NFB of Maryland Corona Virus updates and resources

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 emergency, which is impacting all Marylanders but may have unique effects on the blind.

The health and safety of all of our members, colleagues, and friends is always our top priority. This page provides resources that may be particularly useful to blind people in Maryland facing challenges during the outbreak. If you have found other resources that you believe are useful, please email the information to president@nfbmd.org

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 has spread very rapidly throughout the world and has become a global pandemic.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  1. fever
  2. cough
  3. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  4. chills or repeated shaking with chills
  5. muscle pain
  6. sore throat
  7. headache
  8. new loss of taste or smell

Severe symptoms include pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure, and in some cases even death.

Some individuals are at high risk for infection. These include:

  • seniors age 65 or older
  • those who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • those with chronic lung disease and moderate to severe asthma
  • those with serious heart conditions
  • those who are Immunocompromised including those who are currently undergoing or have recently undergone cancer treatment
  • those with Diabetes
  • those in renal failure
  • those with liver disease
  • those with other immune deficiency causes, e.g. colitis, chrones disease, lupus, etc.
  • those who are severely obese

People can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

What If I Think I Might Have COVID-19?

If you have symptoms generally associated with COVID-19, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing, contact your doctor. Also stay away from having physical contact with others, especially those who are at higher risk for infection.

There are a number of online tools to assess whether you are likely to have COVID-19. This Corona checker is accessible and easy to use.

What Should I do If I Was subjected to Discrimination Due to Blindness During the COVID-19 Outbreak?

Many services and programs are now being operated exclusively online such as employment and schooling. Other services are now only available via drive-up methods. The blind are disproportionately impacted in such situations because many software and technology platforms are not accessible to screen readers. Additionally, the blind are not able to drive, and thus some entities are refusing them service if they attempt to walk up to a drive-through restaurant or bank. We are also monitoring COVID-19 Drive-Up Testing Facilities to ensure that they are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Should any individual be refused service on the grounds that he/she is not in a car, we encourage the individual to cite the ADA and then contact NFBMD. If any students or employees encounter accessible technology barriers, we encourage you to reach out to NFBMD President Ronza Othman by email or by phone at 543-426-4110.

NFBMD COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland has established an affiliate COVID-19 fund to assist individuals and families that are experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis. This fund is available to blind individuals and families with a blind household member living in Maryland. The financial assistance must be needed due to a change in circumstance, e.g. loss of employment income, because of COVID-19 or associated government directives like the Stay-at-Home order. Assistance is limited to essentials such as groceries and medication. This Fund is being administered by the NFBMD Financial Assistance Committee.

Anyone wishing to request assistance should email NFBMD President Ronza Othman or call 443-426-4110.

In addition, NFBMD is seeking contributions to augment the NFBMD COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. Those interested in making a tax deductible monetary donation may make an online contribution by using the PayPal button or by mailing a check to:

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland
15 Charles Plaza
#3002
Baltimore, MD 21201

How to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Social distancing means staying at least six feet apart from others in order to reduce the chances of spreading the COVID-19 virus. However, we encourage individuals to reach out to family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues on a regular basis to make sure that the people in our network are safe and healthy.

We are holding a weekly Zoom call for blind Marylanders to share information and to check in with one another. Check further down on this page for more details.

Senior Call Check Program Recommended During COVID-19 Emergency

The Senior Call Check program is the first-in-the-nation, statewide, free program designed to help keep older adults safe while aging in their homes. All Maryland residents, 65 and older, are invited to sign up for a daily call at a time convenient to their lifestyle.

The Senior Call Check participants receive an automated call every day. These calls will take place within a time frame chosen by the participant. If the participant does not answer their first call, they will be called two additional times in the same day. If those calls go unanswered, an alternate person, selected by the participant, will be notified. This alternate could be an adult child, a neighbor, or anyone designated as a reliable contact. The alternate will then be asked to check on the participant. For those who do not have an alternate or whose alternate is unresponsive, the state will call local law enforcement to conduct a wellness check.

For more information on this program and to register, call 1-866-50-CHECK (1-866-502-4325) or visit the Maryland Department of Aging website. Please help spread the word to seniors living alone at home.

How Bad is the COVID-19 Outbreak? (Updated July 29)

This outbreak is a global emergency. The below statistics have been updated as of July 29, 2020.

