Updated May 13, 2020

We are pleased to announce that we are lifting the “in person hold” on Community-Based matches. As of today, participants will now be permitted to see each other in-person for outside activities only. This will keep with the provincial regulations, and still allow for you to see your Little Brother or Sister.

When transporting your Little we ask that whenever possible they sit in the backseat so that you are keeping a distance of 6 feet. We ask for both of you to wear masks if you are not able to keep the 6 feet distance.

Please be extra diligent with hand washing, sanitizing your hands, and vehicle before and after seeing your Little.

If you are a volunteer who has any underlying health conditions/immune-compromised, and are not comfortable with seeing your Little just yet, we do understand that.  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. This will also be the case for a child who has any underlying health conditions, and outings will be at the discretion of the parent/guardian. 

Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns, and continue to stay safe and healthy.

March 13, 2020

BBBS SJ Public Statement regarding COVID-19

In response to recent news regarding Coronavirus, Big Brothers Big Sisters would like to share important information with you to promote awareness and protect the health and well-being of our Staff, Volunteers, Mentees, families, and extended community.

Listed below are reliable sources of information on this topic.
https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus.html· Stop the Spread of Germs
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

About coronaviruses
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.

Symptoms of COVID-19
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. Health officials are currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare.

Symptoms have included:
• fever
• cough
• difficulty breathing
• pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

How coronavirus spreads
Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
• respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
• close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
• touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Preventing coronavirus
At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to protect against it. In general, the following advice can help reduce your risk of infection and help prevent the spread of infections:
• wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (minimum 60%) if soap and water are not available
• avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
• avoid close contact with people who are sick;
• practice “social distancing”
• cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
• dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage and wash your hands afterwards
• stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
• Regularly clean high-touch surfaces with household disinfectants or a mix as indicated by sources noted above.

If symptoms develop:
• stay home
• limit contact with others
• contact local public health (*811), and follow their instructions

Masks
If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal. They also need to be changed frequently. However, health care providers may recommend you wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while you are seeking or waiting for care. In this instance, masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control measures. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading you when you cough or sneeze.

The health and safety of our volunteers and our young people is our first priority. Our staff team has been given the proper information from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

At this time, our offices at St. Stephen Middle School and Fundy Middle and High School are closed as well as our office location in Saint John.  Our staff will continue to carry out their work functions from home and can be reached via email or text if that is how you normally communicate with your staff contact. For general inquiries we can be reached via email at brother@nb.aibn.com or through messaging via our Facebook pages. Phone messages can be left at 635-1145 and will be checked regularly.

How parents/guardians can help at home:

STAY HOME!

– Teach your child good cough and hand hygiene etiquette. This includes covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, coughing and sneezing into the inside of the elbow, and discarding used tissues.

– Hands should be washed frequently with soap and water, and handwashing should last for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. If hands are not visibly soiled, hand sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol are also effective.

-Stay informed. You can visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html for the most current updates.

-Encourage virtual match activities via a number of great online platforms and/or connecting via telephone. Watch our social  media pages for ideas or contact your mentoring coordinator.

How Mentors can help:

-Encourage virtual match activities with your Little via a number of great online platforms and/or connecting via telephone. Watch our social  media pages for ideas or contact your mentoring coordinator.

– Contact your Mentoring Coordinator at BBBS for support with Ideas for Match Activities if self-isolating or in quarantine

For Parents and Mentors: There may be feelings of nervousness and uncertainty of what to believe, so share feelings, as well as spending time researching reputable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Website. Here is a link to an article from the Child Mind Institute helping to explain how to talk to children about the Coronavirus for tips: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

Community-Based Bigs/Littles: At this time, we are asking all program participants to put in-person contact on hold. We are doing so in an effort to be responsive to those who are most vulnerable and to do our part in flattening the curve of the spread of this virus. We are encouraging virtual match activities via a number of great online platforms and/or connecting via telephone. Watch our social  media pages for ideas or contact your mentoring coordinator.

School-Based Mentors/Mentees & Group Programs: Postponed at this time, however, our staff will be connecting with volunteers, participants and schools in an effort to support families at this time! http://web1.nbed.nb.ca/sites/ASD-S/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=834

MENTOR Links Program and other Group Activities: At this time, we are cancelling or postponing group outings and activities as a precaution even though the number of expected participants would be within the guidelines of Public Health at this time (under 150 participants). Staff will be connecting with volunteers, participants and schools in an effort to support families at this time!

Upcoming Events:
This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake which has 3 events scheduled for May 2, 13 and 14 is being postponed. New dates will be announced!

We are personally committed to the health and well-being of our BBBS community and we will work diligently to support the wellness of Staff, Volunteers, Mentees, families, and extended community during this time.

As noted above, this is an evolving situation and the above actions and recommendations with regards to programs and operations are subject to change.

 

Thank you,

Debbie Cooper, Board President
Laurie Collins, Executive Director