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by Gabrielle James

Update: 3/17/20

Hedgebrook has made the difficult decision to pause all in-person programming until April 20 in light of rapidly evolving news about the spread of novel coronavirus. As we learn more about projected course of this virus, it’s clear that our highest priority has to be to the health and wellbeing of our program participants, staff, and community as well as the health of those who live far beyond the borders of Whidbey Island. The data shows that a bold approach to social distancing (what we prefer to call “social spacing”) is the most effective way to flatten the curve and keep COVID-19 from overwhelming our healthcare system and taking more lives.

We will of course continue to monitor the situation and see if we will have to extend our “pause” beyond April 20. For those of you who are signed up for programs, please know you will be contacted directly about any changes. Also know we are working with our teachers to creatively develop alternative ways of gathering virtually, including offering more online programs.

This moment in history invites each of us to become adaptive leaders and take compassionate, wise action. We are grateful to all of you for your support of Hedgebrook’s mission. Please take good care of yourselves, your loved ones and your communities as we walk together through these unchartered times. 

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Update: 3/11/20

As of today, we have not canceled any Whidbey based programs but are keeping a vigilant eye on the emerging information and will alert people who are planning to come to programs individually as soon as anything changes. Everyone will need to make their own decision in terms of their level of comfort with any potential risks traveling here.  Please contact us at programs@hedgebrook.org with questions.  

We are reimagining Equivox, our annual fundraising brunch, as a virtual event this year. Please click here to learn how you can support Hedgebrook.

3/4/2020

Dear Hedgebrook Friends,  

With news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak changing by the hour, we want you to know how Hedgebrook is responding.   

1. As of today, we have not canceled any programs but are keeping a vigilant eye on the emerging information and will alert people who are planning to come to programs individually as soon as anything changes. There have been no confirmed cases on Whidbey Island, but everyone will need to make their own decision in terms of their level of comfort with any potential risks traveling here.   

2. We have put in place practices at our retreat to reduce risks such as using only paper towels rather than cloth towels in bathrooms and doing vigilant sanitizing. As always, we ask staff who feel sick to stay home.   

3. Our colleagues at the Alliance for Artists Communities have gathered some excellent resources about protecting yourself and others, so instead of reinventing the wheel, we are forwarding their suggestions (thank you, ACC!).

  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted an overview of the current situation as well as basic steps to reduce risk
  • CDC is urging businesses to prepare an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response plan (and will soon post guides for community organizations)
  • CDC recommends staying in contact with state and local health agencies for location-specific guidance
  • ArtsReady has also shared a post on how to prepare your facility and to communicate with program participants and your broader community 
  • In the event of a site-wide evacuation, this checklist guides you on what to bring
  • While putting safety measures into place, we encourage thoughtful consideration of the stigma associated with COVID-19. As advocates for all artists, we must also take care that the steps we take are equitable in their treatment of Asian and Asian-American constituents.
  • While the number of US cases remains small, we are an international service organization, and the World Health Organization has posted advice for the public on basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

4. We will be updating the post if/as our situation changes. Please send an email to programs@hedgebrook.org if you have any questions and stay healthy!

GabrielleJ
About GabrielleJ
I have worked for nonprofits the majority of my career, managing youth development programs, where kids felt empowered, honored and creativity was encouraged. Hedgebrook does all of that for women writers and I am excited to be a part of the development team, helping to amplify women’s voices for years to come.

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