Coronavirus News & Resources
This page was last updated on August 22, 2020.
The first day of the 2020–21 school year is Monday, August 31. We’ll be starting the year on a virtual schedule, with all students learning remotely. Learn more about our plans, and find links to important information, in these letters:
- Letter from Chuck Jackson: Creative Minds’ Plan for the Start of the School Year: English | Español
- Letter from Nayamka Long: Our Education Program: English | Español
- Letter from Abby Sheffer: Information for Lower School Families: English | Español
- Letter from Lorna Dill: Information for Middle School Families: English | Español
- Technology Update & Backpack Distribution: English | Español
- Meal-Delivery Program: English | Español
- Information for the Start of the Year: English | Español
Continuity of Operations
Our staff are working remotely and available by email, during regular school hours while the school building is closed. Our central phone line, at (202) 588-0370, is answered Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
The front-desk team will review and forward to the appropriate staff members all voicemail messages left after hours. Please email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness
Families experiencing homelessness or housing instability are protected by a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This law remains in full effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the rights of students experiencing homelessness. If you have questions or need assistance, please fill out and submit this form or contact the Creative Minds homeless liaison, Miriam Kahn, at email@example.com. Note that we respect each family’s right to privacy and will keep shared information confidential.
Creative Minds: Creative Minds is starting the 2020–21 school year on all-virtual schedule. While classes are being held remotely full time, we’re offering weekly deliveries of five breakfasts and five lunches to students enrolled in our meal-delivery program; registration is required to receive meals. Deliveries begin on Wednesday, September 2. Find more information and registration links at our Nutrition & Wellness page.
DC Public Schools: Lunch and a shelf-stable breakfast are served to ALL students 18 and younger, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Find more information here.
DC Food Project is gathering information about free meals for students on its Emergency Food Access page. Included are DCPS sites and restaurants that are allowing children to eat for free.
EmpowerK12 has created a Student Meal Finder that lists meal sites from DCPS and public charter schools.
The FoodFinder web and mobile apps show organizations that offer food assistance throughout the country.
Martha’s Table is increasing its distribution of groceries to families in need. Learn more at this webpage.
The Creative Families Association has established a food-ambassador program to assist families in the CMI community. Please email Heather Hesslink at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to receive this assistance for your family.
The CFA welcomes family volunteers to the food-ambassador program. Email CMIfamilies@gmail.com for more information.
Protections & Benefits for DC Residents
The Council of the District of Columbia has passed an emergency bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the benefits for DC residents are the following:
Evictions and utility cut-offs are temporarily prohibited. To report a violation contact the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are expanded. SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of families in need.
- SNAP certification periods were extended through April 2020.
- SNAP interviews may be done over the phone.
- Time limits for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) are temporarily and partially suspended.
- Apply for SNAP benefits here.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). DC WIC has received temporary waivers that will allow it to quickly and safely get benefits to participants:
- The requirement for a mother or a mother and child to be physically present for certification, recertification, and check-ups has been waived.
- WIC is able to distribute benefits by mail
- Learn more at the DC WIC COVID-19 page.
Unemployment benefits are expanded. If your job has been affected in some way by this public-health emergency, you may be able to claim unemployment insurance with no waiting period and no requirement to be actively searching for work.
Resources for Immigrants & Undocumented Individuals
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has instituted exceptions to the public charge rule in order to encourage immigrants to get tested and treated for COVID-19 without fear of negative impacts on their visa extensions or green-card processes. Please see this webpage for more information.
Many undocumented individuals cannot access public benefits or health insurance. See this map from DC Health for locations of free, low-cost, or community healthcare centers.
Visit the United We Dream website to learn more about accessing healthcare as an undocumented individual.
Los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. Han instituido excepciones a la regla de penar al publcio para alentar a los inmigrantes a hacerse la prueba y recibir tratamiento para COVID-19 sin temor a impactos negativos en sus extensiones de visa o procesos de tarjeta de recidencia (verde). Por favor, consulte esta página web para más información.
Muchas personas emigrantes no pueden acceder a beneficios públicos o seguro de salud. Vea este mapa de DC Health para conocer las ubicaciones de los centros de salud gratuitos, de bajo costo o comunitarios.
Visite el sitio web de United We Dream para obtener más información sobre cómo acceder a la atención médica como una persona emigrante.
Our Student Wellness Team has compiled resources that will help parents and caregivers practice self-care and address the challenges of parenting in this unusual time:
- 8 Tips to Reduce Parenting Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Coronavirus Tips & Resources for Parents, Children, Educators & Others
- Young Children at Home during the COVID-19 Outbreak: The Importance of Self-Care
- Parents Need Stress Relief, Too
- Just Give Them the Screens (for Now)
- Parenting During Coronavirus: You Are Enough
Online Activities & Read-Alouds
These authors and illustrators are posting read-alouds and activities online:
- Carson Ellis is sharing daily prompts for drawing, on Instagram. Share your children’s drawings by using the hashtag #quarantineartclub.
- Oliver Jeffers is reading one of his books every day at 1:00 p.m., live on Instagram.
- Jarrett J. Krosoczka is posting “Draw Every Day with JJK” videos to YouTube.
- Debbie Ridpath Ohi is sharing read-alouds and art activities on her YouTube channel.
- Mo Willems and the Kennedy Center are hosting daily “LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems!” episodes.
These organizations are sharing free resources for learning or physical activity:
- DC Public Library: With your library card, access online resources that include e-books and audiobooks for children and streaming video for students of all ages. DC libraries are temporarily closed, but residents may apply for and receive a library card online.
- First Book: Family activities.
- Inspired Teaching is posting learn-at-home activities to its Twitter feed, Facebook page, and .
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Science activities for children of all ages.
- Open Phys Ed: Movement activities for families
- The Smithsonian Learning Lab: Online resources from the Smithsonian’s museums and education and research centers.
- Urban Adventure Squad: Do-at-home activities on a variety of topics—from arts to science to engineering.
Other Links & Resources
- American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 webpage: Includes tips for talking with children about the coronavirus.
- COVID-19 Testing: Find information about getting tested for COVID-19 at the DC coronavirus website.
- COVID-19 Fact Sheets: English and Spanish.
- Conscious Discipline: Strategies for helping children to feel safe and connected.
- DC Health Coronavirus website.
- Free Internet: DC is offering three months of free internet to qualifying families that are enrolled in Comcast Internet Essentials; the regular price for Internet Essentials is $9.95 per month.
- Enroll in Internet Essentials by calling (855) 846-8376 or visiting internetessentials.com/apply.
- Call 202-CONNECT after you have been approved and receive your first bill.
If you have any questions about our COVID-19 response, please email Heather Hesslink and her team at email@example.com.