Like you, we have been watching closely as the news of the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded. While most of us as individuals are washing our hands a lot and practicing social distance, at Side by Side, we are also responsible for the diverse needs of the young people we serve throughout the Bay Area. In stressful times such as these, Side by Side staff are endeavoring to offer the utmost support that we can to our clients and our community.
I wanted to take a few moments to let you know what Side by Side is doing to meet the needs of our clients and their families, while minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
- To the fullest extent possible, we are maintaining continuity of service for our clients through phone sessions, in-person meetings with clients at their home or at our offices, and electronic instruction. In any case where a client or family member is ill, phone sessions will be used in place of in-person visits.
- Our staff and clinicians are all following the California Department of Public Health and CDC recommendations including hygiene, social distancing, and staying home when sick.
- Office locations will be cleaned throughout the day and extra cleaning has been scheduled for all locations.
- All administrative staff that are able to work remotely are doing so and all non-essential in-person meetings, off-site visits, and community events have been suspended.
Due to differences in our program services, please note the following program-specific information about closures and services provided:
- Community Counseling – Marin, Alameda, Sonoma, and Napa clients will be served through phone sessions or in-person visits if phone sessions are not feasible. Clients should contact their clinician or the regional office directly for more information. We will continue to provide school-based services in Sonoma County as long as the schools remain open, and/or refer clients for office or phone-based services.
- Irene M. Hunt School – Hunt School will be closed for most onsite instruction for at least the next two weeks beginning March 16. Online learning will be available remotely to all students with internet connections. For students without internet access, teachers will provide a weekly work package that will be delivered to the student. On a case-by-case basis, a limited number of students will be able to come to campus and have academic and therapeutic work onsite, while maintaining social distancing guidelines and sanitary precautions.
- Our Space – Clients will continue to be served via phone sessions or in-person visits. Staff will determine whether to open the Community Center on Wednesdays for drop-in hours on a week-by-week basis. Please check the Our Space Facebook page (@ourspacesidebyside) for more information. The Queer Love Youth Pride youth cabaret performance is still planned for April 10, but may be re-scheduled as the situation dictates.
- Real Alternatives – Youth will be supported via phone sessions or in-person visits by their Clinical Case Managers and Youth Specialists. All youth will be educated on hand hygiene and limiting their time in crowded public spaces.
- TAY Space – The TAY Space drop-in center will remain open on a day-to-day basis. Youth should call the office at 415-870-9298 to check if the center is open. All clients will be served via phone or in-person visits. The food distribution service will continue as drop-in center hours allow, but only pre-packaged food will be given out.
- YouThrive – Sonoma County schools are on spring break next week and closures have not been announced yet. Should there be a subsequent school closure announcement from the Sonoma County Office of Education, our Sonoma YouThrive sessions will be suspended until schools re-open. Marin County schools have announced that all public schools will be closed for at least 2 weeks beginning March 16, therefore our YouThrive sessions in San Rafael are suspended until schools re-open. All spring break trips and SavUp CrossFit workouts for our youth are canceled until further notice.
For current updates on local information, resources and guidelines related to coronavirus, I encourage you to visit your local county resource page:
While this pandemic changes every day, please know Side by Side will continue our unwavering commitment to the young people we serve.
In the meantime, please wash your hands and remember how important we all are to each other.