The world is coming together to address the COVID-19 global pandemic and Vocalink Global is doing its part both to stop the spread of the disease and to continue to facilitate multilingual communication.
On Monday, March 23, 2020, in accordance with Governor Mike Dewine and the Ohio Department of Health’s Stay at Home Order, Vocalink Global moved to “Condition Red” in its COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. This means that all administrative staff members are working from home except for a very few essential staff needed to maintain Minimum Basic Operations. All staff remain available by phone, email, and teleconference.
Here is Vocalink Global’s updated COVID 19 Response Plan. Please feel free to check our website for updates as we continue to monitor this evolving situation: https://www.vocalinkglobal.com.
- Impact on On-Site Interpreting Staff: Our over-the-phone and video remote interpreting options remain available to address any unusual spike in need for interpreting services and/or to address the impact COVID-19 has on on-site interpreting staff. If you are not already signed up to use our phone or video interpreting services and are interested in learning more, please contact Lisa Stokesbury at email@example.com.
- Translation: Our translation staff is dispersed globally and is large enough to ensure coverage despite any regional hot spots or challenges. Our translation staff does not have personal contact with any client staff, patients, or consumers. If you have emergency translation needs as part of your response to COVID-19, please feel free to reach out to Lisa Stokesbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Open Communication with Clients: We strongly encourage our clients to contact us at email@example.com regarding any unique threats, screening or entry protocols, or other questions and concerns. We ask all our clients to let us know if you implement any additional screening measures or other entry restrictions so we can try to schedule extra cushion time to allow interpreters plenty of time to move between appointments. Should any of our medical clients have a patient with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis who has had direct contact with one of our interpreters, we ask that you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org right away. Our in-house Quality & Compliance Counsel will contact you to address the situation.
- Essential Business Determination: Vocalink carefully reviewed Ohio, Kentucky, and federal guidelines to determine that our on-site medical, social service, and government/court interpreting services are “essential.” No health care, social service, or government functions involving communication with Limited English Proficient individuals can continue without interpreting services.
- Mandatory COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire: We deployed a mandatory COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire to all interpreters inquiring about recent illness and travel. Our Compliance Team will review each response and individually address any concerns. These Questionnaire responses will be uploaded into the UCheck module of our Tracker Interpreting Management System which clients can access at any time.
- Mandatory Daily Temperature Check: All team members are required to check their temperatures before beginning work each day. Team members may not work if their temperatures are at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Reporting: In the event Vocalink is notified that any interpreter or staff member has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, Vocalink will cooperate with public health officials to identify contact points and notify affected clients and individuals. We ask clients to provide their preferred point of contact for such matters by emailing email@example.com.
- Regular Monitoring for Updates: Our in-house Quality & Compliance Counsel is monitoring the Centers for Disease Control’s website along with the Ohio Department of Health and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services websites for any changes or updates to recommendations and protocols. We will follow the recommendations of the applicable government agencies along with any requirements from our healthcare, public sector, and other clients.
- Frequent Communication with Interpreters: We are communicating regularly with our interpreters regarding general information and safety protocols along with any unique protocols for specific client facilities (such as entrance restrictions or screening).
- Education on Safety Protocols: All interpreters and administrative staff have been trained to follow CDC guidelines with respect to handwashing/use of sanitizer, not touching their faces, sneeze/cough etiquette, environmental cleaning, and avoiding unsafe travel. We will send frequent reminders using mass emails, mass texts, and our company intranet system.
- Strict Enforcement of “Stay Home if You’re Sick” Rule: For the very few employees staffing our office as well as all of our interpreters, we are continuing to strictly enforce a “stay home if you’re sick” rule for all employees. We have updated this rule to comply with Ohio’s Stay at Home Order, which expands the “fever- and symptom-free” period to 72 hours (from 24 hours) and adds a seven (7) day minimum waiting period following the initial onset of symptoms before returning to on-site duties. We are not requiring a doctor’s note for staying home sick, in line with CDC recommendations, to avoid overwhelming medical facilities during this time of heightened need, unless a team member is using emergency paid sick leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, which requires employers to maintain evidence of the qualifying reason for leave. Should any interpreter display symptoms during an interpreting appointment, we welcome and encourage our clients to send them home and contact us to report the situation.
- Strict Enforcement of Self-Quarantine: Where ordered or advised by a government official or health care provider to self-quarantine, all team members (administrative staff or interpreter) must self-quarantine in accordance with CDC and State-ordered guidelines or 16 days, whichever is longer.
- Discouraging Unnecessary Travel: We are discouraging unnecessary travel, including any travel outside of a team member’s home state. We are enforcing minimum 16-day furloughs from work for any person traveling to any Level 2 or 3 areas, taking a cruise, or traveling to any other hot spot identified by the CDC or any Ohio or Kentucky government agency until the COVID-19 crisis abates. We had originally put a date on this, but have decided to leave the travel restriction open-ended.
- Social Distancing Requirements: All team members who continue to work from a Vocalink office to maintain Minimum Basic Operations are required to follow proper Social Distancing requirements.
We will monitor the situation and update this plan as needed. Please check our website for updates: https://www.vocalinkglobal.com.