Guidelines and Procedures for RMFI Field Crews and Volunteers in Response to COVID-19 for the 2021 Season

Guidelines and Procedures for RMFI Field Crews and Volunteers in Response to COVID-19 for the 2021 Season

March 11, 2021 by RMFI

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and procedures for volunteers registered to work in the field with RMFI staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. All procedures outlined in associated documents (RMFI COVID-19 Operating Procedures and COVID-19 Backcountry Operating Procedures) must still be followed with no exceptions.

All RMFI volunteers as well as RMFI staff must remain vigilant in following all CDC guidelines and complying with all government issued orders AT ALL TIMES. This document is subject to change contingent on the latest pandemic information, best practices, and updates to local public health guidelines.

Procedures & Guidelines

Self-Monitoring for Symptoms or Illness:

  • All volunteers are required to monitor themselves at a minimum of 7 days prior to and the morning of their scheduled RMFI volunteer workday to certify that they are symptom free. In accordance with the CDPHE Safer at Home guidelines, we are requiring volunteers to:
    • Take their temperature at home
      • If a volunteer's temperature is at or above 100.4°F on the morning of the scheduled volunteer workday, they are not allowed to attend the workday. Volunteers should notify [email protected] that they are unable to attend the workday.
      • If a volunteer’s temperature is between 99.2°F and 100°F a minimum of 7 days prior to the volunteer workday, that volunteer must monitor their temperature twice a day until their scheduled workday. If their temperature increases above 100°F, they are not allowed to attend the volunteer workday. If their temperature remains between the previously stated range, we ask that volunteers do not attend the workday out of an abundance of caution. 
    • Assess themselves for symptoms
      • If a volunteer has a combination of two of the following symptoms on the morning of the volunteer day, they are not allowed to attend the workday. 
        • Dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, headache, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, runny nose.
      • If symptoms develop during the workday, the volunteer must inform a staff member that they need to leave for the remainder of the day. The volunteer will either be escorted by a RMFI staff member (while remaining at least 6 feet from the volunteer) from the worksite back to their vehicle or the volunteer will walk by themselves back to their vehicle. 
      • Staff will document this occurrence in the Feelings Sheet as well as emailed details of the occurrence to [email protected].

Group Sizes:

  • Volunteer group limits will be set according to the state of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID Status Dial. Additionally, volunteer group limits will be determined on a case by case basis according to project location and objectives, but to never exceed the State restrictions.

Age Requirements:

  • At this time, RMFI does not have any age restriction for volunteers, but will assess engagement on a case by case basis. In addition, if a potential volunteer is part of an at-risk group or age 65+, they are encouraged to continue to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Also, if a volunteer lives with or is in close contact with vulnerable individuals, we ask that they reconsider participating in RMFI activities at this time.

Distance Requirements:

  • Working Restrictions
    • Volunteers are required to maintain a 6-foot distance between all fellow volunteers and RMFI staff members to the greatest extent possible throughout the volunteer workday.
  • Carpooling to the project site is discouraged.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • If a volunteer does not provide their own PPE, they will not be able to participate in the volunteer workday unless otherwise directed by Program Staff (PD, PM, VPC).
  • Volunteers are REQUIRED to provide their own:
    • Mask (respirators, surgical facemasks, DIY face masks, cloth face masks, or buffs)
      • Masks, that cover one's mouth and nose, are required to be worn by volunteers at all times when unable to socially distance.
      • RMFI recommends volunteers to wear a DIY face mask or a buff that is folded a minimum of four times.
    • Leather work gloves
    • Eye protection (protective glasses or sunglasses)

Sanitation & Hygiene:

  • Hand Sanitation:
    • Hand Sanitizer
      • RMFI will supply hand sanitizer, but it is strongly recommended that volunteers bring their own personal hand sanitizer as well.
      • All volunteers are required to use hand sanitizer throughout the day, especially before and after eating lunch, before and after using the bathroom, after touching anything with their bare hands, and after taking off their gloves for any reason. 
    • Hand Washing Station
      • RMFI staff will establish at least 1 temporary hand washing station for the workday.
  • Tools:
    • Volunteers will be assigned a set of tools to use throughout the day.
      • Once assigned to these tools, volunteers will, with their gloves on, disinfect their tools with a wipe provided by the RMFI staff. 
      • At the end of the day, volunteers will again disinfect their assigned tools and return them to the RMFI staff. 
    • If a volunteer needs to use another tool that was not assigned to them, they must sanitize the tool with a sanitizing wipe prior to using it.
  • Hard Hat: 
    • Hard hats will be cleaned by the volunteer prior to and after use with disinfectant wipe and/or spray provided by RMFI. 
  • Gloves:
    • As stated previously, RMFI will not be providing gloves to loan to volunteers at this time. Volunteers are required to bring their own leather work gloves.
    • If a volunteer forgets to bring gloves, RMFI may provide them with a pair of gloves to keep. As supplies are limited, we strongly encourage volunteers to bring their own gloves
    • If a volunteer is wearing nitrile gloves underneath their leather work gloves and desires to take them off during the workday, they are required to follow the guidelines on how to properly remove used gloves.
  • Registration Waivers & Questionnaire:
    • All volunteers are required to register online to reduce the contact between our RMFI staff and volunteers. 
    • However, if a volunteer has a paper registration form, staff will use an abundance of caution while receiving these papers by avoiding touching the volunteer’s hand to retrieve the registration form.
    • Volunteers will be required to sign an additional waiver specifically speaking to risks related to COVID-19 as well as complete a questionnaire online prior to their scheduled volunteer workday to answer the following questions:
      • “1. Do you have any new or worsening onset of any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, chills, body aches, fatigue, headache, loss of taste or smell, eye drainage, congestion?”
      • “2. Have you been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has symptoms compatible with COVID-19?”
      • “3. Are any members of your household healthcare workers or do they work with patients who potentially have COVID-19?”
      • If a volunteer responds “YES” to any question, they are not permitted to participate in our volunteer day.
      • Additionally, RMFI encourages members of a vulnerable population, at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, to please reconsider their participation.

Food & Water:

  • Food
    • RMFI largely discourages sharing of food among participants. For most community workdays, all volunteers must provide their own lunch and snacks for the day. 
    • However, some programming will require the distribution of food and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Water
    • Volunteers are highly encouraged to bring more water than normally would bring to workdays to avoid the use of communal water jugs.
    • However, RMFI staff will provide a water jug for additional water supply. 
    • While using a water jug, RMFI staff and/or volunteers are required to apply hand sanitizer or wash hands before touching water jugs or must wear nitrile gloves. Volunteers must assure that they do not touch their water bottle opening to the spicket of the water jug. 

Injury & First Aid Response:

  • If a volunteer is injured on a workday, a staff member will address the injury if the scene is safe for them to do so. RMFI staff will wear nitrile gloves, a face mask, and additional PPE to protect themselves from the injured volunteer. Plastic face shields are available in each RMFI vehicle for use at staff discretion. The volunteer will continue to wear their face mask and gloves.
  • RMFI staff should adhere to safety protocols detailed in RMFI’s Safety Policy.
  • Communicate with the injured patient from a distance to determine the extent of their injury. Staff should administer aid to the injured volunteer from a safe distance, placing bandages and other medical supplies within reach of the patient to allow self application and treatment whenever possible. 
  • No more than two RMFI staff should treat the patient at one time. There will be two staff each volunteer day designated to be safety officials. 

Overnight Camping Project Guidelines:

  • Refer to the Camping Guidelines And Procedures for RMFI Field Crews in Response to COVID-19 document for details regarding camping events involving volunteers. 

If a volunteer does not follow any of the above procedures and guidelines, the RMFI Staff reserves the right to ask that volunteer to leave for the remainder of the workday. If the volunteer refuses to leave, RMFI staff can and should call 911. Any significant lapses in safety procedures should be reported to the Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator.

Group of volunteers with masks