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.