jon and Betsy will address questions that participants have submitted during the presentation.

 UW Survey

9.29.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Covid impact survey

United Way COVID Impact Survey-United Ways of Iowa brings together the power of Iowa’s local United Way organizations and their communities to drive impact in Education, Financial Stability, and Health. We are asking for your assistance to better understand the financial impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and recovery on Iowa households via a brief survey. We estimate the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. We know your time is valuable, but the few minutes you take to complete the questionnaire will provide essential information to guide United Way investments in our communities. The survey is now available to take online and can be found HERE

Holidays with COVID-As summer is turning to fall, we begin to look forward to the upcoming holidays, As we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, the question comes to mind, how can families and friends gather safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? The CDC is offering some considerations to help protect individuals, their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19 through the holidays. Read all of the information HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Preschool Instruction with COVID-The Iowa Department of Education recently released guidance regarding attendance, programming and services, and the use of different Return-to-Learn educational delivery models for Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs, Early Childhood Special Education, and Shared Visions Preschool Programs. For Preschool Programming Frequently Asked Questions click HERE.

COVID Long-Haulers-COVID-19 symptoms usually bring to mind flu-like symptoms, plus trouble breathing or losing your sense of taste. But the long-term issues stemming from a COVID-19 infection can look quite different from those initial symptoms. In research done by the CDC at the end of July, over 30 percent of COVID-19 patients had not returned to normal health conditions two or three weeks after testing. Out of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, who typically have milder cases of illness, one in four still hadn’t fully recovered weeks after testing. Even some children were still feeling the infection take a toll on their health months after infection. Learn more HERE.

How Can I Ask My Friends to Wear Masks? -What do you say to a friend who insists that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu? How do you talk to your parents who keep going to restaurants to eat indoors? What if a beloved family member wants you to come to their wedding or birthday party and you don’t feel safe attending? How do you talk to your kids about safety without scaring them too much? Laura Murray, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and senior scientist in the Department of Mental Health, John Hopkins, weighs in on the interpersonal side of pandemic precautions. Crystal Watson, DrPH, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security, provides practical underpinnings based on current research, data, and public health guidance. Read more HERE.

Downtown Pledge-The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) has introduced a new Downtown Pledge in partnership with the Iowa Restaurant Association. In an effort to emphasize safety, ICDD is calling on patrons to pledge to support taking social distancing measures downtown and encouraging businesses to pledge to follow mandated and additional COVID-19 safety measures. Find all of the Iowa Hospitality promises HERE.

Another Bars Closures Extension-Gov. Kim Reynolds has extended her closure of bars and nightclubs in Johnson and Story counties until Oct. 8th. Gov. Reynolds has made the extension in an effort to control COVID's spread in two of the state’s largest college communities. Restaurants in those two counties – defined as those earning at least half of their monthly revenue from food – can remain open, but they must sell food to all patrons and stop selling alcohol for on-premises consumption after 10 p.m.

9.22.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: a VOLATILE MARKET 

A Volatile Market

A Volatile Market-Rising Covid-19 infections around the world as the colder seasons of the year begin in some regions are also weighing on the market. Investors are growing increasingly concerned about renewed lockdowns while the economic recovery from the pandemic remains fragile. The Dow (INDU) finished down 1.8%, or 510 points, marking its worst day in about two weeks. The broader S&P 500 (SPX) closed 1.2% lower. Market experts have warned that volatility will be high toward the end of the year and around the election, especially because many expect the winner won't be known immediately. Learn more HERE.

Big Ten Football’s 8-1 Season-As the University of Iowa Athletics Department putting out it’s 2020-21 abbreviated football schedule the school is reporting seven more positive COVID-19 cases among student-athletes, coaches and staff according to KCRG. While the Big Ten has decided to move forward with the 2020 football season this fall, the league has decided to proceed without fans in the stands. The decision to not permit fans was part of the plan that was approved by the 14 Big Ten presidents and chancellors. Teams will play an “8+1” schedule, featuring eight regular-games followed by a ninth cross-divisional game for every team to be played the same weekend as the Big Ten Championship game. Learn more HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Food Bank Donations-Food delivery is now available to Johnson County residents through CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, North Liberty Community Pantry , Coralville Community Food Pantry & IC Compassion. Please fill out this linked form or call (319) 519-6165 between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday to request food delivery. Agencies can also contact this line to set up a time to pick-up food for their clients. Recipients will receive pre-packed bags of food based on what is available. Updates regarding food and other donations can be found can be found on each of the above food pantries/banks websites.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Return to Learn Hybrid Style-Iowa City Community School District is regularly monitoring the daily COVID-19 positivity rates in Johnson County. The rates have continued to drop in our community over the last several days with the positivity rate on 9.18.2020 at 8.2%. Due to this, they are excited to announce that the District will transition into a hybrid learning model beginning Monday, September 28, 2020. Find full details HERE.

Free Meals Continue in Washington County-Washington Community School District applied for the free school lunch program through December 31st because of the COVID 19 pandemic. They have received word that they were approved. School breakfast and lunch will be free for students starting today until December 31st. They are unbelievably excited to be offering this to our community. Students will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day at the district free of cost. Learn more on their Facebook page HERE.

When 2 Doors Close, One Stays Open-A special thank you goes out to our local pantries and food banks for working together throughout COVID-19. Recently North Liberty Community Pantry helped fill our local neighbor’s needs, allowing the Coralville Community Food Pantry and CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. to take care of their staff, volunteers and facility. This unity of services is vital to emerging from the pandemic and much appreciated.

Disaster Declaration Extended-Gov. Kim Reynolds extended her public health disaster declaration for another 30 days last Friday according to The Daily Iowan. In doing so, Gov. Reynolds is keeping social distancing requirements in place and bars closed in two Iowa counties, Johnson and Story. She also provided regulatory relief to school districts related to retired teachers and staff returning to work and eased deadlines for data submission. With ten counties reporting 14-day positivity rates above 15%, the proclamation continues to “strongly encourage” all Iowans ages 2 and older to wear face coverings in public settings. Learn more HERE.

United We Vote-60% of eligible voters are never asked to register. National Voter Registration Day is a non-partisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. First observed in 2012, it has quickly gained momentum ever since. Nearly 3 million voters have registered to vote on the holiday to date. Civic engagement is at the heart of what United Way does. For over 130 years, United Way has brought together leaders in communities to solve problems in a non-partisan manner. We invite you to join us. Be counted and Vote for Justice, Equity, Education, Jobs, Health. Not sure if you are registered? You can check your voter registration status HERE .

9.15.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Face Masks Requirement extended

Face Mask Required

Face Masks Requirement Extended-Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague has extended the city’s face covering order until November 13, 2020, according to KCRG. The order, which was put in place on July 21 and set to expire on September 15, requires every person in the City of Iowa City to wear a face-covering when in public covering must cover the nose and mouth. Per the order, face coverings must be worn when in public places such as grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, retail stores, while riding public transportation or using a private car service, and when outdoors and six-feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. The extension changes the minimum fine for violating the order. The first offense is a simple misdemeanor and punishable by a $105 fine. Second and subsequent offenses are a simple misdemeanor and punishable by an $855 fine. Businesses must require all customers to have a face-covering and must post signs alerting customers to the requirement. Read the complete report HERE.

Volunteering/Donations-The United Way Volunteer Center helps you to connect with one-time volunteer projects or year-long engagement (and everything in-between), community events, community drives and opportunities for community engagement. We will help you develop annual service plans, provide best practices, help solidify service objectives, provide online volunteer sign-up and hour tracking and help develop volunteer recruitment. Learn more about virtual volunteering HERE

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Spring Break Cancelled-Monday, it was announced that Iowa’s public universities have taken the unprecedented step of canceling spring break next semester, in addition to other measures meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In announcing academic calendar changes, UI officials indicated its winter session will begin as planned Dec. 28 but extend one week later through Jan. 22 — giving students four weeks of mostly online instruction instead of three. Learn more HERE.

Respiratory Illness Follow-up Clinic -With over 60,000 Iowans testing positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, there is a growing need for specialized follow-up care for a subset of patients experiencing long-term effects from the disease. UIHC recently reported that they are starting to see long-term complications from patients that were COVID positive. While many patients with COVID-19 fully recover after experiencing initial symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, some experience long-term effects from systemic inflammation caused by the disease. This can lead to damage to the heart, lungs, and kidneys, as well as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and other neurological problems. Learn more HERE.

COVID Recovery Iowa, Here To Help-Need help coping with 2020? COVID Recovery Iowa is here to help! Iowans of all ages may join groups online to find support and learn creative strategies for coping with the effects of the pandemic. COVID Recovery Iowa will announce additional programs in the coming weeks to help Iowans build coping skills and resilience and are currently offering free virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans affected by COVID‑19. Counseling sessions with virtual counselors are available by video, chat or phone 24/7. Call 1-844-775-WARM or click HERE for more information.

Business Assistance Revolving Loan Fund-The Iowa City Area Business Partnership recently shared that the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) has been awarded $4.25 million for the Business Assistance Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) CARES Act Recovery Assistance. This award will effectively double the size of the revolving loan program and allow ECICOG to provide more financing assistance to businesses as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Any new or expanding business in Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn or Washington counties can apply for loans through the fund, which has adopted policies designed to help local businesses during the pandemic, including new lower interest rates of 0-2%. Businesses can apply for up to $500,000 and do not need a credit rejection letter. Eligible expenses include equipment or machinery, real estate or working capital. Learn more HERE.

Business Disruption Relief Program -Governor Reynolds' allocated federal CARES Act funds to assist bars, taverns, and other establishments, Covid-19 Business Disruption Relief Program, began accepting applications last Thursday, September 10th . Eligible businesses will receive a one-time $10,000 grant to assist with short-term cash flow. Applications must be submitted by Thursday, September 24th. Learn more HERE.

9.8.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: UI & COVID

UI & COVID

UI & COVID-Universities across the country are struggling to manage Coronavirus outbreaks with on-campus learning. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, not even two weeks into the fall semester, more than 1,000 University of Iowa students have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19, and the campus already has announced tuition relief for those who withdraw from classes this month. Also, according to The Daily Iowan the University paused all team athletic workouts and announced that fall commencement ceremonies will be held online.

Volunteers/Donations

The Hope of Convalescent Plasma-If you have recovered from COVID-19, then you've developed antibodies against the virus which reside in your blood plasma. Mercy IC has been administering convalescent plasma therapy for the past four months as part of the Mayo Clinic’s Clinical Trial and they encourage all patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to consider plasma donation. You can learn more about this from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center and remember, sharing a portion of your antibodies with a plasma donation is an act of kindness that may help others make a recovery. 

 

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Neighborhood NESTS-A group of local nonprofits, business leaders, and community members have joined forces to give area students a place to study and access resources this fall. Focusing on at-risk youth in Johnson County, the Iowa City Area Business Partnership joined forces with 4Cs, Dream City, Open Heartland, United Action for Youth, and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County to create the Neighborhood NESTS (Nurturing Every Student Together Safely) initiative, in response to the Iowa City Community School District's Return to Learn plans. Neighborhood NESTS serve as a safe space with trusted adults, where children and young adults can gather for academic success and emotional well- being this school year. NESTS are currently being developed in Iowa City that will work with small groups of students following CDC safety guidelines and will provide internet access, tutoring, social-emotional support, and access to needed resources. A fund has been established through the Community Foundation of Johnson County to support the effort.

Food and Coronavirus Disease 2019-It is unlikely food can transmit COVID-19 and people are being encouraged to place their focus on good food hygiene when handling food for themselves and others. The risk of getting sick with COVID-19 from eating or handling food (including frozen food and produce) and food packages is considered very low according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC encourages you to follow basic steps for food safety and eat nutritious foods to take care of your physical and mental health.

A Mentally Healthy Workforce-Investing in a mentally healthy workforce is good for business. Of the 1 in 5 adults who experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, more than half of those individuals will go untreated according to the Center for Workplace Mental Health. Respecting and treating mental illness on par with other medical illnesses is the first step to improving employee quality of life-the foundation of an effective workplace. The Washington Chamber of Commerce committee, Washington County Worksite Collaborative, has resources to help Washington businesses navigate mental health within the workplace as well as other workplace wellness initiatives. Related topics include: Working Remotely During COVID-19 & How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During COVID-19. If you are interested in joining this collaborative, or in receiving more information, please contact the Washington Worksite Collaborative committee at michelle@washingtoniowa.org or 319-653-3272.

Employers Survey to Support Childcare-Community members and organizations, led by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, have come together over the last year to address child care needs in Johnson County. One task force is specifically focused on how local employers can support their associates’ child care needs. With schools partially or fully online and child care providers closing due to COVID, child care is now a key concern for many organizations and their employees. To understand how organizations are addressing child care and school needs of their associates, the task force is asking employers to share information via a survey by Sept. 11th. The task force also plans to share best practices and ideas for how local employers are supporting working families. Please consider taking the survey found HERE.

 IA COVID

10.26.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: IowA COVID NUMBERS

Increases in Iowa COVID Numbers-Yesterday, October 26th, The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 564 persons hospitalized with the virus, up from a record 561 the previous day. IDPH also reported statewide positivity rate of 12.7% with the statewide death total for the pandemic reaching 1,648.

Looking for COVID Everywhere-Across the country, campus outbreaks have shut down in-person classes, led to campus lockdowns and in some cases sent students home. Communal living and socializing has been a boon to the highly contagious virus, with much of the spread happening in dorms and off-campus housing. Nation Public Radio reports that dorm wastewater offers an ideal testing scenario for colleges: People often poop where they live; researchers know exactly who lives in each dorm, which narrows down who could be infected; and testing wastewater is cheaper than regularly testing students, even when followed up by more targeting screening. Read more HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Grants from Iowa Workforce Development-Kirkwood Community College has been awarded a total of $350,000 in two grants from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to support new apprenticeship and training programs aimed at addressing the negative economic impact of COVID-19. According to the CBJ, the programs will be targeted toward Iowans who have been adversely affected by the virus. Of the two grants, the second grant from IWD is worth $100,000 for the Employer Innovation Fund. The money will be used to address emerging workforce needs that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will provide guided academic and personal support to vulnerable populations such as veterans, low-skilled workers, women and minorities, among others. Companies interested in more information about growing their workforce pipeline through on-the-job training can contact Becky Weininger at (319) 398-1057 or Becky.Weininger@kirkwood.edu.

Moving Flu Shot Inside-Due to some chilly weather headed our way, Washington County Public Health’s Flu Stomp will take place in their office located at 110 N Iowa Ave, Ste 300. Before entering the building, please wear a mask for the safety of the staff and other clients. If you have had a fever, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, please do not attend this clinic.

