COVID-19 FAQs for Volunteers
As we navigate the rapidly changing environment, know that we are with you, and we hope you will continue to stand with the most vulnerable. Our team is assessing the situation and quickly developing the best response possible in program areas around the world.
We, like many, feel anxious and fearful of what the future holds as the global COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty loom large – for ourselves, our families, our volunteers and those we serve in some of the most vulnerable situations. Yet, we find comfort in our faith, as we are called to do in scripture:
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
At times like these, the social distinctions that separate us are stripped away, and we are humbled. We are all in this together. As a volunteer, we suspect you have known this all along.
We are aware that the spread of coronavirus may be causing concern right here in your own community. Our priority, as always, is to ensure that everyone has the most up to date advice and the support they need and that their health is not put at risk.
With that in mind, please discuss any specific health concerns you have with your healthcare provider. They will be able to give you advice and information which takes into account your specific circumstances.
The health and safety of the World Relief family, including volunteers, community partners, participants and staff, is our top priority. We continue to track the COVID-19 outbreak so we can stay on top of any potential impact on our programs.
Should there be any changes to the status of our programs and services, we will communicate with you via email, social media and website platforms.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 outbreak as well as how World Relief is monitoring the situation.
What is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.” Symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath, and appear between two and 14 days after exposure.
What is World Relief doing to monitor and prepare for COVID-19?
World Relief is actively monitoring the spread of the virus. We are also following advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, State Health Department and Local Health Departments. Our COVID 19 internal Task Force have been in regular discussions to assess any potential risk to our volunteers, participants and staff and to plan for various scenarios related to the outbreak.
What measures has World Relief implemented to protect current volunteers, participants, and staff?
We have distributed information about how to stay safe, and we are reiterating the CDC’s guidelines for hygiene and disease prevention.
· We ask that volunteers, participants, and staff take the following precautions to keep themselves healthy and protect others:
· If you are feeling sick or having signs of a cold or cough, please stay home and rest.
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap is not available, please use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
· Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue, dispose of the tissue immediately in a wastebasket, and proceed to wash one’s hands.
· Keep a healthy distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.
· Disinfect frequently-used surfaces such as laptops, work-spaces, cell phones, keys, and doorknobs.
· Avoid touching your face and mouth.
· If a family member is experiencing signs of the flu, cough, or cold, please do not attend World Relief volunteer activities or gatherings.
Are there translations of basic Coronavirus information in languages commonly spoken by the populations World Relief serves?
The following reference materials provide a number of materials in diverse languages.
Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet - Available in 11 languages
COVID-19 Multi-lingual Education Materials from the CDC - Available in multiple languages
What would cause a World Relief Program, Activity or Event to be suspended?
World Relief is following guidance from the CDC, WHO, U.S. State Department, State Health Departments and Local Health Departments. The health and safety of our volunteers, participants, staff, and community members is our number one priority. We will communicate directly with these groups if we make any changes to our scheduled activities and programs.
How will volunteers be notified of any changes or cancellations of classes, appointments and other activities?
A communication will be sent out via each local World Relief office’s email and social media platforms, in addition to updates posted on each World Relief office website. Phone calls will be implemented in cases where there is need for direct communication.
How often can volunteers expect communication from World Relief regarding coronavirus updates?
We will communicate any new information about our programs or protocols directly to volunteers. Should you have any questions, or wish to talk with someone at your local office, please feel free to reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the local office website.
Each volunteer should keep up to date on the situation, alerts, and communications of the state and local public health authorities for your area of volunteering. These can be found here for U.S. locations.
How long should a quarantine extend?
Because COVID-19 is spread through direct person-to-person contact, WR will, at this time based on current CDC advice, require a sick employee or an employee with a sick relative in their residence to self-quarantine for 14 days (10 business days). The quarantine is necessary for the welfare of others within World Relief work and programs.
How can I continue to create a welcoming community and connect with our vulnerable international neighbors and friends amidst Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in our community?
Continue to build relationships utilizing technology!
- Conduct English Tutoring sessions over the phone or computer (Google and Microsoft are offering free web conferencing)
- Create a daily or weekly conversational topic list together that will increase your knowledge and understanding of one another via phone or computer.
- Video Call each other while you cook the same recipe together.
- Take a Virtual trip together! Click here and pick a destination. Experience something new together.
- Be creative! Take advantage of some of the additional time you may have to continue connecting with your international neighbor.
Together, let’s continue to be unwavering in trusting God’s plan. Here are 4 specific things you can pray for in the midst of fear and anxiety:
1. Immigrants and refugees in our community who lack access to healthcare. Pray that we can maintain services to them through our offices.
2. Vulnerable people in countries where World Relief works, specifically in the Congo where the first reported case of coronavirus has been confirmed.
3. Immigrants and refugees in our community who lack access to healthcare. Pray that we can maintain services to them through our offices.
4. That we will be a witness for Christ in turbulent times ministering for our neighbors who are out of work, struggling to pay healthcare bills and are particularly vulnerable to disease.
5. Each other.