Responding to COVID-19
Based on the most recent assessment of these criteria, we are now targeting a reopening date of April 30th, 2021. In the meantime, Global Brigades chapters are encouraged to join our new TeleBrigades programs and to continue preparing for 2021 in-person brigades.
Now more than ever, our community partners count on your continued support to ensure we can empower them to meet their health and economic goals. We want you to know that because of your past and current support, we continue to look toward our future with great hope and optimism knowing that our work with community partners will overcome these obstacles. Global Brigades has persisted through many global crises over our history and persevered by creating innovative solutions to weather unanticipated events. In addition to now offering TeleBrigades for volunteers, read more below on how our teams are adapting programs to best position our partner countries for continued impact regardless of in-person participation of volunteers.
For additional information, please feel free to review the following resources:
Frequently Asked Questions
We appreciate the trust you place in our teams, both nationally and internationally when you participate in our programs. Please review the following frequently asked questions for more information about how we are responding to Covid-19 and how we are preparing for the re-opening of in-person brigade operations. If you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is GB's assessment process in deciding when to resume operations in a country?
Global Brigades has developed stringent criteria which need to be met prior to considering the resumption of brigade operations in a particular country. These criteria were developed by a committee made up of Global Brigades’ leadership team and in-country executive directors and operations staff, using a variety of resources including travel guidelines from the State Department and local US consulates as well as in-country business reopening guidelines and guidelines imposed by local governmental bodies. These criteria include but are not limited to:
- Lifting of entry restrictions for international travellers;
- Lifting of any mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival for international travellers;
- Resumption of normal daily international flights from major carriers;
- Local lockdown measures and restrictions on movement have been lifted;
- COVID testing is widely available, without restrictions;
- There is a sustained drop in local ICU and hospital admissions;
- Normal tourist activities have resumed locally and without restriction.
When in person volunteer operations resume, what additional precautions will be taken in light of Covid-19 to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and community members?
Global Brigades is taking a number of precautions to mitigate the risks of COVID transmission on its brigade programs, including but not limited to the following:
- Operating all in-country programs at 50% capacity and observing these capacity limits for all transportation and lodging.
- Periodic COVID testing and health screening of all brigade staff.
- Imposing mandatory mask/face covering requirements for all brigade participants, staff and community members.
- Observing social distancing measures at all brigade sites, including lodging facilities and community sites.
- Requiring all participants to take a COVID test within at least 72 hours of departure and provide Global Brigades with proof of a negative test. Should a participant test positive they will be unable to participate as scheduled.
- All participants will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire prior to departure and on each day of the program.
- Daily temperature checks.
- Staggered meal service to limit capacity.
- Daily sanitation of all vehicles and lodging facilities.
- Enhanced precautions on brigade days: health screening of community members, sanitization of community sites, social distancing guidelines, and mandatory use of PPE.
When in person volunteer operations resume, will I need to obtain a negative Covid test prior to my participation?
Yes, prior to departure all participants will need to obtain proof of a negative COVID test which has been administered within 72 hours of departure for your brigade. For those individuals who are participating on a brigade to Panama, you are required to obtain proof of a negative COVID test administered within 48 hours of departure in order to enter the country. In Ghana, you are also required to take a mandatory quick COVID test on arrival at the airport.
When in person volunteer operations resume, will I need to quarantine upon entry to the country (Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Greece, Ghana)?
No, provided you have obtained proof of a negative COVID test which has been administered at least 72 hours prior to your departure (48 hours for Panama), and you do not present with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 upon arrival.
In the event that you arrive at the airport with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and within the last 14 days have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or traveled to a country with confirmed cases, you may be isolated in a medical centre or at a designated hotel for monitoring by the Ministry of Health for up to 14 days.
For Canadian Volunteers: Per the requirements established by the Government of Canada, all individuals returning to Canada are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon re-entry into the country.
What is the protocol if a volunteer presents symptoms of Covid while on brigade? What insurance coverage do they have?
In the event that a volunteer presents symptoms of COVID-19 while on the brigade, they will be separated and quarantined at the lodging facility and monitored by a local staff health care professional, while a COVID test can be arranged for. Upon consultation by a local physician if the symptoms are mild, the volunteer will remain quarantined and under observation at their lodging facility. If the symptoms are serious and the volunteer is at higher risk of complication due to pre-existing conditions, they will be transported to a medical facility in the capital city as recommended by their treating physician. The duration of quarantine will last between 10-14 days depending on severity and the recommendations of the medical team.
All volunteer participants are automatically covered under a base travel insurance policy for the duration of their program, and have the option to upgrade the policy limits for an additional fee. The base policy covers medical expenses for emergency medical treatment related to a diagnosis of COVID-19. The policy does not cover any expenses due to evacuation, trip interruption, or trip cancellation due to COVID-19, nor does it cover expenses incurred due to mandatory quarantine. Global Brigades is currently in the process of securing coverage for volunteers for an additional fee, which would cover trip cancellation and trip interruption claims filed due to COVID-19, including costs incurred during a quarantine period.
In the meantime, all volunteers looking to secure additional travel insurance coverage are encouraged to do so through third-party providers such as Square Mouth.
What is the protocol if a community member presents symptoms of Covid while we are on brigade?
All community members at the brigade site will be pre-screened for COVID-19. Any individuals which present symptoms or have had recent contact with individuals who have tested positive, will not be able to enter the brigade site.
Is GB going to provide PPE for volunteers and community members? Do we need to bring masks/equipment with us?
Yes, Global Brigades will have PPE (masks and gloves) available for volunteer participants as well as community members. However to ensure these resources are plentiful we would also encourage all volunteers to bring their own supplies of PPE, particularly masks.
What happens if the postponement period is extended and my brigade is postponed again due to Covid?
In the case that Global Brigades determines that criteria have still not been met in order to restart in-person brigade programs, your Program Associate will work closely with you to provide options on rescheduling your brigade, either to an in-person brigade at a later date or switching to a virtual brigade program (TeleBrigade). In the case that your chapter had previously been issued flight tickets, your Travel Team Member will work with you to request a flight credit or flight voucher from the airline, which can be applied towards purchasing a flight for a future brigade. Flight credits and vouchers are subject to policies and regulations as established by the airline.