Our Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak

By Steve Dubiel, Executive Director

UPDATED MARCH 25

In light of the uncertainty we all face with the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we wanted to share the steps EarthCorps is taking to respond to this evolving situation. Our hearts go out to all those impacted, including those diagnosed with the virus, their family and friends, and all those whose jobs, education, and way of life have been affected.

Our number one priority is the health and safety of our entire community, which includes staff, corps members, and volunteers. Following WA Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, EarthCorps is ceasing all field work until the order is lifted. We are determined to keep the young leaders in our program safe and healthy for as long as possible by keeping their health insurance intact and providing financial support.  We fully expect to be up and running as soon as the order is lifted and have taken several steps to ensure the health and safety of our corps and staff when they return to the field.

Steps we have taken:

  • Updated hygiene and cleaning practices in the offices, in vehicles, and in the field
  • All staff are encouraged to telecommute, with minimal time in the office
  • Postponed all volunteer events until further notice

Since our business model depends on crews who work each day to restore sites around Puget Sound, we are actively adapting how fieldwork is conducted. This includes:

  • Ensuring social distancing policies are enforced (keeping 6 ft away from each other).
  • For vital in-person encounters (picking up tools, getting to a site, working on a site), ensuring less than 10 people are gathered together.
  • Implementing a strict quarantine policy that mandates that anyone who has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • If a corps member exhibits symptoms in the field, we have evacuation procedures in place.

Other steps we are doing to limit exposure of our corps and staff as operations continue:

  • Finding alternative ways for our staff and corps to travel to work sites that minimize exposure on public transportation.
  • Re-forming crews based on housing and/or geography in the region in order to minimize exposure to one another.
  • All educational training days will be conducted through video conferencing.

We will continue to monitor advice from multiple government sources on a daily basis so that we can adapt our response.

EarthCorps’ mission remains vital. We are incredibly grateful to our community: our alumni, partners, volunteers, donors, and homestays for standing by us over the years and for your continued support during this very challenging and unprecedented time. We wish you all good health and well-being now and always.

There are many ways to support, including donating to our Emergency Corps Fund to keep our corps members safe and healthy.

Updated March 25, 2020

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