IPUL's E-News for March 6, 2020
Here are the highlights of our recent activity online. Not all everything is included due to timeliness. If an advertised event already took place, we've left it off.
We Want Your News and Events!

If you have news, information or upcoming events in your town that are relevant to families who have children with disabilities or special health care needs and would like us to share that information, please email the details to parents@ipulidaho.org for review.

We also want to help you publicize your support group ! Click that link to learn more and to submit your group to IPUL

Our program coordinator will then share this via IPUL's social media networks. We are also happy to add events to our calendar for people to find.
IPUL and COVID-19
With the constant change that's underway with the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have done a few things we want you to know about:
First off, WE ARE STILL WORKING

The best method to reach us is through our website request form:  
We are still monitoring our  intake phone line  several times a day, and will try to respond to any request there within 24 hours. 
Messages left directly on our personal extensions looking for new assistance will have a delayed response - new requests for assistance should go through the above methods.  
For questions that are not  about something in our  scope of work , you can still leave a phone message as above, or send us an email at  parents@ipulidaho.org  - this account will be monitored daily, but is not as heavily monitored as the main intake systems.
As our  monthly workshop  is primarily virtual it will proceed as planned. (but it will be100% virtual now)
Next we've created a new, top-level page on our website to serve as a COVID-19 clearinghouse. You can click here to go see it, or you can browse to it at:
Finally, our Facebook page , where a lot of the information you see in this "Weekly-assuming-the-IT-guy-isn't-on-vacation-thing" you are reading right now originates, is where we are putting our most up to date information as it may relate to families who have kids with disabilities. If you haven't already, have a look, like us, and hit that follow button to be sure you will get information there as it's breaking.
We Livestreamed! (And We'll Do It Again!)
As we are all working from unidentified secure locations during the lockdown, we went live on facebook with a discussion about some current COVID-19 related topics. Our goal is to try to keep everyone informed, and we will be doing this again in the future. You can click the image above to see the archived livestream or this link right here .
There were three main topics we discussed and shared after the livestream as posts on our FB page, (as well as on our COVID-19 page on our website .) They were:
(1) Individual resources we shared during our live event today:
Idaho Special Education Director’s webinar, “Guidelines for Providing Special Education Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic-March 17, 2020”
(2) Individual resources we shared during our live event today:
COVID-19 Letter for Parents from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Children's DD Program
Mrch 16, 2020
Dear Parent:
As you have heard, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now been diagnosed in individuals in Idaho. As we learn more about this virus, we want to assure you that The Department is taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus while considering your child’s well-being.
To encourage social distancing during this time, the Children’s Developmental Disabilities Program is making the following accommodations:
  • All Family Centered Planning meetings will be conducted over the phone through March 31, 2020 or until further notice to help reduce the threat of continuing spread of the virus. If you feel you need to meet face to face with your Case Manager please call them to discuss the need.
  • Your child’s Case Manager will be available by phone to answer any questions regarding access and services. Local offices will remain open during this time.
  • All Family Directed Guide meetings will be suspended until further notice.
  • If you have questions about the virus, it is important to obtain information from a trusted source such as https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please consider obtaining information on how to prepare your household for possible exposure to the virus.
Here are a few steps you can immediately begin taking to help prevent the spread of this virus. For prevention measures, the CDC recommends that everyone follow the normal precautions for avoiding the flu and other respiratory diseases:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public; going to the bathroom, before eating after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Sincerely,
Susan Stumph
Children’s DD Program
Family and Community Services
(3) Individual resources we shared during our live event today:

This last item had a couple of updates before this e-News went out:

Good news - and we say thank you to all - parents and others all over the country who reached out!