STRESSED?  OVERWHELMED?  FEELING STUCK?  EXHAUSTED?-These words describe what so many of us are feeling right now.  When the global COVID pandemic first started, many people started quickly planning and preparing on how to best protect themselves and their loved ones …. But now we are 8 MONTHS into this …. And people are TIRED!  Tired of the negative impacts it has had on the personal, social and work parts of our lives. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  And you should not suffer alone.  Abbe Center and Hillcrest Family Services have partnered with the MHDS East Central Region to offer free coaching sessions to anyone employed in healthcare, nursing homes, schools, day care settings, law enforcement and first responders.  Eligible individuals must live/work in Benton, Bremer, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Iowa, Johnson, Jones or Linn Counties.  Let us help you through this tough time. Abbe Center – 319-398-3562 or Hillcrest Family Services – 563-583-7357

Response & Recovery Tool Kit-Are you ready to take proactive mitigative steps to comply with regulations and guidelines and demonstrate a factor of care for your employees? Stanley Consultants has developed a COVID-19 response and recovery tool kit that curates 50 virus mitigating measures in four categories. The four categories of readiness include:

  • Air quality - Increasing air system filtration rates and achieving ideal humidification ranges can help to mitigate the spread of viruses. 
  • Safe water – Water system sensors and technologies readily available in the market today help businesses assess their water quality and the potential for Legionnaire’s Disease that can be derived from stagnant water. 
  • Clean surfaces – With prescriptive cleaning programs, UVC cleaning, touchless plumbing fixtures, kiosks, digital signage and wayfinding solutions, building owners reduce the potential of virus spread from surface contact.
  • Connected Humans – Facilitating compliance around mask detection, occupancy sensing, contact avoidance, contact tracing and ADA accessibility are all concerns that business owners are worried about. Employees benefit from receiving increased protection in the form of training, social media awareness, mobile monitoring, symptom recognition, push alert notifications and advanced detection protocols.

The toolkit includes a digital tabletop review and an on-premise inspection. Learn more HERE.

Child Care Needs-Local employers were recently surveyed about the child care needs of employees with families during the COVID pandemic and how employers are helping to address those needs. The survey demonstrated how most local businesses are finding new and unique ways to support employees during our current child care situation. Survey feedback also showed that no one solution works for every organization or family. The child care taskforce, composed of community members and led by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, has used survey findings to develop a new resource for employers. View “Employers Supporting Families with Children at Home During the Pandemic & Beyond” HERE

Employees with children out of school are dealing with unreliable child care, online school needs, and/or increased child care costs. Employers want to help employees manage these challenges to retain those employees and maintain business operations. Possible solutions to consider for your employees can include offering or contributing to dependent care savings plans, allowing work-from-home or flexible scheduling arrangements, or setting up child care/online school services at the place of work. For more information about employer-led child care solutions or the child care taskforce, please contact Jennifer Banta at the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, jennifer@iowacityarea.com.

 

uwjwc covid update

10.20.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS

Mental Health Concerns-The American Psychiatric Association Publishing reports 64% of people are concerned their mental illness will worsen due to the pandemic.  According to NAMI, a disproportionate number of people are part of Indigenous and LBGTQA+ communities. Making sure everyone has the same access to mental health support is part of our commitment to equity. 211, a vital service supported by United Way, makes sure everyone who needs help can get it – for free. If you or someone you know needs mental health support, text or call 211. For more information, visit Iowa 211.org.

United Way COVID Impact Survey-United Ways of Iowa brings together the power of Iowa’s local United Way organizations and their communities to drive impact in Education, Financial Stability, and Health. We are asking for your assistance to better understand the financial impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and recovery on Iowa households via a brief survey. We estimate the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. We know your time is valuable, but the few minutes you take to complete the questionnaire will provide essential information to guide United Way investments in our communities. The survey is available until October 26th to take online and can be found HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

COVID-19 Emergency Distribution of Winter Clothing Volunteers-The 2020 Consultation of Religious Communities (CRC) Winter Clothing Distribution, which will be conducted through November 21st, needs your help.  Volunteers are needed to set-up, receive, sort, organize clothing escort family representatives selecting clothing and clean-up. The clothing distribution and volunteer activities will take place at: 821 South Clinton Street, Iowa City Various dates and shift times are available. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

More Than a Gator or a Shield-Effective this Friday, October 23rd, the University of Iowa will no longer allow gaiters or face shields (when worn without a mask) as appropriate face coverings. The University of Iowa is revising its COVID-19 policies in order to align with updated guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the CDC. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear face masks in all university buildings, including classrooms, unless alone in a private office or a residence hall room. Find more information HERE

Preparing for a Vaccine-UNICEF, the largest single buyer of vaccines in the world, wants to hit the ground running as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is ready. The United Nations agency said Monday it plans to stockpile 520 million syringes by the end of 2020. It also will map out global distribution and storage plans for a future COVID-19 vaccine. Purchasing the syringes now will help reduce the pressure on the market, the organization said, and will ensure the timely availability once a vaccine is rolled out. Read more from National Public Radio HERE.

The Health of Iowa-Little Village Magazine recently shared that according to the most recent report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Iowa was the state with the seventh-highest rate of new COVID-19 cases last week. “Iowa had 199 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week, compared to a national average of 100 per 100,000,” the report dated Oct. 11 said. The task force warned, “Community spread continues in both rural and urban areas of Iowa and it is critical that mitigation efforts increase to include mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private to stop the increasing spread among residents.”

More Iowans entering the hospital for treatment than at any other point in the pandemic, according to the latest weekly report from the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force. There are now outbreaks at 61 nursing homes in the state and 475 Iowans in the hospital, with the number of patients in the ICU inching up slightly since early October, the Gazette reports. The worst spots in the state appear to be in rural northwest and northeast counties, according to the White House, with gatherings of families and friends largely responsible for the spike. Iowa’s positivity rate is now roughly 19% – one of the highest in the nation, and almost double the 10% benchmark the federal government is using to identity red zone states.

The second-largest number of patients since the start of the pandemic entered hospitals over the weekend due to COVID-19, as more cases and deaths were added to the state’s totals. Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 726 new cases of COVID-19. The state data as of Monday, October 19th tallied 108,060 cases with the state’s death count at 1,548. From reports on Sunday, 475 people are in Iowa hospitals due to COVID-19 with an all-time high for total hospitalization due to the disease was set on October 14 at 482. 108 of current patients are in intensive care units, 45 require the use of a ventilator, and 84 new patients were admitted to hospitals.

Helping Hands-Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity is adding a new emergency repair service -ERMAR- to their Helping Hands program!!! ERMAR offers a streamlined process for emergency repairs when the timing is especially critical. Some examples of ERMAR projects include water heater and furnace replacement, simple repairs to plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems, as well as ramp construction. If you or a friend are in need of an emergency home repair, please contact Helping Hands at scott@iowavalleyhabitat.org or (319)519-6125.

COVID Iowa

 

Image: KMEG

10.13.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: Iowa COVID Cases

Iowa COVID Cases-The state has reported 432 more COVID-19 cases and 4 more deaths in Iowa. As of October 12, the state’s data is showing a total of 100,052 COVID-19 cases and 1,464 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began. A total of 2,607 tests were reported to have been conducted over the last 24 hours, making the total number of tests conducted 864,464 since the pandemic began. There are currently a total of 449 patients hospitalized with the virus, with 53 having been admitted in the last 24 hours. Of those patients, 109 are in the ICU and 39 are on ventilators.

United Way COVID Impact Survey-United Ways of Iowa brings together the power of Iowa’s local United Way organizations and their communities to drive impact in Education, Financial Stability, and Health. We are asking for your assistance to better understand the financial impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and recovery on Iowa households via a brief survey. We estimate the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. We know your time is valuable, but the few minutes you take to complete the questionnaire will provide essential information to guide United Way investments in our communities. The survey is now available to take online and can be found HERE.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

COVID-19 In Our Schools-ISEA and Iowa COVID-19 Tracker have partnered together to create a statewide map of COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines in our schools  More know more than 100 Iowa schools reported cases of COVID-19 within weeks of resuming in-person instruction reports the Des Moines Register. Learn more HERE.

COVID Reinfection-A 25-year-old was infected twice with the coronavirus earlier this year, scientists in Nevada have confirmed. It is the first confirmed case of so-called reinfection with the virus in the U.S. and the fifth confirmed reinfection case worldwide as reports by National Public Radio. One of the biggest outstanding questions is how widespread reinfection might be. It's difficult to confirm cases in which a person is infected twice. Scientists must have the nasal swabs from both the first and second infection in order to compare the genomes of both virus samples. Read more HERE.

Kendall-Jackson Grocery Worker’s Relief Fund-From the start of the COVID-19 crisis, supermarkets have been a constant source of relief, providing Americans with essential goods and delivering a semblance of normalcy. Kendall-Jackson is partnering with United Way Worldwide to offer The Grocery Worker’s Relief Fund to support hourly waged grocery workers who do not qualify for workplace protections like sick leave and adequate healthcare, finding themselves increasingly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic.  The fund will recognize these employees as essential workers year-round – not just in a state of emergency – while providing much needed financial support to provide emergency relief for the immediate needs of frontline grocery store workers. Funds will be distributed directly to frontline grocery workers in the form of a $250 gift card. Learn more HERE 

Evictions Paused for Many Renters Until Next Year-Nearly 185,000 Iowans currently have past due utility bills, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, which has introduced a new program to help low-income households pay them off. The state of Iowa is offering up to $2,000 to help those who have suffered a pay cut or pay loss due to COVID-19 make good on overdue bills. Gov. Kim Reynolds state last Friday that the program, funded by federal CARES Act money, “will help them keep the power on and their water running."  To be eligible to receive assistance, a residential electric, natural gas and/or water utility customer must have: 

  • A primary Iowa residence with active residential utility accounts, renters may apply as long as the utility account is in the applicant’s name; 
  • An unpaid utility bill balance or have previously entered into a payment plan with their utility provider;
  • An annual income that is 80% of the median family income, based on county and household size 
  • Experienced a COVID-19 loss of income (job loss, reduction in hours, reduction in pay) on or after March 17, 2020 that resulted in hardship in paying bills for electric, natural gas, and/or water utility service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 31, 2020. 

In addition, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued an order that landlords will not be able to evict specific covered persons from residential property through December 31, 2020. Iowans impacted by loss of income due to COVID-19 include any tenant or resident of a residential property that provides to the landlord a declaration that:

  • The renter is using best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
  • The renter expects to earn no more than $99,000 in Calendar Year 2020 or the person received an Economic Impact Payment stimulus check or had no reported income in 2019.
  • The renter is unable to pay the full rent because of loss of income.
  • The renter is making the best effort to timely make partial rent payments.
  • The eviction would leave the renter homeless or force the individual to move into close quarters in a congregate or shared living setting because the individual has no other available housing options.

The CDC indicated that this order was because of the historic threat to public health associated with COVID-19. 

 

uwjwc HALLOWEEN 2020

10.06.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: HALLOWEEN 2020

Halloween 2020-As Iowans prepare to celebrate Halloween, IDPH wants to remind all that COVID-19 is still circulating in Iowa and encourage all Iowans to continue to take precautions to protect the health of themselves and their families. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. For the  2020 Halloween festivities, IDPH  strongly encourages Iowans to follow  CDC’s guidance when deciding what is appropriate for their families. More information can be found HERE.

United Way COVID Impact Survey-United Ways of Iowa brings together the power of Iowa’s local United Way organizations and their communities to drive impact in Education, Financial Stability, and Health. We are asking for your assistance to better understand the financial impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and recovery on Iowa households via a brief survey. We estimate the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. We know your time is valuable, but the few minutes you take to complete the questionnaire will provide essential information to guide United Way investments in our communities. The survey is now available to take online and can be found HERE.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Virtual Cooking Instruction-Join Main Street Washington & Local Chefs in this interactive cooking class! Purchase a Quarantine Meal Kit & receive ingredients for dinner for 2, a recipe, & a private zoom link for a live cooking class where you can cook LIVE from the comfort of your own kitchen on Monday, October 19th, 2020 at 6 p.m. Add on a bottle of wine (375 ml: 2 glasses) from Steel Horse Wines & make it a great date night! In the inaugural class Chef Cory Evans & local Restaurateur Jaron Rosien will be live-cooking a delicious Chicken & Penne Pomodoro Skillet for 2! More information & for tickets please visit HERE

Flu Shots-This year, as we face the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is even more important to get vaccinated from the flu. Influenza and COVID-19 share many of the same early symptoms-coughs, fever, and body aches. As people get ill this fall, doctors and nurses will immediately be asking if people have received a seasonal flu shot. The patient’s answer will help healthcare workers assess and diagnose patients more effectively. Public health leaders are urging everyone to get the flu vaccine to both protect ourselves and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with sick patients. Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County (VNA) and Johnson County Public Health & Johnson County Emergency Management  will host a community drive-thru flu vaccination clinic next Saturday, October 10th from 10 am - 4 pm at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Learn more on Facebook HERE.

When to Quarantine: For Business, Education, and Child Care Settings-For non-healthcare, non-residential settings, quarantine is no longer recommended if a potential exposure occurs while both the infectious individual and the close contacts are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.

  • In all scenarios below, an individual is considered a close contact when they have been within 6 feet of the COVID-19 positive individual for 15 minutes.
  • Individuals who are a close contact due to exposure to a household member are required to quarantine for at least 14 days. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.
  • Individuals who have COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days. Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.

Learn more HERE.

Mask-Wearers: Change in Quarantine Requirement-The state of Iowa is dropping a requirement for those testing positive for COVID-19 to be quarantined for 14 days if both parties were wearing a face mask. Last Tuesday, Governor Reynolds stated, we are “having to quarantine a disproportionately high number of students.” CDC guidelines currently call for 14-day quarantines even if both parties were masked, but the state is following the lead of other states in doing away with the precaution. The new guideline also impacts daycares and businesses, but not residential health care facilities, such as nursing homes. Learn more HERE.

