Note: This supersedes the earlier Guidelines for Volunteer Management during COVID-19 Pandemic, dated 29 March 2022
Volunteers continue to play a key role in the fight against COVID-19. Their activities include promoting social responsibility, supporting essential services and caring for the vulnerable segments.
Volunteer Host Organisations (VHOs)2 can continue to enlist volunteers to support essential aid distribution (i.e. supplies necessary for daily sustenance such as cooked food and food rations, and urgent financial aid) and respond to other community needs in accordance with prevailing SMMs and guidelines for the specific sector3.
Assess risk and apply safe management measures
VHOs must conduct volunteer activity risk assessment to assess the format for the activity and deployment of volunteers (See Annex A for an illustration).
Should face-to-face interactions be necessary for volunteering activities, VHOs must ensure compliance with safe management measures. These measures include:
a. Mask-wearing will continue to be required for indoor settings, but will be optional in outdoor settings4. However, staff and volunteers are encouraged to wear their masks even when outdoors for personal protection and to protect others, especially in crowded areas. Staff and volunteers should not participate if unwell.
b. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to complete the full COVID-19 vaccination regime before volunteering for an activity. Volunteers should adhere to all safe management measures and vaccination requirements as required by the VHO. This is to minimise the risk of transmission between volunteers and vulnerable service users.
c. Encourage staff and volunteers to observe good personal hygiene, e.g. wash their hands regularly and refrain from touching their face.
d. Reduce frequency and duration of physical interactions with beneficiaries, e.g. consolidate essential aid to be delivered to reduce the number of physical trips and avoid physical interactions by leaving supplies at the door. For beneficiaries who are seniors, deliver essential aid to their doorstep as far as possible, so that they do not have to venture out to do collection.
e. Where it is not feasible to arrange for delivery, designated collection points can also be set up in the vicinity for beneficiaries to collect the essential aid with the necessary precautionary measures to ensure safe management. Buffet set-ups should be avoided.
f. Using the TraceTogether application or token is required for larger events with more than 500 persons at any one time, where Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs (VDS) checks are still required at entry. More information on TraceTogether can be found at www.tracetogether.gov.sg.
Even with safe management measures and gradual resumption of activities, there is a risk that COVID-19 transmission may happen. VHOs must be prepared to help volunteers who have contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty. VHOs should also provide emotional support to any volunteer who needs it, and can tap on the National Care hotline.
VHOs should also find ways to show their appreciation for their volunteers’ efforts, which can include sharing positive stories through the SG Cares App, providing words of encouragement, and tokens of appreciation.
VHOs are strongly encouraged to continue to communicate and engage their supporters and volunteers during this period even if they are not deployed. This will allow VHOs to activate volunteer resources quickly when the situation improves. Activities by VHOs can include doing the following remotely:
a. Keep supporters informed of the current happenings and initiatives
b. Share stories to motivate volunteers to step up;
c. Encourage creative and safe ways to volunteer, both remotely and on-site;
d. Build online communities and social networks; and
e. Leverage online volunteer opportunities portals, communication tools and learning resources (See Annex B for a list of resources).
These measures will be revised in tandem with future adjustments in MOH’s guidelines. Depending on the risk assessment and our safe management practices, MCCY will issue further advisories to guide VHOs on the management and deployment of volunteers. We need to remain cautious and stay safe as long as the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains.
The community and volunteers shape a caring and united Singapore. With everyone playing their part and supporting each other, we can overcome this pandemic and emerge stronger.
2 VHOs refer to organisations that involve volunteers in their activities such as Social Service Agencies (SSAs), ground up groups, religious organisations and other community groups.
3 For sector specific guidelines, refer to http://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/sector/
4 Refer to MOH Guidelines on Indoors and Outdoors Settings.