We're Building Again! | A Look Into Volunteering with COVID-19 Protocols
October 14th marked the second house build since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Corazón to suspend build activities in March 2020. We slowly returned to construction, with our initial build back honoring Dat Hoang, a long-time Blue Shirt and Lead Builder at Corazón.
Thursday’s 10/14/2021 project was sponsored by Traylor Bros as part of their engineer training program, involving young men and women from across the country with no prior Corazón experience.
With the emergence of vaccines and the waning of transmission rates, we turned to our organization’s construction professionals to plan safety protocols and procedures that could be applied to our house builds. Handling construction chores in light of the need for social distancing and other recommended prevention protocols was a crucial concern for Corazón and the Traylor Bros. leadership.
What is the border like and what is the vaccination rate like in our communities? What safety measures are taking place while we build? Is it safe for volunteers to continue building with Corazón? We outline this information - and invite you to either join us on our November 6th and December 4th builds or move forward with sponsoring your own build - by sharing details from the Traylor Bros. group with you today.
What is the border like and what is the vaccination rate like in our communities?
- Baja California is currently in the yellow and orange zones, meaning that it is safe for non-essential activities to be allowed.
- In the weeks prior to the October 14th project, Corazón polled all six Corazón communities and determined that local vaccination rates were very good, with over 60% of community members fully vaccinated.
What safety measures are taking place while we build?
Learning from our July build, Traylor and the Corazón Construction team put the following procedures in place:
- Traylor’s volunteer team required valid vaccinations or a negative COVID test for all attendees.
- Despite having a particularly challenging building site with a concrete slab perched 30 feet on the side of a hill, Traylor assembled half of the walls and the roof (as well as other misc. items) on the street to maximize their ability to socially distance.
- Per Corazon’s COVID-19 protocols, in the event that a volunteer could social distance, facial coverings could be removed. Many of the workers on site, both US volunteers and local participants, chose to wear face coverings for the day. However, once the walls were erected, any worker spending any prolonged period of time in the house was required to wear a face covering. The finish painting, counter top, ladder, and loft railing were installed by volunteers wearing face coverings.
- The site had adequate toilet facilities, both in adjacent buildings and with a portable outhouse rented by Corazón, along with commercial hand washing stations.
- Traylor held its closing ceremony on the street, staying socially distanced in front of the build site. As the Traylor team traveled by car caravan, the border crossing each way was no different than any pre-pandemic.
Is it safe for volunteers to continue building with Corazón?
We believe that with the policies and protocols we have in place, our Corazón volunteers can safely and effectively resume building in Mexico. In fact, local and U.S. volunteers have already begun volunteering in Corazón projects as soon as it was safe to do so.
Volunteers participate in a house build while following Corazón’s COVID-19 Protocols.
If you would like to see how Corazón Construction protocols operate before scheduling your own project next year, we would like to invite you to attend the Friends of Kara and Paul Conrad build on November 6th and the Friends of Frank Bartolini build in Tecate on December 4th. We are inviting any volunteers interested to register online.
Per COVID-19 regulations, sign-ups for these builds are limited to 30 people; if you sign up and then change your mind, please cancel as soon as possible so that we can make room for other potential volunteers.
You can also move forward with your own house build and sponsor a family living in our communities.
The Need for Housing is Greater than Ever.
Local participants have carried on our construction and social development programs for the last year and a half, but the need for safe housing is now greater than ever. We hope to welcome you and your group back very soon.
If you have any questions, or would like more information about how we are safely resuming building in Mexico, please contact the office at [email protected].
7/9/2020: Build Update
Dear Corazón Sponsors, Donors, & Volunteers:
Our team would like to say thank you for your continuous support towards Corazón -your contributions allow our organization to continue providing aid to our Corazón families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
We want to relay an important message in response to recent questions regarding travel to México and resuming builds with Corazón this season.
Corazón will not be hosting builds or any other form of travel to México this summer build season. While our organization would love to bring groups to our communities, we can not resume builds if doing so continues to pose a potential risk to the health and safety of the families in our communities, and to you, our supporters.
The United States Department of Homeland Security is limiting all non-essential travel across the Mexican and Canadian borders since March 21, 2020.
You may find this report here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/06/16/fact-sheet-dhs-measures-border-limit-further-spread-coronavirus
This measure has been extended to July 21, 2020. You may read about this extension here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/06/16/acting-secretary-wolf-s-statement-extension-non-essential-travel-restrictions-canada
Our team aims to resume our 2020 build season in the Fall -- August 2020. However, this will be contingent upon COVID-19 conditions, recommendations from U.S. Public Health officials, and travel advisories between the United States & México during the Fall. Therefore, our goal to resume building in the Fall is subject to change.
Once again, we thank you for your patience as our organization navigates operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to update you with any new information or changes.
We hope that you and your families are safe during this time.
4/6/2020: April Events Postponed
All builds scheduled for April, 2020, have been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Please stay tuned to this page for updates.
3/13/2020: Builds Postponed - Corona Virus
Dear Sponsors, Donors, and Volunteers:
The health and safety of our donors, sponsors, volunteers, employees, and communities are always our top priority. There have been many questions about whether to proceed with scheduled builds due to the coronavirus. We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are aware of the uncertainty felt by so many worldwide, and we will follow the guidelines of the US State Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reduce the spread and impact of the virus.
Global Health Advisory March 11, 2020, Level 3 Reconsider Travel - “The Department of State advises US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
After much prayerful consideration about what the right course of action should be, all builds in March will be rescheduled. We plan to resume our builds starting on April 18, but we will decide whether to proceed with building by April 3. We will continue to assess the situation both in the US and in Baja.
In anticipation of the March house builds, the cement foundations have already been poured, materials have been delivered, and families have prepared for construction of their new homes. We will be reaching out to all sponsors to discuss the following alternatives for suspended projects:
1) Use the funding to sponsor the construction of the homes by Mexican participants and any volunteers willing and able to participate.
2) Rescheduling the projects as soon as possible after our operations with volunteers can be resumed. We have several available dates at this time in late April and June and throughout the summer and early fall.
Thank you for your continued support - the health of our sponsors, volunteers, and participants is important to us, and you will be a key determinant of our decision on when to proceed with house building projects.
May God bless and watch over you and your loved ones.
Corazon Board and Staff Members