Bars Reopen in Johnson & Story Counties-Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds lifted the closures of bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries in Johnson and Story counties. Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation announcing that breweries, wineries and distilleries were able to reopen at 5 p.m. on October 2nd. Friday. Bars and restaurants must continue to ensure social distancing parameters of six feet between groups, and all patrons must be seated at a table, booth, or bar. To read the proclamation, click HERE

Power of the Purse+-Power of the Purse+ is the signature United Way annual fundraising event supporting 30 local partner agencies and community initiatives.  While COVID-19 has increased the need for more resources to help people in our community, it has also made it impossible to hold an in-person fundraiser. So ... Power of the Purse+ is going virtual!  With a nod to our need to mask up, our theme this year is Cover Up and Carry On! Learn more and get your ticket today HERE.

 uwjwc gratitude

11.24.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: A MESSAGE OF GRATITUDE

A Window into the COVID-19 Crisis-The unprecedented global crisis of COVID-19 has presented new challenges and exacerbated existing social inequities. Many lenses are being used to evaluate the impact of coronavirus on the US population. Since United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community, our dashboard provides a window into how certain, pressing social needs affect communities by state. It is a tool to inform those able to help and can be used to assist to prioritize recovery efforts. Interaction with the dashboard is simple. First, select “Health,” “Education,” or “Finance” from the top menu to see measures that correspond with each area. Then, you can either view data at a national level, hover over the map for interesting facts, or select a state and see specific measures for that state. Looking at Iowa, we can see 211 calls for food assistance are up 235% and 39.61% of Iowans say they do not have $2,000 if an emergency arose. Find out how your support can impact our neighbors at UnitedWayJWC.org or make your gift of Thanksgiving HERE.

A Message of Gratitude-Celebrating Thanksgiving in past years may have found families visiting distant relatives or hosting gatherings for loved ones coming into town. While Thanksgiving may look different this year in your home, the meaning of the word does not escape us-an expression of gratitude. In honor of Thanksgiving, we would like to express our gratitude to each of you for all that you and your teams are doing for our communities. The current circumstances we live in are unknown to us all and they bring a lot of uncertainties and new challenges with them, however we are so thankful for how our communities have united and continue to support our neighbors. Please feel free to share our messages of gratitude below -Happy Thanksgiving!

Volunteers/Donations

We Are United: A heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who are standing, sometimes virtually, “arm in arm” during the pandemic. We are so grateful for your support of our communities during this unprecedented challenge

Education

We Are United: Teachers have gone to incredible lengths to help their students keep learning. To every administrator, teacher, and support staff we have two words for you – Thank You.

Health

We Are United: Thank you for the sacrifices each team member in our health community is making each and every day during this pandemic. Your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. 

Financial Stability

We Are United: During the COVID-19 pandemic, our local businesses and non-profits have been, and continue to be, open as they are safely delivering meals, offering products and providing services-Thank You. 

uwjwc covid update

Photo Credit: Washington County, IA Emergency Management

11.17.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: IOWA’S NEW COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Iowa’s New COVID-19 Restrictions-Yesterday evening Governor Kim Reynolds released new COVID-19 restrictions for the state of Iowa. The new proclamation requires, beginning at midnight on Monday, November 16th, that when people are in an indoor public space, and unable to social distance or 15 minutes or longer, masks are required to be worn. The same requirements apply to visitors and employees inside State buildings. Additional mask requirements are imposed for certain specific establishments and gatherings. The proclamation also limits indoor social, community, business and leisure gatherings or events to 15 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30. This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings and conventions. But it does not restrict gatherings that occur in the workplace as part of normal daily business or government operations. To view a summary of enhanced mitigation measures, click HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Holiday Adopt-A-Family -In 2019, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties connected 44 local families (213 individuals) with adopters through the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program. Over 30 families have already been referred to United Way for the 2020 holiday season. The United Way Adopt-a-Family Program allows businesses, community members, groups and organizations to provide local families with food, necessity items and gifts during the holidays. Families are identified by local service agencies and as experiencing extraordinary needs due to health issues, financial instability or other major circumstances including this year families who have been negatively impacted by COVID. Adopters will receive the family wish list with information about the family, clothing sizes and items identified by the family. There are families of all sizes and stages that have need for support this year. To adopt a family, get more information about the program, or provide support for this program, contact Patti Fields at (319) 338-7823 or patti.fields@unitedwayjwc.org.

 

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Get Your COVID-19 Questions Answered-Join the Johnson County Parent Forum virtually hosted by Johnson County Public Health staff to learn more about how to protect your family and manage isolation and quarantine. The event will be this Thursday November 19th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Access the discussion by using the link found HERE.

Local COVID Vaccine Information-Several manufacturers are developing COVID-19 vaccines for the United States. Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) anticipates to begin receiving initial shipments of COVID-19 vaccine late this year. These first shipments of vaccines will be very small and prioritized for people in high risk groups. As more vaccines become available, those groups will broaden until anyone who wants to receive the vaccine can get it. Please visit the IDPH website often as the site will be updated as new information becomes available and as information changes. If you have general questions about the vaccine, call 211.  Resource specialists are available 24 hours a day to answer basic questions. You can also read the FAQ document located HERE.

Free Thanksgiving Dinner-Walmart is partnering with Campbell’, Coca-Cola, Butterball and mobile rewards platform Ibotta to launch the Free Thanksgiving Dinner program in an effort to feed millions of American families. You can get 100% cash back on everything you need to whip up dinner for the family. Items include:

  • Idahoan instant mashed potatoes (8-ounce package)
  • Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup (10.5-ounce can)
  • 2-liter bottle of Coke
  • All varieties of Butterball 3-pound turkey roast or $9.98 cashback on all Butterball whole turkeys
  • McCormick turkey gravy seasoning packet (0.87-ounce package)
  • French’s crispy onions (2.8-ounce package)
  • Great Value stuffing (6-ounce package)
  • Great Value cranberry sauce (14-ounce can)
  • Great Value frozen green beans (12-ounce bag)

These offers are available in November, while supplies last. Learn more HERE.

Keep the Cheer Here -Keep the Cheer Here is designed to promote local businesses and encourage shoppers to keep your holiday dollars in the Iowa City area. Small businesses are the backbone of our community and many are experiencing negative impacts from the pandemic. To support our local businesses, the Iowa City Business Partnership is launching a call-to-action for Johnson County to support our local businesses and “Keep the Cheer Here” this holiday season. Let’s all do our part to support our local businesses when purchasing holiday gifts so we can keep the cheer (dollars) here. Learn more HERE.

uwjwc covid

11.10.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: COVID RISING

COIVD RISING-Join in for the next, live State of the Community webinar COVID RISING today, Tuesday, November 10th at 2:00pm. As cases continue to rise in Johnson County and beyond, learn from leaders what you can do to stay safe and stay informed. Panelists include:

Please register HERE!

COVID Vaccination Trials-KCRG reported Monday that Pfizer, and its German partner BioNTech, are sharing that an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent.  Pfizer has said it plans to seek U.S. review later this month. Read more HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

55+RSVP Volunteer Opportunities-During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ 55+RSVP program continues to develop opportunities to engage volunteers and community members while maintaining safety precautions.  This fall the 55+RSVP program partnered with the Iowa City VA Health Care System to provide an opportunity for connection via a Pen Pal Program between RSVP Volunteers and Veterans.  Thirty 55+RSVP volunteers have signed up to write letters, to thank a Veteran for their service and to connect with a Veteran simply by sharing their own stories.  Some 55+RSVP volunteers are Veterans themselves.  If you reside in Johnson County and are 55 or better, please consider giving your skills and expertise to your community by becoming a volunteer with the 55+ RSVP program.  You can register as a 55+RSVP volunteer by filling out this web form or by contacting 55+RSVP Director Erin Balvanz, at Erin.Balvanz@UnitedWayJWC.org or 319-338-7823.

Health, Education, and Financial Stability

Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board-President-elect Joe Biden named 13 health experts to his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board yesterday. The panel will be co-chaired by three people: former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler of the University of California, San Francisco; former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale. The team is made up of several people who have served in senior public health positions in the federal government including Dr. Rick Bright. Bright, Luciana Borio, and Eric Goosby. Click HERE for a complete list of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

University Athletics, Tuition, Housing Losses in 2020-The Gazette recently reported that the Board of Regents has been briefed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Iowa's higher education budgets. University of Iowa Athletics — projecting a COVID-19-compelled deficit in the tens of millions for the new 2021 budget year — came in nearly $5 million under its income budget last year and generated $2.2 million less than the year prior, according to the report. Fiscal 2020 tuition revenue across the state’s three campuses was $4.4 million under budget and $2.4 million less than the prior year — due, in part, to enrollment slips and shifts in the student body makeups happening before the pandemic. When the pandemic forced Iowa’s public universities to mostly empty their residence halls, the reported loss was $2.5 million in revenue for UI Housing and Dining. Because operating costs also declined, the system showed a net revenue increase of $1.7 million. Iowa State, which has thousands more residence hall students than its sister campuses, lost $6.9 million in revenue — although saved even more, like Iowa, and upped its net revenue by $2.1 million. UNI’s residence system came in $3.1 million under budget but managed a $1.4 million net increase. Learn more HERE.

Hospital Relief-Governor Kim Reynolds announced on November 3rd that she is allocating an additional $28 million in direct relief to Iowa’s hospitals and local county health departments to help manage increased needs due to COVID-19. The funding comes from the $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act funds allocated to the state.  Of the direct relief announced, $25 million will be allocated to hospitals to address staffing needs. The funds will be allocated prorated based on average hospital census over the months of September and October. An additional $3 million will be distributed to local county health departments based on a per capita basis. Read more HERE

Your Information Matters-Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently urged Iowans to take “every precaution possible” to slow the spread of COVID-19, by wearing masks, social distancing and staying home when possible.  As of this morning the Iowa Department of Public Health COVID in Iowa website shows a total of 161,248 COVID-19 cases in Iowa and a total of 1,872 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began. Your information matters! Public health agencies need your help in tracking COVID-19. If you have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, you may receive a phone call for contact tracing. Answer the call and help track COVID-19 in Iowa. Coronavirus.iowa.gov

Missing Your Economic Impact Payment-If you did not file a 2019 federal tax payment to receive your Economic Impact Payment you can still receive it by registering your request on or before November 21st at 3 p.m. ET. Use the embedded link for Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here  to register for your payment. For details, see Topic B: Requesting My Economic Impact Payment. Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Department of Veteran Affairs benefit recipients who already received a $1,200 payment now have until November 21 to register for a payment for their spouse or qualifying child. For details, see Topic H: Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Department of Veteran Affairs benefit recipients.

uwjwc covid19 uihc

11.03.2020 COVID-19 RE-OPENING UPDATE: THERE IS SO MUCH AT STAKE

There is So Much at Stake-“We are again in danger of losing control of this pandemic in Iowa. Our COVID positivity rates skyrocketed twice before, but this is the first time we have seen rates this high while also dealing with record patient hospitalizations…The health of every Iowan is at risk, COVID-related or otherwise.”  Please, read this important message from University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics’ Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA Chief Executive Officer, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics— sharing a COVID-19 Update HERE. Help to share the message on Facebook and Twitter.

#VOTE-Today is Election Day and a surge in coronavirus cases across Iowa and the country can be concerning to some voters. In Iowa, some officials say they are preparing for scores of confirmed or potentially infected people to vote curbside. It’s an option typically used by disabled people that must be available outside every polling place. Read the complete article from KCRG HERE United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties reminds you to mask up, be safe, and please VOTE!

Education, Health, and  Financial Stability

Getting Your Teen’s Permit-Iowa DOT operated service centers are currently open by appointment only to maintain proper social distancing recommendations. Walk-in customers will not be served. Iowa DOT operated driver’s license service centers are open by appointment only. Teens getting their driver’s instruction permit now have the option to take the web-knowledge test that is required to obtain the permit at home. Their parent will need to apply to administer the test and the student will need to have an electronic device connected to the internet. After the teen passes the knowledge test, they will still need to make an appointment to come into a facility to be issued their permit, we will not take walk-in customers at this time. Due to the high volume of applications coming through, it may take at least 4 weeks to process your application to take the test at home. If you prefer, you can schedule an appointment to take the knowledge exam at a service center location. Learn more HERE.

Free flu shots! -Next Saturday, November 7th the Carver College of Medicine Mobile Clinic will be offering free flu shots during Coralville Community Food Pantry’s open hours. After you get your food, hop on over to the Hills Bank parking lot for your free flu shot. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits. Learn more HERE.

Hospital Strains-Iowa hospital officials seek action, warn of overloads, as virus cases soar reported KCRG TV9 on Monday. The number of people being treated for the coronavirus in Iowa hospitals continued to soar, prompting doctors and hospital officials to warn their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicated 1,469 new confirmed cases Monday and 17 additional deaths reported over the last day. To keep up with Iowa COVID-19 data click HERE

Pregnant Women Birthing with COVID-19-A new report in the CDC MMWR  looks at birth outcomes among pregnant women with COVID-19. Compared with the national estimates in 2019, pregnant women with COVID-19 included in the report had a higher rate of infants who were born preterm. Women with COVID-19 during pregnancy might be at risk for preterm delivery or other adverse outcomes. Learn about the study HERE

Drive Thru Job Fair for Corridor-To help local businesses promote current job openings in a safe, efficient, and unique manner, the American Job Center is hosting two events:

  • Iowa City Drive-Thru Job Fair: Eastdale Plaza 1700 South First Avenue. Iowa City, IA 52240. November 5, 2020,11am-1pm
  • Cedar Rapids Drive-Thru Job Fair: Lindale Mall 4444 1st Ave NE. Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, Sears Parking Lot. November 6, 2020, 11am-1pm

The Business Services Team will distribute your information, no "in person" attendance is required. If you would like to participate in both events, they are asking for 600 full sheet/half-page or postcard sized documents that describe your open positions and how to apply by October 30, 2020. If you intend to participate in only the Cedar Rapids event you will only need to provide 400 copies and for companies only participating in the Iowa City event, provide 200 copies. This will be a contactless event- people will drive up, be handed a bag with job lead information, and they drive home! Learn more or how to participate click HERE.

Holiday Help-Wanted this holiday shopping season: Cart sanitizers, curbside delivery workers and mask enforcers. The push to hire temporary workers has begun in earnest this holiday season — in some cases, weeks earlier than last year. But the pandemic has reshaped the kinds of jobs retailers are recruiting for. Retail stores say they are looking for workers who can handle new tasks like checking temperatures and booking store appointments for shoppers who still want the in-store experience but are jittery about exposure to the coronavirus. Read more from CBS2 HERE.

