To all of our Constituents regarding COVID-19
Updated Aug. 7
The health and well-being of our Members, Staff, and the Communities we serve is paramount, and we take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. We are learning more every day, and using that knowledge to inform our program operations. We are monitoring upticks in COVID infections in our states of operation and evaluating that data regularly.
We continue to experience a higher than usual interest in our programs, and encourage those interested in serving to not delay your application for future programs that interest you.
Summer is here, and our operations are in full swing. Here is what we are doing:
COVID-19 Operations Protocols:
Our senior program team, Northwest Youth Corps’ Physician Advisor Greg Moore; Dave McEvoy of Aerie Backcountry Medicine and Steve Smith of Experiential Consulting collaborated to create a set of protocols for operating our programs in a COVID-19 environment, which are serving as a model for Corps around the country.
Northwest Youth Corps’ COVID-19 Operations Protocols are a living document and are continually updated as we learn more about managing hygiene and safety in the Coronavirus world. Take a look at them here. You can also read about how we are making our decisions around deploying programs here.
Our COVID-19 Task Force meets twice weekly to evaluate progress and concerns, and regularly interacts with senior leadership of our agency partners and other Conservation Corps to assess our progress and to learn from our community of practice’s nationwide experience. A sub-group of the team also meets weekly to review data in the counties/cities where our community programs serve, to recommit to the next week of programming based on our criteria.
Utilizing our Eugene Headquarters:
Throughout the spring, we have been mostly working from our homes except for a small team of Operations staff maintaining our Eugene headquarters facilities. Now that summer is full on however, a larger group of Eugene staff are cautiously utilizing our headquarters facility on a case by case basis, under strict protocols for safety and hygiene (including distancing and utilizing PPE), supervised by our Operations Team.
Training: Crew leader trainings commenced in late May, and have been highly successful. Our summer staff are now all trained, and we are training members of our young adult crews. Fall training began this week and will continue through mid-September.
Both Young adult and Youth Camping Crews are now in the field in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Community based crews are currently serving in Portland, Springfield/Eugene and Tacoma. First session Youth Camping crews have all graduated (virtually), with a hugely safe season under their belts. Youth Camping Crews for our second summer session are currently in the field in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Northwest Youth Corps and Idaho Conservation Corps Interns are successfully continuing their assignments by telecommuting or practicing appropriate work distancing practices in accordance with both our agency partner protocols and our physician advisor’s requirements. New internship placements have increased as our agency partners gear up for summer operations. As “Shelter in Place” Civil Orders from state governors begin phased transitions to a more open social and workplaces gatherings, more interns are also beginning to serve at the hosting agency worksite, following workplace distancing and all other safety protocols of the hosting agency.
We want you to know that:
• We are continuing to pay very close attention to this situation. This is a remarkably fluid situation. We have a team continually monitoring the situation, often meeting daily, and creating flexible contingencies to meet this new challenge.
• We are working in regular consultation with our Physician Advisor Dr. Greg Moore as well as being guided by federal/state/regional/local health resources to make sure that we have effective protocols in place to successfully run our programs.
• We want to hear from you with any questions and concerns.
Please see the following resources for further information:
Washington State Department of Health https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare - https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/
Oregon Health Authority - https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Pages/emerging-respiratory-infections.aspx