THE Archdiocese of Cebu, with the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth, issued on Sunday, July 19, 2020, guidelines to ensure safety of youth volunteers and frontliners in parishes, organizations and communities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said it is no denial that the Church has “always relied on the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the youth” in the implementation of pastoral programs and initiative during the pandemic.
“Many of our parishes have tapped the involvement of our young people in the livestreaming of our Holy masses and in the sanitation protocols of our parishes,” the prelate said in his letter.
Under the guidelines, the parish must only admit youth volunteers who are not below 21 years old and who are not immunocompromised, that is without medical history or record that may expose them to greater health risks.
In addition, whether the volunteers stay overnight in the parish or not, the parish should provide for their basic and necessary necessities, health protection and safety such as but not limited to food, vitamins and sanitation materials, among others.
A lay person must also be appointed to oversee the youth volunteers on behalf of the parish priest or youth director. Such overseer may be appointed from among the youth volunteers.
Curfew should also be observed following the existing protocols laid down by the archdiocese, the concerned local government unit, the Department of Health and other government agencies.
Moreover, young parish volunteers must also accomplish a Daily Symptoms Questionnaire Undertaking and Waiver to be strictly monitored by the overseer or the priest in charge, similar to what workers of the Cebu archdiocese are required to do.
Among the information asked in the questionnaire and waiver include the volunteer’s name, age, body temperature and whether he has had contact with a Covid-19 case in the last 14 days.
The parish and the Office of the District Youth Directors should be furnished a copy of all the documents for filing purposes.
These guidelines have been reviewed by the Archdiocesan Ministry on the Safeguarding of Minors and Venerable Adults and the Legal Office. (WBS)