This page addresses the steps and precautions Guide Dogs for the Blind is taking during the coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated and date stamped as new and/or changing information becomes available.
Have questions? Please call our support center at 800.295.4050. The support center remains open 8am-5pm PST Monday through Friday.
We want to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of our staff and our community for helping move our mission forward despite challenging times!
Our staff is truly leading with care by following our safety protocols and sharing responsibility for keeping everyone safe and well. As to be expected, we have had employees who have felt symptomatic or have been recommended for testing. The good news is that, to date, no one has tested positive. We are truly thankful to staff for taking GDB’s guidelines seriously and for taking such good care of themselves and others!
All of the dogs have returned to the Oregon campus and campus operations will continue as they were prior to the fires. We cannot thank our volunteers enough for opening their homes and hearts in order to help care for our dogs.
Client training continues! We are serving a number of clients within range of our campuses with in-home orientation and mobility immersion training and guide dog training and will continue to do so. We are also very excited that our first in-residence orientation and mobility immersion class is starting this weekend on the CA Campus. We are very optimistic that guide dog team training will commence on both campuses in October.
Thank you for all that you do to make Guide Dogs for the Blind great!
In July, we entered Stage One of GDB's Return to Full Mission. Staff and dogs began returning to campus in preparation for resuming dog training. Our team has demonstrated creativity, flexibility, and innovation in adapting training and instruction techniques as necessary to comply with recommended Coronavirus preventive measures. All adaptations have been made while upholding the highest guide work standards. In addition to dog training, our team has been working diligently to fine-tune safety-related protocols necessary to resume direct client training. We are utilizing mock instruction exercises and client focus groups to ensure that these protocols successfully translate from theoretical practice to practical, hands-on application.
GDB will initially be implementing a 1:1 instructor to client ratio during guide dog team training. This will facilitate smaller class sizes for residential trainings and minimize risks associated with larger gatherings. We also anticipate conducting a greater number of in-home trainings than in previous years in order to provide individualized, high-quality training experiences for our clients. Initially, we will be approaching this within a reasonable driving radius of our campuses or Field Service Managers.
We are also beginning to serve clients through our Orientation and Mobility Immersion Program. Initially, our efforts will include in-home trainings for clients within a reasonable driving radius of Guide Dogs for the Blind headquarters in San Rafael, CA. Instructional methods that allow for compliance with recommended physical distancing guidelines will be utilized and training will only be provided outdoors.
GDB staff continues its expert and caring support of our puppy raisers as clubs continue to conduct their meetings virtually. When necessary and with all due caution, staff has also begun going into the field to provide in-person support to our pups on their journey to guide.
We continue to engage our campus volunteers remotely providing information and new ways of supporting the mission from home. Our team has focused on maintaining a sense of community and rapport with our campus volunteers, keeping them informed and engaged through a variety of activities and communications. We look forward to the time when we can be together again, most likely in Stage Three.
Some additional Stage One Updates:
Throughout the pandemic, GDB has provided ongoing support services to our clients while ensuring the safety of our staff, volunteers, puppies, and dogs. Costs of providing our services due to COVID-19 have risen substantially. We need your support now more than ever, please visit https://www.guidedogs.com/support
We hope you’ll join us for our first ever Virtual Holiday Event taking place on December 6. This event is free and all are welcome! You can learn more by visiting https://www.guidedogs.com/events.
We appreciate the continued understanding, patience, and support we have received from our community as we work together to move our mission forward. Thank you.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is excited to begin returning to full mission now that shelter in place mandates are lifting and businesses are restarting their operations. As we return, our values and our respect for one another will continue to guide our way forward. We are stronger together and if ever there was time to create a community where everyone feels included, respected, and safe, it is now. The health and safety of our entire community including our staff, clients, volunteers, and dogs is of paramount importance to GDB. As such, our efforts to return to full mission will take place in a series of three, thoughtful stages.
The first of these stages will begin the final week of June. In Stage One, campuses will reopen to employees and those in the field will begin work within the community based on conditions in their specific area. Detailed protocols will be implemented on our campuses and in the field to ensure the health and safety of staff and GDB community members. Employees who are able to work remotely from home will continue to do so. We anticipate that campus volunteers will be brought back to campus during Stage 3.
Some additional details regarding Stage One:
Camp GDB will be held virtually in early July; please note the session is full.
We expect that client training will resume mid-to-late summer.
The veterinary clinics will be open and providing concierge/curbside service with social distancing measures. During Stage One, appointment availability will be limited.
Public tours and graduations are canceled/postponed until further notice.
While the gift shops on each campus remain closed; our online store is open for business! And, of course, if you are interested in supporting us with a donation as we re-open you may do so at guidedogs.com/donate or by calling 800.295.4050.
Thank you for your continued support of our life-changing mission. More information on GDB Stages Two and Three will be provided in the future.
Camp GDB 2020 is going virtual! The health and well-being of our campers and staff is our first priority. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to move from our traditional summer camp experience to a virtual one for those who have already been accepted into the 2020 Camp GDB program. Visit our Camp GDB page to learn more.
As you may know, GDB is taking steps to minimize the number of people on our campuses in order to reduce the risk for illness as well as honor shelter-in-place orders that are now in effect for both California and Oregon. To facilitate this effort, we are taking measures to lower the number of dogs on each of our campuses. This past weekend, we began moving dogs into the homes of GDB community members who are experienced caregivers, namely staff, puppy raisers, and current foster care providers. Our goal is to ensure that our dogs continue to receive excellent care. The health and safety of our people, dogs, and community are very important to us!
We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us take this important step, has offered to foster dogs, and/or continued to support us in other ways. Please note we are not seeking new foster care providers or puppy raisers to assist in caring for our dogs at this time.
In an effort to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to our clients, staff, volunteers, and community members, we have suspended class training on our California and Oregon campuses, and all tours continue to be cancelled.
We are now minimizing the number of staff and volunteers on campus, while ensuring that our dogs continue to receive the best care possible and that our people remain healthy and safe. We are exploring and enacting creative ways to keep our operations and life-changing mission moving forward.
At this time, our gift shops are closed. This includes both of our campus stores, as well as our online store. Thank you for your understanding.
Our online Gift Shop is open for business 24/7. Our campus gift shops are currently closed, and online order pickups at our California campus are currently unavailable.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is committed to the health and wellness of our staff, clients, volunteers and guests. With that in mind, we are implementing initial safety precautions regarding the coronavirus and are limiting visitors to our facilities. At this time, we are cancelling all tours and graduations at both of our campuses. We we will continue to monitor our need for this restriction and adjust accordingly. Thank you for your understanding, and please continue to check our website for the latest developments.
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