From the start of the pandemic, the FBF has taken the national lockdown and our responsibility as an employer very seriously. The safety and wellbeing of all our staff and members have been at the heart of our response to the pandemic. Through swift action, coordinated teamwork, and a willingness to adapt, the Field Band Foundation marches on.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have put considerable effort into developing relevant and factual informational resources for our staff and members about COVID-19 related content. Almost immediately we developed informational and educational materials that were widely distributed, and as soon as we could, translated this into the material support of sanitising equipment and chemicals that were distributed to every single band. This, together with a set of very clear protocols, enabled FBF to carefully return to the business of providing safe and structured care of young people even if schools were not operating. In some cases, the band teams helped to sanitize schools and organise systems of social distancing and in all cases, the “FBF family” was encouraged, supported and motivated by a clear sense of the civic responsibility.
New tools have been designed to monitor the wellbeing of our staff and members and to better understand the impact of COVID-19 within our bands. Our Daily Wellness Tracker monitors the health and wellness of employees and family members, and our Five-Minute Training Tools have also provided an efficient platform for training staff on important operational safety processes. COVID Count is another new tool that allows the FBF to keep track of the COVID-related initiatives and trainings conducted, measuring the number of information packs created, Health and Safety trainings and community awareness events. These new tools, combined with existing systems, have been crucial in navigating these uncertain times.
Three staff have undergone an accredited COVID-19 Workplace Preparedness Course. The skills and knowledge acquired during this training have been transferred to all our staff through practical application trainings. We have also appointed a Health and Safety Steering Committee to ensure that we are in continuous adherence to the regulations set forth in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Act. Our internal structures of risk identification and mitigation, regular fumigation and strict contact tracing protocols have enabled us to continue to fulfil our role under the category of Health and Social Services on the CIPC register.
Like everyone else, we have increased our digital knowledge and now almost everyone is zoom-enabled! In March 2021, with the support of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, we held demonstrations in Kimberley and showed off our custom-designed sanitizing booths that are in action in all bands. All band members have FBF masks and all masks are continuously cleaned along with all the band equipment.
FBF leadership, both at the management and board level, have had extended and considerable debate about our purpose and methods of impact delivery as we acclimatize to the new normal. We have worked hard and earnestly to design a new living-with-COVID strategy that is not pandemic-specific, but rather recognizes the long-term impact the sickness has had on the economies, emotions, and well-being of our communities. To date, while some of our band staff have had covid, all have recovered and we continue to keep our Wellness Tracker in place, so we can maintain connection with everyone. It can be done and in the FBF, it IS being done!