Update about the MABVI 1:1 Volunteer Program as of May 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.

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • 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.

 Medical Transportation

As more doctor appointments are being scheduled, we want to reactivate our Medical Transportation Program in Worcester County. Here are some recommendations:

  • As before, all rides must be coordinated through MABVI staff in the Worcester office. Staff are checking their voice mail daily.
  • Questions from COVID screening questionnaire must be asked the day before and day of by MABVI staff (questions provided below and by MABVI staff). The appointment should not move forward if either the consumer of volunteer driver 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 the 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 office entrance. Then volunteers and consumers must follow the guidelines of the office/hospital. Staff have reached out to several hospitals and doctor offices and all of them reported allowing sighted guides/volunteers to accompany a consumer into the office.

All activities including in-personal grocery shopping.

  • Volunteers and consumers cannot meet if the volunteer or consumer, or anyone in their household, has experienced any COVID symptoms within the past 14 days or they answer yes to any of the below COVID screening questions.
  • 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 but please keep to a minimum and use verbal instructions instead for everyone’s safety.
  • When grocery shopping, all store guidelines must be followed, and masks must be worn.
  • Please follow the above guidelines if using a volunteer’s car including wearing a mask and the consumer sitting in the backseat.
  • Following social distancing, instructions is required when reading mail in someone’s home.

Recommended Guidelines for Reading Mail

Volunteers can provide support with reading mail, but we are still asking for all physical distancing guidelines to be followed. Therefore, we are recommending:

  • Volunteers and consumers are able to meet in-person to read mail. Matches need to wear masks and follow State and City social distancing guidelines. Matches are encouraged to meet outside or in a well-ventilated area,  and if possible, open windows.
  • We ask matches to discuss their level of comfort where they read mail so that both parties are in agreement.
  • 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.

Our offices remain open, and our staff is working remotely. If you have any questions regarding the virtual training or the modified MABVI Volunteer process, please email Alexandra Maggio, the Manager of Volunteer Services, at amaggio@mabcommunity.org or call at (617) 972-9119 if you live in the Boston area. For volunteers in Central or Western Massachusetts, please contact Neejaa Edmonds at nedmonds@mabcommunity.org or call at (508) 854-1733. You can continue to check our website for the latest COVID-19 updates. We also hope that you will join the MABVI 1:1 Volunteers Facebook group. We are posting resources and interesting highlights regularly.

Thank you again for your support! We have many consumers throughout the state of Massachusetts who are eager for your help! We are excited to get you started as a MABVI 1:1 volunteer! Obviously, this is a dynamic and quickly changing situation. 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. We appreciate your patience and understanding and welcome your feedback and comments. For now, please take good care of yourself!

COVID Screening Questions

MABVI staff will ask these questions to the Worcester County MediTALK 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?
  3. In the last 48 hours?
  4. In the last 14 days?
  5. None of the above.
  6. 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)?
  7. 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 for 14 days.