Tag Archive

COVID-19

It’s official: LightHouse offices reopen September 7

It’s official: LightHouse offices reopen September 7

During the pandemic, LightHouse staff have worked tirelessly to support, train and inform our students. There have been some advantages to online-only classes: one of which is definitely that we have been able to serve people who live or work too far from our offices to attend in person. So, when we re-open to in-person courses and one-on-one trainings, we will be doing so knowing we can do both: work with students face-to-face and online. This will give us all much more flexibility and the greater ability to tailor and focus the training to the needs of our students.

We can not wait to reopen our doors and welcome students and guests back. Will it be the same as before the pandemic? Unfortunately, no. LightHouse has the safety and well being of its staff and students as its first priority. Masks will be required at all times, whether a person is vaccinated or not. Apart from the overnight camp sessions currently taking place at Enchanted Hills Camp where vaccinations have been mandated, we will not be requiring staff or students to be vaccinated, although we do strongly encourage vaccinations.

Six-foot physical distancing will also be exercised. Tactile markings have been placed in areas such as at the reception desk of our 1155 headquarters, six feet apart so people can independently comply with this protocol. We understand our approach is more cautious than many places within the Bay Area, however, we recognize how much more frequently people who are blind or have low vision come in to incidental contact with surfaces and people and is why we are asking our staff and students to help us continue to keep everyone safe when we return in September. Stay tuned to this newsletter, online calendar and website for more information and classes starting in the fall.

How many daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases are there in the US and the World?

How many daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases are there in the US and the World?

graph with braille labels, two lines increasing and decreasing from origin along x- and y-axes

Tactile graphic title: Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per mil people: US and world, updated May 25, 2021

Description: Braille graph with two plotted lines. Solid line for US, dashed line for World. X-axis is Date (2020-2021) with markers for Mar 1, Jul 1, Nov 1, Feb 1, May 1. Y-axis is Cases per million, from 0 to 800. Solid line (US) peaks around 750 cases per million people in February 2021. Dashed line (world) peaks around 50 cases per million people in early February and mid-April of 2021.

Download Graphic

ZIP folder contains files for producing tactile graphics on 8.5 x 11-inch paper, landscape:

  • PRN for ViewPlus Columbia / Delta, APH PixBlaster, IRIE BrailleTrac / BrailleSheet;
  • PDF for Swell, Microcapsule or PIAF;
  • Reference PDF with corresponding large print text (not for tactile production).

Printing Instructions and Supported Embossers

How to unzip/uncompress: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, MacOS.

Source: Our World In Data – Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people, Our World In Data – COVID Cases

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What percentage of the population have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

What percentage of the population have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

graph with braille labels, line increasing from origin along x- and y-axes

Tactile graphic title: Share of the population that received at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, through May 17

Description: Braille graph with a plotted line increasing from the origin along the x- and y-axes, reaching approximately 47% in mid-May. End of line is labeled “US,” with another tick labeled “world” at about 9%. X-axis is Date (2020-2021) with markers for Jan 1, Mar 1, May 1. Y-axis is Percentage, from 0 to 100. Note that this does not equal percentage fully vaccinated, but rather those who have received at least one dose.

Download Graphic

ZIP folder contains files for producing tactile graphics on 8.5 x 11-inch paper, landscape:

  • PRN for ViewPlus Columbia / Delta, APH PixBlaster, IRIE BrailleTrac / BrailleSheet;
  • PDF for Swell, Microcapsule or PIAF;
  • Reference PDF with corresponding large print text (not for tactile production).

Printing Instructions and Supported Embossers

How to unzip/uncompress: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, MacOS.

Source: Our World In Data – Share of population who received at least one vaccine dose, Our World In Data – COVID Vaccinations

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How many COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US?

