DWB Covid-19 Response and Approach: Keeping our Communities Safe

Update for colleagues, partners and beneficiaries – August 2021

From the very start of the pandemic, DWB has put the safety and wellbeing of the organisation and community as our top priority.

The rules around Covid-19 and the law changed from 19th July, and again from 16th August. 

Despite the easing of many legal restrictions, which means

  • there is no legal requirement to wear a face covering in England (19th July),
  • double-vaccinated people do not have to isolate if they come in to contact with some who has tested positive for Covid (16th Aug),

national and local government still expects and recommends that people to continue to wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces and DWB will continue to ask staff and beneficiaries to stay at home if they have recently developed symptoms, tested positive or identified as a contact for Covid-19.

Sheffield Public Health team and Voluntary Community Sector are taking a more cautionary approach than central government.

Infection rates remain quite high in Sheffield, compared to other parts of the UK and at the same time, significant levels of the population have yet to either have their first or second vaccination dose. 

Even when fully vaccinated, people may still contract Covid-19, become unwell or pass it on to others who may be more vulnerable.  Removing the safety nets of mask-wearing and social distancing risks the emergence of new variants that are vaccine-resistant.

We are mindful of the differences in how people may feel about the changes but ask that our beneficiaries and partners continue to wear face coverings and keep social distancing measures in place when attending our group or 1-1 sessions.

We are adding to our existing best practice by requesting booking prior to some activities – even those outside – to ensure consistency and record-keeping. We understand that this may feel new or different to some people.  We thank you for cooperation with this.

To protect the most vulnerable children, young people and adults in our community, we will continue to support and encourage our team to:

  • Stay at home and get tested if they have symptoms or have come in to direct contact with someone with Covid –  vital tools for limiting Covid’s spread
  • Benefit from a flexible mix of home-working and time-tabled return to office
  • Ventilate indoor settings by keeping windows and doors open
  • Maintain social distancing where practical
    • This may mean we have to reduce the numbers in groups to ensure we can keep a distance from one another.
  • Wear a face mask in indoor settings when moving around, if not exempt
    • This helps protect against infection but also positively contributes to social norms; making it ok for people who still want to wear a mask and help reassure those who may fear going out if others were unmasked.
  • Maintain regular handwashing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices
  • Promote the benefits of getting double-vaccinated for the individual and wider community (as well as significantly reducing their risk of getting ill with Covid or suffering from Long Covid, a vaccinated person is also about 70/75% less likely to pass on Covid).
    • As well as promoting benefits of getting tested if displaying symptoms.
  • Offer community activity outdoors or remotely, in preference to indoors – making use of helpful alternatives like online (zoom) sessions, doorstop visits and phone calls, walks etc.
    • We will continue to develop our approach and plans for indoor activity going forward (such as volunteer training or small group sessions and meetings), where there is a clear service need, appropriate venue and reduced risk.

The above measures will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, either gradually easing or becoming stricter, subject to the global, national and local Covid-19 context, scientific guidance and best practice.

The above also helps to maintain service continuity. The more we work together to limit the spread of Covid 19, the more we can continue to deliver activity with fewer disruptions.

Thank you for working with us to help keep our communities safe.

The Darnall Well Being team