We're facing a time of uncertainty as our City and global community work to protect vulnerable residents from COVID-19. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to sign up for the City's Flash Reports that are published every weekday at 10am and 5pm with the latest updates on city services impacted and recommendations from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Click here to sign up.
The current recommendations include practicing social distancing which means staying home as much as you're able to and regularly washing your hands. See the full list of the latest recommendations from the County Public Health Department here
Lastly, I know these can be especially frightening times for children. If you need help talking to your kids about what's going on, consider some of the tips offered by the National Association of School Psychologists, found here.
Our office is here to help. If you have questions or concerns not answered below, please email us at District8@sanjoseca.gov
and we'll work to connect you to the best resource available.
Councilmember Sylvia Arenas
Expanding Paid Sick Leave
The lack of adequate paid sick leave for many of our working families has left many with few options during this global pandemic. Low income workers that face economic barriers including high costs of housing and low-wages are often not able to miss a day of work, even when sick, because they're unable to lose out on a day's pay.
That's why I joined Councilmembers Magdalena Carrasco and Maya Esparza at a press conference last Friday to propose an expansion of paid sick leave across San Jose for any one who works at least two hours in the city.
The proposal will be heard by the city's Rules Committee this upcoming Wednesday at 2:00pm and, if approved, will continue on to be heard by the full council on Tuesday, March 24th.
Learn more about the proposal here.
I joined my Council colleagues in unanimously voting to move forward with a moratorium on evictions, or city-wide pause on evictions, for tenants facing loss of income due to COVID-19.
However, we know that many families living paycheck-to-paycheck may not be able to afford to back pay rent once the moratorium is lifted and mom and pop landlords who rely on rental income may also face financial instability.
That's why I also called for additional funding to provide rental assistance through the County's Homeless Prevention System for families impacted by COVID-19. The Homeless Prevention System is a resource that's currently available for any family needing financial support to remain stably housed, learn more about this program here.
Learn more about the moratorium here
A Note From A Neighbor
We're launching a new series for our newsletter where we hear directly from a District 8 resident on any relevant topic affecting our community. The opinions shared in this new series belong to the individual writer and do not express the views or opinions of the City of San Jose or the Council Office.
This month, we're sharing a blog post from an Evergreen Elementary School District teacher, Eddie Garcia, who hopes to offer a few words of comfort for anyone feeling anxious about their health and the world around them.
"My decade-long health crisis and subsequent spiritual journey have provided some answers for me. I started this blog six years ago to share my story with the hope that it will help others endure life challenges. The project has taken me to places I didn't even know existed. As we're in the throes of Corona-mania, my journey has given me the wisdom and tools to be measured and calm as fear rises around me." Click here to read more
School Closures & Family Resources
Evergreen Elementary School District, Alum Rock Union School District, Mount Pleasant Elementary School District, and East Side Union High School District have announced school closures from March 16th - April 3rd, with Evergreen Community College expecting modified online learning through April 6th.
To support families across the country with kids home from school, Scholastic has also announced free online materials for families, available here
Read information regarding availability of school lunches and at-home learning resources during this time:
Evergreen Elementary School District
- Grab-and-go meals will be available at select school sites starting on Tuesday, March 17th, more details will be available to parents on Monday, March 16th
- The district will have office staff available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m at school sites to support families. Additionally, the District Office will remain open from 8am to 4pm.
Alum Rock Union School District
- Student breakfast and lunch will be provided at all sites from Monday, March 16 to Wednesday, March 18 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Starting on Thursday, March 19, student feeding services will continue at Ocala, Chavez, Mathson, Painter, Hubbard, LUCHA/San Antonio, Dorsa, Ryan, Cureton, and Aptitud through April 3rd
Mount Pleasant Elementary School District
- Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch will be available to all students at Mt. Pleasant STEAM Academy or August Boeger Middle School at 7:30 am or 11:30 am
East Side Union High School District
- School will have staff available to support families that need questions answered with office hours from 8am - 3pm and the District office will also remain open from 8am - 4pm
- Spring Break will be rescheduled from the week of April 13 to the week of April 6 effectively keeping schools closed through April 10. All schools and classes are expected to reopen on April 13, 2020
- Students will be able to pick up one meal a day from 12pm – 1pm with a bag lunch at designated school locations (not yet announced)
San Jose Unified School District is also offering free bagged breakfast and lunch for anyone under 18 years of age at 10 locations listed here
Financial Assistance during COVID-19
Have you or someone you know lost income due to reduced hours related to COVID-19? You may be eligible for a range of benefits including paid sick leave, paid family leave, unemployment insurance, and state disability insurance.
The Governor recently announced that the 1 week waiting period for state disability and unemployment benefits will be waived so there is no longer a waiting period.
Get more information here to see if you're able to qualify for financial assistance for you and your family
Comcast Expands Access to Internet
As schools shut down and more families move to working from home, Comcast is expanding access to internet service and increasing internet speeds for existing customers.
1) Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
New customers will be sent a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee.
2) Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service will be increased from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally over the next few days.
New City Website for Workers and Business Owners
The City of San Jose has launched a webpage that offers a one-stop shop for the latest resources available for workers and business owners during the COVID-19 health emergency.
Click here to read tips on how to take precautions at work and how to keep your business strong during this time.
Call or Text County Public Health Department - Now Available 24/7
Santa Clara County residents can now call or text 2-1-1 for information on novel coronavirus and COVID-19 thanks to a new partnership between the County of Santa Clara and 2-1-1. Operators are trained professionals with experience fielding questions and providing fact-based answers.
Phone and text services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with phone interpretation available in 150 languages. Text services are available in English and Spanish and can be initiated by texting the message "coronavirus" to 211211.
My office is here to serve you, if you have an issue that you'd like our help with and need to reach me or the team please contact us at District8@sanjoseca.gov