 

UWJWC UWI Study

 

12.22.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: COVID IMPACT SURVEY

COVID Financial Impact Survey-Low-income families have suffered disproportionate struggle to pay for essentials – more than half report loss of income or increased expenses due to COVID. United Ways of Iowa partnered with researchiQ at the University of Northern Iowa to commission a survey about the financial impacts  of COVID on Iowa households. The three main concerns reported by respondents were a second wave of virus activity and closures, a household member contracting COVID-19 and mental health issues. Families with household incomes below $50,000 reported significantly higher concerns about paying for food, utilities and rent/mortgage. The survey asked households about their financial status before, during and since COVID shutdowns. It was in the field from September 28 until November 2nd, before the current spike in cases in Iowa over the past several weeks. The study identified several major themes: COVID has unevenly impacted Iowa families. Respondents with household income below $50,000 were significantly more likely than higher income groups to report loss of income or increased expenses since the pandemic began. These respondents were most likely to report working in occupations that have experienced the greatest disruptions from COVID including hospitality, food service, retail and heath or social assistance. Learn more and review the study HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Positive Impact!-In 2019 United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties worked with our Partner Agencies to adopt 44 families for the holidays. This year, with the help of our Partner Agencies, local businesses, organizations and over 100 individual donors, 111 families were adopted and given a holiday to celebrate. The combined efforts and commitment to help our neighbors will bring smiles to 338 children and 162 adults thus positively impacting 500 people with holiday needs. Every family referred was adopted! Want to make one more gift this holiday season? Celebrate the best of the holiday giving season by making a holiday donation at United Way’s JOY Finds A Way-click HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Helping Families with Local Resources-Looking for local resources and supports available to assist students and families with academic achievement, mental health, and emotional wellbeing? Look no further than the Johnson County Resources page Iowa City Area Resources for Students and Families. This webpage contains resources that are available to assist students and families as well as additional information on Covid-19 and School Age Child Care assistance. If you have information on other available resources and opportunities for support, please email them to Peggy-Rauch@uiowa.edu 

Highlander Hotel Day Passes-Looking for a way to get out some of that winter energy? Check out the Highlander Hotel’s Day Pass. For $100, plus tax (add on tickets $25 each, max of 2 extra per pass) your family can enjoy a Day Pass Session including:

  • A private guest room to change and keep your personal belongings in
  • 4 wristbands for the pool, hot tub and games
  • 4 pool towels
  • 4 flatbread pizzas
  • Unlimited soda/coffee

With a 24 hour advance reservation, Sunday-Thursday, you can choose from the following sessions: 10AM to 2PM (Mon-Thurs), 2PM to 6PM and 6PM to 10PM. Just four of these packages will be available per day per session. Choose the time session that works best for you and call to secure your Day Pass today! Call 319-354-2000

Economic Relief Package-CBS2 reports the $900 billion economic relief package that emerged from Congress over the weekend and is awaiting Presidential signature will deliver vital aid to millions of households and businesses that have struggled for months to survive. The package that congressional leaders agreed to Sunday will provide urgently needed benefits to the unemployed, loans to help small businesses stay open and up to $600 in cash payments to most individuals. It will also help families facing evictions remain in their homes. The measure includes no budgetary help, though, for states and localities that are being forced to turn to layoffs and service cuts as their tax revenue dries up — a potential long-run drag on the economy. Learn more HERE.

COVID-19 Hospital Financial Impact-The Iowa Hospital Association has released an updated report projecting COVID-19’s financial impact on Iowa hospitals to be $433 million in 2020 according to the Corridor Business Journal. The report also shows that half of Iowa hospitals were operating at a financial loss at the end of October. The estimated total cost of COVID-19 to Iowa hospitals for March to December is $1.25 billion. This is offset by provider relief funds, netting the estimated $433 million loss. This projection does not include other federal funding sources, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency payments, and state funding. The report also highlighted other key Iowa hospital data trends from March to October. An infographic of the study results can be found  HERE.

joy fINDS A WAY

12.15.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: JOY FinDS A WAY

JOY Finds A Way-As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across the United States, the CDC is recommending the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is at home with people who live with you. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Consider planning and being creative this year when celebrating the holidays while minimizing the risk of being exposed to or spreading the coronavirus. Some suggestions include:

  • Making "homemade" gifts for family and friends.
  • Preparing shared recipes at the same time over video chat.
  • Consider a drop-off potluck by making traditional recipes for family and neighbors and delight them with a doorstep drop-off.
  • As you grocery shop online, order the gift of a delivery of holiday food to older relatives.

Finally, as we look forward to the holiday season, please remember that COVID-19 has caused many local families to experience financial hardship and food shortages. Assisting those in need with one extra holiday gift is just a click away. Support United Way’s JOY Finds A Way holiday program and make a gift in someone’s name. With your holiday donation you will receive a beautiful certificate you can print and share with your honoree. Learn more HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Project Holiday-CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, a Partner Agency of United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, annually provides Johnson County residents with a holiday meal through their Project Holiday. This year as COVID-19 has affected so many local families, they are planning to provide nearly 1,500 families with a Project Holiday meal, but they need some extra help to make it happen!  Project Holiday distribution will take place at CommUnity Food Bank's new location at 1045 Highway 6 East in Iowa City’s Pepperwood Plaza through Saturday. Click HERE to sign up to volunteer for Project Holiday.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Students Struggling-School districts from coast to coast have reported the number of students failing classes has risen by as many as two or three times, with English language learners and disabled and disadvantaged students suffering the most. Schools are seeing students perform worse in the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic reports KCRG. The Iowa City Community School District saw 37% of its high school students have at least one F by the midterm period. In a normal year, around 20% of its high school students have at least one F by the midterm period. Educators see a number of factors at play:

  • Students learning from home skip assignments — or school altogether.
  • Internet access is limited or inconsistent, making it difficult to complete and upload assignments.
  • Teachers who don’t see their students in person have fewer ways to pick up on who is falling behind, especially with many keeping their cameras off during Zoom sessions.

View the complete report from KCRG HERE.

Quick COVID-19 Search-Having trouble navigating the internet to find local COVID-19? Tired of clicking on page after page to drill down to find COVID-19 numbers in your community? Try this quick Google search strategy to get the information you are looking for quickly. Simply type in your “city’s name and state” then “COVID-19” and with one click you will find details including a Cases Overview, Daily Change chart and a Map of Cases for your search area. Try it HERE.

What? How? When?-With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting emergency use authorization (EUA) to a coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, AARP is sharing what we know about the logistics of shipping it nationwide, who will receive it and when. AARP is answering questions from “What, exactly, is a vaccine?” to “To How will the vaccine be distributed?” to “If a vaccine is not 100 percent effective, can I still get COVID-19?” Learn more HERE.

 

COVID-19 Small Business Assistance-Join in on Wednesday, December 16th at 2pm to learn more about the City of Iowa City's COVID-19 Small Business Assistance program to support local, small, Iowa City-based businesses that have sustained economic losses due to COVID-19. Grants of up to $15,000 ($10,000 maximum for businesses without employees) will be given to qualifying businesses to cover operating expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities, inventory, and staff salaries or wages. Eligibility criteria include being a small, for-profit business, located in Iowa City, and meeting a Low-Moderate Income (LMI) national objective. The City of Iowa City is able to offer this small business relief program through CARES Act funding they received from the federal government which, at this time, is only for cities with a population over 50,000. We will continue to advocate for additional funding for cities of all sizes and their small businesses. Register HERE for the Q&A session to learn more information about the grant. 

uwjwc covid update

12.08.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: ADOPT A HEALTH CARE WORKER

Adopt a Health Care Worker -The most recent estimates of hospital utilization data are available for the U.S. states, and territories is updated each Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  This data is estimated from hospital submissions, either reported through their state or reported through HHS Protect. Seeing our hospitals stress locally and across the country, now is the time to express our support for those who are working on the front lines. Project Better Together is running an “Adopt a Health Care Worker” campaign over the holidays.  As you are doing your local shopping, consider sending a gift to a healthcare worker or nominating a healthcare worker you know to receive a gift.  You can find more information and sign up HERE.

Volunteers/Donations

Become A Fraud Fighter-Learning how to detect and report fraud helps protect you and your loved ones. The Iowa City Senior Center invites 55+ Johnson County residents to attend the Iowa Fraud Fighters presentation: Wednesday, December 9, 11:00 a.m. Zoom Meeting ID: 938 7692 3872, Passcode: 2020-Using the link found HERE. Go the extra mile to protect yourself and others - Sign-Up HERE to become a RSVP Fraud Fighter—training provided

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Student Loan Advisory Service-Thousands of Iowa borrowers remain unsure their loans are eligible for payment suspension and interest waiver during the pandemic. Social enterprise ‘Summer’ is available to assist Iowa’s student loan borrowers with free COVID-19 relief. The student loan advisory service provides borrowers with guidance to save and simplify repayments. Their technology and student loan experts assist borrowers with finding, comparing, and enrolling in loan assistance and forgiveness programs. This program will help Iowans navigate complex repayment processes, ensure borrowers won’t miss important payments and are properly enrolled in assistance programs. Iowa borrowers may access Summer’s digital platform free of charge to receive customized loan savings recommendations HERE.

Pandemic Parenting-What are today’s key challenges? 

  • 80% say how to manage stress and prevent burnout
  • 50% say understanding resilience and coping strategies
  • 45% say how to support family, friends, and coworkers

Pandemic Parenting provides resilience-building tips and practices for parents and families specific to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thanks to a 2020 ECR CARES ACT grant, Pandemic Parenting is freely available to counties within East Central Region, Iowa. Learn more and register HERE.

Vaccine 101-Recently the World Health Organization shared some facts regarding COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety before they're approved-Vaccines go through extensive trials before they can be introduced in a country. Expert doctors and scientists follow strict international standards while deciding whether to approve a vaccine. Like all medicines, vaccines may cause side effects that are usually minor and temporary. More serious side effects are extremely rare. A person is far more likely to be seriously harmed by a disease than by its vaccine.
  • Vaccine trials involve a diverse range of volunteers-In clinical trials, people volunteer to take and test the vaccine. These volunteers should be from diverse geographic areas, racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages. They should also include people with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for the disease. This helps ensure the vaccine is safe and effective for everyone.
  • COVID-19 vaccine trials are following safety and ethical standards-COVID-19 vaccines, like any vaccine, should follow standard development protocol to test the vaccine's effectiveness and identify any common side effects or safety concerns. This includes multiple stages of testing with tens of thousands of volunteers.

Learn more about vaccinations HERE.

LIHEAP-The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is accepting applications for qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters. The LIHEAP program pays a portion of primary heating costs for the winter heating season. Assistance is based on household income, size, fuel type, and housing. Applications are accepted until April 30, 2021 by local community action agencies. To find your local community action agency, call 2-1-1 or visit HERE

There’s An App for That-IowaWORKS & Iowa Workforce Development has launched a mobile app that allows Iowans to search for jobs on the go. The new app will help job seekers update their resumes, search for jobs, and communicate with IowaWORKS staff. Iowans can download the app at no cost to them through Google Play or the Apple App Store. Learn more about the app HERE.

UWJWCDon’t forget to give one more gift this holiday season. Charitable donations make a great gift for everyone on your list: family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Celebrate the best of the holiday giving season by making a holiday donation in their name. Learn how you can support United Way’s JOY Finds A Way HERE.

uwjwc covid uPDATE

12.01.2020 COVID-19 UPDATE: WOULD YOU RECEIVE A VACCINE?

Would You Receive A Vaccine?-Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) has launched a survey about the COVID-19 vaccine and is seeking feedback to assess attitudes toward receiving the vaccination.  You may skip any questions you prefer not to answer.  The survey is open to all those who live or work in Johnson County.  Your responses will help JCPH provide information to the public related to COVID-19 vaccinations. You may take the survey HERE

Volunteers/Donations

Fill The Box-The negative impact of COVID has put many households in our communities in crisis. Finding the extra funds for holiday gift-giving will be hard if not impossible for many. Help Johnson County Toys for Tots bring hope this Christmas to children in our community by donating a new toy during a special Fill The Box-Run for Toys. This Saturday, December 5th beginning at 10am, Rik Zortman will be running the streets of Iowa City spelling out the words “FILL THE BOX.”  Rik’s wife Lisa, a teacher-librarian at Iowa City Community School District’s Mark Twain and Lucas Elementary, and other local volunteers will be at the end of his route in College Green Park collecting donated toys. There will also be three Iowa City donation box locations along Rik’s route for toy collection: 530 Ronalds Street, 431 Brown Street, and 519 N. Johnson Street, Iowa City. In the event of inclement weather, the donation boxes will be moved onto each resident’s porch.

Education, Health & Financial Stability

Extension of 100% Off-Site Learning-Recently the Iowa City Community School District petitioned the State for permission to extend 100% off-site learning for an additional two-week period.  This was based on the COVID-19 positivity rates in Johnson County, as well as support from Johnson County Public Health and our School Board.  The District has been granted permission from the Iowa Department of Education to extend 100% off-site learning.  The Board of Directors approved ICCSD’s recommendation and will extend 100% off-site learning for an additional two-week period which began on Monday, November 30, 2020, and will continue through Friday, December 11, 2020. 

Washington Community Schools- Updated Guidelines for Face to Face Learning -On November 13th, following the Governor’s proclamation, Washington Community Schools released updated guidelines for classroom learning and school activities. The Board made it clear in a meeting on 11/11/20 that the district will stay in face-to-face learning mode as long as they are able to provide the educational opportunities for our students. Click HERE for more information.

COVID-19 Testing in Southeast Iowa-The high demand for COVID-19 testing has required Washington County Hospital and Clinics (WCHC) to make changes to the COVID-19 Wellness Testing program offered locally.  WCHC’s COVID-19 Wellness Testing program is for individuals who are asymptomatic but are concerned of exposure or past exposure. While it remains imperative for WCHC to provide COVID-19 testing to the general public, priority testing will be reserved for patients who are symptomatic and require a physician visit, present ill to the Emergency Room, hospitalized on the inpatient unit, and surgical patients. As of last Wednesday, November 25th, appointments will be required for individuals who would like a COVID-19 Wellness test. To learn more about this update or to schedule an appointment click HERE.

State of the Community: What Employers Need to Know About the COVID Vaccine-Join in on Wednesday, December 2 at 1:30pm for a live webinar with local business leaders and health officials as they discuss plans for the rollout of a possible COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. Rick Dobyns, Director and Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at UIHC, will moderate the discussion with panelists:

  • Dr. Mike Brownlee, Associate Director and Chief Pharmacy Officer at UIHC
  • Dr. Patricia Winokur, Executive Dean, Carver College of Medicine
  • Dr. Aaron Scherer, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UIHC
  • Sam Jarvis, Community Health Division Manager at Johnson County Public Health

Register HERE to receive your link to attend.

