NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

COVID-19 INFORMATION 

Federal and State Information

DSB Information 


 

DSB NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS 

 

DSB Wait List Opened 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Department of Services for the Blind has been able to release all cases off the Order of Selection wait list, and have opened all categories for immediate vocational rehabilitation services for all individuals who apply for and are eligible.  Click here to for announcement.

 

All for One and One for All 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 

An audio message from Bob Miller & Robert Ott to the rest of the Washington State Business Enterprise Program Vendors to help manage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy6Mg90i-bw  

 

Youth Services In-Person Summer Programs Cancelled 

Monday, March 23, 2020

DSB has made the decision to cancel the array of in-person Summer 2020 youth programs that have typically provided intensive career exploration, job readiness, peer interactions, and paid work experiences to students who have visual disabilities throughout Washington State. Click here to read the complete statement

 

Stay Home, Stay Healthy 

Monday, March 23, 2020 

DSB acknowledges that there is only one effective tool that can reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, which is reducing contact among people, or social distancing. For your safety, and for the safety of DSB staff and the greater community, we have prohibited in-person meetings to comply with the Governor’s March 23rd proclamation to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy”. Click here for details.

 

DSB Response to COVID-19 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 

DSB Acting Director, Michael MacKillop, released a statement to DSB participants and their families.  Click here to read the complete statement.

 

Youth Services Cancellations Extended 

Monday, March 16, 2020  

Youth Services workshops and events for April have been canceled statewide.  We will continue to monitor the situation to determine if May events will be affected.

 

Youth Services Workshops Cancelled 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 

All DSB Youth Services Events and Workshops are statewide are canceled through the end of March. We will keep an eye on the situation to determine if April events will be affected.

 

OTC Term Cancelled 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 

It was some heavy discussion to determine the need to cancel the OTC term that was planned to start March 16th. The main factor was to consider the health and welfare of the students. Delaying the training is a frustration, but the potential for a student or students becoming ill or needing to quarantine away from their natural networks led to the decision.

The OTC staff and instructors will work on developing creative ways to engage the students remotely on a regular/weekly basis, to help retain the skills they had gained in previous terms and to move forward with new skills. The OTC staff will be connecting with the students and staff around specific details for the student surrounding this decision to cancel the upcoming term.

 

DSB to Withdraw from PNW AER Spring Conference 

Monday, March 9, 2020 

It is our understanding that the PNWAER board has determined to continue with their conference March 19-21 in Vancouver, WA.  With the COVID-19 response, and that one of the biggest mitigation factors to reduce transmission is to avoid gatherings of people, the Executive Team is canceling DSB staff participation – attendees and presenters - at this year’s PNWAER.

We understand the high-value PNWAER represents. In keeping with the state’s guidance and individual responsibility around non-essential gatherings, we are asking that staff understand the agency’s decision in this matter. Agency materials will be available to PNW AER attendees.

 

Youth Services Jobseeker Conference Cancelled  

Thursday, March 5, 2020 

After much deliberation and a conference with the executive team at DSB, we have decided to cancel this weekend’s event. As of Monday, it appeared that we were safe to proceed with the conference as planned. As you are all aware, more and more developments have come out as the week has gone on and we simply do not feel it is safe to host the conference at this point. We are planning on postponing this conference, but at this time do not have a date set in stone. 

We are extremely disappointed to have to cancel but ultimately we know it is for the best. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe!

 

DSB Adopts State COVID-19 Recommendations 

Thursday, March 5, 2020   

The Governor’s office and cabinet are working with the best knowledge to date of public health recommendations around COVID-19, and are adapting guidance and rules to be in alignment.

Some newer guidance just came out this afternoon:

  • Where possible, state employees in King and Snohomish Counties should make plans to telework. Other areas of the state can maximize telework as feasible.
  • DSB will identify which tasks are essential for in-office and can’t be done from home, and consider whether an in-person task is essential. If it is not essential, meet remotely, postpone or cancel. For example, for itinerant VR staff, a job retention case might be essential; an intake might instead be conducted by phone.
  • A decision will be made by next week on whether to delay the start of the March 16th OTC term.
  • Meetings of more than 10 people should be remote, or cancelled. Agencies should assess the need for a conference of more than 50.

​At this point, we have no reason to close offices. We will be reviewing this information and update guidance on a regular basis – the new information seems to emerge daily. 

 

DSB to use COVID-19 Prevention Strategies 

Monday, March 2, 2020 

DSB appreciated the Governor’s thorough note today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 virus. And the fact that we are still in a low-risk situation in our state, and we are planning prevention strategies through an abundance of caution. The agency encourages adhering to the simple ways we can reduce transmission of the virus, as described in the Governor’s message:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently (including the backs of your hands and between the fingers and around the nails)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue, or if no tissue, the crook of your arm
  • Wipe surfaces occasionally with sanitized wipes
  • Stay home if you are sick; when better but still symptomatic, discuss with supervisor options for telework
  • Minimize gatherings of people

DSB provides a lot of face-to-face services, and in-person is often the best mode for moving work forward. For the next few weeks, when a face-to-face is not necessary, we ask staff to use you consider remote options for connecting to participants or stakeholders. For example, the State Rehab Council meeting that was scheduled for this Friday will instead meet by conference call.

 

State Rehabilitation Council Meeting Now a Conference Call 

Monday, March 2, 2020 

To err on the side of caution, DSB has asked to have this upcoming Friday SRC meeting held remotely, by conference call.

The conference call number is 855-929-3239 (toll-free) and the access code is 800-698-935.

It is not as ideal as meeting in person, especially as we have a lot of new members and leadership to introduce. However, in the early days of COVID-19 concerns for the state, we would rather act with an overabundance of caution. Where we have in our power to potentially reduce and minimize transmission, we should do so.