As I hope you know, Mayor Bowser declared an emergency a couple of days ago with respect to the coronavirus. This is the website for the latest, up to date information: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/., and here is an announcement out today about D.C. government closures: https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-adjusts-district-columbia-government%E2%80%99s-operating-status. Note that all libraries are going to be closed starting Monday until April 1.
MUCH MORE needs to be done to keep the DC online information up to date in these unsettled days, though. When I go on the DDS website, https://dds.dc.gov/, there’s a small ribbon across the top about coronavirus information, but nothing at all about what’s being done with respect to the population being served by DDS (or if it’s there, it’s buried too far down in the website). I realize that DDS doesn’t control its own website, but the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (https://octo.dc.gov/page/district-agency-support) needs to put more effort behind this, and NOW. (By the way, OCTO is also the agency we have to thank for the exceptionally messy and user-unfriendly Zixcorp mail system, but more on that another time.)
The DDS website doesn’t even mention the event postponements that were announced yesterday in an email from Emily Ornstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) - including today’s DC Supporting Families Community of Practice, but hopefully the word got around. The Voices of Change conference on March 26 also is postponed, and more to come. The DD Council meeting scheduled for March 19, 3:00-5:00 is in the process of rescheduling, so stay tuned for that as well.
When the DD Council meeting goes forward, we expect to have someone there to talk about the census and how it’s rolling out in D.C. (https://dccensus2020.dc.gov/). But as we all know, the census is already under way – cards arrived in the mail yesterday – and there needs to be specific information on the DDS website saying exactly how the people served are going to get counted – Address by address? Provider by provider? Some other way? Tell us! It’s not too soon!
Earlier this week, when we were all still in the mood for a party, many of us shared a great event, Quality Trust’s Better Together Reception (https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/better-together-reception-2020/). You missed the event, but while you’re sitting home you can make a remote donation to this important organization that does so much for people with developmental disabilities in D.C. and beyond. Here’s the link: https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/support/donors/ (and yes, I serve on the QT board – because I know how important it is!
Stay safe, all of you – and let’s get some more information!