Holiday Coping Strategies Virtual Discussion-2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways, and it isn’t over yet. Please join in on December 4th at 11am for a discussion centering on the sense of loss that is facing many of us during this holiday season. The loss can be the result of death, physical distance or social distance; the pandemic adds a layer of complication to an already complicated time of year. We miss people. We miss our rituals. We miss our life-before-COVID-19. Mercedes Bern-Klug will facilitate a discussion about how to recognize the sense of loss in ourselves and in others, and consider ways to respond to the loss during the holiday season. This virtual event is free to attend but you must register HERE

Shop Small-Small Business Saturday kicked-off Downtown's 2020 holiday activities in Iowa City last week. They have a lot of activities planned for you to safely enjoy this winter as you get in the spirit. The Iowa City Downtown District is bringing back all of your favorite Holiday activities in a safe, COVID-conscious way. All of Downtown's holiday activities have been changed to accommodate social distancing and limited capacities. Santa has been moved outdoors, the gingerbread house competition can be done from the comfort of your home, and the trolley rides at Hills Bank will be in an open-air tractor wagon with distanced seating and online reservations. Read more details about the activities and the safety measure being taken HERE. Make sure to check out Downtown's holiday happenings and mark your calendars with the activities below:

CBJ Cybersecurity Symposium -The Corridor Business Journal and ProCircular will be hosting a Cybersecurity Symposium. Industry experts will discuss the current cybersecurity threat landscape, incident response, and tools and tactics to mitigate risks for your company and customers. Join in on December 8, 2020 at 8:00 AM. Register for your to receive your link HERE.

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1.26.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: TRAVELING OUT OF OR bACK tO tHE u.s.?

Traveling Out Of or Back To The U.S.? -Beginning Jan. 26, international travelers bound for the United States must show negative coronavirus test results before boarding their flights. International travelers arriving in the United States, including Americans returning from abroad, will need to show negative coronavirus test results before boarding their flights — the latest in a wave of policies designed to curb the calamitous spread of Covid-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new orders in a statement, and the C.D.C. director Dr. Robert R. Redfield stressed that testing alone cannot “eliminate all risk,” urging travelers to continue wearing masks, maintain physical distance and follow quarantine guidelines. Travel — whether it’s by plane, train or automobile — remains ill-advised, experts say, especially as researchers continue to identify new and potentially more contagious variants of the virus. The best way for an infectious microbe to move is to hitch a ride atop a wayfaring human. Learn more from The New York Times HERE.

Beat the Bitter Igloo Jam-You can make an impact while jamming out with The Pork Tornadoes from the comfort and safety of your own home! North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter Igloo Jam, presented by GreenState Credit Union, is partnering with United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties for this virtual blast on Saturday, January 30th.This event is free to attend as a livestream concert and will raise funds for United Way’s Community Disaster Relief Fund, currently focused on ensuring that our region’s most vulnerable individuals and families have the support they need to weather the short and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.  You don’t want to miss the chance to bring this high energy concert with Iowa’s hottest party band to your living room where you can dance where literally no one is watching! The Pork Tornadoes’ 90-min show kicks off at 8 p.m. on Jan. 30. Make plans to join by claiming a free ticket HERE. When registering for the event, you will be invited to make a donation to the United Way Community Disaster Relief Fund.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Changes in Iowa Education-A pair of proposals that will impact education is being moved through the Iowa House and Senate. The proposals, one that would require school districts to offer a fully in-person learning option during the pandemic and another that would give students state money to spend on private education, sped through the subcommittee and committee process Monday. The final House and Senate floor votes on the in-person learning bills could come in both chambers within the next week. A version of the proposal cleared the Senate Education Committee on Monday and the House version will receive a committee vote on Tuesday. To read the complete Des Moines Register article click HERE.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update -Residents across the state of Iowa are continuing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. State Rep. Dave Jacoby shared As of Wednesday, 1/20/21, over 156,000 doses have been administered while over 16,000 Iowans have received both doses and completed the vaccination series. Doses are currently being administered to people in the Phase 1A category; healthcare professionals and residents and staff at long-term care facilities. According to the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, people in the Phase 1B category will start receiving the vaccine next month. Priority populations include persons aged 65 years and over. OR, the following populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness (listed in order of priority):
Tier 1 -First Responders. PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers

Tier 2 -Frontline essential workers in food, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors who live or work in non-social distanced settings. Individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff

Tier 3 -Staff and individuals living in congregate settings not covered by previous Phase or Tier. Government officials, including staff, engaged in business at the State Capitol

Tier 4 -Inspectors responsible for health, life and safety

Tier 5 -Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated. Details on who will be eligible as well as the timeline for the Phase 1 group is expected to be released shortly.

To view the current vaccination data, please visit HERE.

COVID-19 Variants-What do we know about the new COVID-19 variants? Dr. Andrew Badley of the Mayo Clinic is providing some insights into the strain found in the United Kingdom in a recently released video. In addition, the drug company Moderna says tests show that its COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against new variants of the coronavirus but that the vaccine is more effective against the variant first identified in the U.K. than the one found in South Africa. As a result, Moderna will test booster doses of its vaccine, including one that would be tailored to fight strains that have recently emerged. The new variant of coronavirus, first detected in Brazil, has been confirmed in Minnesota. The variant was detected by the Minnesota Department of Health, which announced Monday that the new strain is thought to be more transmissible. Learn more from NPR HERE.

Iowa Restaurant & Bar Relief Program-Project Better Together recently shared information on Gov. Reynolds allocation of $40 million in federal CARES Act funds to provide financial relief for eligible restaurants and bars that were impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Program will assist many Iowa establishments that were among the most directly and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures and mitigation efforts. Learn more HERE.

Vacation Impacts on Work Health-Many of us found over the last year events were canceled, travel was limited, and some of our favorite activities remain unfeasible as the days of the pandemic have blurred into months. With many companies in survival mode, their teams are working longer and harder than ever just to stay afloat. But this pace isn’t sustainable. Even before the pandemic, feeling reluctance or guilt is common when it comes to taking time off from work − especially when we feel like our coworkers are depending on us. Now, with furloughs and layoffs threatening job security, many employees might fear they’ll return from vacation to find they no longer have a job. Thus many workers haven’t taken a day off since March, and they’re starting to feel the effects of burnout. The importance of self-care has become a common theme lately. Think Iowa City has reminded us that today, January 26 is National #PlanForVacation Day! Proven data shows that those who plan to take time off are happier and healthier. With many local mini-vacation options available in the Midwest, make a plan today!

 

uwjwc covid memorial

1.19.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: COVID-19 MEMORIAL

COVID-19 Memorial-The City of Coralville will participate in the national memorial for lives lost to COVID-19. On Tuesday, January 19:

  • The northwest lobby of Xtream Arena at 200 E. 9th Street will be open from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.
  • Luminaria bags and decorating supplies will be available.
  • The public is invited to decorate a luminaria with the name of a friend or loved one who has been lost to COVID-19.
  • Decorated luminarias will be placed on the plaza area outside of the arena

At 5:00 pm, luminarias will be lit throughout the Iowa River Landing, including E. 9th Street, Ponseti Way, Iowa River Landing Place, and the north half of Quarry Road and E. 2nd Avenue. Businesses and residents throughout Coralville are invited to leave their lights on through the night as an expression of remembrance. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

When Will I Be Vaccinated?-As states contend with a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines, prioritization decisions are being made about local distribution. Many current prioritization decisions reflect guidance from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), as well as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). However, the states have the authority to allocate vaccines as they see fit. One priority group for vaccination, teachers, has been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks, with some education groups advocating that teachers and school staff be moved up in prioritization plans, relative to other groups. Because of this advocacy, and especially ACIP’s recent decision to recommend teachers and school staff for Phase 1b of vaccination, states that do not currently include the K-12 workforce in Phase 1 may reconsider their current prioritization. Read more of this piece from John Hopkins on How Are Teachers Prioritized for COVID-19 Vaccination by the US States?

The Iowa Department of Public Health has just released a timeline to help Iowans understand when they can expect to be vaccinated including Iowa’s PK-12 school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers. Learn more HERE.

Vaping, Nicotine, and the Developing Brain.  -Vaping is linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Nicotine use in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control learning, mood, and impulse control. Nicotine is a toxic substance found in vaping devices that are attractive to youth with their abundance of flavors, sleek, easy to use devices, and false advertising. On Tuesday, January 19th, from 6-7pm you are invited to join Big Brothers Big Sister of Johnson County for a presentation and short video on how nicotine and vaping impact the developing brain. Simply us the zoom link found HERE or, if you have any questions, please contact Kristen Elting at kmelting@iastate.edu.

UI Mouse Study Helps With COVID Smell Loss-A repurposed mouse model can develop symptoms of both severe COVID-19 (lung damage, blood clots, abnormal blood vessels, and death) and also of milder disease, including loss of the sense of smell, according to a new University of Iowa study published in Nature. The study also showed that convalescent plasma from a patient who had recovered from COVID-19 protected the mice against lethal disease. The findings suggest the K18-hACE2 mouse model is useful for understanding a spectrum of COVID-19 disease symptoms, and for developing and testing new treatments. Read the complete article from the Carver College Medicine found HERE.

Face Covering Orders Extended-Both Iowa City and Coralville have extended their face covering orders. Mayor Bruce Teague of Iowa City extended his face covering order until May 31, 2021. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces within Iowa City, and outdoor spaces when six feet of social distance is not possible. Learn more HERE. Mayor John A. Lundell has extended Coralville's face covering proclamation through April 15, 2021. The proclamation states that every person in Coralville must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when:

  • In a public place when it's not possible to stay six feet away from others
  • Outside when it's not possible to stay six feet from others
  • When using public transportation or private car service

View the proclamation HERE.

PPP How to Apply How to Benefit-Join Johnson County’s Project Better Together on Thursday, January 21 at 2:30 pm for a live webinar to discuss the second round of PPP, how to apply for it, and how you may benefit from it. This event is free and open to the public! There will be time for Q&A so come with questions. The webinar will be moderated by Iowa City Area Business Partnership President Kim Casko and the panel will include:

  • Jayne Armstrong, Iowa District Director of the Small Business Association
  • Ying Sa, Founder and Principal Certified Public Accountant at Community CPA & Associates, Inc.
  • Jim Conard, Eastern Iowa Market President at West Bank

RSVP to attend HERE

Powering Through, Together-Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic about 1 in 6 U.S. workers has filed for unemployment. 1 in 6 households has struggled to meet their regular expenses. This is the first time some customers have fallen behind. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program to assist low-income families with heating costs. In Iowa:

  • Applications accepted November 1 to April 30.
  • Families must be at or below 175% of federal poverty guidelines to qualify.
  • Average benefit to customers is $460.

Where can you find the details? Visit Alliant Energy HERE.

UWJWC Beat the Bitter

1.11.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: BEAT THE BITTER IGLOO JAM 

Beat the Bitter Igloo Jam-You can make an impact while jamming out with The Pork Tornadoes from the comfort and safety of your own home! North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter Igloo Jam, presented by GreenState Credit Union, is partnering with United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties for this virtual blast on Saturday, January 30th .This event is free to attend as a live stream concert and will raise funds for United Way’s Community Disaster Relief Fund, currently focused on ensuring that our region’s most vulnerable individuals and families have the support they need to weather the short and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.  You don’t want to miss the chance to bring this high energy concert with Iowa’s hottest party band to your living room where you can dance where literally no one is watching! The Pork Tornadoes’ 90-min show kicks off at 8 p.m. on Jan. 30. Make plans to join by claiming a free ticket HERE. When registering for the event, you will be invited to make a donation to the United Way Community Disaster Relief Fund.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

UI Student Parents Take Note-Struggling with the unanticipated financial hardship of needing child care so you can attend on-campus responsibilities?  

Stressed over your child’s education?

Burned out from juggling everything?

University of Iowa Family Services is excited to announce a comprehensive, in-person program providing before, during and after school care, and assistance with virtual learning at a subsidized rate of $45 per week to UI student parents of school-aged children. Facilitated by a partnership with Lionheart Early Learning Centers, located in Iowa City and North Liberty, this program will support virtual learning using the school districts’ hybrid and 100% virtual model. The school-aged program is offered to children in kindergarten through third grade. On virtual learning days, Lionheart’s paraeducators will provide technical assistance as well as support the student’s virtual schedule. Before and after the school day, Lionheart’s emphasis will be on social and leisure activities. Transportation is provided to and from area elementary schools. To learn more about this program visit HERE.  

School Updates-For almost a full year schools have enforced specific state guidelines for capacity at high school sporting events. In a new order from Governor Kim Reynolds fans still have to be socially-distanced, but she is lifting the limit of two people per participant. With restrictions removed, schools districts will be responsible for creating & enforcing their own policies. In addition, late last Thursday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) rejected the Iowa City Community School District’s request for a waiver to switch to all online classes for two weeks. Currently, no school district in Iowa has a DOE waiver to offer less than 50 percent in-person instruction.

Iowa Vaccine Supply-Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) shared the federal government notification that the State of Iowa, as well as all other states, will not receive the volume of vaccine initially anticipated. It appears Iowa’s allocation may be reduced by as much as 30%, however the IDPH is working to gain confirmation and additional details from their federal partners. It will take some time to work through next steps and adjust our planning. Updates can be found HERE or on Facebook HERE.

Flu Shots-While the primary public health concern at this moment is COVID health providers remind us that the common flu should not forgotten this year. Experts are warning that the addition of another respiratory illness ,on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once. Learn more HERE.

Finishing the Fight: What's next for COVID-19 and the Community-The Corridor Business Journal’s Health Care Summit examines national health policy issues and refocuses them to the regional level through speakers and panel discussions. This virtual event examines national health policy issues and refocuses them to the regional level through speakers and panel discussions. The free virtual summit will be held on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 from 8:00 - 11:30 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Robert Pearl (Former) CEO, The Permanente Medical Group with panel discussions including:

Hospital CEO Panel:

  • Tim Charles, Mercy Cedar Rapids
  • Suresh Gunasekaran, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
  • Michelle Niermann, UnityPoint Health – CR
  • Sean Williams, Mercy Iowa City

Local Impacts Of Covid-19 Panel:

  • Sam Jarvis, Johnson County Public Health
  • Carol Meade, UnityPoint Health – CR
  • Kyle Ray, TrueNorth Companies
  • Becci Reedus, CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

Register HERE.

Federal Stimulus Package-Many of you have seen the United States Congress has been signed into law a new Federal Stimulus Package. The legislation addresses several steps in order to help Iowans as they continue to battle the pandemic. State Rep. Dave Jacoby recently shared key parts of the relief package which includes the following:

  • Another round of stimulus checks will be sent out to Iowans. Some Iowans have already received their direct stimulus payments. The payments will be smaller at $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year. $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, and an extra $600 for dependent children that are under 17 years old.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been reopened with forgivable loans to small businesses and many nonprofits, the loan program will work similar to the previous program. The bill also expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small businesses. More information will be available on the SBA’s website, https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options.
  • Part of the relief packages includes the Save Our Stages Act, which will help live music venues, theaters, and cultural institutions who have lost revenue due to COVID-19. Congress appropriated up to $15 billion in grants to venues with at least a 25% decline in revenues. More information about the program will be coming in the next few weeks. 
  • The package also gives people on unemployment an extra $300 a week through March 14th. People who are currently on unemployment do not need to do anything to receive the additional $300. Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) is still waiting on guidance from the federal government and will start sending the additional payments in the coming weeks. The bill also expands the amount of time people can receive unemployment from 39 weeks to 50 weeks. More information on unemployment can be found on IWD’s website, https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/.
  • The bill will also spend much needed federal resources on making sure Iowans and the nation have access to the vaccines and more mitigation efforts. The bill allocates $8.75 billion to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal public health agencies to distribute, administer, monitor and track coronavirus vaccination to ensure broad-based distribution, access and vaccine coverage.