  • Global data
    • 17,147,860 total confirmed cases
    • 668,789 deaths
    • 10,669,068 recoveries
  • National data
    • 4,555,166 confirmed cases
    • 153,458 confirmed deaths
    • 2,230,764 recoveries
  • Maryland data
      li>86,285 confirmed cases (+761 new cases)
  • 3,347 confirmed deaths (+20 new deaths) & 131 probable deaths
  • 571 currently hospitalized (426 in acute care & 145 in intensive care)
  • 12,448 ever hospitalized & 5,592 released from isolation
  • Positivity Rate (percentage of Covid-19 tests that are positive): 4.77%
  • Maryland Demographics
    • By Age
      • People ages 0-9: 2,839 cases; 0 confirmed deaths
      • People ages 10-19: 5,187 cases; 1 confirmed death
      • People ages 20-29: 14,706 cases; 19 confirmed deaths & 1 probable death
      • People ages 30-39: 16,258 cases; 44 confirmed deaths & 5 probable deaths
      • People ages 40-49: 14,646 cases; 106 confirmed deaths & 3 probable deaths
      • People ages 50-59: 12,988 cases; 263 confirmed deaths & 15 probable deaths
      • People ages 60-69: 9,048 cases; 546 confirmed deaths & 11 probable deaths
      • People ages 70-79: 5,586 cases; 824 confirmed deaths & 21 probable deaths
      • People 80 or older: 5,027 cases; 1,521 confirmed deaths & 75 probable deaths
      • Data not available: 23 confirmed deaths & 0 probable deaths
    • By Gender
      • Female: 45,250 cases: 1,646 confirmed deaths & 68 probable deaths
      • Male: 41,035 cases; 1,701 confirmed deaths & 63 probable deaths
    • By Race
      • African-American: 26,189 cases; 1,365 confirmed deaths & 49 probable deaths
      • Asian: 1,625 cases; 126 confirmed deaths & 6 probable deaths
      • White: 18,746 cases; 1,409 confirmed deaths & 67 probable deaths
      • Hispanic: 21,311 cases; 386 confirmed deaths & 9 probable deaths
      • Other: 3,984 cases; 35 confirmed deaths & 0 probable deaths
      • Data not available: 14,430 cases; 26 confirmed deaths & 3 probable death
  • How Is the Government Responding to COVID-19?

    Federal Response

    The Federal Government has instituted social distancing guidelines that prohibit people from gathering in large groups and require people to keep at least 6 feet apart.

    The Federal government has also enacted several laws that are focused on helping families and businesses get through the current emergency. One such law, the CARES Act, provides for stimulus payments for low and middle income individuals and families as well as small businesses.

    Maryland Response:

    Stay-At-Home Order Lifted: On May 15, 2020, Governor Hogan lifted the statewide Stay-At-Home Order he had imposed on March 30. The state is moving to a Safer At Home Public Advisory. Individual counties and jurisdictions may proceed at their own pace to start reopening the state, as all counties have not been affected equally by the corona virus outbreak. Be sure to check with your county about what specific restrictions continue to apply in your area.

    Stage One of Maryland Roadmap to Recovery The governor announced that the phased plan for reopening the state would begin in a limited way on May 15 starting at 5:00 PM and he provided guidelines for the safe reopening of some businesses as follows:

    • Retail stores may reopen with up to fifty percent capacity, strong social distancing, masking, and other safety precautions. Curbside and pick up and delivery is still encouraged.
    • Manufacturing may resume operations in a safe manner which protects the health of their employees.
    • Some personal services including barber shops and hair salons may reopen at up to fifty percent capacity, by appointment only, and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.
    • Houses of worship are permitted to hold inside services at up to fifty percent capacity. However, holding outdoor religious services, which are safer, is strongly encouraged. Religious leaders are strongly urged to do everything possible to keep their congregants safe.

    Governor Hogan announced the expansion of the stage one reopening of the state beginning May 29 at 5:00 PM, as long as strict public health and safety guidelines are followed.

    • Restaurants and social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs, and Elks clubs will be able to open for outdoor dining.
    • Many outdoor activities will be able to safely resume with some restrictions, including safe youth sports activities, youth day camps with outdoor activities, and outdoor pools.

    Stage Two of Maryland Roadmap to Recovery: Governor Hogan announced that the state would start transitioning to the next phase of reopening the state starting on June 5 at 5:00 PM. Most Non-essential businesses may reopen, but they will have to observe strict health and safety guidelines. Employees are encouraged to wear masks when interacting with others and businesses are encouraged to set up screening procedures such as temperature checks. Businesses are also strongly encouraged to develop plans that would limit the proximity of employees. The Governor also encouraged businesses to continue telework whenever possible.

