This is now the second full week of the “new normal” caused by COVID-19. Two of the office staff are in on Monday/Tuesday, and the other two come in on Wednesday/Thursday. Fridays we all work from home.

Part of the reason for this setup is that READ was never set up as a work-from-home organization. When the virus hit, we did not have the capability to go fully remote while still serving students. It is also vital that we have someone manning the phone lines during this time in case students or tutors call. Students rely on READ for information not just about their classes, but also about what is going on in the community.

During the past week, we have had many remote phone meetings and explored some options to try and make our largest fundraiser, the Trivia Bee, still work. It was clear that a gathering of 250+ people on April 29th would not be feasible, but could we host it online? Would we need to push it back? Can we set a new date if we do not know when social distancing guidelines will end?

Ultimately, we made the decision to move the Trivia Bee to September 30th —which means you can still sign up! While it was a relief to have made the decision, communicating the decision to sponsors, teams, volunteers, and everyone else involved in a timely manner was hard work!

We had two minor virus scares at READ this past week. One of our students works in a health facility where a resident had tested positive for COVID-19 had attended class. Fortunately, our student was not exposed to the virus and was heading back to work in the facility.

READ’s Executive Director, Karen, also learned that she may have been exposed. She immediately began self-quarantining and working from home. She is fine and out of quarantine this week.

READ was supposed to have four more weeks in the spring semester. Since we’ve canceled class meetings, the programs staff has been working to ensure READ students don’t miss out on those four weeks. Some students will be using online platforms like IXL to continue their work independently, while other classes have paired students and tutors to work by phone for an hour during the time their classes would normally meet. All active students are getting mail from our office with things they can work on, like News For You, a newspaper designed for adults with low literacy that will help keep them informed and help them improve their reading.

There are still more questions than answers when it comes to COVID-19, but READ is adjusting to the new normal of not having a normal. We know that as things change, we will have to change with them. But through it all we remain committed to READ students and to our mission of changing lives through adult literacy.

Thank you for continuing to support READ. Stay safe and stay healthy!

-Jake from READ