COVID-19 UPDATE FROM BBBS-ETN
UPDATE (March 13, 2020) In response to increasing concerns related to COVID-19, effective today, BBBS-ETN strongly recommends that all Bigs and Littles avoid in-person match outings during the month of March (at minimum) and instead focus on building a friendship through email, phone, text, FaceTime, etc.
Our team has put together the list of activities below to share with your Little in lieu of in-person activities.
• Practice Your Creative Writing by Sending Letters: Consider starting a story, mailing it to your Little, and asking your Little to fill in the next section and mail it back to you. Or, find fun postcards of places your Little might be interested in learning more about and mail them to him/her/them.
• Chat via Skype/Facetime: A phone call can keep you up to date on how your Little is spending their time away from school.
• Compete in Age-appropriate Digital Games: A friendly competition using Boggle, Words with Friends, or Quiz Up can be great fun! (And show you how much savvier your Little is than you!)
• Start a Virtual Book Club: Order two copies of a book through Amazon Prime—or, my personal favorite, through a local bookstore that will mail one to your home and one copy to your Little’s home. Read the book with your Little, and talk about it over the phone. This will encourage them to keep reading should school be closed for an extended period of time.
• Create a Match Activity List: Work on a list of new activities you and your Little would like to participate in together and then compare your answers over the phone.
• Virtual Movie Night: Put on an age-appropriate movie at the same time and chat on the phone (or text) about the movie while watching.
As you know, Big Brothers Big Sisters has canceled group events and ticketed match events during the month of March. For an up-to-date listing of the status of all agency events, visit: TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.
We are working diligently to provide additional resources for you and for Littles’ families during this time. Below are a few—please do not hesitate to reach out to your Match Support Specialist if we can pull together more information.
• Fun and educational websites offering free subscriptions while schools are out
• Resources for Bigs who are concerned with their Little’s access to food if school is out (Note that you may also call 211)
• Information on how to talk to your Little about the Coronavirus
• A comic for kids explaining the Coronavirus
Thank you for all you do for your Little, and again, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions or concerns.
KNOXVILLE, TN (March 11, 2020) As you are undoubtedly aware, COVID-19 is an evolving global, national, and statewide issue. At BBBS-ETN, the health and safety of our Littles, Bigs, partners, and staff is our first priority. We are monitoring the situation daily and following guidance from area health departments and school districts, as well as federal guidance from the CDC.
As a general practice, BBBS-ETN recommends all Match parties exercise best judgement when considering spending time together. Reach out to your Match Support Specialist if you’d like to discuss your situation or, particularly for Community-Based Matches, to discuss creative ideas for continuing to build your Match relationship without seeing each other in-person for a short period.
At this time, in order to protect the safety of BBBS-ETN community, we ask you to refrain from Match activities with your Little if:
• You are ill for any reason – even if your symptoms are not the same as symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
• You have traveled in the last two weeks to anywhere designated by the CDC as having a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Notice (currently China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea).
• You have chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, a compromised immune system, chronic lung disease and/or cancer which could put you at a higher risk from COVID-19.
Additionally, if your Little or their family reports sickness, we encourage you to reschedule your time together.
For Community-Based Matches, we also advise you avoid large gatherings with your Little. For the month of March, and in abundance of caution, BBBS-ETN will suspend all group activities, and we will not be providing tickets to sporting events or other large events. We will continue to monitor April events and be in touch if those are canceled or postponed.
If you are at home, school, or another location with your Little, please follow CDC recommendations noted below and encourage your mentee to do the same:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Monitor your heath more closely than usual for cold or flu symptoms.
• We also recommend you consult your local health department for notices, recommendations, and warnings.
Thank you, as always, for being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and please reach out to our team if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like to speak with me directly, please call 865.243.3879 or email me at BWaugh@TennesseeBig.org.