COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response & Resources
The safety of our AmeriCorps members, staff, project partners, and communities is our utmost priority. MCC’s leadership is dedicated to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on our organization and to ensuring safe opportunities for young people to serve and grow. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the MCC COVID-19 Response Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the most up to date information on COVID-19, please refer to the following websites:
June 18, 2020
In truth, we couldn’t have gotten to this point this year without the support of donors, project partners, federal COVID-19 relief programs, the sharing of wisdom and best practices among our national community of conservation corps, and the strong motivation of young people to be of service. We thank you all for the support you’ve provided over these past months.
The health and well-being of our corps members, staff, project partners, and communities remains paramount in our planning and operations. MCC is operating under strict COVID-19 safety protocols developed with guidance from medical and legal advisors. We continue to monitor the spread and impact of the virus and we are following state directives and CDC guidelines to operate our programs. While MCC state office and regional office operations are modified to adapt best practices for safety and health, we are fully operational.
Field Crews: MCC currently has 31 field crews serving from our four regional offices. MCC has implemented practices to protect the health of our crew members and manage their interactions with communities so as to reduce risks of virus transmission. With MCC participants coming from all parts of the country, all corps members started their AmeriCorps term of service with a 2-week shelter-at-home period to limit risks of transmission. During this period they completed an online orientation designed by our staff, and they participated in daily, socially distanced, and masked as appropriate, physical training. Crew members are currently working within their “crew family,” spending their weeks outdoors serving on conservation projects.
Conservation Interns/Fellows and Big Sky Watershed Corps: With excellent support from our host site partners, MCC individual placement program members are serving across the Northern Rockies and Plains. We are in regular contact with these members and their host site supervisors, and continue to implement practices to ensure their health and safety as they complete their projects. MCC anticipates offering additional Conservation Intern positions starting mid to late summer. See “Positions” on our website for opportunities.
Youth Programs and Tribal Crews: Out of concern for the health of our youngest participants, and in support for the concerns of indigenous communities to protect the health of elders and other community members, MCC is currently suspending all youth and tribal programs. We continue to monitor our capacity and the needs of partners as we determine when it will be appropriate to resume these important programs and partnerships for MCC.
Monday April 13, 2020
We hope you are staying healthy and safe at home as our country appears to be nearing the apex of the "curve" and we can all look forward to a reduction in the rate of transmission and illness from the COVID 19 virus. Our thoughts are will all those whose lives are being impacted by this crisis, especially those who may have lost family members or friends.
Our MCC team continues to monitor the situation and work towards an eventual resumption of our corps activities. While we don't expect an imminent return to business as usual, we do believe that with care, discipline, and a solutions-oriented mindset that we will be able to get back to work this season and serve our mission with rigor and innovation. MCC is collaborating with other corps leaders from across the nation to develop new best practices for training, field work, transportation and camp hygiene that will to protect our staff and corps members. We are reimagining our operating plans and tapping into financial resources to stabilize our organization and bring our staff back to work. A majority of our staff remain furloughed and our AmeriCorps members are suspended for now, but we are eager to welcome them back as soon as possible.
For 2020, MCC is suspending all youth corps programs for teens age 17 and younger, but we are moving forward with plans to engage Conservation Interns and AmeriCorps field crews for the summer - albeit with some revised orientation practices and/or start dates, and adapted operations. The Big Sky Watershed Corps continues with our members serving remotely or in safe outdoors settings observing all state and CDC safety guidelines. Stay tuned for pending updates as we announce plans and schedules within the coming weeks.
Let's beat this virus by working together to slow and limit its spread through physical distancing, hand washing, wearing masks, limiting our public interactions and exercising patience and care for each other.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Greetings from Montana Conservation Corps. We hope you and your family are in good health and staying connected with friends and colleagues during these times of social distancing.
As with every corner of our country – of the world – the new coronavirus is upending life as usual here in Montana. Following our governor’s directives and guidance from the CDC, we are sheltering at home, washing our hands with gusto, doing our best to keep our homes COVID 19-free. We are also deeply thankful for the connectivity afforded by the internet and cell phones, and for the accessibility of trails and parks to lift our spirits under the Big Sky.
The impacts of the pandemic have been profound for MCC, necessitating many very difficult decisions and unimaginable cuts to programs and staffing in the last two weeks. Our goal is to sustain our core operations such that we may resume our adult field crew programs in summer.
