Scholar Resources during COVID-19
While there is much we don't know about COVID-19, there's still a lot we can do to provide you with uninterrupted access to resources, support and tools to keep your academic and professional aspirations on track.
Below you'll find resources and information to help you navigate this rapidly evolving situation. Refer back often - this list of resources will grow. As we find new information and ideas to share we will keep this page updated.
Still have a question? Need to reach someone on staff? You can always find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know that WSOS is here
If you are unsure about returning to school, Opportunity Scholars who are currently enrolled can submit a Leave of Absence (LOA) request in the Scholar Portal. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on colleges and universities, Scholars have the option to defer their scholarship for up to one year. While on deferment, the scholarship dollars you don’t use during your LOA will still be available when you return. Note that this differs from the traditional LOA where Scholars forfeit funding for the term they request. All LOA requests will be processed as a deferment beginning this fall. Scholars approved for deferment will automatically be reinstated after taking an LOA and are expected to return and enroll at an eligible college.
We are reminded why our state needs Scholars like you during this global pandemic and we want to do our part in supporting you by providing flexibility during these challenging times. Rest assured that when you return, Washington employers will be eager to hire you as they need STEM and health care employees now more than ever. Our hope is that by allowing Scholars to defer, we can make one less thing uncertain by ensuring that your scholarship will be here when you enroll in the next year.
Visit the Leave of Absence page to learn more about the changes for this year.
What we know about COVID-19 is growing swiftly thanks to an amazing community of scientists, researchers, health care experts and more who are fighting this virus on the front lines. Here are some great sources to keep you informed of the latest data, science and information.
- Be in the know at the state-level by checking the official Washington State Coronavirus Response
- Get free access to The Seattle Times and New York Times COVID-19 news coverage
- Distinguish fact from rumor on the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA)'s Coronavirus Rumor Control page
- Find educational materials from the Department of Health on COVID-19 in more than 26 languages
- Scroll to the community support section on the College Success Foundation website for a list of public health department and government pages by county.
- Benton-Franklin county residents, here are some additional resources for you:
Remember that both your physical and mental health are important. Many of us are feeling stress and anxiety as this outbreak continues to disrupt daily lives and threaten the health, economic and physical safety and well-being of our communities. Use the resources and coping tips below to support yourself and others. Reach out for help if you or someone you know needs help.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some great tips for dealing with stress and fear caused by COVID-19
- Anyone experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19 can call the national Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a counselor
- The Salvation Army is offering an emotional/spiritual hotline offered by pastors and emotional-care personnel for anyone who wants spiritual guidance, local services or someone to talk with during the outbreak
- Mental Health America organized a list by subject and audience including resources for domestic violence survivors, LGBTQ+ individuals, those suffering from anxiety and more
- The Suicide Prevention Hotline encourages those feeling emotional distress related to COVID-19 to set a limit on media consumption, connect with loved ones to talk about your feelings and get accurate health information from reputable sources
- Ridgefield Drug & Alcohol Rehab can help you determine if you need more intensive care
Social distancing doesn't mean social disconnecting. While we need to stay six feet apart, use video conferencing tools to stay connected with your support system.
- Check with your college or university to see if you can get access to the paid versions of online conference call services
- Microsoft is offering free access to Microsoft Teams to anyone during the outbreak
- The video conferencing platform Zoom is available for free with a 40-minute per session limit
Understand resources available to you
Colleges and universities are creating unique pages to house updates on the COVID-19 outbreak including information on housing, campus activities and resources for help. Check out your college or university's site from the links below to get information specific to your community!
- Public four-year institutions (scroll to the bottom of the page)
- Independent Colleges of Washington
- Community and technical colleges
Additionally, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has a directory of COVID-19 resources; their page outlines options for student support resources for meeting basic needs as well as resources for undocumented students.
Find the food assistance that's right for you, if you need it
If you are experiencing food insecurity, know that help is out there. Visit the sites below to find the resource in your local community to best meet your nutrition needs.
- As of January 16th of this year, DSHS temporarily expanded Basic Food eligibility for students to additionally include anyone eligible for work-study AND anyone with an expected family contribution of $0 in the current academic year.
- Visit Washington 211 or call 2-1-1 to get information on organizations and locations that provide free meals
- Northwest Harvest offers a directory of food banks and meal plans throughout Washington
- Food banks in Eastern Washington can be found through Second Harvest and through Food Lifeline
- US citizens can apply for a basic food benefit (EBT) cards on the Basic Food page. Note that the federal government has suspended a work requirement that applied to some adults during the COVID-19 crisis
- Washington state also offers the State Food Assistance Program for those who are not eligible for the federal, Basic Food program, due solely to immigration status
Financial and travel assistance
- The College Success Foundation has a great list of financial resources for students and families
- Enterprise is reducing their age minimum and waiving young renter fees for students
- U-Haul is helping students with the cost of storage by providing one month free
Make the best of social distancing
Once your basic needs are met, we know social distancing has drastically changed your daily life. Below are some ideas for how to make the best of the time ahead.
- Stream a virtual workout. Gyms like the YMCA and Core Power Yoga and others are offering free classes during COVID-19.
- Learn new study skills. Check out YouTube videos like this one on procrastinating and productivity
- Find a new podcast. Take a quiz to find the best podcast for your major or focus on a specific subject area like becoming financially responsible, landing the perfect job or mindfulness.
- Start a new hobby you’ve been meaning to try. This could learning a new coding language, trying rocket building or taking up botany!
- Try a new recipe. Invite a loved one to join in the fun by cooking the same recipe on video chat from their home!
- Call a friend or family member you haven’t connected with in awhile. Try a video chat through FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams or a free Zoom account.
- Clean and reorganize your room. Consider it a gift to your future self!
- Catch up on sleep, relax or try meditation. Check out an app like Headspace and see where it takes you!
- Watch a show or movie. Netflix is offering a 30-day free trial – and if you use this cool Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, you can watch live with a friend from afar and comment on the show together!
- Catch a live stream event – many local radio stations, libraries and even symphonies are moving their events online.
Job or internship hunt and network
Washington will get back to work, and you'll want to be ready... and many are still hiring! Use this time to make sure you're prepared and ready for an opportunity when it arises - and keep searching for what's still available on the job and internship market. Here are some tips on how to get started.
- Join the WSOS Career Placement Group on LinkedIn to network with Scholars, build community and see daily posts including workplace opportunities shared by WSOS staff.
- Utilize LinkedIn to ask for informational interviews or 15-minute conversations with professionals working in a field or job of interest. Many professionals would welcome a break from their work-from-home routines to chat via video or phone!
- Seek virtual advising through your campus career centers to improve your resume, cover letter, references and more.
- Learn the dos and don’ts of phone and video interviews given the prevalence of phone conversations these days.
- Check online job search engines for open positions: LinkedIn Jobs, Glassdoor, Indeed, Handshake, Google Jobs Search ... and remember, if it's posted, they're hiring!
- Look for remote gig or side hustle opportunities
- Conduct archival or experimental research (e.g. data visualization, meta-analysis, effects of WIFI on organic material, etc.)
- Get relevant work experience from home by starting a new project or developing a skill
- Find a solution to everyday problems you run into by building a simple machine, programming a game or creating a lotion
- Build new skills through LinkedIn Learning or other online learning platforms from this list (Be sure to start with the free resources first that your college or digital libraries may have to offer!)
- Find work or volunteer opportunities to help the global response to COVID-19 in research, policy, technology and startup through 80,000 Hours.