Across the globe, we are witnessing the rapid spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Without widespread testing, we remain uncertain about how far the virus has spread and how many people have been affected.
The safety of our staff, participants and consultants is our highest priority at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). That’s why I have decided to put on hold domestic and international travel until we have a more complete picture of the virus and how far it has spread. In addition, our staff will be working from home until further notice to prevent possible exposure.
We are contacting our partners, participants and trainers who are scheduled to travel as part of our programs to let them know of our policy. We also are talking to funders and partners about how activities and timelines may change. We will continue to recruit participants for future programs, but activities may be postponed until later in the year. We are doing everything in our power to mitigate the impact on our work.
The health and wellbeing of our staff and their families are key. We have put in place a work-from-home policy as part of our approach to minimize possible exposure. Many staff members have long commutes on public transportation, where they could potentially be exposed. Some live with family members who are elderly or have serious chronic medical conditions, and it’s prudent to limit their contact with large groups of people on public transport. A majority of our employees already work from home at least once a week, so we are set up to do our jobs remotely.
ICFJ runs more than 70 programs a year for journalists globally. We are committed to finding creative solutions to getting the job done as we learn more about the full scope of this health crisis.
Are you a journalist covering COVID-19? ICFJ is planning an online forum to assist and inform reporters covering the epidemic. Please get in touch with ICFJ Director of Community Engagement Stella Roque, email@example.com, and let her know about the challenges in reporting this story and what your local needs are. Also, please see these tips and resources from IJNet, a project of ICFJ.