COVID-19 Community Resources

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This page is dedicated to the many resources available to the Mercer Island Community.

Click on these shortcut buttons for the most frequently searched information or check out the latest resources and information below.



Can't find what you're looking for? Use the search bar in the upper right-hand corner! We know there is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!



This page is dedicated to the many resources available to the Mercer Island Community.

Click on these shortcut buttons for the most frequently searched information or check out the latest resources and information below.



Can't find what you're looking for? Use the search bar in the upper right-hand corner! We know there is A LOT of information on our coronavirus information and resource pages. If you can't find something, just type the topic in the search bar at the top of the page and you should be able to find it!


  • YFS Parent Support Sessions

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    21 Jan 2021
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    YFS staff understand that parents are facing their own set of challenges coping with remote learning, isolation, family stress, financial insecurity, grief/loss and more.

    To support Island parents, YFS school counselors will begin virtual drop-in, no charge weekly parent support meetings at each of the four elementary schools and one for parents of middle or high school parents.

    Parents can share challenges, learn about resources, and hear coping strategies.

    Look for an announcement from your school counselor(s) with dates and instructions for accessing these meetings on Zoom.

    Questions can be directed to your YFS School Counselor or Derek Franklin, MIYFS Clinical Programs Manager derek.franklin@mercerisland.gov.

  • CARES Act Grant Reinstates YFS Positions

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    08 Jan 2021
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    Seven school-based Counselors and the Emergency Assistance Coordinator positions restored for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

    At its January 6 Regular Meeting, the City Council voted to accept a $243,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund, supported by the CARES Act. The result of significant efforts on the part of many City staff, this grant will allow the City’s Youth and Family Services Department (YFS) to restore seven school-based Counselors and one Emergency Assistance Coordinator to full-time for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

    The City’s COVID-19 pandemic response caused unprecedented budget shortfalls early in 2020, resulting in staff layoffs and furloughs in the Youth and Family Services Department (YFS), including a 20% reduction in hours for all eight of these positions.

    Full time school-based counselors will be especially critical for overcoming pandemic-related trauma, loss, and ongoing mental health concerns, all of which may serve as barriers to upcoming school reentry. Similarly, the pandemic’s financial impacts will multiply the longer that restrictions exist, and a full time Emergency Assistance Coordinator will be crucial for families struggling to regain economic stability.

    Read the full Council Agenda Bill here.

  • Coping with COVID

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    11 Dec 2020
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    "Coping with COVID" is a series put together by public health officials to help individuals and families manage the stress associated with the pandemic.

    Coping with COVID: Grief and loss. When natural disasters happen, it is normal for people to experience loss and grief. Many of us have felt some form of loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, like the loss of a loved one, change in health, job loss, or even just the loss of our “normal” life. Any grief and loss we might be feeling is layered on top of all the other stress of a pandemic. Follow this link to learn about how most people experience grief and loss, and provide strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic.

    Coping with COVID: Healthy communication. During the December holidays in the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many opportunities for tough conversations with family and friends. We may have differing opinions on how to celebrate the holidays while keeping ourselves and our families safe, and it can be hard to share those opinions when you want to keep the peace. Click here to learn about what’s happening with our emotions and behaviors, and skills for having challenging conversations during stressful times.

    Coping with COVID: Exhausted families. Right now, many of us are feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from the ongoing stress of living through a pandemic. Both kids and adults can experience exhaustion, where they may feel depleted, like they are running on empty, using up all their physical and emotional energy without a chance to recharge. Learn about about how exhaustion affects both children and adults, and strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic here.

    Coping with COVID: Developing resilience. Information about mental health and self-care has been popping up everywhere as we collectively cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buzzwords keep showing up to describe what people are going through right now: “burnout,” “compassion fatigue,” and “resilience.” Understanding these experiences can help us care for ourselves in the months ahead, read more here.

    Coping with COVID: Regulating emotions during a pandemic. We’re about eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s a lot going on around us. We’re balancing a lot — work, school, family, and the upcoming holidays — during a time of great uncertainty. If you find yourself reacting more negatively to things you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. Feeling angry or frustrated is a normal response during a pandemic, but there are things you can do to manage those emotions. Learn more about the causes of strong emotional reactions and what we can do to feel more in control during stressful times here.

    Coping with COVID: It’s not just you. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone. As we move into fall, we face even more challenges: changing weather, schoolwork, holidays and gatherings, and strong political opinions. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? It’s not just you. The things you’re feeling and experiencing are normal during a disaster, and there are things you can do to cope. To help you navigate this unprecedented time, we are bringing you a podcast series of conversations with experts on many of the topics we’re facing daily. Click here for more.

  • Care Connect Washington – A New Way to Get COVID-19 Relief

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    11 Dec 2020
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    New program helps people who have either tested positive or been exposed and need support to isolate or quarantine at home.

    On December 9, the DOH announced a new service to help people who have to isolate or quarantine at home after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed.

    Care Connect Washington will provide critical resources to people who need support when they’re staying home.