How many COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US?

graph with braille labels, line increasing and decreasing

Tactile graphic title: US: Daily COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered, Dec 21, 2020 – May 17, 2021

Description: Braille graph with a plotted line increasing along the x- and y-axes, dipping a few times, peaking in mid-April with just over 3 million, then decreasing again. X-axis is Date (2020-2021) with markers for Jan 1, Mar 1, May 1. Y-axis is doses, from 0 to 3 million. Note that this shows number of doses, which may be different than number of people vaccinated, depending on vaccine.

Download Graphic

ZIP folder contains files for producing tactile graphics on 8.5 x 11-inch paper, landscape:

  • PRN for ViewPlus Columbia / Delta, APH PixBlaster, IRIE BrailleTrac / BrailleSheet;
  • PDF for Swell, Microcapsule or PIAF;
  • Reference PDF with corresponding large print text (not for tactile production).

Printing Instructions and Supported Embossers

How to unzip/uncompress: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, MacOS.

Source: Our World In Data – US Daily Vaccines, Our World In Data – COVID Vaccinations

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What does Flattening the Curve look like?

What does Flattening the Curve look like?

Flattening the curve graph, two curves increasing and decreasing along x-axis, with braille labels.

Title: Flattening the Curve.

Description: Graph with three lines, x-axis label: Time since first case, y-axis label: Daily number of cases. The first line is a tall curve labeled “Cases without protective measures,” starts at the origin with its peak high on the y-axis. The second line is a short curve labeled “Cases with protective measures,” starts at the origin, with its peak about 25% height of the first line and further to the right (more time since first case), the top just reaches the third line. The third line labeled “Capacity of the healthcare system” is straight and horizontal at the lower portion of the graph, about 25% up from the origin.

Source: Flattening the Coronavirus Curve, The New York Times,

Download Graphs

ZIP folder contains files for producing tactile graphics on 8.5 x 11-inch paper, landscape:

  • PRNs for ViewPlus Columbia / Delta, APH PixBlaster, IRIE BrailleTrac / BrailleSheet;
  • PDFs for Swell, Microcapsule or PIAF;
  • Reference PDFs with corresponding large print text (not for tactile production).

Printing Instructions and Supported Embossers

How to unzip/uncompress: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, MacOS.

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LightHouse Staff Shares Her Experience Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine at LightHouse

LightHouse Staff Shares Her Experience Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine at LightHouse

As I hopped out of my Lyft at 7th and Market Street and turned the corner toward the LightHouse headquarters in San Francisco, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. It had been months, nearly a year since I’d last entered this building. As I reached for the door handle of the front entrance, I was welcomed in by a friendly face. The man asked kindly, “Here for the clinic?” to which I replied, “Absolutely!”

After being directed towards the elevators I stepped in and pressed the button for the 10th floor. The door opened to the familiar sound of the automated announcer, “10th floor, LightHouse Main Reception.” I stepped into the lobby and was greeted by friendly, masked volunteers. I looked around and noted the many people in line, spaced at a safe distance apart from one another, patiently awaiting their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

When I joined the line, a nurse approached me and asked my name and birthdate. She found my vaccination card in the stack of other names scheduled to be vaccinated that day. She assisted me in filling out a pre-vaccine medical form. (Do I have any allergies? Have I received any vaccines within the past 14 days? Etc.) After completing the form, I waited for my turn to be taken into Multipurpose Room B, where there were three vaccination stations set up.

When it was my turn, I was directed to the available station. I rolled up my left sleeve as a very kind and friendly nurse walked me through the process. I turned my cheek away from my left shoulder as I received the vaccine. (Needles make me queasy!)

When I sat down in the post-vaccine waiting area adjacent to the vaccination stations, it hit me. For two years I would come to this building every day. Working with the blind community, my community, has always been important and enjoyable for me. On March 13, 2020 we were told that LightHouse would be closed for two weeks due to the onset of COVID-19 cases increasing in the area. Two weeks turned into 56 weeks (and counting) and the “increasing number of COVID-19 cases” turned into a global pandemic. Through the past thirteen months of confusion, devastation, and fear, here I was, one year later in the same place where I had first learned of the severity of this disease, receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. It was emotional. It was hopeful. It was a triumph. The experience felt surreal.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all the nurses, volunteers, and all of those responsible for giving LightHouse the opportunity to become a vaccination site. With the help and coordination of many LightHouse and San Francisco Public Health employees, I am proud to say that not only was I vaccinated, but the nonprofit I work for, the work in which I hold so dear, was able to provide yet another accessible and vitally important service to our community.

