Page last updated 5/25/2020
Library Closure FAQ
- Just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, Governor Whitmer issued a new Executive Order (EO 2020-96) which extended statewide ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ orders through June 12. In issuing this order ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the Governor did relax some restrictions on areas in northern Michigan and for certain types of businesses. However, the order continues prohibitions on providing all but critical, government in-person services (Section VII.) This even applies to areas of the State which have seen relaxation of commerce. Unfortunately, the order precludes the Library for providing any direct, in-person services. According to the State’s MI Safe Start Plan, Michigan has been divided into eight regions, which will be monitored for COVID-19 progression. Washtenaw County falls into Region 1, along with the counties of Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Saint Clair and Wayne counties. Due to the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Wayne County, it is expected that our region will see restrictions on movement and service continue to be tighter than other regions of the State. The Library continues to prepare a reopening plan to ensure that when restrictions are lifted, we will be able to resume lending materials in a manner that is safe for both our staff and the general public.
- On May 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer extended the statewide “Stay Home” order by issuing Executive Order 2020-77. This order continues closure of public libraries through May 28 and provides more consistency with previous Executive Orders (see below.) With the current order, the Library is not allowed to bring staff back into the Library to prepare to restore services. As we move forward through this crisis, we continue to monitor our options. The Library’s drop boxes remain closed and we still cannot accept donations of materials. We continue to work with the staff at our library cooperative (The Library Network) to adjust due dates for items previously borrowed as well as extend borrower card expiration dates. Rest assured, no fines will accrue for the duration of this crisis. The Library will follow the State’s MI Safe Start Plan and restore some form of in-person services when possible. We continue to expand our digital services and have increased borrowing limits for our hoopla and Kanopy services. If you do not have a Dexter District Library borrower’s card, our online application process is quick, easy and can get you started borrowing materials while sheltering. On behalf of the staff and Board, we hope you and your family remain healthy and well.
- On April 24, Governor Whitmer extended the ‘Stay Home’ order with Executive Order 2020-59, which allowed some restoration of business activities. While there was a curbside service caveat for some businesses, the order was reviewed by the Library’s attorney along with the Library of Michigan legal staff. Their interpretation of the order was that Section 6, outlining limitations on governmental activities, precluded resumption of any in-person service by public libraries to the general public. This requires our current posture of being closed to the public and relying on digital services to continue through May 15. We continue to prepare for the time when we can resume services. While we do not know for certain what form that will take, the Library is developing several scenarios to adapt to environmental conditions and provide a safe experience for the public as well as safe working conditions for our staff. Please continue to monitor our website for new information as it becomes available.
- If you returned any Library items between Friday, 3/13/2020 and early Wednesday AM, 3/18/2020 – those items have been placed in a quarantine and will continue to show on your account until they’ve been checked back in.
- These same items may be showing as overdue, lost or as fines on your account. You will not be fined for any items returned during this period. All of the fines will be erased when the items get checked in.
- Our outdoor return boxes are now locked. Please keep all materials at home for the time being. No overdue fines will be assessed during this period.
- All library cards that had recently expired or were going to expire soon have had expiration dates extended.
- Don’t have a library card? Click here to apply for one.
- Online registration is only available to residents of the Dexter School District. If you reside outside our service area, please check with your home library about getting a card.
- The Wi-Fi signal at the Library is available 24/7. Most devices get a strong signal in our parking lot and (when the weather is nice) for the benches along Alpine Street as well as the terrace area in Mill Creek Park North.
