Effective August 10, 2021 – Lifting of Mask Mandate by Public Health

As of today, mask wearing inside public spaces is no longer mandatory as per Public Health regulations.  At this time, we continue to strongly encourage that anyone visiting the BBBS office wear a mask. We respect everyone’s right to choose if mask-wearing is something they would like to continue and we encourage everyone to practice kindness and be respectful of the choices of others at this time. It is clear that a number of business, as well as many facilities for young people, are choosing to still require masks, so please be aware, before you go places with your Big/Little, of what their policies are.  If physical distancing cannot be maintained for in person meetings or trainings at our office, masks will be required.

Here are some recommendations for our matches at this time:

  • Continue to wear masks if you cannot avoid close contact with others, or are in crowded spaces.
  • If you are feeling unwell it is best to reschedule your match outing.
  • Not everyone has been vaccinated and young people under the age of 12 have not yet been able to receive vaccinations. Please keep this in mind when making decisions about when and where masks could be worn.
  • Safety is always our top priority, so we want to ensure everyone continues meeting in a way they feel is safe and comfortable for them. We encourage you to discuss mask wearing with your match and to come to an agreement on where and when/if you all feel it would be appropriate to continue wearing masks.
  • If one person in a match feels uncomfortable not wearing a mask and would like to continue wearing it on outings, we strongly encourage the other person in the match to be kind and wear their mask as well. This will show respect for their decision and make them feel more comfortable.

We will continue to follow public health guidance and will be sure to update you all should this recommendation change.

If you have any questions about mask-wearing or anything else related to your match, please contact your caseworker at 368-5437.

 

Effective March 27, 2021 – Alert Level 2

Agency Office

Our office is open by appointment. You can reach us by calling 709-368-5437, emailing your caseworker or any staff member, or through private message via our agency Facebook page. Masks are mandatory.

Guidelines for Community-Based Matches

We are pleased to announce that we are lifting the hold on “in-person” meetings for existing Community-Based matches. Please review the guidelines provided to you through email. A review of these guidelines can be seen below.

  • Distancing will still be a very important part of our “new normal” as it has been for a year now, and hand washing/sanitizing remains extremely important. Matches should be prepared with masks and access to soap & water or sanitizer when meeting. If you haven’t picked up a BBBS branded face mask, please drop by our office.
  • In Level 2, Dr. Fitzgerald has recommended everyone have a “Steady 20” group of 20 close contacts. This is something you will need to discuss with your Big/Little and their family to decide if you will resume meeting at this time. The choice to do so is entirely up to you, and some of you may not feel this is the right time for you. We ask that you please let us know if this is the case, so we can make a note and continue to support your match virtually.
  • BBBS encourages outdoor activities whenever possible. The weather is getting better now, and the options for outside activities will increase greatly in the coming weeks and months. We recommend all matches try to do as many of your match outings outside as possible.
  • When distance of six feet cannot be maintained, it is very important that you wear a mask, as recommended by the Department of Public Health, this is particularly true in public indoor spaces, where mask-wearing is still mandatory. If you are in a private indoor space, such as the home of the volunteer, we recommend that masks be worn inside if physical distance cannot be maintained. (eg. Baking cookies makes it challenging to remain apart).
  • When travelling in a vehicle, BBBS recommends wearing a mask and that young people should be seated in the back (diagonally from the driver, placing as much distance as possible between them and another person).

If you have any questions, please contact your caseworker or the agency to discuss. Stay safe!

Effective March 13, 2021 – Alert Level 4

Agency Office

Our office will remain closed to the general public. Staff will continue to work and are available. You can reach us by calling our office number 709-368-5437, emailing your caseworker or any staff member, or through private message via our agency Facebook page.

Mentoring Programs

All in-person contact between matches is on hold during Alert Level 4. There should be no in-person meetings during this time.  We will advise you when in-person meetings may resume. We are encouraging you to continue to maintain contact in your match through telephone, text message, email and the use of face time platforms to provide support and continue to build your friendship. Connection is more important now than ever before.

As always, the safety of our matches is top priority. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. Remember, your caseworker is here to support you. Please reach out if you are struggling or just want to talk.

February 13, 2021

Big Brothers Big Sisters takes the health and well-being of clients, volunteers, staff and stakeholders very seriously. As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, once again now more than it has in recent months,  we are making some adjustments to ensure the safety of all involved. We have all become very familiar with Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald and we are sure everyone is doing their part to ensure we all follow directives from her and her team. We are no exception and are taking government and public health recommendations very seriously. We will continue to provide our regular support to all families and stay in line with all BBBS of Canada standards and we will continue to closely monitor the situation and update you all as things change. Please visit the government’s Covid 19 website to get the most up to date public health information: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/ .

Effective February 13, 2021:

Agency Office

Our office will be closed to the general public until further notice. Staff will continue to work remotely and are available. You can reach us by calling our office number 709-368-5437 and leaving a voicemail, emailing your caseworker or any staff member, or through private message via our agency Facebook page.

Mentoring Programs

All in-person contact between matches is on hold until further notice. There should be no in-person meetings during this time.  We will advise you when in-person meetings may resume. BBBS Staff have reached out to all families and volunteers through email/text and phone to provide the expectations for matches in Alert Level 5. We are encouraging you to continue to maintain contact in your match through telephone, text message, email and the use of face time platforms to provide support and continue to build your friendship. Connection is more important now than ever before.

As always, the safety of our matches is top priority. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. Remember, your caseworker is here to support you. Please reach out if you are struggling or just want to talk.

