I hope this note finds you all healthy and well. At COA, our operations continue on an entirely remote basis. While we are all missing the camaraderie that we typically experience from being in the office, we have worked hard to adapt to ensure we can continue to be responsive to all of you while also being safe. It has definitely been an adjustment.
The COA Leadership Team continues to meet multiple times weekly to review the current situation, discuss issues that may have arisen, and make any necessary decisions. Front and center in these discussions and decisions are the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, our organizations and the people they serve, and our volunteers.
Given the continued uncertainty and the variability across states with respect to COVID-19 response and reopening, we have decided to postpone all site visits that were scheduled to occur in June. While parts of the country have proceeded with their reopening plans, there are such divergent practices, differing phases, and contrasting opinions that erring on the side of caution felt like the most prudent approach.
We are so grateful to each of you for your efforts and for your ongoing commitment to COA. As always, I invite you to reach out if you have thoughts or things you would like to share.
Wishing you the best during these challenging times.
COA President & CEO
Update from 3/27/2020
In a time when people can easily feel disconnected, we wanted to reach out to our entire COA community and share an update. As you all know, we continue to live in extremely challenging and uncertain times. Amidst all of this, COA remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and organizations with minimal disruption to our operations.
Our New York office remains closed and staff continue to operate on a remote basis in a virtual environment. I am pleased to report that our staff, leadership team, and board of trustees have risen to the challenge to ensure that we are able to continue to support all our organizations and maintain critical business functions to keep us up and running. This was no small undertaking and reinforces our commitment to our mission and the work that we do on behalf of all of you and those you continue to serve – thank you!
Following the guidance we continue to receive and under an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to extend the suspension of all volunteer and staff travel and will be postponing all scheduled Site Visits through May 31, 2020. This is not a decision we made lightly, but the safety and well-being of our volunteers and organizations is not something we would ever waver on. Any questions or concerns that our volunteers have can be directed to Darrell Woodliff, Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. Organizations that are in-process should direct all questions to their COA Accreditation Coordinator, and out-of-process organizations should contact Joseph Seoane, VP of Client Relations.
We will continue to provide regular updates as the situation progresses and are maintaining a list of key resources related to COVID-19 on our website. This is updated regularly and includes a section dedicated to resources that our Sponsoring Organizations have been working hard to compile. If you are a Sponsoring Organization and have resources that are not listed, please let us know so we can get those added as soon as possible.
Thank you, our COA community, for your continued support during these trying times. I am regularly reminded that together we are strong and that we will get through this. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.
Be well and stay healthy,
COA President & CEO
Update from 3/16/2020
As you know, we are living in a very challenging time that continues to evolve and change, often by the hour. I
want to take this opportunity to share with all of you how COA is planning for and addressing the current situation.
Many of you have heard me say that accreditation is not just a box to tick and that is apparent now more than ever. We are a community – a strong community – that always comes together and pushes forward even in the most demanding of times in order to continue to support our most vulnerable populations. Your dedication to your missions is unwavering and so is our support and dedication to all of you – you are our mission. First and foremost, the health, well-being, and safety of our staff, volunteers, organizations, and those they serve is our primary concern and highest priority. COA continues to monitor this challenging and constantly developing situation with COVID-19 and has focused the utmost attention on protocols needed to keep our entire COA community safe and healthy. We have been following the guidance, recommendations, and mandates of federal, state, and local governmental and public health entities to ensure that we are taking the best course of action possible. We have compiled some key informational resources and best practices for navigating the current landscape that we will continue to update.
Based on the guidance we have received, we will be suspending all volunteer travel and cancelling all Site Visits that were scheduled to begin the week of March 23, 2020. These restrictions will remain in place through the end of April and we will revisit and update them on an ongoing basis as more information becomes available. Any questions or concerns that our volunteers have can be directed to Darrell Woodliff, Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. Organizations that are in-process should direct all questions to their COA Accreditation Coordinator and out-of-process organizations should contact Joseph Seoane, VP of Client Relations.
Here at COA’s office in New York City, we are also taking proactive measures to ensure the well-being of our staff while maintaining business continuity so that we can successfully support you and all of our stakeholders. While it is hardly business as usual given the current climate, COA has put into effect protocols and processes to protect
our staff and allow for the continued functioning of our regular operations with minimal disruption.
Effective immediately we have suspended all staff travel and instituted remote work for all COA employees. Please rest assured that our systems have been tested to ensure that you will continue to receive the same high-level of customer service that you have come to expect from us. While business is presently as near to normal as possible for us, we do ask for your patience and understanding as there will inevitably be a few unexpected bumps in the road as we transition to a virtual work environment and the situation progresses.
I want to reassure you that even during these uncertain and unprecedented times, our leadership team and board are working tirelessly to make the best decisions. I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your continued support, partnership, and tireless commitment to the individuals and communities you serve.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.
Be well and thank you again,
President & CEO
Update from 3/11/2020
I realize that the ever-changing situation regarding COVID-19 is concerning and I, along with the board of trustees
and COA staff share that concern. I wanted to take a moment to address the situation and provide an update on our
current operational status.
COA is regularly monitoring the situation and continues to conduct scheduled site visits in the United States. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and organizations remain paramount and we will provide regular updates should the situation change.
Since there are many situational factors that can influence the best course of action to take regarding COVID-19, COA is encouraging all organizations to consult with federal-, state-, and/or local-level health authorities for specific guidance.
We have compiled some key resources providing up-to-date information and best practices for navigating this challenging landscape for organizations to review:
- Daily Situation Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO)
- State and Territorial Health Department Websites (CDC)
- Steps to Prevent Illness (CDC)
- Guarding Against Stigma Related to Coronavirus (CDC)
- Safety and Health Topics COVID-19 (OSHA)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update/Maladie à coronavirus (COVID-19): Mise à jour sur l’éclosion (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- The Nonprofit Community Confronts the Coronavirus (Council of Nonprofits)
COA will update this page as the situation or guidance issued from public health authorities warrants.
Thank you, as always, for continuing to carry on the important work that you do on behalf of the communities you serve.
President & CEO