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This week’s Triad City Beat is the smallest paper I’ve ever made, and I’ve made hundreds of them. Eight pages is what we’ve got by Brian Clarey left after stripping away all the ads for events that have been canceled, for restaurants trying to figure out new business models, for businesses that have outright shut down for the pandemic. We’ve still got plenty of content — we’re posting every day at triad-city-beat.com, including a daily coronavirus update and lots of other stories that will not make it into print, not this week. Nor the next. The truth: We barely have enough advertising to support a print product. And even if we were to make one, would there be anyone out there to pick it up? Everyone’s supposed to stay home, remember, and not a lot of people are open to picking up stuff on the street and bringing it into their homes. We certainly cannot guarantee the pickup rate to which our advertisers have become accustomed. And in that way, distributing a paper throughout this crisis would be a kind of fraud.
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Ironically, more than ever people need — and want — the kind of clear, honest and timely reporting for which Triad City Beat has become known. And so, the mission continues. Our reporters are out there right now, trying to find the stories inside this one big event that has very quickly encompassed every aspect of our existence. We’ll be posting news as it happens on the site, along with most of our regular features throughout the week and our daily update, which should have links to everything. Remember, we’ve been training for this our entire professional lives. Triad City Beat was made for times like this. We’ve been running a robust digital advertising platform for years (email me for details!), and our website — hosted on a private server — is fast and clean on any screen. The site allows us to link source documents, make corrections in real time, engage in comment threads and find other ways to increase transparency and trust among our readership — our most important asset. And it lets us keep the information flowing, which is really the whole point. Thanks for sticking around. We’ll be back with a print edition in the by and by. For now, I’ll see you online.
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Shelters to cut down numbers, forcing more homeless people outside by Sayaka Matsuoka The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many homeless shelters to cut down on the number of people they serve, causing more individuals to sleep outside where they lack regular access to hygienic necessities and other vital resources.
Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
of COVID-19. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.” Marcus Hyde with the Homeless Union of Greensboro said his organization has been printing and passing out flyers for people to post next to their camps. The posters read, “Shelter in place quarantine, no entry allowed,” and include a black-and-white hazard symbol. “There’s a small modicum of reasonableness to the CDC’s guidelines that police should not be disrupting camps or forcing people into overcrowded shelters,” Hyde said in a statement. “We’re trying to educate people on the streets about how to stay healthy and assert their rights.” City officials in Greensboro ducked questions about their stance toward homeless camps, evading responsibility for past sweeps and declining to state how they view the matter under the current conditions of the pandemic. Ron Glenn, the public information officer for the Greensboro Police Department, told TCB: “We don’t do sweeps.” Glenn said responsibility for clearing homeless camps typically falls to the field operations department. But Chris Marriott, deputy director of field operations, deflected the responsibility back to the police department. “We go in when we’re asked to help clean something up,” he said. “We’re usually asked to come in after the camp is dismantled.” In Winston-Salem, O’Connell said City With Dwellings has asked the city if people will still be ticketed for sleeping in public but has not heard back yet. She also said that individuals have reported that the police department’s downtown bike patrol has been more lenient on those experiencing homelessness during the epidemic. Still, she said that the problems that existed before COVID-19 have only been exacerbated by the virus and have elevated the importance of housing as a basic human right. “It shouldn’t be either ‘I can sleep in a tent and be safe’ or ‘I can stay in a shelter with other people and possibly be unsafe because of the virus,’” she said. “Hopefully it’ll make more people realize that shelter and healthcare are really linked together.”
