We are increasingly challenged by this stressful and unprecedented period for our world, nation, state, and town. Social distancing does not relieve us from the responsibility to pro-actively develop a Wayland COVID-19 Action Plan outlining Town department responsibilities/services and issue a call to action from residents in our community. This plan should dovetail with State directives, and delineate action steps for how Town government, local organizations, and individual volunteers can work together to meet the needs of all our residents: young families, individuals with chronic health conditions, people living alone, and seniors.
Our primary role is to keep everyone safe. We cannot delay setting priorities for Town management of safety, essential services, communication and emergency assistance. And it is critical that we explore and implement safe ways to continue tapping into Wayland’s long history of volunteerism.
Wayland is a small community that is relatively spread out. The Town needs to move on mobilizing organizations previously created for emergencies. They include the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) https://www.wayland.ma.us/health-department/pages/join-wayland-medical-reserve-corps under the jurisdiction of the Board of Health and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) https://www.wayland.ma.us/advanced-search?keywords=community+emergency+response+team under the jurisdiction of Fire and Police. Both of these groups have telephone and email chains.
If you have time and/or abilities to help our community, consider the following initiatives:
- Deliver Essential Services via an ad hoc Health and Services Committee:
- Promote the formation of virtual neighborhood volunteer response teams to stay in touch via call chains, emails, texting, or social media
- Coordinate volunteers to fulfill requests for essential groceries, medication and prescriptions
- Identify resources to provide emergency grocery shopping and delivery for essential staples when local stores experience long delivery delays
- Create guidelines for essential staples, identify local sources and recommended ordering tools, and set up resources for reports on the day-to-day status of critical inventory
- Reach out to shelter at home neighbors
- Provide Emergency Assistance (contingent on available resources):
- Develop policy and methodology to prioritize emergency services and alternatives
- Recruit and track resources to perform essential services on behalf of residents for shopping, delivery, and virtual companion check-ins
- Help the well-publicized Health Department website with information about COVID-19 that includes health and safety information and virtual education services. The objective is to communicate vetted, trusted information to residents—and to promote virtual alternatives to group class meetings and suspended recreational programs and gatherings. This should include an abridged guide for distribution to non-technical resident
- Practice safe and approved transportation procedures for volunteers and Town employee
- Promote the expansion of Wayland’s Local Emergency Hotline to facilitate the following:
- Information/support for at-risk residents who need assistance
- Outreach to residents who are at-risk
- Identifying resources for emergency housing situations
- When accurate test kits are made available, strive to make Wayland a Coronavirus Free Zone
- Identify sources for test kits and services
- Implement a process for coordinating appropriate testing for residents and town workers
- Educate residents via weekly or bi-weekly status bulletins about screening as well as guidelines for activities outside the home.
Many Wayland residents are community-spirited and mindful of their neighbors. I invite all of you join in working with local government and Town departments on these initiatives to address our getting through the next few months and then returning to a more normal life.