I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources. Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow morning for a special email that I will be sending out to mark the first anniversary of sending these daily updates.
Cambridge Schools Returning to Full-Time In-Person Learning
Cambridge Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Salim announced today that, pursuant to the state Commissioner of Education’s directive that all schools return to in-person learning 5 days this spring, Cambridge elementary schools will start full-time on Monday, April 5, 2021 and upper schools will start full-time on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Full-time remote learning will continue to be available for all families. Read more here.
Grant Opportunity for Emerging Arts Organizations
The Cambridge Cultural Capital Fund is now open to emerging arts organizations to request grants of up to $5,000. The Fund was established in October 2020 by the Cambridge Community Foundation in partnership with the City of Cambridge. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted. For more information, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply to Be Part of Starlight Square Season Two
The Starlight Square Steering Committee is now accepting applications for its Spring/Summer season. Anyone interested in organizing programming, performances or events can respond to the request for proposals here; applications are due by Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Read more here.
Cambridge Public Library Services - Remote Printing Now Available
In keeping with its efforts to bridge the gap in access to technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambridge Public Library is now offering remote printing. Details are available on the library website at www.cambridgema.gov/cpl. For assistance, call 617-349-4040 or email email@example.com.
Massachusetts schools recorded 523 new cases of COVID-19 among students and staff in the past week, according to the latest round of numbers submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For the week from March 4-10, districts, education collaboratives and approved special education schools reported a total 377 cases among students participating in hybrid or in-person learning and 146 among staff with building access. The numbers are up from last week, when schools reported 476 new cases -- 343 among students and 133 among staff. Read more here.
MA Vaccination Updates
New Preregistration Signup Tool for Mass Vaccination Locations Available Today
This is the last week that appointments at mass vaccination sites were posted online on Thursday morning. Starting today, Friday, March 12, 2021, all 7 mass vaccination site appointments will be booked through the preregistration system, which is available at www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine. More sites will be added to the preregistration system in the coming weeks. The preregistration signup will replace the current booking platforms for mass vaccination sites for online booking. The vaxfinder.mass.gov website will continue to be used to find appointments at other local and regional vaccination sites. For more information, click here.
Details on the Preregistration Process
Any resident can complete the online form at mass.gov/COVIDVaccine. There are questions about age, occupation, and medical conditions to determine when you will be eligible. You will not be offered an appointment until you are eligible.
After completing the form, residents will get a confirmation via their preferred method of contact (text, e-mail, phone) and receive a weekly update about their status. Residents may opt out of their pre-registration at any time if they secure an appointment elsewhere.
When an appointment becomes available at a mass vaccination site, the resident will be notified and will have 24 hours to accept the appointment once it is offered to them. If an appointment is not accepted after 24 hours, the resident will go back into the queue to wait for another appointment.
To accommodate older residents and others who are unable to use the form, the preregistration form allows family members, caregivers or other companions to fill out the form on behalf of someone else. Residents who do not have internet access or someone to fill the form out for them can call 2-1-1 to preregister.
Educator Vaccination Days
Four days are being designated as Educator Vaccination Days. On those days, the state’s 7 mass vaccination sites will only offer first dose appointments for K-12 educators, child care workers and K-12 school staff. These dates are as follows:
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Workers in this group must use the pre-registration system to request an appointment at one of the seven mass vaccination sites and attest they are a K-12 educator, childcare worker or K-12 school staff.
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
Phone: Call 2-1-1 between 8:30 AM-8:00 PM Monday-Thursday or 8:30 AM-5:00 PM Friday-Sunday and select the prompt for “help scheduling a vaccine appointment.” This multilingual service is for residents who don’t have Internet access or have trouble using the Internet.
Need help? For detailed information about how to make an appointment, including updates about specific health care providers, see the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services vaccine resources page. You can also visit macovidvaxhelp.com, which is an unofficial site staffed by volunteers for eligible individuals who are unable to book vaccine appointments on their own.
Need a ride? Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is offering free transportation for local adults aged 65+ to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cambridge and Somerville as well as Fenway Park and CHA Malden. For more information, click here. To register for a ride, call SCES at 617-628-2601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Cambridge has published accessibility information for the state’s mass vaccination sites. You can find it here.
Don’t forget to book your second appointment while you’re getting your first dose!
Biden Wants Everyone Eligible for Vaccination by May 1
Last night, Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that he would direct all US states, Tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1. The President’s goal is to bring the nation close to normal by July 4, 2021. To that end, the Biden Administration will increase vaccination distribution directly to community health centers and pharmacies, as well as providing tools to make it easier for individuals to find a vaccine. Read more here.
More Information on $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan
Yesterday, Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which is the first legislative win of his presidency on the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Massachusetts state government and municipalities are projected to receive more than $8.1 billion in direct government aid, including $4.513 billion for the state, $3.415 for city, county and other local government aid, and $174 million in capital project funding.
In addition, this bill:
Authorizes another round of stimulus payments up to $1,400 for most Americans;
Extends additional, enhanced unemployment aid to millions still out of work; and
Makes major changes to the tax code to benefit families with children.
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today. You can watch the Governor's latest COVID-19 updates here.
Cambridge COVID Testing Sites
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Here are some great resources:
Where to Give
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food either in a paper bag or small box for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM and 2:30 PM at the entrance to CoHousing at 175 Richdale Ave, Cambridge, MA. If you don't see someone at the moment you arrive, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked "For Chelsea."