Frequently Asked Questions
Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If I need support, or have a question regarding Braille Institute, or remote services like online workshops or classes and virtual sessions, who should I speak with?

Please call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553) Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) to speak with a representative. Or, use our contact us form.

What are online classes, workshops and virtual one-on-one sessions?

While Braille Institute centers remain temporarily closed due to COVID-19, we are bringing online classes and services to you remotely within the comfort and safety of your home via Microsoft TEAMS video or audio calls. You can also participate in a “live” virtual session with a Braille Institute instructor or consultant by video or phone call. You do not need a computer or smartphone to participate, participants can call in using their telephone. Like all of our programs and services, these are free of charge.

If not already a student, call 1-800-272-4553 today to schedule your free remote low vision consultation and you’ll be one step closer to attending Braille Institute and registering for the wonderful variety of classes offered each semester, all free and enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your home at this time.

Free online workshops are also available year-round and open to all.

Why are Braille Institute centers temporarily closed?

In an abundance of caution, classes and services were temporarily suspended at all seven Braille Institute centers in March 2020. With the ongoing pandemic, we continue to offer ‘live’ remote services via online workshops and classes, and virtual one-on-one sessions by video or phone call that can be conducted from the comfort of your home. View our schedule of online classes here. We also encourage students to utilize our digital library services to access audio books.

How long will in-person classes and services be suspended – are there other options?

Yes, there are options while our services and in-person classes are temporarily suspended at our physical centers due to COVID-19.  Call 1-800-272-4553 today to schedule your free, remote, low vision consultation and you’ll be one step closer to attending free online semester-based classes, if not already a Braille Institute student, all enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your home.

Free online workshops are also available year-round, and open to all.

We continually assess resuming classes and services at our physical centers. However, our reopening plans may evolve as we monitor state and county COVID-19 status.  We will continue to provide updates on our website and social media channels. 

What should students do while the centers are temporarily closed?

View Braille Institute’s remote service offerings and register for online classes & workshops, or schedule a virtual one-on-one session! We also encourage students to utilize our free library services which includes over 100,000 titles of braille and audio books using BARD. If you need assistance with BARD, please call our reader advisors at 1-800-808-2555. We are also sharing tips and student stories through our blogs, email and social media channels like Facebook and YouTube.

Due to the pandemic, we are not able to produce new content for the Telephone Reader Program, but to keep you connected, all registered TRP patrons have access to listen 24 hours a day by using their touch-tone phones to call in. A limited amount of news and grocery store ads are recorded daily/weekly in English and Spanish. For more information, call 323-906-3154 or 1-800-808-2555.

We also recommend 89.3 KPCC for breaking audio and written news in Southern California for Coachella Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, and Santa Barbara area residents and KPBS Radio for San Diego area residents.

Can I still make a gift to Braille Institute?

Yes, by clicking here – or on the green DONATE button above, you can make a secure online gift to Braille Institute.  Your support will help keep our services free for those who need them.

Will Braille Institute continue to need volunteers?

Our volunteer managers are staying in touch with current volunteers to keep them abreast of the status of classes and services. For the most part, volunteers who support student services will not be needed while the physical centers are temporarily closed. However, some additional volunteers may be needed in the library services area, and each center is assessing their specific needs. Student volunteers should not come into their center.

What can I do to prevent becoming infected?

Everyone can do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The most important thing to do is stay home–especially if you or your household members are sick. Social distancing is especially important, and wearing a face mask protects other people. Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is vital. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands. If you feel ill, but must go out in public, use a face mask to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission. Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, handles and countertops. For more information on Coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

What should I do if I feel sick (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), or have been in close contact with someone exhibiting these symptoms?

Please stay home, if you or someone you know has exhibited symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing or difficulty breathing. “Close contact” means being within 6 feet of someone who is sick or being coughed on. You should immediately call (don’t visit) your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your potential exposure. For people who are ill with COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.

Is Braille Institute permanently closing or going away?

No, suspension of classes and services is temporary, Braille Institute is not permanently closing or going away. We continually assess resuming classes and services at our physical centers. Meanwhile, view our online classes and workshops, or contact us for other remote services like virtual one-on-one sessions. Updates on when we’ll reopen physical centers will be provided on our website and social media channels.

If I have a question or concern, who should I speak with?

Please call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553) Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PDT) to speak with a representative.