Recommendations and Resources for Vermont Mentoring Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 16, 2020 COVID-19, MENTOR Vermont

Note: This letter/post was published on March 16. Visit our continually updated COVID-19 Recommendations and Resources page for the most up-to-date information and resources.

Hello Vermont Mentoring Community,

With the closure of Vermont’s schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MENTOR Vermont recommends that all mentoring programs suspend all in-person mentoring for the time being. We realize that this is a different and difficult time for everyone and while the youth served by mentoring programs value and look forward to spending time with their mentors, as a community we need to all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, avoid putting undue strain on our medical system, and protect those who are most vulnerable.

We realize that these school closings and youth losing access to their consistent meetings with their mentors will cause a substantial amount of disruption in the lives of mentees and their families. Below we have compiled a list of alternative options for social contact between mentors and mentees, resources about COVID-19 and how to talk to youth about it, and resources/ideas for supporting families impacted by these closures. We will continue to add to this list as more information becomes available.

Resources

Mentoring While Maintaining Social Distancing

During this confusing time for everyone, and especially youth, it is important that mentors maintain contact (without meeting in person) with their mentees if they are able. Here are some suggestions of alternative ways mentors can interact with their mentees depending on the model of the program they participate in. Mentors, please be sure to check with your program if you aren’t sure of what mediums of communication are approved by your program before using them to communicate with your mentee.

School/Site-Based Programs

  • Send Letters: Mentors can email the program coordinator messages for their mentees and the coordinator can print it out and mail it to the mentee.
  • Conference (3-way) call with mentor, mentee, and coordinator.

Community-Based Programs

  • Matches can maintain consistent contact via
    • Phone or text
    • Messaging apps (Whatsapp, Snapchat, etc.)
    • Social media
    • Video chats
    • Mail letters

Activity ideas:

  • Discuss how the coronavirus is impacting them (see resources below)
  • Plan out activities to do when you are able to meet in-person again
  • Play online games together

Have other ideas that we should add? Email benji@mentorvt.org and we can add to this list.

Information About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Talking With Youth About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Resources for the Families of Mentees

  • Dial 2-1-1 or visit: https://vermont211.org for help connecting with resources
  • Contact your local school district about how they will support free and reduced meals during this time of school closure. (We will update this as information becomes available.)
  • Resources available in languages other than English:

Embracing an Antiracist Approach to Inaccurate Information About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
As our Vermont mentoring community works together to disrupt racist, inaccurate information about the coronavirus (information that is harmful to our mentees and mentors), below are three articles that offer helpful strategies and information.

Please reach out if MENTOR Vermont can support you and your program in any additional way.

Sincerely,
Chad Butt
Executive Director