Dear HOBY Volunteer,
This is an important update to the email sent to volunteers on March 4.
We are continuing to monitor the rapidly changing impact of the Coronavirus. Last week, we knew of only a handful of isolated cases in the United States, however, now we know, this situation is likely to change dramatically before it gets better.
Like many of you, we are uncertain of the impact this virus will have on our communities and organization, and honestly, we are taking this situation one day at a time. Currently, we are not planning to cancel any of our programs. While things are changing quickly, time may be on our side with at least two months to go before most seminars begin. In a situation as fluid as this, this may be enough time for things to return to relative normalcy. However, should changes need to occur to protect the health of Ambassadors and volunteers, please be assured we will work with you to accommodate any changes that may be required.
Currently, we are taking the following actions:
1. We are sending an email communication out to parents on Friday, March 13 updating them on our current program status. We will continue to update parents and schools as this situation continues to unfold. You can see a copy of that email here.
2. We have issued a public statement on our website which we will update regularly.
3. We are seeing broad school closings across the country, in light of this, we are extending recruitment incentive deadlines for all seminars until they begin.
4. We are reviewing several options to offer a “virtual” HOBY experience. We are looking for volunteers interested and/or experienced in online learning to potentially serve on a Fast-Track Task Force. If you are interested, please complete this quick form.
5. We’ve updated our Coronavirus FAQ’s and will continue to develop resources for volunteers and post to HOBY Online.
So, what steps can you take?
1. Check in with your team. In this time of rapid change, many of your volunteers may be dealing with their own uncertainty. They will have questions too, you can share these emails with your volunteers, feel free to share this update, if you feel that is helpful.
2. Check in with your facility. If they are experiencing any operational changes, how will those changes impact your program? Is there an option to delay your program dates to later in the summer? Even into July or August?
What protocols are they putting in place to mitigate the spread of the virus (including any additional cleaning/sanitation protocols for program spaces and dorms)?
Are they in touch with local public health departments? Are they updating you with any changes/mandates? Are they recommending you contact them directly?
Keep your DNP updated on these conversations; we are tracking this information nationwide, so we have a complete picture of the situation.
3. Follow the local guidelines your communities are issuing to stay healthy. As an organization with volunteers across the country, it’s important that we all follow these guidelines to mitigate the spread of the virus: practice social distancing for the next few weeks, wash your hands regularly, stay home if you’re not feeling well, and wipe down high-touch surfaces, like your phone, everyday!
4. Review your program for ways you can mitigate the spread of the virus. Can you move your community service project onsite and/or reschedule any offsite elements to be on-campus to limit exposure to the general public? Are there parts of your program where you can practice social distancing or even conduct certain aspects outside?
Working together, we will successfully navigate this situation. We will be sending regular email communications to you over the coming weeks. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your DNP if you have further questions or if you need to update them on any developments on your specific site.
Javier La Fianza