COVID-19 Recommendations and Resources

COVID-19 Update on In-Person Mentoring:

In response to the Vermont Department of Health’s updated guidelines on multihousehold gatherings on March 12, 2021, MENTOR Vermont is lifting its recommendation that all youth mentoring programs in Vermont pause all in-person mentoring. We have created an updated COVID Guidance document that you can access here to help your program decide if, when, and how to resume in-person mentoring.

Click HERE for information about the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Click HERE to view an overview of MENTOR Vermont’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About This Page:
MENTOR Vermont realizes that this is an uncertain time for everyone.

Below we have compiled recommendations for safe and effective mentoring during the pandemic, resources about COVID-19 and how to talk to youth about it, and resources/ideas for supporting families. We will continue to add to this list as more information becomes available.

1: Mentoring During the Pandemic

On March 15, 2021, in response to the Vermont Department of Health’s updated guidelines on multihousehold gatherings on March 12th, MENTOR Vermont is lifting its recommendation that all youth mentoring programs in Vermont pause all in-person mentoring.

Learn more about considerations your program may want to make when deciding if, when, and how to resume in-person mentoring by reviewing our updated Considerations for Mentoring During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While some mentoring programs will resume in-person mentoring again this spring based on the latest multihousehold health guidance, we realize that this will look very different from program to program, and many programs may only be able to operate remotely during the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Additionally, when/if programs allow for physically distanced in-person mentoring to resume, they should also continue offering remote mentoring as well. MENTOR Vermont strongly recommends that in-person mentoring only resume if the mentor, mentee, and the mentee’s family all discuss how to do so safely with the program coordinator and opt in to mentoring happening in person again. Please refer to our list of recommendations and don’t hesitate to reach out for support as you determine how mentoring will look for your program in the months to come.

During this confusing time for everyone, and especially youth, it is important that mentors maintain contact (even if they can’t meet 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
  • Read the same book and discuss it when you talk each week
  • Watch a movie at the same time and discuss
  • Send a photo to each other each day

ECHO at Home Learning
The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain continues to offer opportunities for mentors and mentees to play and learn! From engineering challenges to Science & Stories and ECHO-themed coloring pages, the new ECHO at Home webpage has what you need for inspired science learning at home. Activities use simple materials commonly found around the house and encourage youth to safely explore outside. Check back often and have fun learning! Video learning sessions are updated weekly.

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

We also encourage you to visit MENTOR National’s Coronavirus Tips and Resources for Mentoring page.

And download the Search Institute’s Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis checklist for 19 ways to connect with young people during this time.

2: Information About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Vermont Department of Health Resource Page:

University of Vermont Health Network Resource Page:

Office of Governor Phil Scott: Press releases from the governor’s office, including details on the state’s efforts to address COVID-19.

Statewide Media Feeds with COVID-19 News:

3: Talking With Youth About COVID-19
4: Resources for the Families of Mentees

Latest Information on the COVID-19 Vaccine (updated April 1, 2021):
As we continue to progress toward getting more of people in Vermont vaccinated, MENTOR Vermont would like to call attention to a few important updates and resources around the roll-out of the vaccine. We realize that the situation is rapidly changing, and we encourage you to visit the Vermont Department of Health vaccine page for the latest information.

1. Based on the current plan released by Governor Scott, all Vermonters 16 and older will become eligible to sign up for the vaccine on April 19. Other age groups are or will be eligible sooner:
60+        Currently eligible           
50+        Currently eligible                          
40+        April 5                  
30+        April 12

2. According to the Vermont Department of Health, English language learners, people from immigrant/refugee communities, and people who identify as BIPOC can have all members of their household (16+) get vaccinated at the same time. New eligibility guidelines also state that if you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, you are now currently eligible to sign up to get a vaccine.

For more information about community-specific clinics for people who are English language learners or immigrant/refugee community members, call the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) at (802) 985-3106 or the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of Vermont (USCRI VT) at (802) 655-1963 to register.

BIPOC household focused clinics led by the Windham County NAACP in Brattleboro, Bennington and Rutland and the Racial Justice Alliance and the Vermont Professionals of Color Network in Burlington will continue for eligible BIPOC members and their households who would prefer to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic that is dedicated to this community. Visit the BIPOC Household Focused Clinics section of the Department of Health vaccine page or contact one of the agencies listed above for the most up-to-date information on how to apply.

