Dear Joya Families,
You have demonstrated strength and resilience as we have worked together to adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19. The last guidance we had from our state agency, Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT), restricted us to tele-health services through the month of June. Many of you have asked when we can resume face-to-face services in light of Spokane County’s move to Stage 2 of reopening. We have asked that question as well.
Yesterday afternoon, we received official notice that in-person services will not be resuming on July 1st. Please read this letter from Laurie Thomas, the ESIT Program Administrator. This is difficult news to process. Many of the people making these decisions are living in parts of the state that have been more impacted by COVID than Spokane has been. I know they are trying to protect families, especially families who have vulnerable, medically fragile children. While tele-health satisfies a temporary need to continue connecting with families, it is not, by itself, a suitable long-term substitute for in-person services. I have been in touch with local and state program administrators including the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and Spokane Regional Health. Some of our agency partners and community advocates are helping us put pressure on ESIT to align with the Governor’s reopening plan and other DCYF programs like childcare and early learning.
I will continue to campaign for a return to in-person services using a comprehensive plan for pre-screening, social distancing and enhanced sanitizing to protect the health and well-being of our Joya families and staff. As soon as we hear about any changes, you will be the first to know!
Though we are not able to connect in person, please know that you are all on our minds and in our hearts as we plan what this program will look like when we are able to re-open. We look forward to seeing you again. The halls are too quiet, the building is too dark. We miss you! We miss the laughter (and even the tears). We miss the hope, the joy, and the life that you and your little ones bring into our building and our lives each day.
Please reach out to your Family Resources Coordinator if you are struggling. Your Joya team is still committed to being your partners on this journey.
COLLEEN FUCHS Executive Director