1.5.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: CAN YOU DEDUCT YOUR HOME OFFICE?

UWJWC Home Office

Can You Deduct Your Home Office?-With so many of us working from home, people are starting to ask if they can use their space as a tax deduction. The home office deduction allows qualifying taxpayers to deduct certain home expenses on their tax return. With more people working from home than ever before, some taxpayers may be wondering if they can claim a home office deduction when they file their 2020 tax return next year. There are two basic requirements for the taxpayer's home to qualify as a deduction:

  • There must be exclusive use of a portion of the home for conducting business on a regular basis. For example, a taxpayer who uses an extra room to run their business can take a home office deduction only for that extra room so long as it is used both regularly and exclusively in the business.
  • The home must be the taxpayer's principal place of business. A taxpayer can also meet this requirement if administrative or management activities are conducted at the home and there is no other location to perform these duties. Therefore, someone who conducts business outside of their home but also uses their home to conduct business may still qualify for a home office deduction.

For additional information to help understand the home office deduction visit HERE.

Education, Health and Financial StabilityA World View of the Educational Impact of COVID-19-In August the United Nations released a policy brief entitled: Education During COVID-19 and Beyond. In this document they shared that the COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94 percent of the world’s student population, up to 99 percent in low and lower-middle income countries. The crisis is exacerbating pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults – those living in poor or rural areas, girls, refugees, persons with disabilities and forcibly displaced persons – to continue their learning. Learning losses also threaten to extend beyond this generation and erase decades of progress, not least in support of girls and young women’s educational access and retention. Some 23.8 million additional children and youth (from pre-primary to tertiary) may drop out or not have access to school next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone. To read the complete brief, click HERE.

False Claims-Recently Reuters published an article explaining how widely shared claims on social media linked to a video alleging that a future vaccine against COVID-19 would “genetically modify” humans are scientifically untrue. In the piece, the University of Iowa’s own Dr Paul McCray, Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology, and Internal Medicine explains how the COVID-19 vaccines being developed works. To read the complete article click HERE. Currently, health care personnel, long-term care residents and employees are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. As the supply increases, more populations will be prioritized to receive the vaccine. Predictions say by mid-2021, there will be enough vaccines for anyone who would like to receive one.  For ongoing vaccine information, on the web or on Facebook follow Johnson County Public Health /Facebook @JCIowaPH  or Washington County Public Health /Facebook @washph 

Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans-As part of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, Congress has passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a “Second Draw” PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans. To access information regarding recent changes click HERE.

U.S. Chamber Small Business Update-More relief is on the way for small businesses across the country, now that the President has signed the latest coronavirus relief deal into law. Join U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, and CO— Content Director, Jeanette Mulvey, Tuesday, January 5 at 2:00 pm ET as they discuss the aid that's now available and what small businesses need to know. To register, visit HERE.

Economic Forecast Luncheon-The Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) will host their 2021 Economic Forecast Luncheon via live stream on January 20, 2021 from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.  This free virtual event includes a keynote and panel who will share their insights into where the economy is heading under the Biden administration and the biggest opportunities and challenges facing their industries and the Corridor. Gary Hufbauer, a nonresident senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, will kick off the program with a keynote address followed by Jack Evans, chairman of The Hall-Perrine Foundation, who will moderate a local business leaders panel discussion. Panelists include: 

  • Joe Ahmann, owner and president of Ahmann Companies 
  • Jennifer Bennett, president of Shive-Hattery 
  • Mike Gerdin, president and CEO of Heartland Express 
  • Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics 

There is no cost to register. For more information or to register, visit HERE or call Ashley Moore at (319) 665-6397, ext. 311. Registration ends on January 18th.

 UWJWC Memorial COVID Deaths

2.23.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: REMEMBERING THE 500,000 LIVES LOST

Remembering the 500,000 Lives Lost-In just over a year, Covid-19 has claimed more than half a million US lives. That’s more than the number of Americans killed in World War II meaning one in 660 Americans has now died from the disease. The victims span every age group and corner of the country. And each left an indelible legacy. CNN has put together an opportunity for families to share their favorite memories of the loved ones they’ve lost. To view these special messages click HERE.

Volunteer

Lunch Delivery Driver-The United Way Volunteer Center offers several volunteer projects that make it possible to volunteer safely at-home or at-a-distance while making an impact in our community with our first priority of keeping all volunteers and their families safe while volunteering. One volunteer opportunity you may be interested in is being a Lunch Delivery Driver - Iowa City South District Neighborhood. Volunteer Responsibilities Include:

  • Reviewing the Lunch Delivery shared google document for addresses, # of lunches and notes
  • Picking up lunches at 11:00 am from City High School, 1900 Morningside Dr., Iowa City
  • Delivering lunches between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Contactless delivery - Lunches are left at the door with a notification knock or bell ring and then the volunteer departs.
  • Deliveries are recorded along with any pertinent notes

Learn more HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

UI Students Working with Johnson County Health-Community members who contract or are exposed to COVID-19 may find themselves talking on the phone with Rebecca Nyangufi, one of about 45 University of Iowa College of Public Health students who are working part-time as contact tracers at Johnson County Public Health in Iowa City. These students have the unique experience of helping the local public health department and wider community handle the coronavirus pandemic, all while gaining valuable skills. In leading the local coronavirus response, the Johnson County Public Health Department receives information from labs and doctors’ offices about positive cases in Johnson County. Contact tracers call the people who test positive and work to figure out who else they may have infected, and follow-up with those potential cases to encourage staying home, social distancing, and watching for symptoms. The tracers also enter detailed data on each case and communicate with employers to help prevent the potential spread of the disease in the workplace. Learn more HERE.

Vaccine Information-If you have general questions about the vaccine, call 211.  Resource specialists are available 24 hours a day to answer basic questions. Check with your health care provider with questions specific to your health situation.

Many older Iowans may need assistance to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Click HERE for tips on how to help or to find Iowa's current phase of distribution HERE. You can also register for a COVID vaccination at one of these websites:

  • HyVee-Top right – Log in | Create an account | Then Create a Pharmacy Account in My Pharmacy
  • Walgreens-Top right – Account | Register
  • UIHC-Click Express Interest

Local Resources-Need help w/ rent, utility or other bills? Find your local support systems below:

  • Coralville: Renters impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for rent + utility bill help through a new state program.  You can request time to pay your City utility bill, avoid water shutoff and/or request late fee suspension HERE.
  • Iowa City: For a list of local, state & federal resources to support families and businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 click HERE.
  • North Liberty: Support for Iowans can be found HERE.
  • Washington: Local information for businesses and families can be found HERE.

For anyone in any community, local assistance can be found by calling United Way’s 211

Tax Relief Proposal to Unemployed Iowans Due to the Pandemic-Due to COVID-19, more than 322,000 Iowans have lost their paychecks and now rely on unemployment insurance benefits to put food on the table, pay rent, utilities, and other expenses. In response, State Representative Dave Jacoby reports Democratic lawmakers in the Iowa House and Senate are working on a bill that exempts the first $10,200 of unemployment payments from Iowa income taxes. People who have received unemployment payments in 2020 would not have to pay Iowa state income taxes on the first $10,200 if the bill becomes law. Learn more HERE.

2.16.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: GLOBAL ROLL OUT OF oXFORD-aSTRAzENECA

uwjwc covid-19

Remember, if you, or someone you love, are 65+ you can register for the COVID-19 vaccination at one of the below websites.

  • HyVee-Top right – Log in | Create an account | Then Create a Pharmacy Account in My Pharmacy
  • Walgreens-Top right – Account | Register
  • UIHC-Click Express Interest

Global Roll Out of Oxford-AstraZeneca-The World Health Organization (WHO) has given the green light to Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was listed by the WHO for emergency use on Monday, meaning that it can be rolled out globally through COVAX, a coalition which aims to distribute vaccines to poorer nations. The vaccine is a key weapon in combating the virus in low and middle-income countries as it's cheaper and easier to transport and store than some of the other candidates.  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the listing is for “two versions” of the same shot. He explained that it was because the vaccine was being manufactured by two different producers -- AstraZeneca-SKBio and the Serum Institute of India -- therefore requiring separate reviews and approvals, as they are being made in different production plants. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health and  Financial Stability

Show your LOVE-Educators, administrators and staff have been working hard to deliver education and services during these challenging times. School staff has shown resiliency, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills in supporting student learning. Please consider showing your gratitude to those you know working in education throughout the month of February. Share your gratitude on social media with the hashtag #ShowTheLoveICR #ICRLovesEdu. Learn more HERE.

2021-22 ICCSD Online Program-Looking for your child to learn online next year? The Iowa City Community School District is now accepting enrollment in their ICCSD Online program for 2021-22. This program is designed and taught by District teachers and administrators, the program provides students the ability to engage in rigorous coursework offered through a supportive online environment. With a curriculum designed for online learning, students collaborate and connect with their peers so they won’t miss out on a real classroom experience. To learn more, contact iccsdonline@iowacityschool.org or visit HERE.

Two Is Better Than One-Less than a year ago, there was much debate on the effectiveness of wearing masks in preventing the transmission of Covid-19. Now, not only have masks been scientifically proven to work, new research says wearing TWO is even better. That is, at least, better than wearing a simple disposable surgical mask.  “Double masking” -- placing a tight-fitting cloth mask over a thin surgical mask -- blocks 92.5% of potentially infectious particles from escaping an infected person, new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show. That’s more than double the protection a plain surgical mask offers, blocking only around 42% of particles.  And it’s even better if everyone double masks. If you come across an infected person and you’re both wearing two masks, your exposure to potentially infectious aerosols is reduced by 96.4%. Learn more HERE.

Iowa Counties to Get Vaccines-Five Iowa counties that were told on Thursday night they wouldn’t receive their shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for this week said after a conversation with the Governor’s Office on Monday it expects to see their allocation come later this week. KCRG is reporting the change to no longer rescind COVID-19 vaccines from Washington, Chickasaw, Buchanan, Poweshiek, and Hancock Counties comes after some of those health departments shared their anger and disappointment in the state’s decision. See the complete report HERE.

Pandemic Relief-Due to the far-reaching economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to small businesses, the City of Iowa City awarded $360,400 to 27 small businesses in Iowa City. To be eligible for the funds, the businesses had to be in operation as of January 1, 2020, have $1,000,000 or less in annual gross revenue and 25 or fewer employees. Home-based businesses were eligible if the home is in Iowa City. Of the awarded applicants, 22 of the 27 businesses are owned by women or persons of color. Funding for the program came from federal Community Development Block Grant dollars allocated through the Cares Act. Learn more HERE.

UWJWC Phase 1b

2.9.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: GET REGISTERED!

Get Registered-Please watch the message above from Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, UIHC regarding Phase 1b of the COVID vaccination. Help your family members or neighbors sign-up online for the COVID-19 vaccine. Set up an account at these locations, so WHEN more vaccine is available for 65+ you will be ready to grab an appointment:

  • HyVee-Top right – Log in | Create an account | Then create a pharmacy account in My Pharmacy
  • Walgreens-Top right – account | Register
  • UIHC-Click express interest

Change in State Restriction-Last week Governor Reynolds signed a new public health disaster proclamation lifting coronavirus restrictions, including the use of masks, social distancing and limitations on social gatherings. North Liberty and Coralville leaders joined Iowa City Monday morning in declaring that now is not the time to relax COVID-19 mitigation efforts and that the cities' mask mandates remain in effect along with Johnson County’s mask mandate which is currently in place through at least Friday, Feb. 19th. The February 8th, the U.S. reported just over 88,000 new infections, with hospitalizations continued a nearly monthlong decline. While the figures offer some reason for optimism, infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. remain significantly above highs reached in the spring and summer with a more transmissible variant first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil now spreading rapidly in the U.S.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Library Updates-Some local libraries are now providing limited access to their facilities:

  • North Liberty Public Library began provided browsing appointments on Jan. 25th including library browsing, laptop, DOT kiosk and notary services by appointment ONLY. Learn more HERE.
  • Effect February 1st, the Coralville Public Library opened for limited services by appointment only. See their Available Services page (updated 2/1) for more information.
  • The Iowa City Public Library moves to Phase 3 of its reopening plan today, 2/9/21. Library access will include quick holds pickup from the lobby, limited tech, & DOT Kiosk. Masks & social distancing required. Find more information HERE.
  • Reopening information on services provided by the Washington Free Public Library can be found HERE.

Calling Those Previously Tested COVID-19 +-Stead Family Department of Pediatrics Professor Hatem El-Shanti, M.D. has created a research study and is looking for subjects. In communication with Dr. El-Shanti, he shared the purpose of the study is to identify the genetic variations and similarities that influence the susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) and the severity of the disease and the final outcome of the illness. They are asking subjects to collect saliva samples in their own homes - there would be no need for in-person visits for this study. If you or anyone you know, have previously tested positive for COVID-19, and are interested in learning more about the study so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to participate, please contact (or have the other individual contact) one of the following members of the research group: Hatem El-Shanti, M.D. Professor Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-356-2675 hatem-el-shanti@uiowa.edu or Elizabeth Phillippi Research Assistant Stead Family Department of Pediatrics 319-335-1223 elizabeth-phillippi@uiowa.edu.

Use It or Lose It-To prevent counties from hoarding COVID-19 vaccine doses and to speed up administration, beginning 2.21.21 the Iowa Department of Public Health will require Iowa counties to use 80% of the doses they received in the prior week before they will be eligible to get their next weekly allocation of vaccines. KCRG reports utilization rate will be calculated every Thursday morning and will be used to determine eligibility for Friday morning prime allocations. Learn more HERE.

Fraud Alert-Monday Project Better Together shared an important alert from the US Small Business Administration. The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19).  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times.  Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing. Learn more HERE.

uwjwc covid and dogs

2.2.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: CAN DOGS DETECT CORONAVIRUS?