    The governor announced that the state would move ahead with phase two of reopening the state beginning on June 12 at 5:00 PM.

    • Indoor dining will be able to resume at fifty percent capacity with tables at least six feet apart.
    • Outdoor amusements and rides, miniature golf, and go carts may resume with appropriate health and safety protocols.
    • Capacity restrictions at outdoor pools may increase to fifty percent with the same strict safety guidelines in place.

    Governor Hogan announced that beginning on June 19 at 5:00 PM the following activities may resume:

    • Gyms and other indoor studio fitness activities such as dance studios and martial arts may begin to safely reopen at fifty percent capacity with strickt helf, safety and sanitation measures.
    • Casinos, arcades, and malls may begin resuming operations with strict health and safety protocols.
    • Local school systems where possible may plan safe outdoor graduation ceremonies with appropriate capacity and distancing measures in place.
    • Schools will be able to bring small groups of students and staff into school buildings for summer school programming with ten to fifteen individuals in one room.
    • High school sports may resume outdoor practice under the same guidelines as previously announced guidelines for youth sports.
    • Childcare providers are allowed to reopen with up to fifteen children in a room

    To learn more about how Maryland plans to reopen for business and to see updates and best practices for Maryland’s companies reopening following the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the State of Maryland Getting Back to Business website.

    While the state is reopening, the Governor has stressed on repeated occasions that the corona virus crisis is far from over. Covid-19 infections will continue to pose a very serious, potentially deadly, health risk. All Marylanders, especially those who are more at risk due to age and/or underlying health conditions, are advised to continue to stay at home as much as possible. People are also encouraged to continue working from home as much as possible. Everyone should continue to wear masks in indoor public areas, in retail stores, and on public transportation. In general outdoor activity is safer than indoor activity. Marylanders should continue to practice physical distancing everywhere and at all times, which means staying at least six feet apart and not gathering in groups larger than ten people.

    Use of Face Coverings: Effective as of April 18, 2020, Governor Hogan is requiring all individuals to use a face covering (a mask, scarf, or bandana) to cover the mouth and nose when riding public transportation or visiting any retail or food service establishment. Individuals are also advised to maintain social distancing of at least six feet in enclosed retail establishments. All Marylanders are urged to reserve Medical-Grade Masks for use by health care workers and first responders.

    Prohibition of In-Person Gatherings: On March 16, 2020, Governor Hogan prohibited in-person gatherings of more than ten people. This superseded a March 12, 2020, order prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people.

    Maryland State Programs

    On March 12, 2020, Governor Hogan ordered all State agencies to implement mandatory telework effective March 16, 2020. As a result, many offices are only providing service by phone and email.

    Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH): LBPH is operating but the building is closed to the public. Patrons may request and will receive by mail books in Braille, audio, and large print formats, but they are asked to hold onto them for at least two weeks before returning them. BARD continues to be available for digital downloads. Patrons can contact staff via email. Visit LBPH’s website for additional information.

    Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Administration (WAMATA): MTA and WAMATA continue to operate but fixed transit is on a reduced schedule and some fixed bus lines have been suspended. Mobility is operating to provide essential trips only, which includes medical appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, dialysis, and jobs deemed essential. All riders of public transit must use a face covering to cover the nose and mouth. Individuals using the fixed route bus services must board and disembark at the rear door unless they need access to the wheelchair ramp.

    Maryland Technology Assistance Program (Maryland TAP): The programs are operating but the building is closed. Demonstrations are available virtually.

    Maryland Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS): DORS programs continue to operate remotely. All in-person trainings and appointments are canceled. Those that can occur remotely or by phone are being conducted that way. Staff is available by email.

    Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM): The CORE and SALE Programs are on hiatus and the Rehab staff has been furloughed. The manufacturing side is operating when essential to the supply chain.

    Maryland School for the Blind (MSB): MSB is closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year and students will continue to be served through distance education.

    NFB and NFBMD Operating Status and Programs

    National Federation of the Blind

    The National Federation of the Blind National Office has moved to telework only, and the NFB Jernigan Institute building on Wells Street as well as the NFB Independence Market is closed. However, the staff is working remotely and available to provide assistance. They may be contacted by calling 410-659-9314, entering star, and dialing by name. In addition, the NFB has launched several remote training and learning opportunities. Visit the NFB website for the most up-to-date information. The NFB has also launched a COVID-19 resource page.

