ATTENTION: AmeriCorps Programs, please review our Guidance Memo. CLICK HERE

AmeriCorps COVID-19 Resources 

Please follow state and local government’s official websites or social media for instructions and specifics for your community. The State of Alabama does not endorse or recommend any particular volunteer opportunity or organization.

 

For up-to-date information related to the coronavirus, please visit the Alabama Department of Public Health webpage. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 or its symptoms, please call the ADPH Hotline: 1-888-264-2256.

 

Visit ALTogether.org, the official guide to COVID-19 relief efforts in Alabama. 

 

Governor's Office of Volunteer Services COVID-19 Resource page, connects volunteers and organizations addressing pressing concerns in the community. Projects on the website could be opportunities for potential alternative service for AmeriCorps members.

Corporation for National and Community Service COVID-19 FAQs – updated program-specific FAQs regarding member service, suspension, and exits due to COVID-19.  Be sure to follow CDC guidelines for slowing the spread of the disease while considering these simple ways every American can help their families, friends, and neighbors.

For more information visit:

U.S. Department of Labor guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in the form of Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20, Change 1 was issued yesterday (April 27, 2020).

Attachment I to the UIPL is a Q&A that had the following (https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_16-20_Change_1_Attachment_1.pdf)

 

Q: Is a Peace Corps and AmeriCorps participant who is no longer volunteering because their volunteer sites are closed due to COVID-19 eligible for PUA?

A: Yes. An individual participating in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps who would not qualify for regular UC, whose volunteer site is closed down as a direct result of COVID-19, and who has suffered a loss of income is eligible for PUA.

  • Photo contests (best use of the AmeriCorps ‘A’ while social distancing?)

  • Environmental clean-up

    • Garbage pickup in parks, neighborhoods, wherever!

  • Facebook page: post what AmeriCorps Members are doing at Home

    • How each are serving and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Points of Light - Ways to be a virtual volunteer in the fight against COVID-19

  • Create a children’s book:

    • Could get students involved and help write it -- or -- you write a story to share with them

  • Resource list for community members

    • Little free libraries - turned into food pantries (locations)

    • Meal pick-ups

  • Lead a book club for students, your fellow members, or any community members

    • Leading through Facebook Live classes

  • Make a “Safer at Home” toolkit

    • Activities

    • Recipes-From what’s in your cabinet

    • Activities that are under the “OK” categories (visiting parks) - and lists of what needs to be avoided (playgrounds) - and other items (6 ft. away)

  • Research into activities, volunteer opportunities, community needs, etc. 

    • Creation of activities, guides, etc. based on the research!

  • Creating and sending cards to senior centers, nursing homes, etc.

  • Creating and sending cards to students, campers, etc.

  • Social isolation support group platform setup/instructions

  • Video check-ins with seniors

    • Many older folks who are experiencing social isolation might not know how to use technology like video conferencing through Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Members who are technology savvy could help walk them through how to get it uploaded and then send them screenshot instructions for how to call a family member or friend via video chat. I know a lot of people are doing phone check ins with people (which is also great) but a video call is another great option to help people feel connected to one another.

  • On call for activities from school

  • Story hour, activity hour, etc. 

    • Example: did you have a normal set time that you did a certain activity? Do it remotely.

  • How-To videos:

    • Eat healthy during isolation

    • Do an arts & crafts activity

COVID-19 Remote Activity Ideas

Risk Assessment for COVID-19

Overarching Themes:

  • Only pull members to act as responders from their given area as they are already within that community and any exposure a community is experiencing. 

  • Deployment is optional. Members have other options, including teleservice, suspension (leave to allow time to make up hours later), or CPC exiting service.

  • Only deploy members who are not at-risk or do not have an underlying health condition that may make them more susceptible to COVID-19.  Because one cannot ask these questions this makes deployment an individual voluntary decision.   

  • Communities will need young, healthy individuals without underlying health conditions to respond and support the nonprofit and community infrastructure during this time, as they are the ones least likely to be impacted adversely by COVID-19. 

  • Utilize increased level of PPE (personal protective equipment) when engaging in activities that have potential to be higher than low to moderate risk. The Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services is not supportive of anything greater than low to moderate risk. 

