UWECI Takes Precautions In Wake of COVID-19

March 13, 2020 | United Way Team

Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

Starting Wednesday, March 18, all VITA sites will be closed in an abundance of caution in response to the growing COVID-19 concerns in our community.

VITA sites that are closing include:

  • Cedar Rapids Public Library – Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Boulevard SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
  • Linn Area Credit Union – 3375 7th Avenue, Marion, Iowa 52302
  • Linn Area Credit Union – 3700 Edgewood Road SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
  • Horizons: A Family Service Alliance – 819 5th Street SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401
  • Jones County Volunteer Center - 105 Broadway Pl #1, Anamosa, IA 52205

UWECI team members will be calling all currently scheduled clients to let them know of site closures. If clients have dropped off their taxes, they can expect a call within the next week about when and where their taxes can be picked up. Additionally, UWECI staff is putting together a support plan for clients who were unable to get their taxes done. This plan should be available within the next two weeks.

Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 11:15 a.m.

We now have a list of volunteer opportunities available for those willing to help our community during COVID-19. Click here to view opportunities and sign up to volunteer! Please note: once you sign up, the organization you signed up with will contact you with more information. 

Updated: Monday, March 16, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

For those interested in volunteering in our community to help the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reaching out to area agencies to gather volunteer needs. As we collect opportunities, they will be posted on VolunteerNow. We will share the sign-up link as soon as it is available.

Updated: Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:15 a.m. 

The CDC has recommended events with more than 50 attendees be cancelled. With this in mind, UWECI has chosen to cancel Volunteer on Tap on March 26, 2020. We will schedule another as soon as it is possible to do so.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 2:15 p.m.

Starting Monday, United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) staff will be working remotely in response to the growing COVID-19 concerns in the community. This follows an announcement that United Way Worldwide staff have mandated telecommuting for all but essential staff beginning March 16.

“We plan to follow public health and CDC guidelines and will evaluate our situation on a weekly basis,” Kristin Roberts, UWECI’s President & CEO said in a meeting to staff on Friday morning. “Our choice to move in this direction is a direct result of United Way wanting to do its part in helping moderate our community’s probability.”

The decision from UWECI was made in an abundance of caution and to manage the probability of people who come into contact with the virus. UWECI staff is currently working with its partner agencies and helping assess their needs, as well as the needs of the community at large.

For events more than two weeks in the future, UWECI staff is putting decision making timelines in place to allow for changes in guidelines and keep all involved healthy and safe. Additionally, all Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) appointments will be rescheduled or changed to a drop off. Information regarding updated dates and times for tax drop offs can be found here.

“As always, those who are the most vulnerable in our community are our priority. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to work with nonprofit and collaborative partners to support the families in our community,” Roberts added.

Action items area businesses and nonprofits can take include:

  • Take care of your staff. Ensure remote-work policies are up-to-date and encourage staff to stay home if they or others in their household have any cold or flu symptoms. Share the CDC COVID-19 website with staff and encourage them to review information about symptoms, preventing the spread of illness, and what to do if they or a loved one is experiencing symptoms.
  • Review remote work capabilities. Ensure that all essential staff have the ability to work from home if they need to. This includes laptop computers, reliable internet connectivity, and making sure there is a staff directory of cell phone numbers.
  • Don’t panic. While the spread of COVID-19 is concerning, the spread can be slowed and reduced by taking simple steps like hand washing and limiting gatherings.
  • Share accurate information about the COVID-19 via web and social channels. Direct questions from the community to the CDC website and local health officials unless you are officially partnering with health officials to provide answers and information to the public.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19, 211 can be accessed by dialing 211 from any phone, by visiting 211Iowa.org, or by texting your ZIP code to 898211. Help navigators are available any time of day and trained to assist individuals in connecting to local services. An interpretation service supports more than 150 languages.

As we receive additional information, UWECI will update this post accordingly. Please check back for future updates as time passes.