For the most up-to-date information about the vaccine, who qualifies to receive it, and how/where to sign up, visit: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine.

Other Resources:

5: Addressing Inaccurate/Racist Information

Stop AAPI HateMarch 2021 Update:
MENTOR Vermont condemns the murders of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women in Georgia in March 2021, and the thousands of other hate crimes targeting the AAPI community that have taken place across the country since the start of the pandemic. We join MENTOR National and our youth mentoring colleagues across the country in standing in solidarity with those standing up against AAPI Hate and reiterating the impact of mentoring relationships in helping to create a more just and equitable world.

We encourage you to read and share Stop AAPI Hate’s full report on the rise of AAPI hate crimes since last March by visiting www.StopAAPIHate.org.

For other resources and trainings around the history of Anti-Asian racism in America, we encourage you to visit Launch Learning’s resource page.

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.

6: Financial Resources for Programs

As new COVID-19 funding opportunities for mentoring programs arise, we will list them here!

Current Funding:

  • 2021 VT Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Grant: Thanks to an additional $50,000 grant through the VT COVID-19 Response Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, MENTOR Vermont is able to offer a new quick response funding opportunity for current 2020-2021 Vermont Mentoring Grants awardees. Proposals are due by March 15th, and full details and the application can be found on our funding page for the grants.
  • Second Draw/2021 Federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP): A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower: 
    • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
    • Has no more than 300 employees (current focus as of 2/24 is on borrowers with 20 employees or fewer); and
    • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020

    If your mentoring agency is considering applying, you should reach out to your lending institution ASAP to start the process. Full details about the Second Draw PPP loan program can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program/second-draw-ppp-loans.

Past Funding:

 

7: COVID-19 Survey for Mentors and Mentees

The 2021 Vermont COVID-19 Response Mentoring Surveys are now available!

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

For 2021, the revised COVID-19 Response Surveys will replace the Vermont Mentoring Surveys of years past.

During the summer of 2020, through MENTOR Vermont’s federal grant from OJJDP, MENTOR Vermont was able to work with Amy Syvertsen, director of applied qualitative research at the Search Institute and member of the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board, to develop and implement COVID-19 Response Mentoring Surveys for mentors and mentees. The four OJJDP COVID-19 Response subgrantees administered this survey to mentors and mentees before the start of the 2020-2021 school-year. Based on the data that was gathered and the continuation of the pandemic through the 2020-2021 school-year, MENTOR Vermont decided to once again work with Amy Syvertsen to shorten and revise the original COVID-19 Response Surveys and provide them to the larger Vermont mentoring program community during the 2020-2021 grant year in lieu of the previous years’ Vermont Mentoring Surveys.

All Vermont Mentoring Grantees are required to conduct the survey in full. Unlike in past years when MENTOR Vermont required programs to conduct the full Vermont Mentoring Surveys, or the Core Survey questions in addition to a program’s own survey, programs that received a Vermont Mentoring Grant are required to run the full 2021 COVID-19 Response Surveys. If a program still wishes to conduct their own surveys beyond the 2021 COVID-19 Response Surveys, they are welcome to do so. 

Below you will find a toolkit, sample surveys, and some common questions answered. Please contact MENTOR Vermont if you are interested in utilizing the surveys for your program.

THE COVID-19 RESPONSE MENTORING SURVEY TOOLKIT

The toolkit is designed to help mentoring programs implement the surveys in a uniform and valid manner.

Click Here to Access the 2021 COVID-19 Response Survey Toolkit!
Click Here to Access the Detailed Survey Recommendations Guide!

SAMPLE SURVEYS

Please do not use these links to administer the surveys for your program. Each program that contacts MENTOR Vermont indicating it wants to participate will receive a unique set of URLs for its surveys.

Survey Links:

If you are interested in utilizing custom SurveyMonkey links to administer the survey for your program, contact benji@mentorvt.org to receive your links. A hard copy version of the mentee survey will also be made available upon request (click here to download a sample). You can also access an example file that shows the questions and layout of the mentor SurveyMonkey survey (click here to download the file).