As we shared earlier this month, with Governor Inslee’s mandates around COVID-19 and safety on construction sites, we have been testing both our resources and capacity for volunteers on the build site with administrative and Habitat Stores staff. With wonderful cooperation from all, we have begun to find a new rhythm for working – albeit laden in PPE and never more than 6′ in proximity to one another.
With these weeks of testing and some lessons learned, the measured decision to move to the first phase of our Volunteer Return Plan was made. Earlier this week, we expanded our control group, adding select volunteers identified both by needed skill sets for the work before us and proven ability to work independent of a Site Manager or one another. These volunteers were contacted by our Volunteer Services staff and briefed on the COVID protocols that must be followed, which is conditional for participation on site.
Volunteer Return Plan
While our Volunteer Return Plan loosely follows Washington State’s phased plan to re-open businesses, the details and timelines above are subject to review and adjustment without advance notice. The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers and homeowners will always be at the heart of every decision we make.
While progress may feel slow, this expanded testing is a huge step toward the end-goal of reopening our volunteer schedule. Phase 1 will exponentially increase the number of people on site compared to what we’ve had the last few months.
As volunteers report to site, they are required by the State to comply with comprehensive protocols which subject them to temperature checks, signing in/out of a site log, and use of full PPE (masks, eye wear, and gloves) at all times. There are very strict guidelines for entry to the site and any deviation from these protocols put us at risk for being shut down. Volunteering in the post-COVID era looks very different than it did just months ago.
If you are a volunteer itching to get back on site and have not been contacted, please bear with us a bit longer. Should we misstep as we move toward reopening, there are serious health implications for all. Not one of us wants to turn a volunteer away, but please stay home unless and until you are expressly invited to come to site.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, our focus has been on keeping everyone – volunteers, staff, and homeowners – safe and healthy. Thank you for the grace of your patience as we continue to take a slow and careful approach.