LightHouse Staffers Reflect on Their Pandemic Year

LightHouse Staffers Reflect on Their Pandemic Year

March 16 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of most LightHouse staff working from home due to the pandemic. For many it has been the most challenging year of their lives, in many ways.

We present an ongoing series of reflections from various LightHouse Staffers about their experiences.

Jaclyne Atoigue 
Tony Fletcher
Jennifer Sachs

Jaclyne Atoigue, Administrative Assistant

 

Jaclyne and her family standing outdoors

I have been working from home most of the year, thankfully, especially since my four children have been distance learning. My children are aged 13, 12, 10 and 6. I am so happy to see progress towards reopening the LightHouse, the creation of the BIDE (Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) task force and the general efforts by management to keep staff safe, equipped, and supported. However, this last year while professionally wonderful, has been personally difficult. So I offer this poem that I wrote to express the grief I have felt from the loss of my grandfather and my brother, but also the loss of innocence that my children have experienced as they witnessed the world change over the past year.”
 
?
How do I tell you honestly?
The grief that I entomb.
And protect the little lambs
That lived within my womb
 
I cried alone in darkness
I cried in the light of day
But all these tears they spilled
Into an endless bay
 
The lambs they ba’d for freedom
I had no land to give
The streets they burned for justice
We’ve forgotten how to live
 
Touch became a weapon
Race a dividing line
The truth is now a casualty
Of this disorienting time
 
Amidst the grander chaos
My anguish enveloped me
I have yet to grasp the depths
Of this unconquered sea
 
I know the song of sorrow
The siren lured me once
But I am not a child now
I’ve built a stronger front
 
So as a new day rises
I will open pandora’s box
And live within the chaos
For the hope that it unlocks

Tony Fetcher, Director of Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat

Tony Fletcher

One particular hard moment for me and many in the EHC family this past year was the loss of our friend Sergio Lopez by a sudden an unexplained cause of death. Personally I imagine that for the rest of my days I will remember the place I was standing, the person who told me and my reaction to hearing the sad news. He was young, vibrant, tough as nails and constantly facing barriers that he navigated through and around. I attribute COVID-19 as a factor in some form. Most tragic occurrence of this year by far. Gone too soon.
 
With the COVID-19 pandemic, I will be grateful for living through a part of human history that I know will live on in written pages and folklore for many years to come. I would have preferred being at Woodstock or Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “I Have a Dream Speech”, but man, I was here for this world event. I decided to embrace the change. To give gratitude to the slowing of time. Less traffic. Less noise.

Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development

Jennifer Sachs portrait

When we abruptly closed our doors to our students and got sent home, I was pretty scared. I had been a firm believer in the need for the fundraising team to be in the same building, collaborating with each other, being around programs and students, and bouncing ideas off staff in all departments. I didn’t think we’d be able to raise much money in a pandemic, when people were distracted, hyper-focused on COVID-19, the election and what was on Netflix. And we couldn’t get together with donors for large celebratory events or one-on-one tours and meetings. 
 
Well, I have learned so much. My team worked extra hard, thinking creatively and finding ways to connect with donors. And donors were so big-hearted and wanted to help. They responded by giving to the programs LightHouse implemented to check-in on blind community members. They also supported virtual programs to keep people engaged, learning new skills and combat isolation. I’ve learned a lot, and much of what I’ve learned will be useful and more effective in my job even when we are all ‘hallelujah” back together in-person.

Pure Bioscience and LightHouse Win FAA Approval

Pure Bioscience and LightHouse Win FAA Approval

PURE Bioscience and LightHouse announce the approval and use of PURE Hard Surface sanitizer and disinfectant by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Succeeding a vetting process which took several weeks the FAA approved and announced that PURE Hard Surface was the only antimicrobial on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List-N Antimicrobial Approved for use Against Corona Virus authorized to be used in the FAA locations: Control Towers, Radar Centers and Regional Control Centers.

The lead scientist on the evaluation committee for the FAA stated:

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors, meaning their assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, or national public health or safety. The arrival of COVID-19 presented unique challenges to keeping FAA personnel and equipment safe and functional and planes moving safely through the skies. Rigorous chemical and physical testing identified only one product out of hundreds on EPA List N that met all FAA criteria (no harm to people or equipment, no warning labels or PPE required, no odors, 30-second contact time for human coronavirus, product volume available on demand, rated for Emerging Viral Pathogens, secure supply chain and ease of use. PURE Hard Surface met and exceeded all required criteria.”

Following the initial use rollout of an FAA pilot testing program the FAA is requiring its janitorial service providers for these locations to sanitize daily after cleaning using PURE Hard Surface. This test was successful and to date there are 85 FAA locations that are sanitized with PURE Hard Surface including major airports.

PURE’s Chief Operating Officer and President Tom Y. Lee said, “We are proud that our technology met the needs and requirements for the Federal Aviation Administration’s antimicrobial use. PURE Bioscience is honored to be a part of the overall effort to maintain critical US infrastructure. The chemistry and it’s attributes that lead to approval by the FAA committee are the same that we offer to all our customers for their effective antimicrobial requirements.”

75% of the workforce employed to ship, bottle, and blend Pure Bioscience chemistries is blind or has low vision.

“Our expanding social enterprise at our Sirkin Center will provide dozens of jobs for Bay Area blind employees,” said LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin. “With the FAA’s large orders we’ll be hiring blind line workers, supervisors, technicians and supporting jobs, at our new Alameda plant. And we’re only beginning”

LightHouse Volunteers Can Help Schedule Vaccination Appointments

LightHouse Volunteers Can Help Schedule Vaccination Appointments

If you need support in completing any forms or navigating websites in order to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination appointment, please reach out to LightHouse and we’ll pair you with a volunteer to assist you in completing these documents. We have volunteers on hand who will be able to assist you in your appointment scheduling needs. Reach out to our Volunteer Services Team at 415-694-7320 or volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org.

Please note: LightHouse volunteers are not health experts and they cannot answer any questions about the vaccine itself or its health implications. If you have questions about the vaccine and your health, please contact your doctor.

In addition to helping students access vaccine appointment signups, LightHouse offers a variety of volunteer services. As Allyson Ferrari, Volunteer Manager puts it, “While we continue to shelter in place, we have volunteers volunteering in place! We do still have committed volunteers who can help you with whatever support you may need.”

And if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer yourself, check out the Volunteer at LightHouse webpage.

By taking a pause, Enchanted Hills Camp will help flatten the curve

By taking a pause, Enchanted Hills Camp will help flatten the curve

Dear friends and supporters,

For almost a year, we’ve been preparing for the biggest and most fun-filled summer ever at Enchanted Hills Camp for this, our 70th birthday year. We’ve nearly completed the new pool bathhouse, spiffed up the dining hall and its commercial kitchen, deepened our lake and stocked it with fish and cleared away the last piles of debris from the 2017 fires. We’re on track to begin building a half-dozen replacement cabins in lower camp later this year. We’re also midway through a process with Napa County which will give us the permits we need to finish the camp-wide rebuild after the fire. It’s been such a good year in fact, that we committed to bring the entire world of blind camp leaders to EHC in 2021 to show off what we have built and to lead the field in designing the best blind camp programs anywhere.

Then, just three weeks ago, California counties were shut tight in a massive effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. Early reports this week show that the heroic isolation actions by Californians in particular are making a difference in the virus spread.

