With fluctuating COVID-19 restrictions that vary from region to region, organizations wanting to host LivingWorks workshops may be looking for guidance. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer, but here are some general guidelines that will assist your organization in hosting a workshop.
- Always default to the health authority in your region for up-to-date information from health professions as the pandemic is an evolving situation.
- Once you have ascertained that face-to-face training is safe from your local health authority, and have a LivingWorks trainer in mind or lined up, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Venue: is there sufficient space in the room for the necessary physical distancing as specified by your health authority (often varies from 1 to 2 metres/3 to 6 feet)?
- Does the number of people you hope to train fall within the acceptable group gathering size as stated by your local health authority? Reduce this number to align with local government health guidelines.
- IF you are hosting a LivingWorks ASIST training, LivingWorks will allow a temporary reduced minimum of 6 (the usual minimum in non-COVID times is 8) participants. Thus, pick a room that can fit, with safe physical distance, that number of participants. If you have 12 or more participants, you can divide into two smaller groups and work with your LivingWorks trainer(s) to finalize details.
- IF you are hosting a LivingWorks safeTALK training, LivingWorks will allow a temporary reduced minimum of 6 (the usual minimum in non-COVID times is 10) participants. Again, pick a room that can fit, with safe physical distance, 6-11 participants.
- Assuming your organization is registering and coordinating the participants, please consider connecting with them prior to the workshop to let them know of the provisions available for your workshop; hand sanitizer, appropriately spaced seating, and so on, in order to determine their comfort level.
- Best practices on minimizing the spread of infectious diseases can be found here and here and include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly.
- Sneezing or coughing into your elbow rather than your hand.
- Disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched—for example, the slide clicker or mouse used to advance your slides.
- Hand sanitizer stations available with alcohol-based sanitizer, which is most effective against COVID-19.
- If you have snacks for your participants, provide them in individually wrapped packaging or make up individually labelled treat bags so participants can grab and go.
- Use disposable cups and cutlery, individually packaged sugar/creamer rather than a large container to share, and provide individual bottles of water.
- Notify your participants in advance and encourage anyone that is feeling ill to not attend the workshop—clearly indicate that you have the right to refuse entry to the workshop if a person has cold/flu symptoms.
- Do not use a sign-in sheet —have participant registration done by a single person at your organization to avoid sharing a pen.
- Write out name badges ahead of time to avoid sharing a marker and distribute them.
- Hand out workbooks and documents or lay them out on the chairs in advance, rather than laying them in a pile.
- For ASIST workshop participants, do not gather their books at the end of Day 1, but encourage and remind them they will be needed for Day 2.
If it appears that the number of participants for LivingWorks training will be lower than these recommended temporary (COVID-time) standards (i.e. six participants), please consider postponing your workshop until such time that there is more ease around the concept of group size and physical distancing. [There is a participant minimum—six in COVID times, and 8 and 10 in non-COVID times for ASIST and safeTALK respectively—as when groups get smaller, the higher intensity of individual attention may detract from participant comfort and their sense of psychological safety.]
LivingWorks is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully and will provide further updates as appropriate. If you are looking for an online training option for your organization in the meantime, we encourage you to check out LivingWorks Start. Our team is available to help with implementations of this program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Foundation House - Sydney, Australia.