4-H Ontario website updates : December 5 - 6

COVID – 19 Resources for Youth and Families

Please read this entire package thoroughly. It contains information and requirements that 4-H youth and families must comply with in order to resume in-person activities when it is safe to do so. This package outlines the steps that will be required before in-person 4-H activities can resume.

Thank you for your patience during the COVID 19 pandemic. The past few months have been challenging for many of us. Thank you to all the 4-H youth who enthusiastically joined virtual 4-H projects and activities – you have helped to keep our 4-H program strong.

The health and safety of our 4-H families continues to be our priority. Under the current lockdown, no in person activities can be held. When the lockdown is lifted and in

person activities are allowed to resume, please continue to follow the Public Health guidelines for the province and your respective regions.

This package contains:

· The link to the Assumption of Risk and Waiver: Coronavirus/COVID-19 which needs to be completed by all 4-H families and submitted to 4-H Ontario.

Key information for 4-H Families:

· The health of 4-H youth, families, volunteer leaders and staff remain our priority.

· All 4-H stakeholders must demonstrate consideration and caution amidst this changing situation.

· 4-H families are asked to self-screen before attending an in-person activity. If feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID 19, flu or any other virus PLEASE stay home and communicate this decision with 4-H club leaders.

· Meetings and events must be planned with health and safety of all participants as priority.

· 4-H volunteers and event organizers will be required to implement and follow all local and provincial Public Health regulations.

· Resuming in-person programming is voluntary for all 4-H youth and volunteers. Respect must be given to youth/parents/guardians who wish to opt out of attending in-person events. Should youth or their parents/guardians opt not to attend in-person activities due to COVID 19, attendance will not be a factor in determining project completion.

· 4-H insurance will be in place for sanctioned 4-H activities; however, 4-H Ontario is not liable for any COVID-19 related illnesses.

Decisions regarding returning to in-person activities will be communicated by club volunteers to all 4-H families. It will be the responsibility of 4-H families to communicate with club leaders whether they wish to attend in-person meetings. If choosing to do so, families will be responsible for complying with the requirements identified by Public Health in their area. Please communicate with the club leaders through the platform identified by the club leaders (i.e. email, phone).

When returning to in-person programming, 4-H families will be asked to bring their own personal protective equipment including masks/face shields, hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, along with prepackaged snacks and beverages. As per public health guidelines masks/face shields are required when physical distancing is not able to be maintained.

4-H families are also reminded that all 4-H participants (youth, volunteers, families) must abide by the 4-H in Canada Code of Conduct and adhere to the 4-H in Canada Inclusion Statement.

All 4-H families will be required to read and agree to the ‘Assumption of Risk and Waiver’ before 4-H youth and volunteers can attend a 4-H meeting or activity. Families with shared custody of a 4-H youth will require both parents’ acknowledgement, which means both parents will need to complete the Assumption of Risk and Waiver. The confirmation email(s) outlining proof of receipt by 4-H Ontario

must be shown to the designated 4-H club leader and marked in the attendance records.

It is understood and acknowledged that not all clubs will be able to operate under these guidelines set out by 4-H Canada and Public Health units. 4-H Ontario is continuing to move forward with virtual learning opportunities, and these will continue to be made available to 4-H families.

4-H Ontario understands these are trying times and that returning to in-person activities requires extra planning in order to address the health and safety of all of 4-H participants. We ask for your cooperation as we continue to move through this challenging and unprecedented time.

Can virtual clubs continue to be offered? 

Virtual clubs are encouraged to continue to be offered for safety and inclusion of youth and volunteers. 

With in -person programming resuming, will the requirement of 6 members remain in place? 

6 participants as a minimum is ideal for youth to have the best experience. However, we realize that may be challenging and would review based on individual circumstances. We know there are clubs offering a ‘hybrid’ of virtual and in-person activities to allow those youth who do not wish to or are not able to attend in-person the opportunity to participate. It is important to remember that it is voluntary to return to in-person activities. If you have any questions, please contact:  

Marianne Fallis (Senior Manager, Programming) programming@4-hontario.ca   

Evelyn Chambers (Senior Manager, Professional Practice) standards@4-hontario.ca 

What is the required Youth Supervision ratio for in person and virtual meetings and activities? 

The ‘Rule of Two’ must be followed at every 4-H sanctioned event, whether in-person or virtual. Youth supervision ratios build upon the ‘Rule of Two’. For day-time, low risk activities and Zoom break out groups, the supervision ratios are as follows:  

Cloverbuds- 2:10  

4-H Members (9+)- 2:30 Senior 4-H Members – 2:40  

Volunteers are encouraged to reference Policy B-CE-10 Youth Safety Policy of the 4-H Ontario Policy Manual the 4-H Ontario Policy Manual /www.4-hontario.ca/volunteers/policies.aspx. 

Are the Return to In Person Activity Plans meant to be per club or per meeting? 

The Activity Plan is to be completed for the club. When completing the form, volunteers will be required to list all planned activities for the duration of the project. If plans change, a revised plan must be submitted via email to standards@4-hontario.ca  

Does the Activity Plan have to be completed 14 business days before every meeting or just the initial 14 business days before startup of the club? Do all meetings have to be planned well in advance with meeting details? 

4-H Ontario requires one Activity Plan per club to be completed and submitted a minimum of 14 business days prior to the proposed startup of the club.  

This form must contain details of the activities planned to include all locations of where the activity(ies) will take place.  

4-H Ontario will respond within 14 business days either approving the plan or asking for further details. 

What information is required when completing the Return to In-Person 4-H Activities? 

When completing the Activity Plan make sure to include:  

  • Location description and address  
  • Is this activity being held indoors or out?  
  • What activities are planned for each meeting/event  
  • How will social distancing be addressed?  

4-H Ontario requires one form per club. Please include all details on all club meetings being planned (farm tours, Achievement Days etc.) On one form. (Additional pages may be added to provide for inclusion of all details.) 

Can one Activity Plan be submitted covering both meetings and an achievement day plan? 

Yes, please submit the complete package listing all club events and activity details a minimum of 14 business days before. 

Can 4-H youth work with project animals on another farm? 

This discussion needs to happen between the youth, parents and the owners of the farm before visiting. Each party needs to be comfortable with the visit and must be respectful of decisions to decline. If visiting farms to work with project animals, 4-H youth and parents will need to be compliant of local public health regulations and health and safety requirements established by the premise owner. 

If 4-H Ontario liability doesn’t extend to cover COVID 19, what is the board and leader liability risk? 

The Assumption of Risk and Waiver Form is intended to limit the ability to recover damages against 4-H Ontario. It is important that when planning and carrying out in-person activities due diligence is demonstrated including:  

  • Adhering to the 4-H Canada Code of Conduct,  
  • All 4-H policies (local, provincial and national) and  
  • Requirements of the local public health agency and municipality.  

This is imperative in all situations and activities regardless of the insurance coverage. 

Is the Assumption of Risk waiver specific to COVID 19? If so, why do some of the clauses (i.e. Clause 3) do not say COVID 19? 

Yes the waiver is in relation to COVID 19. However, clause 3 states there are no grounds for action against 4-H if youth or volunteers contract any illness while attending 4-H activities and transmit it to others. 

COVID-19 Waiver

In order to participate in 4-H Ontario in-person activities, ALL participates must complete a signed waiver form.