New COVID-19 Guidelines, Community and Holiday Events
Dear Neighbors and Friends -
It has been an eventful few weeks! I hope that everyone has been staying safe and healthy as we approach the holiday season. There has been quite a bit of news in our community, both on the state and local level.
On December 10th, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced a set of new COVID-19 restrictions in response to surging cases throughout the county. This includes a ban on indoor dining, as well as a cut in outdoor dining to 50% capacity. These will both go into effect on Wednesday, December 16th at 5 PM, and last at least until January 16th. Governor Hogan announced this month that the COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available, will first be distributed to health care workers and long-term care facilities in the state. The state will receive an initial 155,000 doses, with distribution beginning as early as this week. In addition, the state announced that more measures will be taken to provide economic relief to residents, including emergency tax relief for small businesses, $75 million in emergency loan forgiveness from the initial distribution of relief in March, and $37 million for the financing of new low-income housing units. I also wanted to share a bit of personal news: in response to a vacancy, Speaker Adrienne Jones has appointed me to a seat on the Crime Classification and Penalties Task Force. This group, which was formed in June of last year, has been working to review all penalties for both State criminal and civil violations and ultimately propose recommendations for reform by June 2021. I am grateful for this appointment, and looking forward to working alongside the other members of the Taskforce! The rest of this newsletter contains a lot of information on various events and programs that will be held throughout the holiday season. I encourage you to check them out and find new, socially distant ways of enjoying the holidays! And as always, remember to keep practicing safe habits by washing your hands, social distancing and wearing a mask. - Nicole
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS)
PGCPS has announced a series of webinars on the public-private partnership for new school construction projects. This partnership will be the first of its kind in the country! The last three webinars will be held this week. For more information, click here.
PGCPS recently introduced an online database on their website that tracks building closures related to COVID-19. This database is updated frequently and provides timely and relevant information for your family. To access the databases, click here. For other information regarding reopening plans, click here. PGCPS, in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Health Department and the Maryland Partnership for Prevention, will continue holding free immunization clinics this month at various high schools throughout the county. These are aimed to help families in meeting immunization requirements. To register online for an appointment click here. For more information on the clinics, click here. The following locations will be offering immunizations:
Bladensburg High School December 14 and 17, 9 AM to 3 PM
Fairmont Heights High School December 14 and 17, 9 AM to 2 PM Northwestern High School December 14 and 17, 9 AM to 2 PM Oxon Hill High School December 14 and 17, 9 AM to 3 PM PGCPS is also currently collecting responses on their strategic plan culture and climate survey. Results will help the system make a plan that will better serve our communities. To fill out the survey, please click here.
Lastly, PGCPS will be holding a district-wide hiring event on Saturday, January 9th, 2021, and is looking to hire new educators, nurses, and bus drivers. More information on the event is below.
Prince George's County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS)
PGCMLS has recently announced that they will be suspending their curbside service from December 21, 2020 through January 12, 2021, in response to the surging COVID-19 cases throughout the county. This service will be made available to the public again on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Services that have been temporarily suspended include book drops, mobile printing, and 3D printing. For more information on the services PGCMLS provides, please click here.
Maryland COVID-19 Contact Tracing App
The state of Maryland has begun using a COVID-19 contact tracing app to better and more quickly notify people if they have been exposed to the virus. For more information on the app, please click here.
Zion Church's Benevolence Program recently announced that they will be accepting applications for housing assistance from residents in the county who have been impacted by COVID-19 and experienced a loss in income. Applicants must be behind on rental or mortgage payments due between April 1st and November 30th, 2020. Contact email@example.com to receive the application and requirements. The deadline to submit this application is Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 at 3 PM.
Access 2 Education Scholarship
Alongside Employ Prince George's, 2U, Inc., an education technology company based in Lanham, is offering a scholarship to assist those underrepresented in the technology industry to obtain career-boosting skills. For more information on this scholarship, as well as the application, please click here.
There is a wide variety of community events taking place this holiday season! Check out the infographics below for more information.
Healthcare Open Enrollment Period Information Sessions
The 2020 open enrollment period for health and dental insurance coverage beginning in 2021 ends tomorrow, December 15th. There are currently PGC Health Connect navigators (many who are bilingual) available at three call centers daily from 9 AM to 4 PM; late evenings until 7 PM; and Saturdays, 10 AM to 4 PM. To talk with a navigator, call (301) 927-4500, (240) 719-2167, or PGC Health Connect’s partner organization, CASA at (301) 270-8432 and (240) 270-1318. For a listing of the hours and times, visit pgchealthconnect.org. Marylanders may also enroll online at marylandhealthconnection.gov, through the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. or by calling toll-free at 1 (855) 642-8572 from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. To learn more about 2021 health insurance plans and prices, Marylanders can visit marylandhealthconnect.gov/find-help/.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Prince George’s County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 tests for people with or without symptoms. All you need is a form of identification to get tested at the following facilities: First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (9 AM - 3 PM; Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) Prince George's County Health Department Headquarters *Begins December 14th, 2020* 1701 McCormick Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Thursday) D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center 9314 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Friday) Adventist Medical Group Primary Care 10709 MD-210 Suite D, Fort Washington, MD 20744 (7:30 AM - 11:30 AM; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) Roseu Medical Center *Appointment required, click here* 14402 Baltimore Avenue, Laurel, MD 20707 (8 AM - 12 PM; Monday - Friday) There are also test sites operated by the State such as the Six Flags Amusement Park location (which just announced extended hours) and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you.
Distance Learning and Free Meals for Students
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has a Distance Learning Hotline for students and parents to assist with technical/equipment issues, instruction guidance and more. You can reach them at 240-696-6229 (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM).
Student meals are free for all students through December 31. You can pick up the meals from your neighborhood school or a school close to home on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Meals can also be delivered to many communities by school bus on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information and a list of delivery locations by city here. Please check the PGCPS website on meal delivery days for any important updates or changes.
PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you. SNAP Assistance SNAP is approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.
County and State COVID-19 Resources
The COVID-19 Hotline If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only. 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline The Maryland State Police have expanded their 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline. Community members are encouraged to report public health violations through the email linked above, or by calling (833) 979-2266. Nonprofit Resources Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County. Childcare for Essential Employees and Employees Returning to Work Child care centers are opening up throughout the State. Click here if you are returning back to work and need child care. To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here.