tents and trying to educate folks on social distancing.” And while most of the world seems to be caught up with fighting the virus and taking measures to ensure personal safety, Mohr said many of the people she interacts with daily are mostly concerned with the lack of access to public facilities because of the outbreak. “It’s really difficult,” Mohr said. “There are very few or no inside spaces available.” O’Connell mentioned that the closure of public libraries has hit the homeless population particularly hard. Normally those experiencing homelessness go to access the internet or to charge their phones. For now, City With Dwellings is offering a handful of phones and laptops for use at its downtown facility in cases of emergency. “We had a gentleman file for unemployment today,” Mohr said. City With Dwellings is also offering hand-washing stations outside its downtown Winston-Salem facility, along with a mobile shower provided by The Dwelling, one of their partners, in the afternoons on site. Andrea Kurtz, the senior director of housing strategies for United Way of Forsyth County, agreed with O’Connell’s assessment that there will likely be more individuals sleeping in tents because of the warmer weather and the effects of COVID-19. “There’s every reason to be concerned that we will see a number of folks sleeping outside,” Kurtz said. “This is the time of year that people move outside because it’s nicer but it’s also for folks thinking like, Do I stay here with 70 other people? and people may be choosing to sleep outside instead. And I don’t think it’s a great long-term solution.” Kurtz and other advocates are encouraging the public and city officials to leave camps alone if they are not bothering anybody. “If folks are in camps and they are safe in camps, let them be,” Kurtz urged. “If we broke up the camps, we don’t have another place for them. For folks who are camping, there’s nowhere safer for them to be.” Kurtz’s stance is backed up by the Center for Disease Control, which states on their website that “unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread
People experiencing homelessness are highly at-risk individuals as we face the COVID-19 epidemic, according to local experts. And with new state measures in place, advocates are concerned that more people will be forced to live outside, where they will have less access to hygienic practices like hand-washing and other resources. On March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper amended his executive order to ban gatherings of more than 50 people, and President Trump has advised against meeting in groups of more than 10. This leaves homeless shelters particularly vulnerable as they serve large numbers of people who are unhoused. In recent days, local shelters and organizations have had to make the difficult decision to start cutting back on the number of people they serve. “We’ve been pretty proactive as it relates to the situation,” said Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro and a city council member. “We’re implementing pretty stringent safety protocols based on guidance from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.” While the center normally operates as a homeless day center, it also runs an emergency winter shelter during the coldest months of the year. However, Kennedy said that decided against doing so in light of the pandemic because of advisory’s from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and the Center for Disease Control. In addition to checking temperatures of those who enter, Kennedy said that they’ve had to limit the number of people who can come to gather. While the center — which offers access to computers, laundry, phones and a barbershop, to name a few resources — usually serves about 80 people at any one time, Kennedy said that they’ve limited the number of people who can enter the facility to 25 at a time. Kennedy also said that she expect that number to go down. Now, they are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help with sanitation needs like washing and have installed Porta-Johns
and a handwashing station outside of their building off Washington Street for people to maintain personal cleanliness. Sonjia Kurosky, executive director of Samaritan Ministries in Winston-Salem, said her facility has had to cut down the number of people they house in their year-round shelter. “What we’re trying to do is practice physical distancing,” Kurosky said. “We’re using a strategy called diversion, where we are trying to figure out if there’s anywhere else [guests] can go so we can reduce our numbers. We’ll ask, ‘Do you have a family member in the community, a girlfriend, a buddy?’ Right now, we have 68 in the shelter, but we have started working on diversion.” Kurosky said on Monday that she couldn’t give an exact number of people they look to divert but that they would start interviewing guests that evening to figure out who needed to stay and who could go. Diversion is a common tactic when shelters transition from the winter to the spring, said Tracy Mohr, the executive director of City With Dwellings, a homeless-advocacy organization in WinstonSalem. She added that the pandemic has sped up the process by weeks. “About two weeks ago, in light of COVID-19, we started doing our diversion work early,” Mohr said. “We started working with each of our guests with the intent of reducing the number by half in a week and then reducing the number further to just our most at-risk population.” City With Dwellings operates an emergency winter program formen and women across four shelters in the city from December to the end of March. On average, the organization shelters about 90 people during the coldest months of the year. As of Tuesday, Mohr said they are housing just 17 individuals. While the organization has worked hard to find places for most of the diverted individuals to stay — including with friends or family or other long-term shelters — year-round shelters cutting their numbers has increased the likelihood of individuals sleeping outside, said Krista O’Connell, the lead staff member for City With Dwelling’s overflow shelter. “Some people have been saying that they have nowhere else to go,” O’Connell said. “They are asking for tents. So some agencies are going out to
Mar. 26-April 2, 2020
Mar. 26-April 2, 2020 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
Some simple rules for the coronavirus era There’s so much news breaking, so much new informa-
tion coming out, so many lies being slung that it’s near impossible to keep up. We’re posting a daily update on the website, with the most current count of COVID-19 cases in Guilford and Forsyth, important local developments, some state news and other useful items. Check it out at triad-city-beat.com. A new round of restrictions in Guilford County dropped last night — no gatherings of more than 10 people, and all businesses save for those deemed essential services are ordered to shut down (list on page XX) But there are a few items of interest that transcend the news cycle — some basic rules that we all need to follow in order to get through this unbelievably strange and confusing time. Stay home. Even if you feel fine. Sure, go out for groceries, or a drive, or a run on the greenway. And if you’ve got to work, you’ve got to work. But it’s important to minimize contact, and the best way to do that is to stay put. If you feel sick, isolate yourself for two weeks. Seek medical attention if you are running a fever and have trouble breathing. Don’t overbuy supplies. There is plenty of toilet paper to go around — if, that is, some asshole doesn’t fill his garage with it. There are literal lots of supplies warehoused in huge buildings all over this country, awaiting their next phase in the pipeline. But like everything else right now, if you take more than you need, then someone who needs it will have to go without. You might do well to internalize this principle in the coming months. Be careful where you get your information. Reuters and Agence France-Presse have reported on weaponized misinformation campaigns coming from Russia and China — many of them claim that the virus originated in the United States. Use blue-chip news sources, look for source documents — all proposed COVID-19-related bills are available at congress.gov and senate.gov, for example — and sweet white Jesus, please do not share a news item on social media unless you’ve checked it. If someone points out that you’ve shared false information, don’t be a dick about it — just take it down. Know the enemy: It’s the coronavirus, not each other. Ironically, the virus thrives on selfish, disorganized behavior. It’s our humanity that makes us vulnerable to the pandemic, but that is also the way through to the other side. We are truly in this together — the virus does not discriminate, and we cannot fight it on our own terms. Be safe, everybody. And take care of each other.