Our current response:
We remain determined to rise and recover. Every day, we are working toward the resumption of our activities by staying in touch with our partners to assess conditions and opportunities, considering protocols to enable our crews and interns to operate this season, assessing opportunities and relief made available through the CARES Act, and maintaining the positivity, grit, crew orientation, and commitment to hard work for quality results that is so characteristic of our corps members.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT TO MONTANA CONSERVATION CORPS.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
YOUTH PROGRAMS CANCELLED for 2020 SUMMER SEASON
As the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact our communities, the safety of our corps members, staff, and neighbors is paramount for MCC. We are thus making hard decisions on how to pursue our programs with the safety of our participants and communities at the forefront of our decisions.
MCC’s youth program model involves bringing small groups of adolescents together to eat, sleep, serve, and learn as a team, 24 hours a day for one to four weeks, often in remote locations. Magic happens in this setting. But the presence of COVID-19 presents unprecedented and not yet fully understood risks for our participants as they come together to live and serve on expeditions.
Given this program design, the contagiousness of COVID-19 and often rapid onset of severe symptoms, MCC has determined it is prudent to cancel all of our summer programs for high school and middle school-age students. This is a heartbreaking decision.
We are so sorry to have to share this news with you, but hope you will support us in this difficult decision. MCC fully plans to return in 2021 with more great adventures with purpose.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 406-587-4475 x224. While our physical locations in Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and Kalispell are closed until further notice, the staff are working remotely.
We wish you health and safety,
Monday, March 16, 2020
For decades, conservation corps around the country, including Montana Conservation Corps, have repeatedly stepped up to be of service to our neighbors and to support our communities in times of crisis. Clearly, we are in one of those times, and I am so proud of how our team is working together to find a way forward, to overcome the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
As the threat and spread of COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, the safety of our corps members, staff, and neighbors is paramount. Along with that is our responsibility to provide the life changing program that we have promised each corps member.
For the foreseeable future, MCC will continue working on all projects and with all partners and host sites that we can - while following the guidance of our public health officials on how to keep our participants purposefully engaged and safe. As an AmeriCorps organization, our ethic of service has MCC also connecting with local organizations like food banks, to see how we may help them manage their increased workloads. We are postponing all community events scheduled for March and April. However, the corps model is adaptable and always focused on managing risk. Our crew leaders, therefore, continue with their training activities while maintaining the highest levels of health and hygiene and while practicing social distancing measures in small groups. The same holds true for supporting our in-town employees, for whom we are adopting remote work practices and other strategies to help us continue to meet our mission. We continue to plan for operating our programs which begin in May.
MCC has thrived thanks to a broad community of stakeholders who help us advance our mission. These stakeholders include local organizations, local, state, and federal agency project partners, our alumni and current participants, and a family of donors and grantors who make our programs come alive. MCC remains committed to you all in these uncertain times, and we thank you for being here for our corps members and our nation as our communities rally to overcome this crisis.
Sincerely, Jono McKinney, President and CEO
Thursday, March 12, 2020
COVID-19 GUIDELINES TO BE AWARE OF IF ACCEPTED TO OUR PROGRAMS
Montana Conservation Corps is committed to keeping our staff, participants, and communities healthy during this time of spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Extra precautions are being taken, including screening of incoming staff and participants. The following parameters are in place until further notice, and before you begin or return to work you must affirm that they do not apply to you:
International Travel and U.S. Highly Affected Areas
Incoming staff and participants who have traveled to any area of concern based on the CDC’s travel recommendations (level 1, 2 or 3 health notice) or highly affected U.S. areas (101+ cases) must refrain from joining the program until a 14 day quarantine has passed since they were last in that travel location. Because this list has been changing daily, we ask that you notify MCC if you have traveled outside of the US or to highly affected areas in the US in the last fourteen days or plan to between now and your position start date.
CDC International Travel Guidance: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
CDC US Highly Affected Areas: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
ACTION: If you have traveled or plan to travel outside of the United States recently or to US Highly Affected areas before your start date, please notify your MCC Program Manager.
Contact with Sick People
Incoming staff and participants who have been in known contact with a person who has COVID-19 must refrain from joining the program until 14 days have passed since they were last in close proximity with them.
ACTION: If you have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 you must notify your MCC Program Manager.
All staff and participants should be aware that Montana Conservation Corps is taking significant precaution and implementing mitigation procedures to keep members, staff and communities safe while on program time. Due to the wide-spread nature of the disease, it is important to know that contraction of the illness while in the field or the office is not likely to be covered by workers compensation, and it is up to each individual to ensure their own health and wellness beyond Montana Conservation Corps protocols.