As Rights & Democracy continues to closely monitor Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments in New Hampshire and Vermont, the health and well-being of our members, leaders, staff, and communities are of the utmost importance.

We want to share with you the steps we are taking and point you toward some helpful resources.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been a dramatic rise in cases of COVID-19 in the United States in the past week (going from approximately 200 cases to more than 1200). The National Guard has been sent to New Rochelle, NY where there is a “hot zone”. Three major professional sports leagues have paused their seasons, and Major League Baseball will delay its start. Schools in several states—including Vermont—have closed for the remainder of the semester.

We don’t yet know what the impacts in our communities will look like, but at this point, recommendations from the CDC and health officials remain the same:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Regularly (2-3 times daily) disinfect your computer, telephone, cellphone, and any surface or objects you routinely come in contact with.
  • Avoid close contact with people who show symptoms of coughing, sneezing, fever, or other illness.
  • If you haven’t already done so, get your Flu Shot.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • DO NOT wear a face mask if you are not sick. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of illness.

There is a wealth of information about COVID-19 available online. Please familiarize yourself with symptoms and other precautions. Because there is a lot of information out there, and not all of it accurate, we are listing several trusted sources here for your convenience.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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NH-Specific

NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

NH Public Radio (NHPR)

p.s. You can sign up for email updates at this link.

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VT-Specific

VT Department of Health

VT Public Radio (VPR)

p.s. You can sign up for email updates at this link.

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In addition to the WHO and CDC recommendations listed above, at RAD we have communicated with staff and are:

  • Encouraging staff to stay home if they or someone they care for is sick;
  • Asking staff to work from home when possible;
  • Encouraging staff to use technology to attend meetings and events (AKA “social distancing” a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully reduce/stop community transmission of the virus, otherwise called “flattening the curve”);
  • Encouraging staff to limit their travel for business purposes to only those trips that are absolutely necessary (i.e. a meeting they cannot otherwise attend remotely); and,
  • We are currently expanding our teleconference and video conferencing knowledge and usage.

Our Director of Operations, Hilary Viens, has been, and will continue, participating in national calls with other leaders to respond to this pandemic in real time. The Centers for Popular Democracy (CPD) have established a series of network-wide calls specifically devoted to COVID-19.

Understanding that our work is most thriving when we bring people together in this movement, it is critically important we lead efforts to reduce exposure to illness and not unnecessarily endanger the lives of those who are most threatened by this virus. Now is the time for us to be proactive and model what it’s like for a community to be intentional ab;out how it acts.

Our movement is only strong if everyone has a place in it, and we need everyone healthy and supported so that we can continue the necessary fights in the months, and years, to come. This pandemic has exposed that our work, and our movement is needed now, more than ever: governmental policies, programs, and social supports that promote well-being and safety at all times, not just in a time of crisis. People should be able to access paid leave to care for themselves, or their loved ones, without fear of losing their job, their home, or going without food. People should be able to get the care they need, when they need it, to get well without fear of going bankrupt. People shouldn’t have to work themselves into exhaustion, or risk exposure, due to unsafe working conditions. People deserve a robust safety net that allows our communities to focus on caring for and supporting each other – not just for mere survival.

RAD members will continue to lead the way on these, and many other, issues. But right now our focus is on those in our communities who need our help the most

The strength of our movement is always best demonstrated when we work together –– even in difficult times. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or have ideas on how we can best support each other, and our communities, during this time.

In solidarity,

James Haslam, Bi-State Executive Director

Dan Fingas, Vermont Organizing Director

Isaac Grimm, New Hampshire Organizing Director

Kate Logan, Bi-State Director of Programming & Policy

Shay Totten, Bi-State Director of Communications

Hilary Viens, Bi-State Director of Operations