Stay home. Even if you feel fine.
Home-schooling: Back to the fundamentals
Monday, March 23, 2020: Day 21 in North Carolina’s coronavirus pandemic. Day 1 in homeschooling. A week ago, Guilford County public school teachers handed parents a stack of workbooks, essentially shifting responsibility for by Jordan Green education from the local education agency to more than 50,000 households. We set up the desktop computer in the living room on Monday for my elementary school-age child, and logged on to Canvas, the online learning platform for her class. It wasn’t immediately clear to me where one day’s lesson ended and the next began, although my wife has since straightened me out. There were math and reading lessons, with directions to tab to a sequence of pages in this or that workbook; a reading program with password-protected digital books I couldn’t seem to access; and a nifty set of science videos accompanied by quizzes. (After several minutes of frustration, we gave up on the reading program, and instead spent about 20 minutes reading and discussing an IRL book my child grabbed off the shelf in her bedroom.) In the days leading up to and after the first day, the comment threads on our school PTA’s Facebook page crackled with parents ricocheting from anxiety to empowerment. I can’t figure out Eureka math, and it’s really stressing me out…. Don’t worry about Eureka math; these students are getting a real-world education in home economics…. I have a full-time job and household work — how am I supposed to teach an entire curriculum on top of that?... I’m going to cut myself some slack, because I think my stress is going to have a more negative effect on my kids than not keeping up with the course work…. The kids miss their friends and are getting bored. Let’s have a virtual talent show! Or, as one meme posted on the page has it: “If you see me talking to myself this week, mind your business. I’m having a parent-teacher conference.” There’s no attendance verification and, so far as I can tell, no check-off to prove that you’ve actually completed the lesson. It struck me that compulsory education — a bedrock we’ve taken for granted for roughly 100 years — has essentially been suspended. On Monday, we also learned that by order of the governor, schools will remain closed until at least May 15. If you’re paying attention to the epidemiological curve of the pandemic in the United States, it seems highly unlikely that schools will reopen at all for this academic year. Will the students have the opportunity to make up the lost days? The US Department of Education has already granted a waiver allowing North Carolina to suspend end-of-grade testing. Will all students receive
social promotion to the next grade level regardless of what they learned? Will we just chalk this year up as a loss? I don’t think it’s going to be a loss. I admit I haven’t watched any of the press conferences held by Superintendent Sharon Contreras or school board meetings since the pandemic began. I haven’t had time, frankly, between childcare for the past week, my regular job at TCB, teaching a partial-credit course at Wake Forest University and freelance reporting. Somehow, I don’t think there are many contingency plans in place, and I bet school officials are figuring this out as they go just like the rest of us. It hasn’t been a loss though, I guarantee it. In addition to the fundamentals of hygiene, “social distancing” and the 6-feet rule, our children are learning about the importance of protecting themselves and their families, and about the importance of personal sacrifice to potentially protect people they don’t even know. They never should have had to learn about “coronavirus,” but the word is on their lips. My child is processing the pandemic through an elaborate Medieval fantasy world. We’re battling the “Invisibilians” who “brought us coronavirus.” Our house, with its leaky roof and failing plumbing, has been transformed into a “palace” and our backyard is an “enchanted forest.” Our next-door neighbor is a “nobleman.” Once I got past my feelings of bewilderment at the format of the lessons, I was actually pretty amazed at my child’s competency in writing sentences, working math problems and answering science questions. And that’s, no doubt, in large part a credit to her teachers. But also, I was reminded, she’s pretty brilliant and we can have some interesting discussions. And we can deepen the learning through practical applications. While my wife was washing dishes on Tuesday, she called out a list of items to our daughter, and she wrote them out in a shopping list. Public education was the one institution in which there was at least supposed to be a good-faith effort towards doing right by all. In North Carolina, we call it “the opportunity to receive a sound, basic education.” Now, we know that there really is no educational safety net, just as outcomes in healthcare, housing, finance and the courts are largely determined by the accident of birth. In a sense, we have become our great-grandparents, who integrated work with child-rearing through an improvised curriculum of practical wisdom, values and survival. We’re on our own, and we might take some comfort to know that we are really the only ones we have and the only ones we need. It’s up to each of us to reach out and help one another as best we can.