    National Federation of the Blind of Maryland

    NFBMD is operating on a remote basis. We are launching a number of new initiatives and programs during the COVID-19 outbreak to connect with our members. These include:

    • NFBMD COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund
    • Weekly teleconferences to discuss new information and keep members connected with one another
    • Community of volunteers to drive our members to medical appointments and run essential errands when public transportation is not available or operating
    • Sharing information about resources available to our community

    NFBMD Local Chapters and Divisions

    While the Governor has lifted the Stay-at-Home Order and the National Federation of the Blind has lifted the moratorium on in-person meetings on the national level, the NFB has determined that individual affiliates should make decisions based on the local conditions and public health orders. The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland Board of Directors has voted to implement a state-wide moratorium on in-person meetings at least through June 30, 2020, and this will be revisited later in June. We base this decision on current public health concerns and consistent with Governor Hogan’s directives. All chapters will continue to conduct their meetings remotely.

    June 2, 2020: Central Maryland Chapter
    For access information contact Graham Mehl by email.

    June 13, 2020: Eastern Shore Chapter
    For access contact Heather Guy by email.

    June 13, 2020: Greater Carroll County Chapter
    For access, contact Brian Kesseling by email.

    June 13, 2020: Sligo Creek Chapter
    For access, contact Debbie Brown by email.

    June 16, 2020: At-Large Chapter
    For access contact Marguerite Woods by email.

    June 17, 2020: Greater Cumberland Chapter
    For access contact Jean Faulcner at 301-729-8942.

    June 18, 2020: TLC Chapter
    For access contact Meleah Jensen by email.

    June 20, 2020: Greater Baltimore Chapter
    For access contact Ellana Crew by email.

    June 24, 2020: Baltimore County Chapter
    For access contact Ruth Sager by email.

    June 27, 2020: National Harbor Chapter
    For access contact Amber Woods by email.

    Public Transportation Information for Specific Systems

    MTA: MTA continues to operate but Marc, Light rail, and most fixed transit bus lines are on a reduced schedule. Some fixed route bus lines have been suspended. Mobility is operating to provide essential trips only, which includes medical appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, dialysis, and jobs deemed essential. Individuals using the fixed route bus service must board and disembark at the rear door unless they need access to the wheelchair ramp. Fares have been suspended.

    MTA Commuter Bus: MTA Maryland Commuter Bus is operating on an “S” schedule only.

    Baltimore Metro Subway and Light Rail: Metro Subway and Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule on weekdays.

    MTA Express BusLink Service: MTA is temporarily discontinuing 11 routes that recently experienced an average of 82% decline in ridership. These routes include all nine peak-hour Express BusLink routes and LocalLinks 38 and 92, which primarily serve schools that are now closed.

    To visit the MTA website to learn about the corona virus related changes to MTA transit services.

    RTA: RTA fixed route is operating on an enhanced “Saturday/Sunday schedule” and all FARES will be temporarily suspended. RIDERS should use the Transit App for real-time data and schedules. The Modified Schedule is available but may change. RTA paratransit service has changed its hours of operations to 9:30AM to 4:45PM Monday through Friday.

    Metro Rail: Metro has reduced rail service such that trains will now run every 15 minutes on the Red Line and every 20 minutes on all other lines. Weekday hours are still 5:00AM to 11:00PM. Metro rail will bypass more than a dozen stations. Visit the WAMATA website to Find out which stations are closed.

    Metro Bus: Metrobuses are running on a Sunday schedule with no supplemental routes. Bus drivers will have the authority to bypass bus stops to “maintain safe social distancing aboard buses,” Metro said. Riders should use the rear doors to enter and exit unless the accessible ramp is needed. Fares will be waived.

    DC Circulator: The DC Circulator is for the most-part operating with reduced service. The National Mall Route has been suspended, as has all late night service. Riders should use the rear doors to enter and exit unless the accessible ramp is needed. Fares will be waived.

    Ride On and Ride On extra: Ride On bus service has been reduced to an Essential Service Plan. Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation expects buses will be delayed and encourages users to check the status of their usual buses before leaving for their bus stop. Ride On follows a new reduced service plan that maintains coverage of Ride On routes so that residents can access food, essential services, and essential jobs. Passengers are now required to board at the rear door of the bus. Passengers can board through the front doors if a lift is needed to accommodate a disability or stroller. During the emergency, all Ride On services will be temporarily free to all passengers. Flex service is suspended.