Can Dogs Detect Coronavirus?-As AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami reopens to a limited number of fans Thursday, the Miami Heat is bringing out dogs it is billing as "coronavirus detection dogs" to screen guests and employees as they arrive at the facility. The team will be the first in the NBA to use canines to screen the public. The science isn't yet clear whether dogs can, in fact, detect coronavirus infection in people reports CNN. The team has been trying the dogs out on a smaller scale to screen personnel. Learn more on the use of dogs to detect coronavirus in countries around the world HERE

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Show Your LOVE to School Staff-Show educators, administrators and staff have been working hard to deliver education and services during these challenging times. School staff has shown resiliency, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills in supporting student learning. Please consider showing your gratitude to those you know working in education throughout the month of February. Find creative ideas on how to share your gratitude as parents, students and businesses HERE.

SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7. in Iowa-Yesterday the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed three cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7. in Iowa. The virus variant is often referred to as the U.K. variant because it was first detected in the United Kingdom. Based on epidemiologic and modeling data, researchers believe that the B.1.1.7 strain can be spread more easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Current COVID-19 vaccines are considered to be effective against the variant strain.

Two of the three B.1.1.7 cases were detected in Johnson County, an adult (18 to 40) and a middle-aged adult (41 to 60) and an adult individual in Bremer County. Read the complete news release HERE.

Phase 1B-The second phase of COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Iowa launched Monday, opening availability to first responders, educators and people 65 and older. If you or someone you know is in this next level of vaccination and they are a patient at UIHC or Mercy IC they will be contacted by those entities. If you are not, Johnson County Public Health is contacting people. To assist in getting our community vaccinated, please use and share the embedded links to gain more information:

Foodie February-Think Iowa City invites the community to dine out...or dine in with take-out/delivery... throughout the month of February. “Our local restaurants need our support now more than ever. Our Foodie February programming can be a great shot in the arm for many of them,” said Monica Nieves, Vice President of Special Events at Think Iowa City.  All month, Think Iowa City will feature local restaurants on its social media channels using the hashtag #ICFoodieFeb and they invite the public to do the same. February 7-13 is Restaurant Week with several area restaurants highlighting some signature dishes. Learn more HERE.

uwjwc who.CHINA COVID ORIGIN

3.30.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: ORIGINS OF COVID

Origins of COVID-A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press. The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered. But the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions. Read more HERE

80% by July 4th-As part of the effort to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic and have Johnson County recognized as a leader across the country to be the model for safety, keeping businesses and schools open, and getting back to doing the things Iowans all love to do together like watch a concert or a ball game. The organizations of Project Better Together are working to amplify public health messaging and declaring a goal that 80% of eligible adults over the age of 16 by July 4th receive their COVID vaccinations as they become available to all after April 5th. Project Better Together will be sharing videos and resources with the public via various communications channels and through employers and businesses throughout Johnson County. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health and Financial Stability

Providing an Online Learning Option-The Iowa City Community School District’s (ICCSD) new Online Learning program will offer real teachers, real classmates, and virtual learning. The ICCSD Online informational webinars began last night Monday, March 29th. Junior High and High School webinars will be held Tuesday, March 30, 7:00 pm, and Wednesday, March 31, 7:00 pm respectively. Click on the link found HERE to join either of the meetings or learn more HERE.

What Has Changed? What Has Not?-COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more. Find out what has changed and what has not concerning interacting with others during the pandemic from the CDC HERE.

Why We Lose Taste with COVID-Researchers say they have found evidence that coronavirus infects the mouth, including inside the cheeks, in the gums and salivary glands. When people swallow infected saliva, they could be spreading the virus to other parts of their bodies, CNN reports. The study, detailed in the journal Nature Medicine, may explain why so many people infected lose their sense of taste, and suggests the mouth is an important source of the spread of Covid-19. It was previously known that saliva testing was a good way to detect infection, but researchers hadn’t looked to see why. Read more HERE.

Help for Renters & Homeowners-Recently, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that COVID-19 impacted renters and homeowners will be able to apply for assistance with rent and mortgage payments through two assistance programs beginning yesterday, March 29th at 2 p.m. General eligibility requirements require that applicants: Be current renters earning no more than 80% of their county’s area median income; One or more individuals in the household must have either qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice. To find the online application processes for Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program click HERE and for the COVID-19 Iowa Foreclosure Prevention Program click HERE.

Increase in Economic Injury Disaster Loans-The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from six-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. This new relief builds on SBA’s previous March 12, 2021 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. To shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24-months from the date of the note and to 18-months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021. Learn more HERE.

UWJWU vaccine to all iowans

3.23.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: VACCINES TO ALL IOWANS STARTING APRIL 5

Vaccines to All Iowans Starting April 5-Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last Wednesday that all adult Iowans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination starting April 5, 2021. The governor shared that so long as vaccine supplies from the federal government keep up with demand, she expects all Iowans to be eligible for the vaccine. She also stated the White House believes vaccine shipments to Iowa will double from about 100,000 per week to about 200,000 per week soon. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health  & Financial Stability

6 COVID-19 Vaccine Myths -While social media has given us a platform to share whatever we want, false information, particularly as it pertains to vaccines, can dilute their life-saving value and stir up fear and doubt. Too often, people fall prey to misinformation when it comes to vaccinations.  That’s why health care leaders across the country and organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to build the public’s trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about 6 COVID-19 Vaccine Myths HERE.

A Good Night’s Sleep-Getting a good night’s rest under stressful conditions is hard enough but during a pandemic? It can feel impossible some nights. It’s not just you, though. Stress-related insomnia due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is definitely a thing and it’s more complicated than typical stress-related sleeplessness. From loneliness to economic hardships to juggling work and homeschooling, there are multiple factors in our lives as a result of the pandemic that have caused stress levels to skyrocket and sleep hours to plummet. How can you combat the pandemic stress?

  • Stay on schedule
  • Skip naps
  • Get up and distract yourself
  • Avoid clock anxiety

Learn about these suggestions and more to assist with sleepless nights related to the pandemic HERE.

COVID-19 Vaccination Transportation -Looking for a way to get to and from your COVID-19 Vaccination appointment in Johnson County? Look no further than the Johnson County Mobility Coordinator. You can find local transportation resources which are available for getting to/from COVID-19 vaccinations within Johnson County. Options include:

  • North Liberty: Contact NLTAP coordinator Angie McCoville 319.626.5722-Leave your name, phone number & address between 4 and 24 hours in advance of your appointment.
  • Johnson County Seats: Free to approved individuals. Call 319.339.6125 at least one day before your appointment. Provide your name, address, and location of appointment.
  • Urban Area Bus Service: Download the Transit App to use the Iowa City Transit, Coralville Transit or CAMBUS. For app assistance call the Mobility Coordinator at 319.356.6090.

Anyone can contact the Johnson County Mobility Coordinator regarding a transportation need and the services of the Mobility Coordinator are provided at no charge to the user. Reach out to Kelly Schneider for more information at 319.356.6090.

UWJWC Children & Vaccine

3.16.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: VACCINE TESTING IN CHILDREN

Vaccine Testing in Children-Moderna Inc. has begun studying its Covid-19 vaccine in children aged six months to 11 years in the U.S. and Canada reports the Wall Street Journal. The Cambridge, Mass. company said that the first children have received doses in the study, which Moderna is conducting in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Efforts have begun to test the Covid-19 vaccines in children, who can still become infected, both to protect them from the virus and further build the population-level immunity to move past pandemic restrictions. Read the complete article HERE.

Education Health & Financial Stability

Classroom Seating Review-Many students have or are returning to school across the county. The CDC's current guidance for schools recommends seating or desks be "at least 6 feet apart when feasible.” But NPR is reporting a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases that suggests that 3 feet may be as safe as 6 feet, so long as everyone is masked. The authors compared infection rates at Massachusetts schools that required at least 3 feet of distancing with those that required at least 6 feet, and found no significant difference in the coronavirus case rates among students or staff in the two cohorts. Learn more HERE.

A Message of Appreciation-Project Better Together wants each teacher, aide, administrator, and school staff to know how much they are appreciated. Our educators have gone above and beyond to continue to bring high-level education to the students of our community. It has not gone unnoticed. Enjoy their video, found HERE, lifting those who have done so much throughout the pandemic.

COVID Vaccine at Mercy IC-Mercy Iowa City is pleased to announce their new COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration for patients that are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including patients 65 years or older, and patients 18 years or older who are at risk of increased illness from COVID-19. For a full list of those eligible, we encourage patients to visit, MercyIowaCity.org, or the Iowa Department of Health website. You can learn more at MercyIowaCity.org/COVID19-vaccine regarding information about how patients can pre-register for the vaccine. Note: This is not a form to register for an appointment- Mercy Iowa City will continue to reach out to patients individually with information on how to schedule appointments.

Get My Payment-KCRG is reporting people can now check on the IRS website to see when they are expected to receive economic relief payments from the COVID-19 bill signed into law last week. The “Get My Payment” tool went active over the weekend, and the first of the stimulus checks have started to be disbursed via direct deposit to Americans. The IRS webpage also has links to frequently asked questions and information on the first and second relief payments that were approved in 2020. Learn more HERE.

UWJWC What can vaccinated americans do?

3.9.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: WHAT ARE FULLY VACCINATED AMERICANS ALLOWED TO DO?

What are Fully Vaccinated Americans Allowed to Do? -The new CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
  • Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but is asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

But people who are fully vaccinated still need to take precautions in many scenarios:

  • Wear a mask and keep a good physical distance around the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19, or if the unvaccinated person has a household member who is at higher risk.
  • Wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people who are from multiple households.
  • Keep physical distance in public.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated public spaces.
  • Wash hands frequently.

Learn more HERE.

211 Iowa to Provide Vaccine Navigation-Starting today, March 9th, United Way’s 211 Call Center will be able to assist Iowans age 65 and older who need assistance scheduling an appointment and don’t have access to the technology to do so.  United Way’s 211 will provide vaccine navigation services to Iowans who have difficulty with connectivity or online skills to find a vaccination appointment. Iowans who are looking for information to register for the COVID-19 vaccine can all a 211 specialist who will ask on for names and age or birthdates, but WILL NOT ask for social security numbers, insurance, or financial information. Click HERE to learn more about access to 211.

Education, Health and Financial StabilityEducation Awards-Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 Innovation in Education Awards. These awards are jointly presented by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership and the Iowa City Area Development Group to outstanding and innovative teachers, students, programs, and school staff in Johnson County, recognizing those who are helping to develop the informed, highly skilled graduates we need to keep the ICR region thriving. Particularly excited about this year's event will be the opportunity to celebrate the amazing and difficult work being done in area schools over the past year. Nominations are being accepted through April 9 HERE The awards will be presented on April 28th at The Englert Theatre.

Mammograms and the Covid-19 Vaccine-The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) in January put out an advisory: Ask your patients about their Covid-19 status, and record the date and which arm received the vaccine due to mammograms pick up swelling due to Covid-19 vaccine. To avoid unnecessary worry, SBI recommends women schedule any routine, annual breast screening before getting the Covid-19 vaccine. If a woman has already had the vaccine or is soon scheduled to do so, the society suggests waiting at least four to six weeks after the second dose before scheduling her appointment. Experts stress, not to skip getting your breast cancer screening when it is recommended. A study published in the journal Radiology that followed over half a million women made the point clearly: Women who skip even one scheduled mammography screening before they are diagnosed with breast cancer have a significantly higher risk of dying. Learn more HERE.

COVID-19 Vaccine in Johnson County Panel Discussion-The deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19 could be the turning point in the fight against the deadly pandemic. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties (UWJWC) will host a panel discussion on the COVID-19 Vaccine in Johnson County.  United Way, in partnership with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) and Johnson County Public Health, will be conducting a virtual discussion on Thursday, March 11, 2021, from 11 AM-12 PM CT. UWJWC will live stream the panel discussion via Zoom hosted by Barb Thomas, UI Tippie College of Business, Executive Director of Communication, Alumni and External Relations. Panelists joining the discussion will include:

  • Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
  • Samuel Jarvis, Community Health Division Manager at Johnson County Public Health.

The event is free to attend however, registration before the event is required to receive your meeting link. To register for the live-streamed panel discussion, visit the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ website HERE. Upon registration, guests can post questions for the panel. Questions will be addressed pending time restraints and no questions will be taken during the call.

On The Brink of Becoming Law-CNBC reported yesterday, the House plans to pass Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, following Senate approval on Saturday, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation before unemployment programs expire on Sunday. The plan includes extra unemployment benefits, rental assistance, Covid-19 vaccination funds and direct payments, which are set to start going out this month. The bill also includes an expansion of the child tax credit, rental payment assistance and funds for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing. It directs money to state, local and tribal governments, along with schools. Learn more HERE.

UWJWC COVID-19 VACCINE IN JOHNSON COUNTY PANEL DISCUSSION

3.2.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: COVID-19 VACCINE IN JOHNSON COUNTY 

COVID-19 Vaccine in Johnson County Panel Discussion-The deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19 could be the turning point in the fight against the deadly pandemic. United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties (UWJWC) will host a panel discussion on the COVID-19 Vaccine in Johnson County.  United Way, in partnership with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) and Johnson County Public Health, will be conducting a virtual discussion on Thursday, March 11, 2021, from 11 AM-12 PM CT. UWJWC will live stream the panel discussion via Zoom hosted by Barb Thomas, UI Tippie College of Business, Executive Director of Communication, Alumni and External Relations. Panelists joining the discussion will include:

  • Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
  • Samuel Jarvis, Community Health Division Manager at Johnson County Public Health.

The event is free to attend however, registration before the event is required to receive your meeting link. To register for the live-streamed panel discussion, visit the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ website HERE. Upon registration, guests can post questions for the panel. Questions will be addressed pending time restraints and no questions will be taken during the call.

211 Iowa to Provide Vaccine Navigation -Last week the governor announced a partnership with United Way’s 211 to provide vaccine navigation services to Iowans who have difficulty with connectivity or online skills to find their own vaccination appointment. This service will begin Monday, March 8th.
In the addition, 211 will be reaching out proactively to older Iowans who have been identified by Area Agencies on Aging to offer navigation assistance. These call specialists will ask for seniors' names and age or birthdates, but WILL NOT ask for social security numbers, insurance or financial information. Click HERE to learn more about access to 211.

Volunteer with the CommUnity Food Bank-By far the biggest negative impact COVID-19 has had on CommUnity Food Bank has been the loss of their regular volunteer base. At the beginning of the pandemic, they decided to limit in-person interactions for the safety of their clients, volunteers, and staff in our small quarters. While they were providing pre-packaged food bags, it was okay to have just a handful of volunteers here at a time. Now that they are in a new, much larger space, and more importantly, back to the client-choice shopping model, they need more volunteers. To learn more about this opportunity click HERE.

Education, Health and  Financial Stability

Vaccine Registration Scam-The University of Iowa Health Care is warning about a scam related to COVID-19 vaccinations.  Little Village magazine shared information from UIHC stating people have been receiving phone calls from scammers who claim to be from UIHC and “can schedule your COVID-19 vaccination if you provide your social security number and credit card number.” If a caller claims to be from UI Health Care and says they can schedule your COVID-19 vaccination if you provide your social security number and credit card number UIHC reminds you they will never ask for this info to schedule a vaccination and instructs you, if you get this call, to hang up. Anyone who believes they have been contacted by scammers or encountered any other COVID-related fraud can report to HHS through the Office of Inspector General’s site or by calling 800-447-8477.

Vaccine Iowa – Sleeves Up-Many Iowans are eager to be vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19. Currently, vaccine supply is very limited in Iowa and across the nation. While vaccine doses are scarce now, eventually, there will be enough for everyone. To learn about all the options available in your community to get vaccinated you can visit the new Iowa site for COVID vaccine found HERE. The site includes eligibility information, finding a provider, COVID-19 data and learning more about the facts around vaccination.

Intimate Partner Violence on the Rise-Growing evidence shows the pandemic has made intimate partner violence more common—and often more severe. Time Magazine cites surveys around the world that have shown domestic abuse spiking since January of 2020—jumping markedly year over year compared to the same period in 2019. In the U.S. police departments are reporting increases in cities around the country: for example, 18% in San Antonio, 22% in Portland, Ore.; and 10% in New York City, according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Find the complete article HERE  OR if you or someone you know feels stuck in a situation and/or needs someone to talk to, you can call the Domestic Violence Intervention Program's hotline 24/7 at 1.800.373.1043 for free and confidential services. Their services include 24-hour safe shelter, emergency pet shelter, advocacy services with the criminal justice and human services systems, housing assistance, and more. Their services are free and confidential to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, age, religion, political beliefs, mental or physical disability, economic standing or any other beliefs and affiliations.

Eligibility Precheck for New Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program-The Iowa Finance Authority shared Governor Kim Reynolds announcement regarding the availability of an eligibility precheck for the new Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program, which will begin accepting full applications this month. The program will provide eligible COVID-19 impacted Iowans with rent and utility assistance for a total of up to 12 months.  The State of Iowa was awarded $195 million for the program through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was passed by Congress in late 2020. To learn more click HERE.

Small Businesses Only Paycheck Protection Program-President Biden has made a change to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to benefit small businesses affected by closures due to COVID mitigation efforts. PPP is a forgivable loan that gives small businesses a loan to pay for payroll and other overhead expenses. From Wednesday, February 24th through Wednesday, March 10th, only businesses with 20 or fewer employees can apply for a PPP forgivable loan. The loan is forgivable as long as the business continues to pay employees. Businesses apply directly with a lending institution. For more information and to find a participating lender visit HERE.

uwjwc why should I get a covid vaccine?

4.20.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: WHY SHOULD I GET A COVID VACCINE?

Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine?

Do you or someone you love have questions about COVID vaccination?

Have you questioned the administration of a COVID vaccine to children?

Are you looking for clarity on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause?

If you have these or other questions around COVID vaccination, please join us for a panel discussion: Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine? The live discussion will be streamed via Zoom this Thursday, April 22, 2021, from 11-12 pm. The event will be hosted by Rebecca Neades Vice President Community Development and Governmental Affairs at GreenState Credit Union with panelists Dr. Stephen Scheckel, MD, VP Medical Affairs, CMO of Mercy Hospital – Iowa City, and Randy McDonough, PharmD, MS, BCGP, BCPS, FAPhA, Co-Owner at Towncrest Pharmacy. Registration is required to receive your Zoom link to join the call. Click HERE to register.

Vaccine Update-As of April 19, 2021, more than 132.3 million people across the United States had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, more than 85.3 million are fully vaccinated. Everyone 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For more COVID-19 vaccination data, visit HERE or to get a COVID vaccine appointment visit: one of the local providers found on our website found HERE or the state assistance site found HERE.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

400,000 Disabled Student Loan May Qualify for Relief -Student loan borrower advocacy organizations filed a formal petition to grant automatic forgiveness to hundreds of thousands of disabled student loan borrowers who may not even realize that they qualify for a discharge under Section 553(e) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge program. The TPD Discharge program allows student loan borrowers who are unable to maintain substantial, gainful employment due to a medical impairment to get their federal student loans completely forgiven. To be granted a TPD Discharge, however, disabled student loan borrowers must submit a formal application, which can be a cumbersome process, particularly for borrowers who suffer from severe physical and psychological impairments. The Department of Education has the authority to automatically grant a TPD Discharge to disabled student loan borrowers who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits if they have a disability review period of at least five to seven years. The Social Security Administration has identified approximately 400,000 disabled student loan borrowers who would qualify for relief. Learn more HERE.

Let’s Talk: Mental Health in a Pandemic-Join Peggy Nopoulos, MD, the Paul W. Penningroth Chair and department executive officer of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry for the UI Center for Advancement’s online event Let’s Talk: Mental Health in a Pandemic  Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 3:30 pm. She will explore how the pandemic has affected mental health—and how we must continue talking about mental health needs. Alison Lynch, MD, MS, director of addiction medicine and the Opioid Addiction Clinic, and Hanna Stevens, MD, PhD, the Ida P. Haller Chair in Child Psychiatry and division director for child psychiatry, will also speak. The event is free and more information can be found HERE

Stimulus for All-The Internal Revenue Service is continuing its ongoing effort to help those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic by reminding people who don't have a permanent address or a bank account that they may still qualify for Economic Impact Payments and other tax benefits. While Economic Impact Payments continue to be made automatically to most people, the IRS can't issue a payment to eligible Americans when information about them isn't available in the tax agency's systems. To help people experiencing homelessness, the rural poor, and other historically under-served groups, the IRS urges community groups, employers, and others to share information about Economic Impact Payments and help more eligible people file a tax return so they can receive everything they're entitled to. IRS.gov has a variety of information and tools to help people receive the Economic Impact Payments. Read more HERE.

Labor & Employment Webinar-Thursday, April 29, 2021, at 3 PM– 4:15 PM the Shuttleworth & Ingersoll Labor & Employment group will present an overview and discussion of new regulatory changes, legislative enactments, and executive orders affecting employers under the Biden Administration. Topics will include COVID-related legislation and regulations, changes at the EEOC, OSHA, DOL, and NLRB, and leave and pay issues. This is a FREE webinar hosted on Zoom's platform. Registration is required. To register, please visit HERE.

uwjwc why should I get a covid vaccine?

4.13.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: WHY SHOULD I GET A COVID VACCINE?

Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine?-On Thursday, April 22, 201 from 11 AM-12 PM CT United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties invites our community to join in a panel discussion centering around the topic: Why Should I Get A COVID Vaccine? Knowing individuals who are not vaccinated face increased health risks, and the impact they have on the wider goal to reach herd immunity, United Way is making an effort to provide clear, factual information to our community on the COVID vaccine. In partnership with the Mercy Iowa City and Towncrest Pharmacies, United Way will be conducting a virtual panel discussion to answer submitted questions as well as present the facts and dispel some of the fiction centering around the COVID vaccine. UWJWC will live stream the panel discussion live via Zoom hosted by Rebecca Neades Vice President Community Development and Governmental Affairs at GreenState Credit Union. Panelists joining the discussion will include Dr. Stephen Scheckel, MD, VP Medical Affairs, CMO of Mercy Iowa City, and Randy McDonough, PharmD, MS, BCGP, BCPS, FAPhA, Co-Owner at Towncrest Pharmacies. Registration is required to receive your Zoom link to join the call. Click HERE to register.

J & J Vaccine Pause-The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in the administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. KCRG is reporting in a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots were observed in the sinuses of the brain along with reduced platelet counts — making the usual treatment for blood clots, the blood thinner heparin, potentially “dangerous.” CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases and the FDA has also launched an investigation into the cause of the clots and low platelet counts. Read more HERE.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

Requiring Proof-Duke University in North Carolina has announced that it will require students to have a COVID-19 vaccine when they return this fall. And the list of campuses with such policies is growing. Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first, and since then more than a dozen residential colleges have followed. Colleges have long required vaccinations for infectious diseases. When it comes to enforcement, colleges will most often use a registration hold, barring students from signing up for classes until they have met the requirement. But at some schools, not having proof of vaccination can prevent you from living in campus housing. Read more HERE.

A Pandemic’s Disproportionate Impact on Women-The number of stillborn babies and women who have died during pregnancy increased by nearly a third during the pandemic, a review of 40 studies that covered 17 countries has found. Many of the deaths were avoidable and likely caused by a lack of access to medical care, according to the authors of the study, which was published in the medical journal The Lancet. Public health experts have warned about the pandemic having a disproportionate impact on women and their health from the outset. They knew the risk because this has happened before -- previous epidemics of Ebola and Zika caused major setbacks for women and girls in the regions most affected by the outbreaks.  Read more HERE.

1 in 3 -From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been concerns that survivors may have an increased risk of neurological and mental health conditions. Recent Medical News Today reported on a study that suggests in the United States in 2020, around a third of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a neurological or mental health condition within 6 months of their COVID-19 diagnoses. Of those, anxiety and mood disorders were the most common diagnoses with neurological conditions, such as stroke and dementia, occurring less often but were more common among people with severe COVID-19. The overall effect of these disorders, many of which are chronic, may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic. Read more HERE.

State of the Individual - Return to Normal is a Misnomer-The pandemic has created a new environment and new realities for everyone. Self-isolation, financial, health, and social justice issues have created a new perspective on stress and a taken a toll on our collective mental health. Join in on Apr 21, 2021, 02:00 PM for Project Better Together’s State of the Individual - Return to Normal is a Misnomer to will explore:

1- Where are we? A discussion of our collective experience of the last year.

2- Where are we going? The editing process towards our new, uncertain future.

3- How do we get there? Navigating the process of re-entry to a post-pandemic future.

The panel will discuss three pillars of wellbeing and tools you can use to optimize your mental health and wellbeing. Local professionals, Brad Baldwin, President of MediRevv, Betsy Rippentrop, Licensed Psychologist and Owner of Heartland Yoga, and Kate Moreland, President of ICAD, will share and discuss aspects to workers wellness and mental health. Register HERE.

7 Tips to Ride the Digital Revolution-Tuesday, April 13, 2021 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM) Join Adam Engel, Owner & CEO of Running Robots, to learn how to create the most effective online communication strategy for your business. The ability for businesses to communicate online has been fundamentally changed with COVID browsing and purchasing habits. This talk, hosted by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership is designed to help small to medium-sized businesses identify ways to increase their visibility and sales online in a post-COVID world.  Learn more and register HERE.

Labor & Employment Webinar-Thursday, April 29, 2021, at 3 PM– 4:15 PM the Shuttleworth & Ingersoll Labor & Employment group will present an overview and discussion of new regulatory changes, legislative enactments, and executive orders affecting employers under the Biden Administration. Topics will include COVID-related legislation and regulations, changes at the EEOC, OSHA, DOL, and NLRB, and leave and pay issues. This is a FREE webinar hosted on Zoom's platform. Registration is required. To register, please visit HERE.

UWJWC 16 and UP

4.6.2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: 16 & UP

16 & UP-If you are 16 or older, as of yesterday, you qualify for the COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa. Iowans 16 and older will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine and those 18 and older will be given either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This new age opening has no restrictions such as health conditions, parameters on profession, and/or other special requirements. Governor Reynolds stated last week the state expects it will receive an anticipated boost in vaccine allocation in the coming weeks, allowing it to broaden the eligibility criteria, however, she also cautions that the demand for vaccines is higher than the number of vaccines available in the state and urges Iowans to be patient in the coming weeks. The United Way 211 hotline is available to help schedule vaccination appointments for anyone 65 and older. The hotline will also help people between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions. To get answers to your questions on the COVID-19 vaccine, you can visit GetVaccineAnswers.org.

Travel Guideline Update-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people to reflect the latest evidence and science. Given recent studies evaluating the real-world effects of vaccination, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine. Fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently. Learn more HERE.

Education, Health, and Financial Stability

UI Spring 2021 Commencements -All University of Iowa Spring 2021 commencement ceremonies will take place virtually on their scheduled time and day. Degrees will be conferred and graduates will need to RSVP  to be individually recognized during the virtual commencements. A live stream video embed and a link to the YouTube chat will be located in the "Watch Live" section of the collegiate ceremony pages. The University of Iowa will host two in-person events to celebrate the achievements of the spring 2021 graduating class. These events are separate from the virtual commencement ceremonies; Hawkeye Farewell on the Pentacrest and Celebration of Graduates at Kinnick. To learn more, visit HERE.

Together Yet Different-The social isolation, economic stress, barriers to resources, enduring uncertainties brought on by the pandemic interventions have created a "perfect storm" for the development of anxiety, depression, and even trauma. Youth entering the pandemic already vulnerable will likely have suffered most from these new adversities. inequity in the access to supportive educational, mental health, and social services will likely exacerbate their struggles. In an upcoming training, Together Yet Different: Practical Resilience Building Strategies for Youth-Serving Professionals Post-Pandemic, Johnson County Social Services, and Johnson County CPPC will equip participants to respond effectively to the needs youth will immediately bring to our programs and facilities specifically during/after COVID-19. To learn more and/or register for this event on Wednesday, April 5, 2021, from 9 am-11:30 am click HERE.

Counseling via Telehealth-Many Iowans have been struggling with isolation, loss, and grief for over a year now. It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are ways that you can help yourself, others, and your community manage stress.

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
  • Take care of your body. Be sure you are eating well, exercise, sleep, and get vaccinated when available.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Meet in person with masks, virtually or by phone. If both individuals are vaccinated you can safely meet inside.

During the pandemic, many people have been utilizing telehealth for counseling services. There are resources available to Iowans from COVID Recovery Iowa for virtual counseling and assistance at covidrecoveryiowa.org/ or Your Life Iowa for mental health and addiction resources are available at yourlifeiowa.org/.

Returning to Office Trends-Join Project Better Together on Wednesday, April 7 at 2:00 pm (CT) for a live webinar: State of the Workplace - Returning to Office Trends. Local professionals will explore and discuss trends of returning the workforce to the office setting. Featured panelists will include:

  • Deandrea White from Pearson
  • Craig Sundell from the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
  • Sally Obernolte from Neumann Monson.

The event is free, but pre-registration is required-please click HERE to register.

Surveying Your Comfortability-As the number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa continues to decrease and more people are vaccinated, the Corridor Business Journal is taking a survey on your comfortability to return to in-person events. To share your level of comfort to returning to in-person programs, please complete this 8-question survey found HERE.