COVID-19 Updates

COA recognizes that the ever-changing situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) is concerning, and we share that concern.  This page provides FAQs for organizations and key resources that we will continue to update.

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 June 30, 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.

Operational Status Last Updated: 5/5/2020

FAQs Regarding COA Accreditation

The health, well-being, and safety of our staff, volunteers, organizations, and their clients continue to be our primary concern. COA continues to monitor this very challenging and evolving situation with COVID-19 with the goal of keeping our entire COA community safe and healthy.  This is a living FAQ and will be updated regularly. Please check frequently for the latest information. Click on a question below to display the answer.

Q: Will organizations be charged fees for visits cancelled by COA for COVID-19?

A: Cancellation fees will be waived for those Site Visits that need to be rescheduled due to COVID-19.

Q: How will COA conduct Site Visits through December 2020?

A: COA has been working on alternate strategies for visits that are scheduled from July 2020 and on. We have been able to reschedule a majority of the visits that have been cancelled through June 30, 2020, and there are other Site Visits that COA has been proceeding to schedule through 2020. However, there still exists significant uncertainty around the ability for us to complete these Site Visits as planned. As a result, COA has been exploring alternative strategies to Site Visits, given the current environment.

Our considerations are centered on assuring the health and safety of our volunteers, organizations, and the individuals they serve. We are also critically aware that organizations are in the midst of trying to meet their respective mandates for accreditation (regulatory, contractual, and/or legislative). We have been assessing the potential impact(s) to volunteers and organizations in reviewing any potential change to the typical Site Visit. Please know that alternative strategies to the way we are accustomed to conducting Site Visits will be carefully vetted and include organization and volunteer input.

More information will be provided as we progress.

Q: When will rescheduled visits occur?

A: If necessary, we will be rescheduling accredited organizations’ Site Visits within 6 months of the organization’s current accreditation expiration date via informal extensions. We will also prioritize and reschedule those Site Visits to support programs/services that are under mandates.

If necessary, for new applicant organizations, we will schedule a Site Visit within two years of the application submission date.

Q: What will happen to our expiration date?

A: As we will be applying informal extensions and not formal extensions, an organization’s accreditation expiration date will not be changed/extended. Upon successful completion of the organization’s reaccreditation process, its new accreditation expiration date will be calculated four (4) years from its original/current accreditation expiration date.

Q: When will additional decisions regarding COA accreditation processes impacted by COVID-19 be made?

A: COA is following the guidance, recommendations, and mandates of federal, state, and local governmental and public health entities to ensure that we are making the best decisions. As the information on COVID-19 is evolving, we will continue to address its impact on an ongoing basis and provide you with timely communications and updates.

Q: Will organizations be charged fees for visits cancelled by COA for COVID-19?

A: Cancellation fees will be waived for those Site Visits that need to be rescheduled due to COVID-19.

Q: What are COA’s expectations for meeting the standards if we have to temporarily change our practices to meet the COVID-19 social distancing recommendations?

A: COA is aware there are many factors regarding COVID-19 that will influence an organization’s regular day-to-day practices and may impact implementation of the standards.  We are recommending that organizations consult and follow guidance from federal-, state-, and/or local-level health authorities and make decisions that put the health and safety of clients, families, communities, and staff first.  There will be situations where altering regular practices will be necessary to avoid putting others at risk and to continue to make needed services available.

Providing clear, open lines of communication with both persons served and staff will be critically important to ensure access to the resources they need during this exceptionally difficult time.  If this requires organizations to temporarily modify regular procedures and implement alternate practices (e.g., virtual home visits, electronic client signatures, telehealth services), policy and procedure deviations should be documented and new expectations clearly communicated.  The resources below offer the field guidance on some of these crucial decisions in service delivery.

Organizations may also find COA standards, such as PRG 4, ASE 5, ASE 6, and RPM 5 useful when preparing or responding to this in their community.

Q: I still have questions, who do I contact?

  • COA’s volunteers can contact Darrell Woodliff, Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement at dwoodliff@coanet.org
  • Accredited or new applicant organizations that are in-process can contact their COA Accreditation Coordinator
  • Accredited organizations that are out-of-process should contact Joseph Seoane, VP of Client Relations at JSeoane@coanet.org
  • Questions from regulators should be directed to Zoë Hutchinson, Director of Recognitions & Partnerships, zhutchinson@coanet.org

FAQs Last Updated: 5/18/2020

Key Information and Resources

Resources from Our Sponsoring Organizations

While all the resources listed below provide information on COVID-19, please note that some information may be limited to their members.  Thank you to our sponsoring organizations for providing these resources.


COA will update this page as the situation or guidance issued from public health authorities warrants.

Resources Last Updated: 4/24/2020