    The Bus: The Prince George’s County system will suspend routes 11, 12, 14, 15x, 21x, 22, 23, 25, 27, 34, 35s, 51 and 53 while running reduced service on 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 32. The routes still running will be free. Riders will only be allowed to enter using the rear doors, to limit contact with the driver. However, exceptions will be made for people with disabilities or those with strollers.

    ART: ART is operating on a reduced schedule. ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 are running on a Saturday schedule. ART 42 and 87 will end at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City, ART 45 will start an hour early at 6:30 a.m. and ART 43 will run every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. along its weekday route. All other routes are suspended.

    PRTC OmniRide: Local and Metro Express services will be free to limit interactions between the driver, fare box and riders. OmniRide Express services will still have fares, but there will not be a cash option or the option to reload a SmarTrip with cash on a bus. The main lobby of the OmniRide Transit Center is also closed.

    FRED: FRED Transit‘s VRE Feeder Bus Service is operating on an “S” schedule. VQ1 and D6 will not operate.

    Here you can find more information about transit in the DC area.

    Resources for Information

    Call to Action: Help Blind Vendors

    As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our blind entrepreneurs. Approximately 75% of our blind entrepreneurs have seen their businesses either shut completely down or seriously curtailed. Congress has provided some relief for small businesses but the Randolph-Sheppard Program is unique. We need to let Congress know that more needs to be done to assist our hard working men and women who feed our government employees every day.

    Please click on the link below and send letters to the President, both of your U.S. Senators, and your Member in the House of Representatives. The Randolph-Sheppard Act authorizes Congress to appropriate funds for the Randolph-Sheppard Program. It never has. We are asking Congress for the first time to appropriate dollars that can be used to provide relief for our displaced blind entrepreneurs and emergency funding to the states so they can meet their responsibilities as the state licensing agencies. Go to: Urge Congress to appropriate funds to help blind vendors.

    It is simple. Just put in your name and address, click on “Preview Message” and then hit “Submit” and your letters will be sent. Act now and let the collective voices of the blind be heard.

    2019 Federal and State Tax Filing Deadlines Changed to July 15, 2020

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has postponed the deadline to file 2019 income taxes to July 15, 2020. The State of Maryland has aligned its filing deadline with the Federal deadline such that State returns must also be filed by July 15, 2020.

    COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment

    Those who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment provided they meet certain criteria. The amounts of the stimulus payments vary based on the income and size of the household. Individuals earning less than $99,000 and couples earning less than $198,000 will receive a check. More details are available at the IRS's Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

    Individuals who are retired or receiving Federal social welfare assistance such as SSI and SSDI will also receive the payment. More information is available on the Social Security corona virous resource page.

    The NFB's CARES Act Economic Impact Payments guide also provides valuable information.

    Resources Available to the Blind

    Jaws and Fusion software: Opportunity from Vispero Freedom Scientific

    We are now offering JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion free of charge for personal computers at home, until June 30, 2020. To learn more about the Announcement from Tom Tiernan, CEO Vispero visit the Freedom Scientific website.

    National Homework Hotline: VISTAS Education Partners (based out of New Jersey) started a free resource called the National Homework Hotline for blind and visually impaired students. The National Homework Hotline is for students of all ages, from kindergarten through college, that are blind, have low vision, or have some form of visual impairment that need assistance with assignments or using assistive technology to make things accessible. The National Homework Hotline is a free resource for students that are blind or visually impaired that need assistance with using assistive technology or with their coursework during school closures. The hotline is staffed by volunteers including TVIs, assistive technology specialists, tutors, blind/low vision mentors, STEM professionals, and college students. People can contact the hotline through email by sending a message with their student’s first name, grade, a specific description of the help they need, and a phone number they can be reached at, or by calling 732-835-6672 and leaving a message with the same information.

    The National Homework Hotline is able to help with a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

    • Using screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, and similar tools
    • Using screen magnification tools
    • Accessibility settings and app recommendations for completing assignments
    • Help with using Microsoft and Google products for education
    • Nemeth and literary Braille
    • Cranmer abacus
    • Refreshable Braille displays
    • Core curriculum subjects (math, English/language arts, science, history/social studies)

    Aira: We know that many universities and colleges are rapidly shifting to distance learning. We’ve heard that some materials and software being used are inaccessible so we will be offering free Aira for any college student for the remainder of the spring semester ending in May 2020. If you know of a student who could benefit from Aira for their distance learning, please email support@aira.io for more information on the program.

