COVID-19 FAQs and Resources

Note: the information provided below reflects our current knowledge and will be continually updated as we learn more and the situation unfolds.

Last update: 4/7/2020

RARE Fam, first and foremost, we’re here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you have questions or concerns about your placement in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. We care about you and want to support you in any way we can.

For prospective members and communities – Please note that we are accepting applications for the 2020-2021 service year and while we do not know what the beginning of the service year in September will bring, we are committed to providing the highest quality support for our members and our community partners.

Governor Kate Brown Tightens Social Distancing Measures, Tells Oregonians to “Stay Home, Save Lives”

Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible.  Executive Order 20-12 also orders state executive branch offices and buildings to close to the public and provide public services by phone to the extent possible. When public services require in-person interactions, the order requires social distancing measures to be implemented and enforced. State agencies must also facilitate telework and work-at-home for state employees whenever possible. While the order does not apply to local, federal, or tribal governments, those governments are strongly encouraged to follow these directives. 

In response to this order, we are asking that all host sites offer their RARE AmeriCorps Member the ability to serve remotely until further notice.  Please contact Titus if remote service isn’t an option ASAP and we will work with you directly in identifying alternative paths forward.

What This Means for RARE Service

  • Members can continue full-time via Teleservice/Remote Service from their home. Site supervisors must determine that teleservice is reasonable.
  • Members and Supervisors may jointly complete a Teleservice Request Form to submit to RARE for approval.
  • If a host site closure extends past two weeks, during which time no staff or volunteers are allowed on site, the site supervisor must contact RARE immediately to determine available options for navigating this unforeseen circumstance.

Teleservice Policy:

Under limited circumstances RARE AmeriCorps Members & Site Supervisors may jointly request teleservice/remote service at the discretion of the RARE AmeriCorps Program Director (temporary site closures due to events such as natural disasters, health epidemics, etc.). RARE AmeriCorps Members, in conjunction with their Site Supervisor, are required to create an outline (using the template provided by the RARE AmeriCorps Program) detailing the work that will be done during this period. In order to count service hours, Members must keep a description of their work, highlighting deliverables, which is to be broken up by 30-60 minute increments. In addition, at the end of their approved teleservice period, RARE AmeriCorps Members must submit documentation of their work to the Site Supervisor and RARE AmeriCorps Program Director.

RARE AmeriCorps Program Teleservice Policy

Approved teleservice activities:

  • Service related activity (to be determined by site supervisor)
  • Service-related activity with a local partner organization (to be determined/approved by site supervisor)
  • Member initiated professional development (keep in mind the 20% cap)
  • Other activities, with approval

On a weekly basis, update the personalized teleservice work outline spreadsheet shared with you with projects to be completed.

Completing Your Hours:

As per AmeriCorps policy, you are required to complete 1700 hours. Please utilize the teleservice policy to meet this requirement. We encourage you to meet with your supervisor to reflect on and revise your workplan, as necessary. Contact Titus and Victoria directly if you are having difficulty meeting this requirement.

We ask that you all do everything you can to keep yourself and those who surround you safe.  This likely means cancelling/rescheduling/rethinking meetings and keeping your travel and time in public spaces minimized.  We recognize how difficult this is and are here to help you strategize.

We encourage you to explore virtual meeting options to continue to serve your communities. The following platforms have announced that they are offering their services free of charge in response to the pandemic.

Future RARE Events & Conferences:

In general, you can expect that many conferences, workshops, and events in the next few months will be postponed, cancelled, or moved to virtual platforms. Below are the major RARE events that may be impacted:

Other Pertinent Information:

 

Best Practices for Reducing the Spread:

Working in rural Oregon means working with vulnerable populations and RARE members should do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 wherever possible to protect their communities. The World Health Organization has a whole host of good information for the public on their website, including tips on managing stress during the outbreak, and we’ve included some tips below:

  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds – this handy site will help you align your favorite song with your hand washing routine (so you don’t have to sign Happy Birthday everytime!)
  • Avoid large gatherings and contact with older adults, immunocompromised individuals, and folks with respiratory challenges, where possible, to prevent spreading the virus to these vulnerable populations
  • Avoid travel to high-risk areas
  • Maintain 3 ft distances from anyone coughing or sneezing
  • If sick, stay home
  • Stay healthy – this is your best defense!
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat well
    • Manage stress and anxiety (some helpful tips from Cascade Centers)
    • Keep doing the things that bring you joy!

Health and Well-Being:

This is a stressful time and we encourage our members to look after their own mental health needs, in addition to serving others.

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health – this publication from SAMHSA provides insights on what to expect during an outbreak and practical ways to support yourself while social distancing.

Employee Assistance Program – UO contracts with Cascade Centers, Inc. to provide a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including crisis counseling, for benefit-eligible employees and their dependents. The services are provided at no cost to eligible members.

AllOne Health – AllOne Health is the provider for America’s Service Commissions and they have developed the mylifeexpert app, a flyer explaining AllOne support services, and several upcoming webinars on mental health.

Headspace & Calm – there are many mindfulness apps out there to help promote mindfulness and reduce anxiety through guided meditation, these are just two. Your mental health is important for you and your service!

Resources:

If you are practicing social distancing, you may find yourself with more time at home than usual. These resources might come in handy: