To our participants and their families and loved ones, we are taking the situation around COVID-19, its variants very seriously. This situation has required a level of flexibility and vigilance from all of us. As we enter into communities with a desire to learn and serve, we also must remain sensitive to their needs. The communities where we serve have been some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and suffered the majority of the losses here in DC. In our commitment to being good, respectful visitors, we will abide by the following policies.
We also know many of us come in with various experiences of the past two years, whether having experienced sickness ourselves, having lost loved ones to COVID, or having heightened anxiety because of the virus. We anticipate being sensitive to these feelings and experiences during the plunge. We will use a color-coded system to help other participants know your comfort level with touch or distancing (such as red means-please keep your distance, yellow-more hesitance, and green-feeling comfortable).
LIMITED SPACE TO DECREASE EXPOSURE:
The plunge will have space for up to 30 students and staff each week for the 2022 year.
Most of our community partners require volunteers at their sites to be fully vaccinated. To honor our partners and their communities, we will be requiring participants to be fully vaccinated as well. (fully vaccinated defined as 2 weeks past the completion of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine or two-dose Moderna or Phizer vaccine). We will be asking participants to disclose vaccine status, this will be done in a HIPPA safe, secure, and private way.
If this concerns you, please reach out to your staff or our leaders and we can talk more about it.
We will do temperature checks each morning and ask you to self-monitor for symptoms. If someone develops symptoms we will provide a space for quarantine until you are able to arrange transportation home.
Regardless of vaccination status, we will be wearing masks indoors during the plunge program except when eating or sleeping. Please plan to bring several masks for the duration of the week. Some of our service sites prefer surgical masks over cloth masks if you are able to bring 1-2 of those along.
All people participating in food preparation, serving, or lunch-packing, will use masks and gloves. We will provide single-serve snacks instead of large bags. A team of students or staff will serve students for meals so we are not sharing serving utensils. The space we use for meals is large enough to allow for significant distancing. We will have ample hand sanitizer (But feel free to bring your own too).
Students will be housed in a church. There will be some space for distancing, likely two students per small room and one larger room with space to spread out. Students are housed with students of the same gender (usually students of one gender use the basement floor/room for sleeping, and we house all other students in the 5 2-person rooms on another floor).
We will also allow students to "commute" to the plunge if desired-- whether renting their own local airbnb or staying on campus and driving in each day. Note, DC traffic may make this option more difficult but may be a good option if you feel more comfortable having private, completely separate space. However, we will not be able to offer a discount on the plunge cost for anyone staying somewhere else-- our meeting space costs remain the same whether students stay on-site or not.
Students arrive to the plunge via their own cars and we offer parking nearby. Students are responsible for the cost of transportation to and from the plunge program. We include bus fare for the duration of the program in the program fee. For this year, we will offer students the option to drive to their own service sites because of potential COVID concerns (whether alone in a vehicle if they provide their own or as a group with other student participants). Masks are required on all DC public transportation and we believe that to be a safe option, but we are allowing participants to make their own decision if desired.
During the plunge spring break program we partner with various churches, ministries, and non-profits in DC. We are partnering only with sites that abide by COVID protocols. Our host church operates with required masks and health screenings. Most of our service sites require volunteers to be fully vaccinated. All our service sites require masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.