Though no one can know the exact details of what COVID-19 will look like next Spring and Summer, we know that theSWITCH student trips will need to be a little bit different.
As we formulate our plan for Spring and Summer 2021 trips, we are carefully looking at everything through the primary lens of keeping both local communities and volunteers safe, while providing meaningful and life-changing opportunities for cross-cultural service and mutual impact for all involved. We believe it’s not only possible but that it will be worth the effort more than ever before!
Our Ministry Trip Safety Plan will be informed and abide by all federal, state, and local health guidelines, including ongoing updates from the CDC. Much is unknown about what risk the coronavirus will pose this next year, so we’re setting a baseline as if those trips were taking place right now.
Below are a number of things to be aware of:
Due to the nature of traveling together, sleeping in the same rooms, and working alongside each other at worksites, we understand it is not reasonable to enforce social distancing measures among the members of each mission trip group when solely interacting with each other. For this reason, we are asking all participants to be extra thoughtful in their social distancing efforts, mask wearing and hand washing during the 2 weeks leading up to the trip.
Participants will not be allowed to attend if they are currently sick with COVID-19 symptoms, if they have had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 10 days or if they have been around someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. If a participant experiences COVID-19 symptoms leading up to the trip and believes their symptoms are not COVID-related, they would need to have a negative COVID-19 test and be cleared by a medical professional before being able to arrive on site. We also recommend that anyone with an underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19 stay at home for their safety.
COVID-19 symptoms during trip
Any participant experiencing COVID-19 symptoms during a trip will be quarantined and evaluated. If our lodging facilities are not adequate for long term quarantining, a sick participant may need to be sent home in order to receive proper care. If we determine there is significant risk to the larger group, it is possible that more participants may need to go home if they have been in close contact with the sick person.
It’s highly likely that mask-wearing and social distancing will happen on our site. Plan on wearing masks for indoor activities (besides eating and sleeping) and during any outdoor activity when social distancing is not possible. As we continue to monitor the recommendations of the CDC and the COVID-19 status in our communities, we may determine to tighten or loosen our mask wearing and social distancing requirements on site.
We all also greatly limit our involvement with other groups.
We will do everything we can to ensure adequate distancing in sleeping spaces for our overnight stays, such as additional rooms or alternative housing.
Though the relational aspect of missions has always been the primary focus of our trips, and will still be incredibly important, our trips will be primarily work-project based.