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The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is creating an evolving situation with varied impacts around the world and across the states.

  • Caring for our communities and ourselves: As we all practice physical distancing to benefit physical health, we need to be aware of its effects on mental health. The social aspects of our lives, from the escapes of concerts and movies to the simple opportunities to chat around the water cooler, have been upended. So, it is important to practice self-care as individuals and as small groups during this time. Encourage each other to hold virtual staff meetings by video conference, rather than just by phone. Getting to see other faces is just a small gesture, but it is beneficial. The CDC has resources for managing anxiety and stress. And for anyone with children, the National Association of School Psychologists shares a resource on talking to kids about COVID-19.

  • Keeping equity front and center. You may not all have the same access to equipment or a quiet space in your home, so be sure you are doing what you can for your team. COVID-19 resource roundup - Equal Rights Advocates Racial equity should be at the core of coronavirus responses. Center Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    The answer will be different for every workplace based on multiple factors. The first factor, of course, depends on your mission. If your mission has been "essential" and you've remained on-site, what changes will you need to make to accommodate (potentially increased) clientele and any returning paid or volunteer staff? And for those who have continued to work on-site, what additional support do your staff need in terms of time off, longer breaks, or mental health services?

    For those reopening our doors, we'll need to consider factors such as the size and layout of the workspace - for individual employees, clients, and visitors - in common spaces and at workstations. Other factors depend on your geographic location, the spread of COVID-19 in your area, and any public health orders by government authorities. And throughout, we all need to consider not the quickest or easiest ways to do something, but rather seek the highest common denominator of what's needed by our staff members and the people we serve who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus or developing severe complications. A good working mantra could be, "Safety of others is our highest priority."

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