VYCC’s Preparation for COVID-19 and Updates.

May 22, 2020 | 

We are updating this at least every Friday. Last updated 5/22/20.

The health and safety of the VYCC community are our top priorities. We are an organization that prides itself on our ability to offer profound learning and work experiences for young adults. Central to running successful programs is the ability to manage and mitigate risk.

For 2020 Corps Members (applicants and hired) and their families, we want to assure you that the heart of a VYCC experience is safety-first approach. We are informed by facts, and we plan ahead so we can respond quickly and effectively to situations on campus and in the field. We are consulting with health professionals and monitoring guidelines issued by the Vermont Health Department and the CDC. And, we are taking preventative measures on our campus to help us all stay healthy.

VYCC recognizes this is a concerning time for many, and we welcome questions you may have about our safety policies and/or procedures in response to this evolving situation. Breck Knauft, Executive Director, can be reached at 802.434.3969 ext. 110.

UPDATES:

[Friday, May 22 2020]

Executive Director Breck Knauft is hosting the second Q&A discussion on Zoom Wednesday June 3 for applicants and their families. Breck and members of the leadership team will answer questions and provide updates about VYCC’s 2020 season. If you have applied for our 2020 season, or a young person you care for has applied, and you would like to attend, please email recruitment@vycc.org for information.

 

[Friday, May 15 2020]

No update this week. Please check next week for further updates. Be well and stay safe!

 

[Friday, May 8 2020]

Please continue to reference our Q&A Summary, posted 5/1. We are on track with the plan outlined there; for example:

  • On Thursday, four staff members went offsite to test new health and safety protocols – by way of planting trees in the Mad River Valley.
  • The seven-member Farm Team planted 30,000 onions for Health Care Shares and is on track to become a team of ten in the next few weeks.

 

[Friday, May 1 2020]

Thanks to all of you who took time to join us and ask good questions at our Q&A session on Wednesday. It was heartwarming to see old friends and new, future members of our VYCC community. Here are notes from our call that, we hope, help answer questions for those unable to join us: Q&A Summary 4/29

Please note, in a couple weeks we will send an invitation for another Q&A Session, which we are currently planning to host on May 27.

One other thing we want to show you: there is a great celebration going on – THIS MAP! You can add where you are and how you are helping others during the pandemic. Mention VYCC in your submission so we can see all the ways our community is supporting others.

 

[Friday, April 24 2020]

Executive Director Breck Knauft is hosting a Q&A discussion on Zoom next Wednesday for applicants and their families. Breck and members of the leadership team will answer questions about VYCC’s 2020 season in light of COVID-19. If you have applied for our 2020 season, or a young person you care for has applied, and you would like to attend, please email recruitment@vycc.org for information.

 

[Friday, April 17 2020]

We are deeply impressed by the way in which Vermonters and the young people interested in our 2020 season have risen to this challenge, and remain flexible and kind. Like all of you, VYCC is waiting to see when our communities can safely return to work and what that process looks like. The current Stay Home, Stay Safe order has been extended to May 15th and we are abiding by that. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay connected to VYCC through social media channels and to check our website for weekly updates.

 

[Friday, April 10 2020]

All information posted below on 4/3 and 3/27 remains accurate.
We hope you and all those you care about are healthy and safe. #flattenthecurve

 

[Friday, April 3 2020]

Crew Leader Training: The Crew Leader training scheduled to begin on May 26th has been cancelled. We are gathering information to determine if/when we can run Crew Leader Training at a different date.

Hiring Update: During interviews, we explore if and how applicants can participate as programs come into clearer focus. We’ve hired many Corps Members but, at this time, we cannot guarantee the type, duration or timing of any Corps Member position.

Farm Operations Update: As we have done since 2012, the food grown on the farm will be distributed to families who are challenged by food insecurity. We are working with our medical center partners to design safe and effective plans for food distribution.

Other information posted below on 3/27/2020 remains accurate.

Thank you for being part of this work. Wishing you continued good health – Stay Strong – #WeGotThis

[Friday, March 27 2020]

COVID-19 Impact on Programs
There are no youth or young adult crews in the field right now. We have decided to delay all Conservation projects originally scheduled for this spring. This includes Crew Leader training, which was scheduled to begin May 26.

We hope that we will be able to run programs safely later this summer, though they will look and feel different as a result of COVID-19. The best way to stay informed is to check the updates that we post to this website every Friday.

Applications are open and we encourage you to apply! Should someone accept a position at VYCC and later feel they are unable to join us, there is no cost or penalty.

We do have a team of six maintaining farm operations. This team is observing CDC safety protocols and is in compliance with Governor Scott’s Executive Order from March 24, which allows farms to remain in operation.

Staff continue to work from home, and we are all doing our part to flatten the curve.

Thank you for being part of this work. Wishing you continued good health – Stay Strong – #WeGotThis

 

[Friday, March 13 2020]
As of Monday, March 16, our staff will all be remotely working. To reach a member of our team, email the person you are trying to reach (we will not have regular land-line phone coverage):  We will be “open” during our normal business hours of 8am-5pm. 

Principles Guiding Our Response

Wellness and Safety – VYCC promotes the health, safety and well-being of its members, staff, and community as our highest priority. These are the primary filters for all decisions.

Valuing Science and Facts – Though we live in the information age, not all information is accurate or truthful. We are relying primarily on The Vermont Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control to take informed and prudent actions. These two agencies provide regular – often daily – updates. We encourage others to use these websites to gain and share information and health strategies.

Plan Ahead / Be Nimble – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. VYCC’s history and culture of risk management planning allows us to respond effectively to anticipated events, as well as those unforeseen.

In Service to Vermont – VYCC is committed to Vermont’s – and Vermonters’ – well-being. We are committed to running safe programs that leverage the power of service to strengthen Vermont communities.

Communicate Well – As COVID-19 affects our communities, and as VYCC learns more about an evolving situation, we will communicate any relevant information as quickly as possible.

In addition to these principles, we want you to know that:

  • We have a team monitoring the situation and creating flexible contingencies to meet this new challenge
  • We are confident that we can successfully run programming in this new environment. This may involve modifying programming or changing the ways crews engage with Vermont’s communities. Though our approach to programming might shift, we’ll remain committed to creating opportunities for young people in Vermont.
  • We encourage you to not to delay your application for our programs that interest you. We expect to be running our crews effectively and successfully even as our country reassesses the “new normal” of living our lives with COVID-19. Should you accept a position at VYCC, and later on feel that you are not able to join our program, there is no cost or penalty
  • We want to hear from you with any questions and concerns

In the meantime, all staff, field staff, students and program participants are following these guidelines:

  • Washing hands thoroughly (for over 20 seconds) and often
  • Coughing into the elbow or tissue, and avoid touching faces until hands are thoroughly washed
  • Avoiding infected patients
  • Practicing self-care, including monitoring our own health. Anyone symptomatic for COVID-19 is instructed to stay home
  • Wiping commonly touched surfaces down with anti-viral spray each evening

We have a COVID-19 working group meeting regularly to assure that our organizational response is protecting the health of all staff and participants and reflects the most recent public health recommendations.