    The state Department of Health, working with local health jurisdictions and their partners, will introduce Care Connect Washington on a region-by-region basis. Each region will set up a network of community-based partners who will connect people to services they are eligible for, such as medication delivery, health care, help applying for unemployment, local housing agencies, food banks, childcare providers and more.

    Care coordinators will connect people to community-based services to help provide acute care needs that include personal care kits, nonperishable food kits, and fresh food orders delivered to their homes. If other essential needs are identified, such as financial assistance for paying bills, a local care coordinator will work with them to either apply for local resources or services they may be eligible for, or provide direct assistance in paying bills such as rent, mortgage, and utilities. When isolation or quarantine ends, the care coordinator can connect people to longer-term local services to support ongoing health and social needs.

    Click here for information about the program.

  • State Ready to Help with Unemployment Assistance

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    08 Dec 2020

    Pandemic unemployment assistance benefits will not expire for Washingtonians.

    On December 8, Governor Inslee announced that the state will help provide Washington residents with unemployment assistance if Congress does not extend CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funding at the end of the year.

    Follow this link to watch the Governor's announcement.

  • Resources for the Week of November 30

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    04 Dec 2020
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    Seattle-Area Emergency Food Resources Map. There are resources across King County to provide emergency food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find food banks, meals to go, and student meals through the Seattle-Area Emergency Food Resources Map.

    Coping with COVID: Developing resilience. Information about mental health and self-care has been popping up everywhere as we collectively cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buzzwords keep showing up to describe what people are going through right now: “burnout,” “compassion fatigue,” and “resilience.” Understanding these experiences can help us care for ourselves in the months ahead, read more here.

    Jobs with King County Available. The jobs website gets updated weekly with new available positions. If you don't see a role that meets your interest and qualifications, bookmark the site and check back at a future date to see what's available.

    Join Becky Reitzes from Public Health – Seattle & King County in Zoom conversation. The conversation will be on the Zoom platform where Becky will discuss the basics of the virus and how to stay safe during the holidays. Please register by 12pm on Dec. 8 to receive a Zoom invite. Click here for more.

  • Virtual Parenting Support Series

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    04 Dec 2020
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    Virtual presentations scheduled for parents of middle/high school and preschool age children.

    The MIYFS and Parent Edge are continuing their Virtual Parenting Support Series with new two presentations next week:

    • December 8 at 7PM for parents of middle and high school youth
      • Featuring YFS Counselors Harry Brown and Chris Harnish
      • An opportunity for parents to gather tips to help support your tween/teen during this challenging time and ask questions.
    • December 9 at 7PM for parents of preschool age children
      • Featuring Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ziv Bell, Melissa Benoroya, and a pediatrician.
      • Gather tips on how to support your child through remote schooling and isolation from peers, friends, and family.

    To register visit http://miparentedge.org/ or for more information and resources visit http://www.miyfs.org/ In November, MIYFS and Parent Edge hosted a virtual presentation for elementary aged children. Click here to watch the recording.

  • Video: A Conversation About Supporting Our Kids' Mental Health

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    13 Nov 2020

    On November 17, MI Parent Edge and the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Department presented a virtual conversation about supporting our kids' mental health with MIYFS Elementary Counselors. The video is available here:


    Follow this link for presentation slides.

    Gather mental health tips for your family to help reduce and/or better manage anxiety, stress, and depression.

    • Ask questions that are on your mind.
    • Connect with other parents of elementary kids.

    This program is designed for parents of elementary students. Additional programs are being planned for parents of preschool, middle and high school students. Stay tuned!


    Mercer Island School District has neither reviewed nor approved the program, personnel, activities or organizations announced in this flyer. The participants agree to protect, indemnify, and hold harmless the district, its elected and appointed officials, employees, agents, staff and volunteers, from any and all claims, liabilities, damages, expenses, or rights of action, directly or indirectly attributed to the activities. Permission to distribute this flyer should not be considered a recommendation of the program by the school district. This is not a school district sponsored activity. Parent Edge is an organization within the Mercer Island PTA Council.

  • Youth Suicide Prevention Resources for Parents

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    06 Nov 2020
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    Now, more than ever, we need to understand the signs to help prevent youth suicide.

    Updated On November 2, King County Public Health issued a Health Advisory for increased risk of suicide among youth.

    As the on-going pandemic and the corresponding exhaustion and emotional fatigue that we are feeling continues, combined with seasonal changes and more difficulty connecting with the people and supports that typically help us cope. Young people may be even more at risk due to less access to their typical social networks.

    On Thursday, November 19, MI Parent Edge & the MI Forefront Team (a partnership between MIYFS, MISD and MI Parent Edge) presented a free, virtual event to help parents to learn prevention strategies to help youth in crisis stay safe and get support.

    A recording of the webinar is available. (This webinar, presented by UW Forefront, is the same material that was presented by the MI Forefront Team.)