We at the LightHouse have known for some weeks that a decision was looming about whether the epidemic and government regulations would allow us to host our usual 600-plus blind campers, their families, staff and volunteers this summer. We hoped the epidemic would have burned through California by our traditional June start to our summer season. One-by-one, though, organizations are realizing that it may not be possible to host group events this summer. From the Olympics to the Democratic Convention, from the World Blind Union conference to Wimbledon, and the American Council of the Blind and National Federation of the Blind conventions, most are deferring their group gatherings until next year.

Camp Director Tony Fletcher and LightHouse leadership wrestled with these realities as the weeks dragged on. Could we screen campers entering camp to keep everyone safe? The medical facts are that people can harbor the virus for several days without showing symptoms and be infectious during that time. The virus can linger on surfaces for several days. Could we imagine keeping a six-foot distance between 100 campers and staff all week long? Most importantly, we couldn’t bear the heartache if even one camper contracted COVID at Enchanted Hills. To implement real protective measures at camp, we believe, wouldn’t make it camp at all. The closeness, camp spirit, hand-on-hand instruction, the heartfelt hugs and adventurous athleticism – none of this would be possible under current government guidelines.

Accordingly, in an abundance of effort to keep our community safe, for the first time in 70 years we’ve decided to skip the entire summer sessions of EHC. There will be no gatherings of any kind at camp until September 2020 at the earliest. We’re heartbroken to have to deliver this news to the thousands of people who have thrilled to EHC over the years and will thrill to it again when the epidemic is over.

If you are one of those hundreds of people who have already made reservations for your EHC summer, you have a few options. You can:

  • Get a full refund.
  • Apply your deposit to your stay during the 2021 summer season.
  • Donate what you might have spent at camp to our fire rebuild fund.

And you can participate in several distance camper events via Zoom as you’ll see below.

For information about your personal situation please call Alyah Thomas at 415-694-7345 or email her directly at athomas@lighthouse-sf.org.

With camp closed this summer, we’ve suddenly found a way to make excellent use of the rare circumstance of having camp empty during summer. We now plan to use the season to dig a massive 3,000-foot-long trench to finally underground all the overhead electric wires now strung haphazardly throughout camp. The trench project will remove fire-causing danger from these overhead wires and will give us stable and reliable power not threatened by falling branches and weather. We’ll fill the trench with new high-pressure water mains for fire hydrants, new pipes to service larger water storage tanks, with state-of-the-art optical fiber for reliable phone and internet service and use the new course to help us irrigate parts of camp never before able to be green in summer.

We could never have undertaken this project during a normal camp season, so it’s a small consolation that we’ll be able to start it sooner than planned. The $500,000 trench project will be finished well before we usher in the next wave of campers beginning next year.

All these post-fire reconstruction efforts take money, lots of money. We’re asking our extended community of friends to help with the reconstruction generously. To make camp safe and secure for the next 70 years takes sweat, imagination, and dollars. If you’re in a position to help with a donation or a pledge to our capital campaign, please write our Development Director Jennifer Sachs at jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org or just call her at 415.694.7333. And if you have some very big ideas on how to help camp, please contact me personally.

So, what to do this spring and summer to replace the EHC camp coziness around the campfire, or the easy socializing in the shade? Camp Director Tony Fletcher has the answer for kids, adults and their families. Beginning Saturday, June 6, Tony will host a weekly Saturday evening campfire-by-Zoom. You will be able to gather with Tony and the gang of counselors, volunteers and campers you know from previous sessions: telling stories, catching up and making some new friends. Tony’s first chat will be followed by many others through summer, with gatherings for various ages, personalities, interests and communities. Lighthouse will advertise the times and call-in details as the date approaches.

In the meantime, it’s spring at our camp. The grass is brilliant green, the creeks are running strong, the frogs are croaking and the wildlife abundant. Thousands of redwood seedlings are now eight feet tall after the fire, and visitors say camp has never looked more beautiful. It will be there, stronger and safer than ever when we emerge from our houses, blinking in the sun, and yearning for that special community that will persevere in a place called Enchanted Hills.

Our very best hopes that you stay safe and are well.

Bryan Bashin
CEO
Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, San Francisco