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COVID-19 Updates from PEPS

[June 26, 2020]

Pre-pandemic, families gathered for their PEPS group in homes and community spaces. While we look forward to a time when families can come together once again in person, we are centering our decisions about group meetings around the health and safety of babies, parents, and our group facilitators. Based on careful consideration of data and guidance from the State of Washington and King County Public Health, PEPS Groups starting between now and December 31, 2020 will meet virtually and meetings will be virtual for the entirety of the 12 week sessions. We recognize that public health recommendations may change during the time that the group is meeting, but we believe this is the best approach to provide clarity, consistency, and cohesion for groups and group facilitators.

We acknowledge that not meeting in person is disappointing and is different from the expectations you had and the experience of your friends, neighbors, and coworkers who have participated in PEPS under different circumstances. We believe in the benefits of in-person connection, and while facilitating groups in a virtual setting has its challenges, our staff and group leaders have been collaborating, learning, and adapting to provide the best experience possible. We are so grateful for the flexibility and creativity parents and group facilitators have shown during this unprecedented time.

"I am so thankful that we can still hold PEPS classes despite not meeting in person. The PEPS staff has been incredibly supportive, and the training provided helped me develop the skills I needed to facilitate on Zoom. I've learned about group chats, sharing documents and most importantly how to keep the same nonjudgmental and supportive environment our parents deserve.

For the group, it feels like we are meeting in person as the sharing is real and gritty and the overwhelming support they give each other is so heartwarming! Now more than ever these parents need community and these meetings provide just that." - Connie H., PEPS Group Leader

PEPS intends to reintroduce groups of people meeting in homes and in public community locations responsibly. We are working on processes and procedures to ensure that can be done safely and we are making decisions based on the information we have at this time. We will share more about our plan to re-introduce in-person groups with a staggered approach when we have more details, through this page and direct communication with participants and registrants.

Support and connection is vital for new parents and their newborns during a time that researchers know to be an already isolating period. We know that when we strengthen our connection with one another, we are healthier, more resilient, and more fulfilled. Hundreds of new families are currently participating in virtual PEPS groups each week and with the onset of a global health pandemic, finding a community to learn, reflect, and connect with is even more critical.

It is an honor and a gift to have a role in building connection for new parents in our region. We appreciate every one of you showing up each day to participate in and lead PEPS Groups. During these very socially disruptive times, many things are magnified and clarified and for PEPS, we know that community is what counts and helps us through the highs and lows. Thank you for being part of our community.

With gratitude,

Dana Guy
Executive Director, Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS)

Coronavirus is not specific to any race, nationality, or ethnicity. Misinformation about coronavirus can create fear and hostility that hurts people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. We are stronger as a community when we stand together against discrimination. Take advantage of these resources to prevent, interrupt, and respond to stigma. Please also consider visiting our COVID-19 resource page for parents.

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