Somehow, I don’t think there are many contigency plans in place, and I bet school officials are figuring this out as they go just like the rest of us.
Mar. 26-April 2, 2020 Up Front
Shot in the Triad
Mar. 26-April 2, 2020 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
CULTURE Ways to enjoy local art during COVID-19 by Sayaka Matsuoka
o you’ve been inside for days. You’re wearing the same pair of sweatpants you threw on a week ago and your diet is rotating between mac and cheese and peanut-butter sandwiches. You’re already starting to get bored of watching Netflix all day and you suck at Apex Legends. Here’s a way for you to get in some culture without leaving your house. A number of local artists and arts organizations have moved to an online model that encourages creating and enjoying art at home. GREENSBORO Shelf Life Art and Supply Co. is creating and selling arts and crafts kits on their website. If you’re local, you can pick up on Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you are not, you can have the kits shipped by sending them a message on Facebook. Check out the art kits on Shelf Life’s website. The Weatherspoon Art Museum is closed for visitors but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their vast collection of art online. From modern paintings by Picasso to sculptures to photography to Japanese woodblock prints, a majority of the museum’s art can be viewed online for free by visiting weatherspoonartmuseum.org. Greenhill Center for NC Art is hosting virtual storytime along with crafting sessions on YouTube. Their first session featured a reading of “Elmer,” by David McKee, and a paper-weaving activity for kids. Learn more and follow along at greenhillnc.org/masterpiece-Friday.
Triad Stage will be streaming live performances by musicians, actors and more on their Facebook for free. Their first live concert showcased musician Lyn Koonce. Their next event is a yoga session at 5 p.m. today. Follow along on their Facebook page at Facebook.com/ triadstage The Center for Visual Artists is sending out an arts-focused newsletter Monday through Friday. The email includes a section about a featured artist as well as a tour of a national museum. There’s also an art activity for kids, teens and adults! To sign up for the email, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Karen Archia of Public Art Practice has been hosting Facebook and Instagram Live “art breaks” where she does a show-and-tell of her artwork and invites people to send her images via email to email@example.com for collaborations. Follow along and get involved by following Public Art Practice on Facebook and Instagram. Dane Winkler, a sculpture teacher at UNCG has been organizing artist talks on Instagram. Follow along on Instagram at @dean_dane_dale. WINSTON-SALEM Delurk Gallery is still open to the public for now by appointment. Visitors can view art in person, including their fifth annual Kitchen Sink group show. Schedule a visit by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at 336.486.3444. SECCA has started an arts-related newsletter with a selection of art activities, features on North Carolina artists, and links to free virtual tours offered by museums around the world. Sign up for the newsletter at eepurl.com/clG7Qn. Piedmont Craftsmen is offering personal online shopping for all of your handmade craft needs. The shop has gifts and goods made from clay, glass, fiber and more. To start shopping, visit their website at piedmontcraftsmen.org. The gallery is also open by appointment. Schedule a visit by Calling 336-725-1516 or sending an email to email@example.com.
You can view the Reynolda House’s collection online on their website at reynoldahouse.org/collections and also watch mini documentaries about the museum’s history on their YouTube page. A/perture cinema has begun showing movies online through their website. You can find the movies on the cinema’s website. They’ll be updating their selections periodically. One ticket costs $12 and helps support the cinema during the outbreak. HIGH POINT The Arc of High Point is posting daily art prompts on their Facebook page and Instagram @ arcofhp_creativearts. One of their prompts encourage visitors to check out the Georgia Aquarium’s live feed of their Ocean Voyager exhibit for inspiration. Theater Art Galleries is hosting free daily online art classes such as a creating a sketchbook for daily doodles. The organization is also encouraging artists and makers to join their Facebook group for support during this crisis. Wine and Design of Jamestown is offering take home paint kits that can be picked up at their location in Jamestown. The kit includes a pre-sketched canvas, the required paint colors, paintbrushes, a plate and a color example photo of painting. They will also be hosting Facebook live step-by-step guided classes for those who buy the paint kits. Learn more on their website. Got suggestions for other local arts organizations that are staying creative during the coronavirus epidemic? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mar. 26-April 2, 2020
SHOT IN THE TRIAD
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