COVID-19 Health & Informational Resources
University of Michigan’s COVID-19 Information Page
Non-partisan news and information resource with Michigan focused information, including COVID-19 impact articles
Dexter Wellness Center page on Group Exercises
Directory of Online Tools that have been made available for free
Washtenaw County’s Health Department page on COVID-19
State of Michigan’s Page on COVID-19
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Senator Gary Peters
U.S. Representative Tim Walberg
CDC Covid site
MDHHS Interim Recommendations for COVID-19 Community Mitigation Strategies
Preventative measures recommended by the Washtenaw County Health Department include:
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Call ahead before going to your healthcare provider. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands. Cough into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones/handheld devices.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- A list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This list includes many commonly used products.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
From State Representative Donna Lasinski (DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov.):
COVID-19 Michigan Statistics
As the number of CoOVID-19 cases in the state continue to grow, we have not yet reached the “apex” or peak of infections. This disease does not respect physical lines of county, city or state.
At this time, Michigan ranks 3rd in the nation for the highest number of cases. This is a rise from 5th most infections the nation.
State Total Confirmed Cases: 32,967
State Total Deaths: 2,700
Washtenaw County Total Confirmed Cases: 900
Washtenaw County Total Deaths: 38
- Legislative Updates
On April 14, Governor Whitmer announced the four criteria that our state must meet to reopen safely and ensure that we do not have a second wave of COVID-19. The criteria are:
- A sustained reduction in infection rate
- Enhanced ability to test and tracing of infected people’s contacts with others
- Sufficient healthcare capacity to handle a potential resurgence in patients
- Best practices in the workplace
These criteria are based on the advice of medical experts and the experiences of other hot spot states.
On April 16, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and a bipartisan group of Midwest Governors from Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky announced that they are coordinating state policies on how safely reopen our states together.
Starting Monday April 20th, all self-employed, sole-proprietor, low-wage, 1099-independent contractors and gig workers will be able to apply for the federal unemployment benefits.
If you have yet to apply, please visit here to watch informational videos on how to apply or access your federal benefits application.
Visit here for the MiWAM toolkit to help you navigate the MiWAM website and properly set up your account.
If you have questions as you apply, or are unsure of what you will need to apply visit here for the UIA’s Unemployment Benefits FAQ.
If you are concerned that your federal stimulus check has not been deposited into your bank account, or you have not received it by mail, here are some resources for information and how to check on the status of your stimulus check.
Do not worry if you have yet to receive your stimulus check as these deposits will continue to be rolled out in waves.
The IRS launched the “Get My Payment” application. This will allow you to update your direct deposit information if you did not use a direct deposit for your 2018 tax return, or that information was entered incorrectly, and you received a paper check refund. The portal also allows you to update your banking information if necessary. Visit here for more info.
If you filed your 2018 taxes and utilized direct deposit, further actions are needed at this time. But if you have specific questions regarding your individual circumstances, the IRS has developed a website to provide clarity on the many different situations you and others may be facing. Visit: here and here.
If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, or are a Social Security recipient, no further action is required if the IRS has your direct deposit information.
If you are not a Social Security recipient, and you did not file, you can register for your payment here.
Faith in Action is still proudly serving the families of Western Washtenaw County. If you need food assistance, or you know someone who might need help, Faith in Action is still operating and delivering food.
They can be contacted by calling (734) 475-3305.
Their hours of operation are:
M/W: 11am-7pm Tu/Th: 9am-4pm Friday: closed
There has been some concern that the federal stimulus checks and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) might affect your eligibility for food assistance programs under SNAP.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that the federal stimulus payments will NOT affect your eligibility for food assistance.
Your stimulus checks will NOT reduce the amount of public assistance that you receive.
Your PUA and federal stimulus checks will not affect the amount you receive for any of these programs.
- Food Assistance Program benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Cash assistance under the Family Independence Program or Refugee Cash Assistance program.
- Healthcare coverage, including Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan and MIChild.
- State Emergency Relief.
- Child Development and Care (childcare reimbursement). Women, Infant and Children (WIC).
For more information, visit here.
To apply for public assistance benefits, visit here.
This is an extremely difficult time for those with mental health issues. They may not able to see their doctors face-to-face, feelings of isolation and loneliness, or not being able to see loved may exacerbate conditions.
If you need someone to talk to, the state has launched a statewide, peer-run warmline for Michiganders living with persistent mental health conditions during this pandemic.