    The webinar teaches essential skills for suicide prevention for parents and caregivers of youth. Learn how to:

    • make your home safer to prevent the risk of suicide
    • ask your kid about suicide in a safe way
    • recognize the signs of a mental health crisis
    • practical steps to address it

    Don't forget! The City's Youth and Family Services (YFS) team is here to help. Call the confidential Intake Line (206) 275-7657 for more information and assistance.

    More Resources

    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

    Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

    Crisis Connections: 866-427-4747

    TeenLink: Call or text 866-833-6546

    Washington Warm Line: 877-500-9276

    WA Listens (crisis line for stress related to COVID-19): 1-833-681-0211

    Additional resources

    KCLS and Youth Eastside Services also offered three programs about teen mental health and health resources for parents. Information about the programs can be accessed below.

  • Safer Gatherings

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    28 Oct 2020
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    This time of year, families and friends will be making choices about whether or not to gather for celebrations, game days, or other seasonal events.

    Gathering in groups - even with people we know - may spread COVID-19. The more people we interact with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of becoming infected.

    The safest action, especially if you’re in a high-risk category, is to avoid gatherings and find different ways to celebrate. On Sunday, November 15 Governor Jay Inslee announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions, including stricter guidance on in-home gatherings. The new guidance is included below.

    The Washington DOH and the CDC have plenty of ideas for how to have a safe holiday season, even if that means gathering virtually.

    Celebrations During COVID

    This year, our game days, family gatherings and holidays will be a little different. And that’s hard. But there are lots of ways to be a little more together, even when we’re apart. Click here for more.

    If You Gather: A Safety Checklist

    If you decide to gather, there’s always a risk of spreading COVID-19 infection. Help lessen this risk through pre-planning, conversations and some trade-offs.

    On Sunday, November 15, Governor Jay Inslee instituted new restrictions on social gatherings, including:

    • Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless participants:
      • Quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or
      • Quarantine for the seven (7) days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.

    Before you gather

    • Have “the conversation.” Get really clear with friends and family about how you will make safety a priority when spending time together. Set some ground rules that will help everyone know what to expect. View a sample conversation guide.
    • Review your guest list. Are there people who may be in a high risk category or children? Think about special needs and precautions as part of your planning.
    • Check your space and gather outside if possible. Is there room to spread out, at least 6 feet (2m) from people you don’t live with? If no, is there an outdoor space, like a park where you could meet? If outside, will there be restrooms people can use? If inside, be sure your space is well ventilated by opening windows. Remind guests to wear warm clothes!
    • Right-size your guest list. Limit the number of guests based on the number allowed in your county per the Safe Start Plan, and the outdoor or indoor space available that allows you to be 6-feet apart.
    • Do a health check. Ask if anyone has had symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, in the last 2 weeks. Ask guests to check their temperature before arriving. Anyone with a fever—or who has had other symptoms, or knows they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last two weeks—should stay home.
    • Consider the children. Kids have trouble playing 6 feet apart, so wearing masks and frequent hand-washing may be the safest plan of action. Remember: kids under 2 should never wear masks!
    • Make a food plan. Talk through details like how food will be shared. The safest option is to have everyone bring their own food. If sharing, separate food ahead of time into individual servings and forgo communal bowls and utensils. Find more tips about food prep in the FAQs.
    • Clean, clean, clean. If you’re hosting, frequently disinfect surfaces that people may encounter during their visit.
    • Consider pre-event quarantine. Can all participants (including yourself) self-quarantine for 14 days before the gathering?
    • Get tested. If you have been around many other people or do not regularly wear a mask, get a COVID-19 test to make sure you're negative. Take into account that it can take a few days to receive test results. If you test negative, you still need to wear a mask and keep your distance from others when you socialize.

    While you gather

    • Wash early and often. Ask adults and kids to wash hands on arrival, before and after eating, and before they leave with soap for at least 20 seconds. If there is no access to a sink, provide hand sanitizer.
    • Gather outdoors if at all possible. If indoors, open windows to increase ventilation.
    • Mask up. Wear a face covering at all times when not eating. Consider having extra masks on hand if people forget.
    • Separate servings. Avoid communal food and sharing utensils, even with babies and young children. Don’t share drinks.
      • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
      • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
    • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
    • Avoid close contact. Smiles and air hugs only, and prepare kids ahead of time to do the same.

    After you gather

    • Wash hands (again).Wash for 20 seconds with soap and water.
    • Sanitize. Clean all surfaces that may have been touched by guests such as tabletops, counters, doorknobs and bathroom fixtures, with soap and water first, and then a disinfecting agent.
    • Watch for symptoms. Alert others at the gathering if there’s a positive test among anyone in attendance. Learn more about what to do if you’ve been exposed.

    Travel Safely

    On Friday, November 13, Governor Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washingtonians, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home.

    • Stay home if at all possible.
    • Persons arriving in Washington from other states or countries, including returning Washington residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
      • These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household.
      • This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.

    Host a Virtual Gathering

    • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
    • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
    • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
    • Watch television and play games with people in your household.
    • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
    • Find a fun game to play.