    UEB Pocket Guide: we know that many of you are looking for some productive and educational activities to keep you and your kids busy and motivated for the next several weeks. We have pocket reference books of the Unified English Braille literary code available for sale. This book is 3 by 5 inches and easily fits in a pocket, purse, or backpack. We have an interpoint Braille version for those who read Braille tactually. The small size makes it manageable for both adults and little ones. We also have an ink version that consists of print and simulated Braille. Perfect for parents, friends, and teachers. These books are great for those just learning the Braille code for the first time, or refreshing their Braille knowledge!

    • Teach yourself the UEB literary code even if you have no previous knowledge of braille contractions
    • Quiz family members or friends on the Braille code
    • Confirm which contractions make up the UEB code

    Let us know what other creative ways you find to use our reference books!

    Each copy is $10 with all profits benefiting blind children’s literacy programs! To order either version of our Whittle books, visit NBPCB website. Please help us spread the word!

    Upcoming Virtual Events and Webinars Sponsored by NFB July 6 - 19)

    National Events

    Quite a number of NFB affiliates and divisions have been sponsoring virtual Zoom webinars and events on a variety of topics. Participants learned about various types of technologies, found out about different exercise regimines, shared tips for making every-day life easier for blind people, discussed how NFB philosophy is relevant to their personal lives, and much, much more. During the NFB National Convention (July 14 - 18) these webinars are suspended. To learn more about how to participate in the convention visit the NFB website.

    Maryland Events

    Below is information about the Zoom webinars and events sponsored by the NFB of Maryland. Please scroll further down to get the phone number and / or web address for Zoom.

    NFBMD Affiliate Weekly COVID-19 Call
    Wednesdays at 8:00 PM
    We hold this weekly meeting in order to continue sharing information in a myriad of ways so as to ensure as many members as possible have access, and in order for us to keep connected with one another during this unprecedented situation. All are welcome. We do ask that folks exercise good conference call etiquette, including muting when not talking (star 6 for phone users). The first part of the meeting will focus on pushing out information and hearing from you things that are relevant to Maryland’s blind during the COVID-19 outbreak. The second part will be an opportunity to catch up with one another and socialize with our Federation family.

    NFBMD Maryland Student Division Weekly Call
    Tuesdays at 7:00 PM
    This Zoom call will allow Maryland students to connect with each other. The chat will not be formal and will just be a way to unwind and communicate with other students.

    How to Use a Zoom Meeting:

    Zoom meetings may be accessed via the app on your smart phone or computer. Alternatively you may use the one tap mobile option to call in using your smart phone. you may also dial in using a landline and entering the Zoom Meeting ID as the access code.

    Link to the NFB of Maryland Zoom meeting using your smart phone or computer.

    Participate in the Maryland meetings with your smart phone using one tap mobile: +13017158592,,6248138327#

    Dial by Your Location and use Zoom Meeting ID 624 813 8327 to join NFB of Maryland events

    • +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
    • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    • +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
    • +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
    • +1 253 215 8782 US
    • +1 301 715 8592 US

    Free Audiobook Resource for Learning the Zoom Platform

    In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Jonathan Mosen has made his audiobook Meet Me in the Cloud freely available. This tutorial, which takes approximately three hours, walks through all aspects of the popular conferencing platform, from joining your first meeting, to hosting a meeting, to the differences between Basic and Pro accounts. Mosen’s book is thorough and accessible to all, regardless of technical background or proficiency. Note that at the time these recordings were made, several instances of accessibility glitches needed to be pointed out, however with current operating systems, and the latest versions of the Zoom conferencing software, most bugs have been resolved. In addition, Zoom has kept the labeling of commands and options, as well as their keyboard conventions consistent, meaning that none of the substance has altered from the time these recordings were produced. We believe this will be a useful resource, especially in this time of social distancing and greater adoption of teleconferencing. The book can be obtained free of charge from Jonathan Mosen's Website.

    We Need Your Help

    Our local chapters and divisions, most of which are made up of all volunteers, are doing all they can to support blind people in their communities. They are meeting virtually over conference calls, devising ways to help neighbors in need, and using the Zoom platform to continue training and mentoring. We are mindful that many blind people are seniors or have underlying conditions, and are therefore disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and need extra support from their community.

    Working together, we know that we can help blind people all over the state live the lives they want, even in these difficult times. Our efforts may even save lives by ensuring that blind and deafblind people can access the latest information about this virus. Please make a donation today—each dollar makes a difference. Take a few minutes to help us do what we always do, and so much more.

    DONATE NOW