We hope you are staying healthy. What a crazy time the past few months have been! By now, everyone is probably sick of hearing about COVID-19. We understand how you feel. We need to mention it one more time, though, because you are a valued volunteer driver.
As the state begins the process of opening up, we are getting more requests, and we want to make sure you are prepared before you get back on the road. Please look at the information included here and contact Terri Downing with questions at 507-537-1416 ext. #2165 or firstname.lastname@example.org. After reading through this information, you must either set up a time to meet with Terri (details are at the bottom of this page) or complete the online training form.
Before we get to the nitty gritty of navigating the new normal, we would like to understand what you, our volunteers, are thinking and feeling since COVID-19 changed the way life operates. Are you hoping to come back? What concerns do you have? Take this quick survey and help us decide how to move into the future. (It will take less than five minutes, we promise).
CDC guidelines and volunteer driving
The CDC has some general guidelines to remember to prevent infectious diseases, in particular COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often – Use soap and make sure you wash for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if soap is not available. Avoid touching your face and eyes with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact – As a volunteer driver, the best way to do this is to have people sit in the back seat, not directly behind you. Additionally, we are not requiring signatures or fare collection at this time.
- Wear a cloth face covering – Masks help prevent people who have the illness (even if they do not have symptoms) from spreading it. Dispatchers will request that passengers wear a mask. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or who cannot remove the mask on his/her own. If you do not feel comfortable transporting someone without a mask, please let the dispatch office know.
Here are a few tips for using a cloth mask:
- Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
- Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
- Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
- If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
- Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
- Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
- Regularly wash your mask with soap and water in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes – As always, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow, discard the tissue in the trash right away, and refer to tip #1.
- Clean and disinfect – Frequently touched surfaces (like, most everything in a vehicle) should be disinfected daily.
- Hard surfaces can be wiped down with a 70% alcohol solution, a bleach solution or any other EPA registered household disinfectant (e.g. Lysol wipes), used as directed.
- A 70% alcohol solution can be sprayed on cloth seats to disinfect them. A non-abrasive soap (such as Ivory) and water is recommended for leather seats.
- Monitor your health – Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, and take your temperature. If you have any symptoms, aren’t feeling well or have been in contact with someone who is sick, don’t hesitate to call UCAP staff and cancel upcoming trips.
Sources for additional information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
Other helpful information for getting on the road safely
The information below is provided to help you be as safe as possible when you start driving again.
- What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 (PDF)
- Safe ride guidelines (PDF)
- A volunteer driver cleaning checklist (PDF) (This checklist is for drivers using their own vehicles. If you are driving an agency van, Terri will meet with you beforehand to go over the cleaning protocol).
At this time, we are not requiring you to get a signature from the passengers. Also, as far as fare collection goes, you do not have to collect fares directly from passengers if you do not feel comfortable doing so. You can leave the envelope in the back seat and encourage your passengers to mail in a donation.
Time to check in
Terri will be traveling to locations throughout our service area to meet with volunteers, go over COVID safety, vehicle cleaning, and answer any other questions you have. Meetings will be done outside and one-on-one to ensure the highest possible safety for her and our volunteers.
We have set up scheduled training times at each dispatch office as follows:
Marshall Dispatch office – 10:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00-3:00
Pipestone Dispatch office – noon to 3:00 p.m.
Luverne Dispatch office – noon to 3:00 p.m.
Jackson Dispatch office – noon to 3:00 p.m.
Call your dispatch office or Terri to schedule a training time. If the scheduled dates or locations do not work for you, please call Terri: 507-537-1416 ext. #2165. She will work with you to make sure you have what you need in a timely manner.