Thank you! Due to your calls and emails in response to the alert below, Senator Alexander is no longer proposing to waive all of IDEA as part of the COVID-19 response bill. Thank you for all of your effort yesterday, you truly made a difference!
National Coalition of Parent Centers

NOPE -   We may have spoken too soon - just learned this: While the package withdrew the section giving Secretary DeVos the authority for IDEA waivers, it still includes language telling her to submit in a month all the requests for the waivers she wants! Below is from CCD Education Task Force Chair TODAY
Congress: The next stimulus to go through Congress has been introduced this evening by Majority Leader McConnell. See pages: 230-231 for language that directs the Secretary of Education to come back in 30 days with a list of waivers needed for Congress to provide under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This 'report' would provide the basis for Congress to amend IDEA and Sec. 504. It could result not only in waiving key provisions of IDEA and Sec. 504 per the Secretary's recommendations but could open up both laws to other harmful amendments. The bill also gives the Secretary broad waiver authority over the HEA, ESEA and Perkins.
You can consider reaching out further to explain the importance of leaving IDEA in tact and how it benefits children with disabilities.

(3) Individual resources we shared during our live event today:
Your urgent help is needed to protect IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)!
With Congress debating how to respond to COVID-19, Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is proposing to allow the Secretary of Education and states to waive any requirement under IDEA. This includes the requirement for FAPE (free appropriate public education), due process, evaluations, reevaluations, IEPs, and everything else – during the COVID-19 national emergency. He is pushing to include this proposal in the next major COVID-19 bill the Senate moves – which could be as early as this weekend. This waiver authority would be devastating to the ability of children with disabilities to receive an education – especially during these trying times.
It is vital that we speak out on behalf of children with disabilities. Please call your Senators and ask them to oppose the Alexander IDEA waiver proposal.
What to do: You can contact your Senator by calling 202-224-3121 or looking up their individual offices at  www.senate.gov.  After contacting the office, ask to speak to the staffer that handles education and tell them to oppose the Alexander IDEA waiver proposal. Due to many Senate staff working remotely, you may also need to leave a voicemail or contact your Senators’ offices by email.
Places for Youth to Find Food During School Closures
One of the concerns with closing schools has been making sure that children who rely on school breakfasts and lunch for their nutrition are able to continue to eat.

We are starting with the link provided by the Idaho State Department of Education, this page is being constantly updated, and at the time we are writing this story, show 183 locations state-wide where youth can go to pick up food.

This is a direct link to the map, the large dots break down into smaller ones as you click on them, all the way down to the street level, as this is based on google maps.
Peer To Peer Assistance App
backpack lunch
We shared this from the Idaho State Department of Education as well:

The new app "Backpack Lunch" connects families in need with neighbors who can help. This tool was made by a Boise family with the intention of ensuring no children or elderly are stuck at home without access to food.

THIS APP WORKS ANYWHERE, YOU JUST NEED ENOUGH USERS IN ANY GIVEN REGION TO MAKE IT EFFECTIVE 

Emergency Communication Tools Available From the Idaho Developmental Disability Council
The front and back of the english card
The Idaho Developmental Disabilities Council will be making these emergency communication tools available to anyone who requests them. They will be laminated, double sided, and are 8.5 x 14 in size, and available in English and Spanish.

Please let me know if you have other ideas about how the Council can be of assistance to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to families in Idaho with regard to COVID-19.

PLEASE CONTACT CHRISTINE PISANI

Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities logo
Christine Pisani, M. Spec. Ed. (she/her/hers)
Executive Director
Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities
(208) 334-2178 Toll Free: (800) 544-2433
icdd.idaho.gov  | Facebook | Twitter
Federal Guidance to States on Special Ed, Medicaid Concerns Over Coronavirus
We shared this story from DisabilityScoop.com

"The U.S. Department of Education and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services each issued question-and-answer documents Thursday detailing how to continue serving students with disabilities and those receiving home- and community-based services, respectively.

The Education Department said that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act do not specify what should occur if schools are closed for an extended period of time, which is considered more than 10 consecutive days. However, schools should generally offer the same level of services to students with disabilities that they are providing to other children."

Statewide Training for April-
Planning For a Healthy Transition to Adulthood
April flyer showing a crowd of young adults staring at the camera
Adulting is Hard... But Planning Ahead Can Make It Easier!

This training prepares youth for transitioning to adulthood with a goal of independent health care management.
Topics include managing appointments, medication, oral health, mental health, and more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. & 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
And Recorded for Future Viewing

Broadcast live from the Boise office and interactive via webinar from anywhere with an internet connection

Idaho Parents Unlimited
4619 Emerald St., Ste. E
Boise, ID 83706

Phone: (208) 342-5884