VOA Today: An Important Update on COVID - 19

March 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, we continue to monitor the Coronavirus – COVID-19 situation very carefully. Our first concern is the health and safety of every VOA team member and every individual we serve. I want to make you aware of some additional immediate steps we are taking to be prudent and safe. We believe our best course of action right now is to be cautious about all meetings, contact and visitors to VOA, in addition to continuing to emphasize best health and hygiene practices.

  • We are canceling the leadership retreat scheduled for next week, and will look to August to reschedule.
  • We are cancelling journeys and tours at program sites through at least April 1. We will re-evaluate this towards the end of the month.
  • We ask you to cancel all non-essential meetings with external visitors who would be coming to meet you at a VOA program facility. If a meeting is essential, please use social distancing – working to keep approximately six feet between meeting participants.
  • Meetings should be limited to less than 20 individuals
  • We are canceling all non-essential volunteer opportunities and visitors at VOA facilities.
  • Vendors and contractors who must visit our facilities and who display signs of acute respiratory illness symptoms upon arrival or after will be asked to leave the facility immediately and their company contacted.
  • Our upcoming Board of Directors meeting will be abbreviated and held via Zoom, and we will cancel all Board of Directors Committee meetings.
  • External travel to non-VOA sites must be approved by your supervisor.
  • Staff planning visits out of the country must notify their supervisor and HR. Staff traveling out of the country will need to be quarantined for 14 days prior to returning to work.
  • We will review our Supported Employment program and may cancel some work on a case-by-case basis.
  • We will review and consider postponing some scheduled external events, such as our Volunteer of the Year celebration. We will keep all staff updated on any decisions.
  • For employees who have limited ability to take sick days, personal days or vacation days, we are considering options, including assistance through the Patricia Cummings scholarship fund. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • We will consider work from home options on a day-to-day and case-by-case basis. Supervisors are monitoring this situation and will keep employees updated.
  • We will continue to emphasize hygiene and managers will continue to be responsible for promoting and monitoring cleanliness and hygiene in the workplace. We are working with funders and partners to assure that appropriate supplies are available.

We have also developed protocols for employees who are ill or showing signs of illness.

  • VOA team members are not to report to work if they are experiencing a fever and/or acute respiratory illness symptoms. You are to seek medical attention and return to work when you are fever free for at least 24 hours or have been cleared by a healthcare professional to return to work.
  • If a VOA team member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 they cannot return to work until they have been cleared by a healthcare professional to return to work.
  • VOA team members who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms when they arrive at work or develop symptoms during the day will be separated from others and sent home immediately.
  • If a VOA team member is exposed to a person infected with COVID-19, the team member should immediately report this contact to a supervisor and should not report to work. They should also avoid any contact with others, including VOA team members and should see a health care professional and receive treatment and instructions.
  • Administrative employees will be utilized to fill workforce gaps in our residential programs if needed.

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time. We believe these immediate steps represent the best way to continue our mission of service while protecting the health and safety of our VOA colleagues and clients. We will update you regularly as we monitor this situation because as you know this is evolving rapidly. Please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or senior leadership team with any questions or concerns.

Thank you again for all that you do. We will get through this together!

Jennifer Hancock, LCSW | President & CEO