Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) is committed to keeping our Bigs, Littles, families, employees, and supporters healthy and safe. We continue to take steps to prevent the spread and mitigate the risks of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
With cases on the rise throughout the country and locally and colder temperatures limiting our ability to be outdoors, we re-evaluated our programming and make the following recommendations effective November 20, 2020 until further notice.
Match Relationships: We know this is a very difficult time and the interactions between matches will look different than what they did in the past. Whether you decide to see each other in person or not, we are asking all matches to have regular ongoing communication. Children are not exempt from the stress associated with the pandemic. They’ve seen disruptions in going to school, visiting friends or extended family, and are experiencing reduced interactions with other supportive adults i.e. teachers, counselors, or coaches. It is critical that the match relationship stay strong. Consistency and communication can provide a significant benefit and mitigate stress caused by these changing times. To provide the very best for your match our expectation is that all matches will maintain some form of weekly contact, with at least one activity (in-person or online) each month.
Virtual Meetings: If anyone in the match party is not comfortable with an in-person meeting, your decision to meet only virtually is completely supported. Scheduling these times ahead can make it easier to connect and stay consistent. Bigs should communicate a proposed plan with their Little and the Parent/Guardian and work together to find the right communication method and timing. Remember, consistency is key to building and sustaining relationships and trust. All match parties are expected to have weekly communication (call, text, email, video chat, etc.) and participate in at least one online activity per month (individual or agency-hosted). Bigs should schedule all interactions in advance and communicate the plan to stay connected and consistent.
In-person Meetings: If in-person meetings occur, the Big, Little, and Parent/Guardian must all be comfortable seeing each other in-person. Regardless of the Little’s age, the visit must be approved by the Parent/Guardian ahead of time. Please also review and abide by these CDC guidelines for Personal and Social Activities.
- Location: Visits should occur in a setting that accommodates social distancing measures. Despite the winter weather, outdoor activities are highly encouraged.
- Transportation: Bigs are permitted to transport Littles in their personal vehicles. We know transportation barriers exist in our community and this may be the primary way to ensure matches meet consistently. Should a Big decide to transport, the following conditions apply for everyone’s health and safety: a Parent/Guardian must give permission, the Little must sit in the back seat, masks must be worn by Bigs and Littles at all times, time spent in the vehicle should be kept to a minimum, and hand sanitizer should be used before and after each ride.
- Protective Measures: Anyone participating in an in-person visit must wear a mask. BBBSCI will be happy to supply masks if needed; just call your MRS to arrange. Anyone participating in the visit should adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay at least 6 feet apart. As always, please wash and sanitize hands before and after the visit. We do not recommend in-person visits if anyone living in either home is considered to be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or has an increased likelihood of exposure to COVID-19;
- Health Screening: The Big and Little must be able to answer “no” to the following questions the day of an in-person meeting. If either party answers “yes” to any of the questions, the meeting should be rescheduled or held virtually.
- Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have you been advised by a health care professional, to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19 concerns in the past 14 days?
- Do you currently have, or in the last 3 days, have you had, any of the following symptoms?
- Fever (>100.4) or Chills
- New Loss of Taste or Smell
- Shortness of Breath and/or Difficulty Breathing
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
- In the last 14 days, have you been in close contact to anyone who has informed you that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine or isolate who has not received a negative COVID 19 test?
- In the past 14 days, have you traveled to one of the following states that the Marion County Health Department has identified as having high COVID-19 prevalence (with at least 300 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous two-week period, or a rate at least 10% higher than that of Marion County when Marion County’s rate exceeds 300): Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming? (Please click here to review the Travel Guidance Dashboard with the most current list of states with high COVID-19 prevalence.)
- Reporting: Should someone in either the Big’s or Little’s household test positive with COVID-19 after an in-person interaction, we ask that this information is reported to the opposite party and BBBSCI staff immediately. To ensure everyone’s safety, BBBSCI will share information with other parties if Big/Parent is unable to share in a timely manner. In-person visits should stop until 14 days have passed or CDC guidelines can be met.
Group In-person Match Activities: When possible, BBBSCI staff will schedule small group outdoor match activities where social distancing guidelines can be followed. Continue to check the Big App for these opportunities.
Group Virtual Match Activities: Weekly virtual group activities will be scheduled to help facilitate interactions with Bigs and Littles alongside other matches. Please check the Big App or ask your Mentoring Relationship Specialist for all offerings.
Ongoing Support: As always, your Mentoring Relationship Specialist is available should you have any questions or concerns. We encourage you to make the best decisions for you and your family, stay informed, and continue to follow the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for preventing the spread of illness.
Other BBBSCI Information: All volunteer and youth/Parent/Guardian interviews and mentoring training will continue to be virtual. In-person new match introductions can take place at the BBBSCI office or a match can decide to meet virtually. Staff have the opportunity to work in the office one day a week.
BBBSCI will continue to monitor the evolving recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates and let us know if you have any questions.