COVID-19 Safety Requirements for Volunteers & Community Partners
The health and safety of our volunteers, Volunteer Leaders, and the people we serve is our top priority. We are working with our Community Partners to ensure that state & city guidance is followed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Before participating in a project, we ask all volunteers to review the following health and safety guidelines.
- Do not volunteer at an in-person project if:
- You have had any symptoms of covid-19 in the past 14 days
- You have tested positive for covid-19 and have not yet been cleared from isolation
- You believe you may have been exposed to covid-19 within the past 14 days
- If you are in a high-risk category due to age or health conditions, please consider carefully your own risk before attending a project. Volunteers in high-risk categories are encouraged to only participate in virtual opportunities at this time.
- Practice recommended guidelines around social distancing and face covering as much as possible to minimize your potential exposure.
- Come to the project with a personal face covering/mask, and any other personal PPE requested by the site. Many projects may provide PPE for you, but volunteers should plan to arrive onsite with a face covering.
- Wash your hands thoroughly upon arriving at the project site.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet as much as possible while on site; work with fellow volunteers and other staff to help ensure this is possible for everyone.
- Follow all on-site safety measures as displayed or described by partner staff and volunteer leaders.
- Communicate with Boston Cares in a timely manner if you become ill, or learn you had previously been exposed to covid-19.
To better protect the health and safety of volunteers, clients, and communities, Boston Cares advises organizations review and consider the following safety protocols before engaging volunteers. We are working with all partners to ensure appropriate measures are set up at each project for volunteer safety.
- Consider the activities you will ask volunteers to perform in order to limit their exposure to others. Consider virtual volunteer opportunities and new approaches that involve less contact.
- Consider maximum volunteer capacity for volunteers to safely carry out planned activities and ensure capacity is in alignment with state & local gathering restrictions, such as allowing for at least 6 feet of distance between volunteers, clients, staff, and limiting group size to no more than 10 people.
- Have hand sanitizer easily available and accessible hand washing stations.
- Establish clear PPE requirements for volunteers.
- Provide PPE to all volunteers (gloves, masks, and when necessary, eye protection). If you are unable to provide PPE to volunteers, be clear in pre-project messaging about what they are expected to provide for themselves.
- Instruct volunteers to wash their hands upon entering your building.
- Post visible displays of preventive measures (e.g. flyers, signage).
- Ensure that bathrooms and shared spaces are deep-cleaned and disinfected as per state & local recommendations,
- Limit convening in populated areas, such as, waiting rooms, lobbies, etc.
- Have every volunteer sign a waiver with COVID-19 specific language and restrictions (ours below). Each volunteer will be required to sign our project waiver (either on paper at a project site or electronically before the project).
Language from Boston Cares Volunteer Agreement and Waiver:
COVID-19 Agreement: I attest that I am not experiencing any symptoms of illness such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If I develop these symptoms, I agree that I will cancel my shift before arriving at the volunteer project site, as far in advance as possible. I am aware that I must follow the safety and hygiene protocols that have been implemented by Boston Cares and the project site where I am serving. I attest that:
- I do not believe that I have been exposed to a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19;
- I have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not yet cleared as non-contiguous by state or local public health authorities;
- I am following recommended guidelines as much as possible – practicing social distancing by participating in group activities fewer than 10 people, trying to maintain a distance of six feet from others, and otherwise limiting my potential exposure to coronavirus.
- Common questions related to the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Commonwealth of MA Sector Specific Protocols
- Review MA safety guidelines for businesses for signage requirements and templates
- Visit COVID-19: Reopening in the City of Boston for up to date information
- Boston Public Health Commission Cleaning & Disinfecting to Prevent COVID-19 Guidance
- CDC Guidelines for masks making
VOLUNTEER LEADERS & ONSITE PARTNER STAFF
As a Community Partner and/or Boston Cares Volunteer Leader, you can support efforts to protect the health and safety of the communities we serve by following the procedures above, as well as the guidelines below:
- Follow the guidelines to slow the spread of coronavirus
- If you have questions or concerns about your project, please contact Boston Cares
- If any of the following conditions apply to you, you must stay at home for the safety of everyone. Please notify Boston Cares to find a replacement Volunteer Leader for your project if needed:
- You are ill or have presented any symptoms of covid-19 in the past 14 days
- If you have been exposed to covid-19 in the past 14 days
- If you have tested positive for covid-19 and have not yet been cleared from isolation
Please Note: Individuals classified as higher risk by the CDC (You are over 50 years old or have chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system) are advised to refrain from volunteering at in-person projects.
- Stay tuned for additional updates from Boston Cares as the situation changes. New guidelines, policies, and projects will be updated at www.bostoncares.org/covid-19
- Join us for an upcoming Volunteer Leader Information Session where we will walk through the latest information on our response and provide another forum for you to ask questions.
- If you become ill, find out that you were exposed to COVID-19, or are uncomfortable leading a project, please contact Boston Cares at 617-422-0910 or email email@example.com to find a replacement Volunteer Leader for your project.
- If Boston Cares is notified of any potential exposure to COVID-19 at a volunteer project, Boston Cares and/or our Community Partners will contact you.
- If you have an emergency, or urgent need, please contact us at 617-422-0910.
At the Project
We recommend that Community Partners consider using the following script and we ask that Volunteer Leaders read the following as part of their kick-off before the project:
To ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff, and clients, we are actively enforcing the following safety requirements on our projects:
If any of the following conditions apply to you, we ask that you leave the project and stay at home for the safety of everyone:
- You are ill, have had symptoms of covid-19 in the past 14 days, have tested positive and not yet cleared to leave isolation, or believe you have been exposed to covid-19 in the past 14 days
- You are advised not to volunteer if you fall into the higher risk category by the CDC (You are over 50 years old or have chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system) If you fall into the high risk category and need to remove yourself from this project we understand and you are welcome to depart the project at any time.
By staying on the project, you affirm that none of the conditions I read apply to you and that you are comfortable volunteering on our project today.
Before we begin the project, we’ll ask that all volunteers wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use the alcohol-based sanitizer that we’re providing.
While on the project, we ask that you:
- Wear a face covering. People who do not show symptoms may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering can help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people, so you should wear one whenever you leave home and cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Do not shake hands
- Do not gather in large groups.
- Keep at least six feet between you and others as much as possible.
- Please notify a staff member or volunteer leader if you have concerns about your ability to meet any of the above.
Following the kick-off is a good opportunity to have volunteers sign-in if they have not already, as well as any additional waivers to participate. We recommend having pens available that have been sanitized and used for only one volunteer before being sanitized again.
We continue to be awed by the volunteers, Volunteer Leaders and staff for their ongoing efforts to keep their fellow Bostonians healthy, whether that’s by staying home if feeling unwell or uncomfortable, or volunteering while following the guidance from the City of Boston. Thank you for your service.