Pictured above: Allyson Rothrock leads a discussion with community leaders on March 15 at Harvest offices.
Local leaders and members of nonprofit and governmental organizations throughout Martinsville-Henry County convened over the weekend to kick off a task force focused on supporting the community during the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impacts.
Following the announcement from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office on March 13 to close all K-12 schools in the state for a minimum of two weeks, the local task force went to work on its first concern — researching open slots locally for school-age childcare for parents who must work during this crisis. As that information becomes available, it will be disseminated to the public. The working group will focus on additional issues moving forward.
“We’re working within a fluid environment to determine the best solutions for our community when it comes to the coronavirus response,” said Allyson Rothrock, president of The Harvest Foundation. “Community leaders are having important conversations and taking this matter extremely seriously. We will have updates throughout this time as we collaborate with our partners to support Martinsville-Henry County.”
As of March 16, local childcare providers have 155 openings that will accommodate emergency placement of school-age children. Below is a listing of providers with open slots:
- First Baptist Church ELC (276) 632-2636
- Stanleytown Amazing Grace Baptist Church (276) 629-1886
- First United Methodist Church (276) 656-6199
- Freedom Baptist Church (276) 638-3802 ext. 106
- Happy Feet (276) 403-4183
- Fresh Start — God’s Creative Learning Center (276) 634-5526
- Clydie Harrison — Family Child Care (276) 957-4645
“We are entering unprecedented times,” said County Administrator Tim Hall. “This group is working together to help ease the issues that working parents are facing, along with a host of other issues. Our work will continue, and Henry County will have information forthcoming specific to County issues as well.”
The City of Martinsville has taken preliminary steps at the local level to mitigate impacts from the coronavirus outbreak. Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki said they are heeding advice from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that encourage employees to practice social distancing, situational awareness, and proper handwashing techniques. Visitors will be required to use hand sanitizer as they enter the city municipal building, and non-essential travel is canceled for employees.
“We’ve advised employees to not come to work if they don’t feel well,” Towarnicki said. “The security checkpoint coming into the municipal building will begin monitoring the temperature of those who enter, and individuals with an elevated temperature will not be allowed to come in.”
Task force partners include the Henry-Martinsville Department of Social Services, Martinsville-Henry County YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, Smart Beginnings Martinsville-Henry, Patrick Henry Community College, City of Martinsville, County of Henry, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, and The Harvest Foundation.
Visit www.theharvestfoundation.org/covid-19 to find out more about local community efforts surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impacts.