  • Consult with your legal team as this is not legal or formal guidance.

 

Types of deployment should be low to moderate risk.  Questions to ask to determine if low or moderate risk:

  • How many people will be attending or in the space at one time?

  • Can social distancing (6 feet) be maintained?

  • Are you likely to come in to contact with someone who is suspected, potentially or with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?

  • What safety precautions can be/are in place? 

  • Is there a process for training on safety protocol and personal protection and a way to monitor and assess compliance with those protocols? 

  • Does the process align with local (city, county) and state guidelines? Does it align with ADPH and CDC guidance?

Examples of service or modifications to service (PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES are STILL PROHIBITED):

  • Delivery of food to someone by setting food on doorstep and that person not opening door to grab food until delivery person has left. 

  • Attendees to distribute food are to hand off goods with no hand-to-hand contact; place goods on a table, in a line or area where there will be consistent and timed cleaning.

  • Other community feeding support, such as meal and food prep, planning/coordination, packing, distribution/delivery, warehousing/inventory, safety inspection, and related activities.

  • Remote call center support—dial in remote call centers are ideal; example, provide support to 2-1-1 or other community call centers.

  • Modifying in-person coaching around accessing higher education or other types of case management to zoom or other web/phone-based coaching.

  • Wellness checks on volunteers or other populations using a phone tree, or similar methodology.  Conduct wellness checks on the elderly and vulnerable populations via phone calls, text messaging, or talking through the door.

  • Infrastructure support, such as, maintain school gardens, sanitizing playgrounds, other projects where there is access to now “empty” areas and service can follow social distancing.

  • Using online resources to engage with fellow AmeriCorps members in Civic Reflection activities or weekly team meetings. Participate in or lead virtual civic reflections or other discussions related to how to serve the community during COVID-19.

  • Coordinating with schools to help with delivery of educational content using online resources (for example, reading books that can be shared with students, conducting science experiments, virtual tours, virtual lessons) material may be recorded or presented “live”.

  • Assisting with local health departments/offices with coordinating public health initiatives and health/safety education efforts.

  • Assisting with coordinating in-kind donations related to COVID-19 community needs (food donations, supply drives, blood drives, etc.).

  • Assembling hygiene and disaster preparedness kits for high-need populations such as the homeless, those living in shelters, and other low-income communities.

  • Assisting with data entry/analysis for response efforts.

  • Providing support to neighborhood initiatives such as stocking free community libraries, micro food pantries, etc. 

It’s important to remember Prohibited Activities are still prohibited.  With the landscape changing; one prohibited activity to remember is members’ service CANNOT “provide a direct benefit to” a business organized for profit 45 CFR §2520.65 (8)(i).  Please contact your Program Officer with any questions.

Other Resources

America's Service Commission

ASC COVID-19 AmeriCorps Flickr Album

Mental Health

Alabama Department of Mental Health - Substance Abuse 24/7 Hotline: 1-844-307-1760

 

Salvation Army: Emotional & Spiritual Care Hotline. 7 days/week 9am - 9p, 844.458.HOPE (4673)

 

SAMHSA: Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or Text=TalkWithUS to 66746; https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

 

Social Distancing and the Community

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Social Distancing 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Communities, Schools, Workplaces, and Events

Hiring, Recruiting and the Return to Work

Visit the Society for Human Resource Management for COVID-19 Resources, including remote recruiting, onboarding and job interview suggestions. 

 

Facebook Groups Making and Giving Away Face Masks

 

  • Hometown Organizing Project – Alabama River Region Mask Makers

  • Hometown Organizing Project – East Alabama Face Masks

  • Hometown Organizing Project

  • Macon Mask Makers

  • Mama Makes It Sew

  • Birmingham Face Masks

  • Hometown Organizing Project – North Alabama Mask Makers

  • Hometown Organizing Project – Northeast Alabama Mask Makers

  • Hometown Organizing Project – West Alabama Mask Makers

Council of Nonprofits

Association of Fundraising Professionals

The Nonprofit Times

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

American Red Cross

How to Stay Safe and Serve Others during COVID-19

Independent Sector

Information on COVID-19

 

 

© 2020 Governor's Office of Volunteer Services