August 24, 2020

Mandatory Mask Requirements

Effective today, August 24, masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. Any persons age 5 or older entering the BBBS office located in The Village Shopping Centre, are required to wear a mask. If you do not have a mask with you, a disposable mask will be provided. The mask must be worn for your entire visit.

There are some exceptions for people with physical conditions or mental health conditions. For complete information on the exceptions, please visit the following guidelines.

Special Measures Order for Masks

June 23, 2020

Guidelines for Community-Based Matches

We are pleased to announce that we are lifting the hold on “in-person” meetings for existing Community-Based matches. Please review the guidelines below for details.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING – LOCATION OF MATCH ACTIVITIES

As of today, we recommend that match meetings take place in outdoor spaces where appropriate physical distancing can be maintained (keeping at least 6 feet away from other people) and where there is adequate ventilation.  There are a lot of activities you can do outside together while maintaining your physical distance.

It will be important to remember the following if you choose to engage in face-to-face meetings:

  • Avoid crowded places (gatherings on a beach, busy parks, sporting events, large group activities) where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Avoid close greetings (eg. hugs, handshakes) We know you’ve missed seeing each other in person but it’s important to follow public health guidelines
  • Many places are operating on limited hours or may remain physically closed except for drive thru or curbside pick-up, please note that bathrooms/hand-washing facilities may not be readily available to the public at this time and plan your activities accordingly
  • Sanitize anything you take on your match activity before you leave and after you return
  • Resuming face-to-face meetings at this time is optional and not a requirement or expectation. If you are not ready to resume, please discuss with your caseworker.

TRANSPORTATION

If outings require Bigs to transport Littles the following guidelines must be followed.

  • The Little, regardless of age, must sit in the backseat on the passenger side (which is diagonal to the driver).
  • We ask for both of you to wear masks or a face covering while in the vehicle (BBBS can provide disposable masks if needed. Contact caseworker for details)
  • Bigs, please be extra diligent with hand washing, sanitizing your hands and your vehicle before and after seeing your Little.
  • Littles should also practice hand-washing/sanitization before & after travelling in their Bigs’ vehicle.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES TO FOLLOW

  • If you are a person who has any underlying health conditions or is considered immunocompromised, and are not comfortable with seeing your Big/Little just yet, we completely understand. Please connect with us and we will be sure that everyone is aware of the situation and you can continue to stay in contact virtually for the time being.
  • As always, outings will be at the discretion of the parent/guardian.

We know this has been a long time without In-person contact and appreciate the effort involved in meeting virtually or by phone and text. We look forward to hearing about your experiences both while your matches were suspended and now that you will have the opportunity to meet in-person once again.

Thank you all for your patience and respect for the safety of one another during this very difficult time. Now have fun!

_____________________________________________________

Public health measures which have proven to be effective include:

  • Stay informed, be prepared, and follow public health advice
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water
  • Do not touch your face
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Maintain physical distancing
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when you are in public and unable to maintain physical distancing
  • Increase cleanliness and ventilation of public spaces and worksites
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with others
  • Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding. Please reach out if you have any questions and please continue to follow public health measures for the safety of yourself and everyone around you.

For the most up to date information about Alert Level 2 visit: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/alert-system/alert-level-2/

March 17, 2020 (updated March 19)

As you know we are in unprecedented times right now in here in Newfoundland & Labrador and across the globe.  Big Brothers Big Sisters takes the health and well being of clients, volunteers, staff and stakeholders serious. As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact our lives, we are making some adjustments to ensure the safety of all involved. We will follow directives from federal, provincial and local governments. https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/  We will take direction from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada following all standards and protocols. We are closely monitoring the situation and this could change at anytime.

Effective immediately:

WORK REMOTE IN PLACE
Our office at 430 Topsail Road located in the Village Shopping Centre will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our staff will be working remotely and available during business hours by phone or email. You can find staff contact information on our website:

https://newfoundland.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/contact-us/

MENTORING PROGRAMS

All programs will be put on hold until further notice. This includes the Community-Based Program (Bigs and Littles) as well as our site-based programs (In-School Mentoring, Go Girls, Game On and FUSE). Staff will be in contact with all volunteers and families to assess needs. Our volunteer Bigs are encouraged to continue to maintain contact with their Littles through telephone, text message, email and the use of face time/skype to provide support. There should be no in-person meetings during this time.

We will continue to provide our regular support to all families and stay in line with all BBBS of Canada standards. Staff may be working remotely but can be reached by calling 709-368-5437 or through their email https://newfoundland.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/contact-us/. We are also available through social media @BBBSEasternNL.

PROGRAM ENROLMENT AND TRAINING

We continue to accept inquiries for young people and volunteers and encourage you to inquire through our website. If you are currently going through the enrolment process for any program, please connect with the staff person who enrolled you for more information.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Fundraising events are vital to our organization and are the fuel that allow us to support young people and their families. Given the current situation, we have decided to delay our largest annual fundraiser ‘Bowl for Kids Sake’.  Our rescheduled date is being carefully considered and we will update you as soon as a decision is made.  We encourage our registered teams to continue to fundraise and use our online platform https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/big-brothers-and-sisters-of-eastern-newfoundland/p2p/bfks2020/.

We welcome new teams, sponsors and donors as we continue to plan for this event in the coming months.

GOING FORWARD
BBBS is committed to supporting our matches throughout this unprecedented time. Our staff are available via phone call, email or video conference. We encourage you to reach out when needed and we commit to ongoing communication and updates. Know that together, we’ll support each other and the young people who need us most.

Please feel free to reach out if you have further questions or concerns.

Kelly Leach, Executive Director

kelly.leach@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca