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Many of our Bigs and Littles have found creative ways to meet virtually and spend time together to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, you have been able to maintain a meaningful relationship with each other. Great job!!
Many of you have also been requesting approval to meet in-person. We all recognize the many mental health and other positive benefits of such in-person meetings when done safely. Resuming in-person meetings is a personal and important decision between each Big, Little, and the parent/legal guardian of the Little. While there is never any guarantee that you will not be infected with the virus every time you step out of your home, as we all know there are reasonable precautions we can take that will reduce that risk. Accordingly, when a Big/Little match make this decision to meet in person, here are the steps you (and everyone) are responsible for following:
- Notify Your Match Support Specialist. Both the Big and the parent/legal guardian of the Little must notify their Match Support Specialist at our agency prior to their first outing, so we can document your decision and confirm that the parent/guardian, Little and Big are indeed all comfortable with the Big and Little meeting in-person;
- Always Follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines.
- Your activities must only take place outside or at a location following CDC guidelines.
- You must refrain from physical contact (no hugging, high fives, etc.).
- You must wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer if you are unable to wash your hands.
- You must avoid touching your face.
- You must wear a mask when meeting unless you are at least 6 feet apart from one another; Big Brothers Big Sisters have masks available for you.
- You must stay 6 feet or more apart from one another when possible, and
- If either of you are in a high-risk group for the COVID-19 virus (e.g., either of you have underlying health issues), you should continue to only meet virtually until this pandemic is behind us.
- Only the Big & Little Can Participate. The activity is to include only the Big and Little (i.e., no friends or other family members).
- Transporting Littles. Bigs transporting their Little need to maintain as much distance as possible in the vehicle (i.e., all Littles, regardless of age should sit in the backseat of the vehicle and wear a mask). As an alternative, the Big can drive to the Little’s home and go for a walk, play in the yard, bring lunch and have a picnic at a neighborhood park, or the Little’s family may provide transportation to and from an activity if the activity is being held in a public setting;
- COVID-19 Symptoms. If you have met in person and develop any symptoms such as a fever (even low-grade) or a member of either of your households do, please report this to your Match Support Specialist as soon as possible and discontinue any further outings. If you have been exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus, do not meet for at least two to three weeks.
- No Requirement to Meet In-Person. Just to be clear, we are NOT requiring matches to meet in-person. You may still meet only virtually.
Thank you so much for continuing to be such a vital part of Big Brothers Big Sisters and our important mission. If you have any questions, we are here for you! Please reach out to us via your Match Support Specialist here at our agency. Please stay safe and healthy…. we need you!
Very truly yours,
Stephen A. Koch
President & CEO