The warmline will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753).
It is intended to serve individuals living with persistent mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and trauma.
Meals for School Age Children:
Ann Arbor Public Schools
Breakfast and lunch packages are available for pickup from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. If you can’t make the pick-ups or have food allergy concerns, call the AAPS Food Service Hotline at 734-994-2265. For more information, including pickup locations, visit here.
Chelsea School District
Food Service is providing sack breakfast and lunch meals for students from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chelsea High School commons entrance. If you do not have transportation, contact the district at 734-433-2208 ext. 6082 to discuss alternative plans.
Dexter Community Schools
Drive-up pickup will be in the Mill Creek Parking Lot from 8:00-9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Families can pick up on both Tuesdays and Fridays each week. For families who cannot come in to pick up food or have special dietary needs, we have established a hotline number to call 734-424-4186.
Manchester Community Schools
Visit michigan.gov.meetupeatup for all of the school locations providing meals. These meals are available to all children ages 0-18 at no cost.
Governor Whitmer acted to protect workers from retaliation by their employers, if they stay home because one of their close contacts has tested positive for COVID-19: Click here for post and further information.
The Attorney General’s office has created a website to help you “know your rights” as an employee if you are still required to work during this time. Click here
Tuesday Town Halls
Out of an abundance of caution, all previously scheduled coffee hours and in-district meetings are cancelled. State Representative Donna Lasinski will instead be hosting Facebook Live Town Halls.
When: Every Tuesday night at 7pm
Where: My State Representative Donna Lasinski Facebook
Donna Lasinski will be recapping events and news that happened throughout the week, and answering all of your questions. To join, visit her Facebook page on Tuesday nights at 7pm for this live video. Click on the video to join.
Tax Preparation Resource
United Way of Washtenaw County Free Tax Preparation Help
As the new year begins, we also need to start preparing to file our 2019 taxes. The United Way of Washtenaw County offers free tax preparation help to those who are eligible. To see if you are eligible for their tax preparation help, please visit the website below. If you are eligible, you can schedule your appointment online or call the phone number below.
Please note that they will only be able to help with the 2019 tax filing year. Prior years will be on hold until spring 2020 (after this tax season).
Phone: (734) 677-7235
Initial Closure Message from the Director – Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Completely closing the Library was the most difficult decision I have had to make in 25 years at the Dexter District Library. We tried a variety of options internally to keep our staff safe and ensure continuity of traditional Library service. Unfortunately, general environmental conditions continue to change rapidly and our focus has shifted to one that puts the health and welfare of the whole community first.
While we took significant steps to quarantine and sanitize materials, the rapid and continuing spread of COVID-19 requires all of us to step back and reprioritize. We hope that this effort will help slow any spread in the greater Dexter community and that our efforts today will help our medical care facilities better cope with any potential demand.
Additionally, a high percentage of our Library staff fall into high risk categories for contracting the virus. We want to ensure that our staff is healthy and available to service the community, once this crisis passes.
We are asking that our patrons keep all materials currently on loan at home for the time being. No fines will be assessed during this period. Think about setting aside a small table or a corner of a counter to keep all your Library materials together. The Library will make an announcement when we can begin receiving returns.
Our web page at https://dexter.lib.mi.us/digital-collections/ provides access to a wide variety of content which can be borrowed at any time, day or night and the wi-fi signal at the Library will be active 24/7. Most devices get a strong signal in our parking lot and (when the weather is nice) for the benches along Alpine Street as well as the terrace area in Mill Creek Park North.
We continue to encourage patrons to place holds on items through our online catalog. When services resume, these requests will be in place and staff will be able to process them when we reopen.
We are very sorry for the inconvenience. We will continue to look for inventive ways to fill the absence of our regular programs and services. Please check our web site frequently for updates and follow up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DexterDistrictLibrary/ or Twitter @DexterLibrary.
Paul McCann, Library Director