COVID-19: Updates and Safety Precautions
JVC Northwest continues to monitor reports of COVID-19 global pandemic. We will continue to provide information to our JV/AmeriCorps members weekly as we learn of new updates and information to provide to each of you and how it may impact your service year. Read on for more information about potential impacts to your service and familiarize yourself with the guidance from the Center for Disease Control here . As we continue to receive guidance from health professionals, we will keep you all updated, recognizing our guidance and recommendations may change and shift as more information becomes available. Please reach out to your Program Coordinator (PC) with questions and concerns as they arise.
Dear JVC Northwest Community:
Amidst these unprecedented times, we want to update you on the reasoning and steps we are taking as an organization in the face of the global pandemic the world is now experiencing. With nearly 250 Jesuit Volunteers(JV)/AmeriCorps members and Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps members serving throughout the Pacific Northwest, our staff team has been meeting often and closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and the recommendations and guidance of public health experts. As we understand it, the movement toward strict social distancing aims to reduce the likelihood that our local healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed with needs of critical care, thereby avoiding as many unnecessary deaths as possible.
In our context, while many of our volunteers can reasonably anticipate mild symptoms and an eventual recovery if they contract the virus, the larger concern is how our volunteers may contribute to spreading the virus to those at their service sites, their own living communities, and the populations of their community mates’ service placements, whose health profiles may put them at higher risk for complications and critical care needs. In short, we have responsibilities that include both the health of JV/AmeriCorps members as well as the public health within our locales.
Last Friday (March 13, 2020), we made the decision to recommend that Oregon and Washington JV/AmeriCorps members stay home from service. This week, many other service sites in Alaska, Montana, and Idaho are now closing for the foreseeable future. Today, we are recommending that all volunteers, in all five states, stay home from service through at least March 27, 2020 . Ideally, we could have engaged JVs and our partner agencies in a collaborative decision-making process, but in the interest of public health, we felt obligated to make the decision quickly and unilaterally.
Additionally, we are unsure of when we will advise volunteers to return to service sites. We hope to know more in the coming days and weeks as the whole nation and world grapple with new realities. This decision was not made lightly, and we would like to use the rest of this correspondence to address the issues and concerns we can anticipate our from our JV/AmeriCorps members, partner agencies, and extended community.

In gratitude,

Greg Carpinello
Executive Director, JVC Northwest
Service Information
Service and Plans
As sites close or have already, and as JV communities choose to stay home, we have some options for how JV/AmeriCorps members can continue to provide service and accrue service hours.

Remote Service: Remote service is service activities conducted at locations outside your service site. All service locations, including remote service, must be pre-approved by AmeriCorps. JVC Northwest is pre-approved from AmeriCorps for JV/AmeriCorps members to serve remotely from each JV house. Remote Service is not approved for any other locations. If you have not already, complete the Remote Service Planning Form to begin the process for approval of service activities.

Some JV/AmeriCorps members are able to continue their regular service activities remotely, meeting certain conditions: WiFi access at your JV house, a computer provided by your service site, suitable service activities that aren’t reliant on physical location and non client-facing activities. JV/AmeriCorps members and your supervisors may develop new projects (including projects that don’t require WiFi/computer) that are not part of your regular service, as long as those projects fit within the scope of your position description. Include any new projects in the Remote Service Planning Form , contact AmeriCorps Program Manager Ben Carver directly with any questions.

For those that do not meet this criteria there are still options for service hours.

Alternative Service: Alternative service is service activities that are outside the scope of your original position description, or benefiting a different community than originally identified by your service site. All Alternative Service must be pre-approved by AmeriCorps. JVC Northwest is pre-approved by AmeriCorps for the alternative service projects detailed in the Schedule & Inventory tool . We would love to hear any suggestions you have for any service projects you could do to benefit your locale. Please contact AmeriCorps Manager Ben Carver with any suggestions regarding Alternative Service.

JVC Northwest has already been approached for Alternative Service projects in certain locales, and we may reach out to specific communities based on those requests.

Exit and Hours: The disruptions to service have already and will continue to put members off track to completing 1700 hours by the end of their term of service. JV/AmeriCorps members will of course have the option to make up hours at the time regular service is resumed. Without knowing how long regular service will be disrupted, we want to be transparent about the long-term implications for your term of service. At the end of the service term, any JV/AmeriCorps member who has not reached 1700 hours will receive a pro-rated education award for time served. Please contact JV Program Manager Sarah Jones for more details on exiting service.

We are exploring other options with AmeriCorps and will update everyone as any become available.
Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment
We are asking everyone to incorporate risk assessment in all our decision making processes regarding clearance to return to regular and/or in person service activities, to limit potential transmission of coronavirus, and to ensure that all participants in the JV program are engaging only in low or moderate risk activities. Questions to ask when assessing risk include:
  • How many people will a JV come into contact with?
  • What is the likelihood of coming into contact with someone who is suspected of or with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?
  • How is social distancing ensured?
  • What other safety precautions are in place?
  • What training on safety protocol and personal protection are required?
  • What personal protective equipment is provided?
  • How are safety protocols monitored and assessed?

