COVID-19 Updates

UPDATES on COVID-19 and VOLUNTEERING

Please know that EdConnect Australia is closely monitoring what the Department of Health and Department of Education has advised and we will communicate any changes accordingly.

27 March 2020

Dear Volunteers

As of Monday the full EdConnect team are now working from our home offices, which was just in time as The Rise, in Maylands WA (where we normally work from) has been closed until April 30. We are all set up and look forward to continuing to provide support, connection and care to all of our volunteers during this difficult time.

VIC NEWS – Schools are on school holidays. Updates to come.

WA NEWS – Our Premier, Mark McGowan, has announced that from Monday 30/3/2020, schools will remain open but if possible, families should keep their children home from schools. Formal classes will officially close a week early from COB Friday 3/4/2020.  Schools and staff are asked to plan and prepare for a different teaching model for term 2.

Many of our WA volunteers have already put their volunteering on hold and everyone will be stopping from 3/4/2020 until further notice.

We are asking you to let us know if you are feeling worried or do not have family or a support network who can assist you through this time, to please reply to this email. EdConnect works with a number of local community organisations and if we can connect you to locally based support services, then we are happy to arrange this.

How can we help each other during this time?

Would you like a weekly call from an EdConnect volunteer or staff member to say hello and make sure that you are ok? If yes, then please let us know. If you are happy to be linked to another volunteer and to make that weekly call, then let us know. We are happy to facilitate this process.

As a team we are committed to regularly communicating with you and if you have any ideas or suggestions for EdConnect to consider during this time, please let your Liaison Officer know.

Please be assured that we will contact you as soon as possible with any further updates as we receive them from the WA Department of Education or Health, relating to your volunteering role during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please stay safe and healthy and if EdConnect can assist in any way, do let us know.

23 March 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Operational Update

At EdConnect the health and safety of our volunteers and staff is of the highest priority. We have been carefully monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation as it is evolving.

The Department of Health (DOH) is the lead agency, managing the Australian response to COVID-19. Based on the information available from DOH, we understand that some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. The people at most risk of serious infection are;

  • people with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer)
  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have higher rates of chronic illness
  • people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions

Due to this information and in the interest of protecting the ongoing health and safety of our volunteers, EdConnect is suspending the delivery of any volunteering activities by any volunteer aged over 65 or who has a chronic medical condition, until further notice. This will take effect from Monday 23 March 2020.

We understand that this will be disappointing / perhaps upsetting for many volunteers who value and enjoy their volunteering role each week. However, we hope that you understand we are taking this prompt and well considered action, to support the ongoing health of our older volunteers or those with chronic medical conditions. If you do not have the opportunity to let your mentee know face to face during this week, you are very welcome to contact your Liaison Officer and discuss alternative options, such as writing the child a letter.

We also understand that you may not fall into the above category, however, feel that you would like to put your volunteering on hold during this uncertain time. If you decide to do this, we ask that you contact your EdConnect Liaison Officer and School Coordinator with this information and we will be there to support and help you when you wish to recommence volunteering.

EdConnect will be communicating with our member schools today and realise that some schools may already have chosen to suspend volunteering. The increased pressures and workloads within school communities is significant as preparations are made for potential schools’ shutdowns in the future. This is at the discretion of each school and we will ask the school to contact you and provide you with this information as necessary.

Many schools will continue to welcome volunteers understanding the value that our volunteers have to school communities, especially during difficult and uncertain times.

EdConnect’s head office in Maylands is now preparing to transition staff to working from home.  This model already works very well for our staff based in Victoria and will take effect for all staff from Monday 23 March 2020. During the working from home period, we will continue to support our volunteers and ensure that we keep EdConnect running and are well prepared to recommence full operational activities as soon as is possible. Our email and phone contacts will remain unchanged.

Until further notice any EdConnect training or events have been cancelled. We are committed to continue to engage with our volunteers and develop training opportunities during this time, using alternate platforms.

We will be reviewing the situation weekly as a management team and will keep you up to date in a timely manner with any changes.

Attached to this email is the latest information on Coronavirus from the Department of Health.

We thank you for your patience and understanding and know that during this uncertain time you may need some additional support. Please feel free to contact us via the telephone or email and we will do our very best to provide you with any support and practical help that we can.