VEP’s Guidelines to the Current Corona Virus Situation –
All information can be translated into 50 languages.
Updated Resources: Monday, March 23, 2020
VEP advises all active tutors to NOT meet with students in person until further notice is received from VEP via direction from our local Commissioners and Health Department experts. This may be longer than first anticipated. However, we are already witnessing progress among students who are gaining valuable information and guidance from their tutors. VEP tutors are discovering creative ways to “instruct” new English language learners by phone, text, email, What’s App, and other forms of 21st Century communications. Here are resources that we have learned about during the past two weeks:
Shelter in Place & What does this mean?: Sheltering in place means staying at home which is necessary to slow the rate of COVID-19 spread. People should stay in their homes unless they need to leave for “essential” activities and work.
For Health Care Updates: Local information can be found at chesco.org
Medical Reserve Corps: Opportunities for retired or inactive medical personnel to volunteer in their communities are part of new solutions. For more information visit https://www.chesco.org/Search?searchPhrase=Chester+County+Medical+Reserve+Corps
Open Hearth: VEP partners with Open Hearth. Their staff provide community support in areas of Housing, transportation and financial planning. https://www.openhearthinc.org/
SAMHA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are keenly aware that social and physical distancing is causing great distress. Our mental health is just as critical during this time. 24/7 Availability. Call 1-800-985-5990. Text “TALKWITHUS” to 66746. For Spanish speakers, Text “HABLANOS” to 66746.
For transportation needs: https://gis.penndot.gov/transitmap/.
For drug and substance abuse support: If you need assistance, call 1-800-GET-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or www.ddap.pa.gov
Good wishes for your health and peace of mind,
Terri Potrako, Executive Director
To reach any staff member by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to share this link with all non-English language speakers, regardless of their association with VEP, so that they can access critical health and travel information in any one of 50 languages. Simply “Select the Language” icon at the top of the home page.
UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 2020
As an organization, VEP will be following the Chester County Commissioners’ guidance. VEP staff will be available by phone or email during the next two weeks. We will be exploring opportunities to conduct any scheduled meetings through virtual platforms. We advise that Tutors and Students not meet in person. Please consider the information below to protect your health and those around you.
First and foremost, if you have concerns or are aware of someone who has been traveling recently, don’t hesitate – view the following link for travel alerts and information. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
For general information and resources, view the Chester County Health Department to remain informed www.chesco.org/coronavirus
Please follow these precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Stay home if anyone has respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or fever of 100.4 F.
- Leave work, school or other occasions if these symptoms develop during your day.
- Shield coughs and sneezes with a tissue, elbow, or shoulder. Immediately dispose of any used tissues.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid shaking hands to reduce risk of spreading infection.
- Limit your exposure to large crowds.
- If you have been exposed to the virus or have recently traveled, use self-imposed quarantined precautions of 14 days minimum and contact the Department of Health for further guidance.
Other suggestions that we think are part of keeping you healthy:
- Eat well.
- Drink plenty of water/fluids.
- Sleep well.
- Stay in touch with family and friends through Skype, phone calls, handwritten letters (just don’t lick the envelopes), emails, and FaceTime.
- Work or study from home whenever possible if your business can support this activity.
For Tutor and Student Instruction, consider the following guidelines:
- 3/13/2020 Suspended: Continue meeting in public places with your tutor or student as long as you are comfortable with the environment.
- Use common sense, don’t take unnecessary risks and be sure to communicate any changes to meet with your tutor or student.
- Agree to elbow-bump with others instead of shaking hands or hugging.
- Use Lysol or other antibacterial wipes on table tops and other surfaces before and after use.
- Don’t share pens, paper, workbooks, computer or phones with others during this time.
- Give others additional distance when speaking.
There are also ideas presented below that encourages remote language learning. Let’s be creative while being safe.
- Remember that VEP’s model of learning is adult focused. No one is terminated from the program when flexibility is required.
- Remember that language learning takes place every day in many ways.
- 3/13/2020 Suspended: Consider “safe” field trips and instruction in open-air settings when possible. Hopefully, the spring weather will be conducive to such outings.
- In place of weekly, person-to-person meetings, create opportunities for independent exercises and practice that a student can report on periodically or when you resume formal instruction.
- Consider that students often have trouble understanding English over the phone. Phone conversation can also be a lesson.
- Tutors, unless you plan on a formal break with your student, please keep your Tutor Portal status as ACTIVE. Log in any session hours weekly, or enter a ZERO even if you are not formally meeting.
- Students, consider using this time to create writing samples for VOICES Student Magazine or practicing English with your family.
Keep in mind that VEP staff:
- Are available by phone and email. Please contact us through these systems before stopping by the office (in case we are also working remotely).
- Will schedule new student intakes and matches/rematches in the future and on a case-by-case basis to reduce risk to all involved.
- Are exploring ways to conduct upcoming Peer-to-Peer Workshop sessions via Zoom Meeting platforms to maximize participation. Details and invitations will be sent separately.
These times require our creativity and commitment to one another. As Executive Director, I welcome your messages and suggestions as to how we can navigate these unusual times together. Thank you for sharing this information in ways and languages that protect everyone.
The staff and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
VEP Conversation Groups
Due to the COVID-19, Coronavirus health alert, many of our community partners and libraries are limiting access to facilities in the weeks ahead. Individual group facilitators will notify participants when groups begin again later this spring or summer. Thank you for your patience.
Our communities are enriched by the experiences and contributions of our students, tutors, volunteers and community partners. Thank you for your generosity!
VEP Students have been contributing to the VOICES Student Magazine since 2015. Click here for all current and past issues.
Phoenixville area resident and VEP student, Premisa Kerthi is coordinating upcoming issues of the magazine. Please send all submissions by email to: email@example.com.
We will forward your articles and suggestions.