The threshold for risk will be mutually determined between JVC Northwest and each locale. We recognize that risk factors can be tied to personal health information. We are committed to maintaining any person’s confidentiality. More information about conducting a Risk Assessment will be available next week (March 23-27, 2020).

We recognize that JV/AmeriCorps members, in consultation with their family members may choose to depart their locale for a period of time. Any JV/AmeriCorps member currently not in their locale, we are requesting to remain away from your locale for the duration of this two week period of pause in at site service (through March 27, 2020).

If you have an individual circumstance that may affect your travel, please be in contact with your Program Coordinator. Per CNCS regulations, all remote and alternative service must take place in the JV house and locale, as a result, any JV/AmeriCorps member not currently in locale is unable to accrue service hours during this time away. When safe to return to locale, JV/AmeriCorps members will be able to resume accruing service hours. If you are currently away from your locale; are considering departing for a period of time; or departing for the remainder of the service term (exiting from our JVC Northwest program), please notify your Program Coordinator and/or JV Program Manager Sarah Jones .

We have two upcoming retreats in April. The BIPOC Retreat, originally scheduled for April 4-5 in Portland, Oregon, will not take place as planned due to cancellation of all gatherings through Easter from the retreat location. The JV Program team is working with our facilitator to re-imagine what we can create in place of this gathering. For Spring Regional Retreats scheduled for April 23-26 (Big Sky) and April 24-27 (Alaska, Cascades, and Mountain West regions), JVC Northwest will determine viability on April 9, 2020.
Caring for Yourself and Community
Managing the unknown landscape of a global pandemic is very new and very hard. Mental Health professionals and others are working hard to shift supports to virtual access (phone and video) and providing resources to individuals and communities. Here are some practices and resources from individuals and organizations. If you have a resource that is working well for you and you'd like to share with the JVC Northwest community, let us know.

From the Member Assistance Program (MAP):
  • Limit media viewing. Take breaks from watching news coverage of the event and/or exposure to perspectives in social media. Notice how this break makes you feel.
  • Avoid excess. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products as a way of dealing with stress.
  • Resume routines. Getting back to your daily routines that are available to you can be a good method for regaining a sense of control.
  • Get involved, creatively. Engaging in positive activities and relationships that help you find perspective without increasing risk of exposure - get creative. (See resources below.)
  •  Recognize your strengths for coping. Also accept your limitations. Give yourself as much time as needed to heal.
  • Take security precautions. Make an inventory of what will make you feel secure in your home and when you are out in public.

  • Meditate. Take five minutes to be still and breath.
  • Go outside and breath some fresh air. Remember social distancing.
  • Nap. Catch up on your sleep.
  • Move. Get some movement during the day. Go for a walk. Stretch.
  • Connect with loved ones. We will get through this together.
  • Remember to wash your hands frequently.
  • Dance. Remember to take time to have fun!

Need a Meeting? Unity Recovery Virtual Meetings
  • Unity Recovery + WEconnect + Alano Club are now offering free virtual recovery meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic recognizing that in-person meetings are not possible.
  • Offering daily meetings at 9AM, 12PM, 3PM, 6PM, and 9PM EST.
  • Offering one daily family and loved one recovery support meeting at 8PM EST.
  • All recovery meetings are non-denominational, agnostic to any specific recovery pathway, and are open to anyone.

Need more? If you have established care with a counselor, inquire about telephonic services. If you have yet to establish care, now is a good time. Remember that the Member Assistance Program (MAP) means you have access to free, 24/7 access to Masters level counselors through MAP and AllOneHealth.
Call 800-451-1834 and tell them you are in the JVC Northwest program.

Not sure if you need more? If the following statements resonate, call AllOneHealth MAP at 800-451-1834 :
  • You find yourself reliving old traumas you thought were healed.
  • Your feelings of anger, fear, vulnerability, or blame just won’t go away.
  • You find you are drinking more or using other drugs to help you get through.
  • Your functioning in community or service is being affected by your emotional stress.
  • You have flashbacks, or think you see objects or people when they aren’t there.
  • You have thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or another person.

Additional Resources
  • Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety: tool kits, articles, mantras, and reflections for everyone including feelings of isolation, experiences of xenophobia, financial stress, etc.
  • Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens: Podcast from Healing Justice with additional resource list.
  • The Ignatian Solidarity Network sends along this fresh new Examen for Life during COVID-19 by Susan Haarman, a colleague at Loyola University Chicago. Additional spiritual and reflective resources for solidarity in this time of COVID-19 from ISN are here.
  • Need a little humor and help with your social distancing? Buzzfeed has created a daily Quarantine Newsletter with recipes, playlists, humor, and at home movements. 
  • Protecting Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Feeling creative and have internet? Check out hashtags #30dayartquarantine and #quarantineartclub and join in.
  • Agape Wellness (shout-out to former JV Majo Lovejoy) has resources to help you get active and calm.
Updates and Guidance by State
CDC Recommendations
Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
p.503.335.8202 | f.503.249.1118