Update about the MABVI 1:1 Volunteer Program as of 8/3/2021
Please note that this information has been emailed to all consumers and volunteers for whom we have an email address. A shorter version is being sent out as a recorded message to all consumer and volunteer phone numbers.
Here is an update about the MABVI 1:1 Volunteer Program as of 8/3/2021
This summer has been a productive time for MABVI with new TeleFriend matches and the beginning planning stages for our virtual Volunteer Appreciation events.
We have received positive feedback about Phase 1 of the volunteer program and are looking forward to rolling out Phase 2.
As previously communicated, we are comfortable with matches connecting in person and beginning August 3rd working together on in-person grocery shopping and other tasks and errands. We continue to ask that all Federal, State, and Town/City guidelines be observed and when possible continue to social distance with your match. Below are some additional recommendations. We are also encouraging matches to do a COVID self-assessment screening the morning of the day you are meeting with your match. Screening questions are at the end of this email
In thinking about the volunteer program moving forward, our team is using the below principles to help guide our decision-making process. We are also starting to think about some of these changes being more permanent (such as social distancing) than temporary.
- Prioritize the health and safety of the consumers and volunteers.
- Comply with local, state, and federal guidelines and recommendations.
- Provide space for consumers and volunteers to self-determine their level of comfort and participation. Allow them to opt-in or out.
We recommend that matches only meet in person if both the volunteer and consumer are comfortable doing so. MABVI staff is here to answer any questions and we will continue to support both consumers and matches connecting virtually. This includes the current activity in which a volunteer grocery shops on behalf of a consumer.
Continued safety for consumers, volunteers, and your families are of the utmost importance to us. Please be respectful of one another’s health and only meet if you and any household member have not experienced any COVID symptoms over the past 14 days and both consumer and volunteer answer no to the below COVID screening questions the day you are scheduled to meet.
We understand and support anyone’s decision not to meet in person. Please contact your MABVI staff person if you do not feel comfortable meeting or have any questions or concerns.
If a consumer is living in an assisted or shared living environment, all safety and visitor guidelines for that building must be followed.
Transportation: if a volunteer is driving a consumer to the grocery store or any other errands/task, we ask you to follow the below recommendations:
- Reviewing the COVID screening questions with your match. The appointment should not move forward if either the consumer or volunteer answers yes to any of the screening questions.
- Consumers must ride in the backseat of the car
- Per Massachusetts guidelines, everyone must always wear a mask
- We recommend volunteer drivers wear gloves and both volunteers and consumers wash their hands before and after meeting.
- The car must be sanitized prior to the consumer entering the car. We recommend wiping down the outside and inside door handles.
- For the consumer’s safety, the volunteer is permitted to provide a sighted guide but is encouraged to keep this to a minimum (less than 10 minutes), wear long sleeves, and wash clothing upon returning home. We encourage the use of verbal instructions whenever possible. MABVI recommends masks be worn while in the car, from the car, and to the destination.
- We are comfortable with matches meeting for activities that allow the consumer and volunteer to social distance and not be in an enclosed environment together (such as a consumer’s home). We recommend that all state and local social distancing guidelines be followed, and both the consumer and volunteer wear a face covering.
- Please follow all store guidelines including wearing a face covering. If possible, try to contact the business to see if they have special hours (such as most grocery stores do) for older adults and/or people who are blind/visually impaired and go to the business during those hours,
Recommended Guidelines for Reading Mail
These guidelines were sent out in July. To the extent possible, we are asking matches to continue to follow these guidelines including social distancing and when possible to minimize time inside.
Volunteers can provide support with reading mail, but we are still asking for all physical distancing guidelines to be followed. Therefore, we are recommending
- Mail to be read in a safe location outside of their home such as a backyard, courtyard, or common space. Volunteers and consumers need to wear masks and follow State and City social distancing guidelines. Please social distance if a volunteer needs to enter a one’s home in order to access their backyard or outdoor space.
- For all in-person interactions, including those in which social distancing guidelines are followed, we ask that the consumer and volunteer ask each other the below COVID screening questions. The meeting should not happen if either the consumer of volunteer answers yes to any question.
- All recommended State and City guidelines including wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer are required. If needed for the consumer’s safety, sighted guide is allowed.
As mentioned above, our primary goal is to ensure that consumers and volunteers remain safe and healthy. We understand that the changes to the volunteer program are challenging. But we appreciate your patience and understanding and welcome your feedback and comments.
For Central and Western MA please contact Neejaa Edmonds at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Greater Boston and the rest of the state please contact Ali Maggio at email@example.com
Do not hesitate to reach out to Kyle Robidoux, Director of Volunteer Services & Community Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific concerns or feedback regarding the COVID updates and process moving forward.
COVID Screening Questions
MABVI staff will ask these questions to the Worcester County Medical Transportation Program consumers and drivers. For all other in-person interactions, we ask that volunteers and consumers ask these questions of one another the day of your meeting prior to seeing one another.
1. Have you or anyone in your household tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results?
2. Have you or anyone you have had contact with had a fever (greater than 100.4) or respiratory illness or confirmed COVID-19?
- In the last 48 hours?
- In the last 14 days?
- None of the above.
3. Have you or anyone you have been in contact with experienced any COVID-19 symptoms within the last 14 days (fever, dry cough, chills, body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose, fatigue, or diarrhea)?
4. In accordance with Governor Baker’s travel advisory, have you traveled outside of the US or the following seven states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey? If so, you are advised to self-quarantine by staying inside and avoiding contact with people outside of your household for14 days.