COVID-19 causes respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It is now a pandemic that is currently impacting countries worldwide. As refugees come to the United States, this global pandemic may present additional challenges to their resettlement. On this page, explore a variety of activities and additional resources that address key COVID-19 messages and help keep refugees informed with credible, accurate information about COVID-19 and, as appropriate, its impact on their resettlement. Cultural Orientation providers are responsible for ensuring all information provided on COVID-19 reflects the latest guidance.
Discussion on COVID-19
This activity is ideal for working with participants to define COVID-19, its symptoms, how it spreads, and why it should be taken seriously. It can be applied in-person and virtually.
- Ask participants: What do you know about COVID-19 (also called coronavirus)? If appropriate, ask: How does it compare to other illnesses you have encountered? Record the responses.
- Play the COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Stop the Spread of the Virus video, available in 15 different languages.
- Use the COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself Guided Worksheet to help guide participants to define COVID-19, its symptoms, and how it spreads.
- Compare information learned in the video and worksheet with information participants shared at the beginning of the activity.
- Discuss with participants: Why is it important for you to take COVID-19 seriously? What are the benefits of taking COVID-19 seriously? What are the potential consequences?
- Instead of the video, use the COVID-19 Understanding Guidance and Rules fact sheet or podcast.
- For one-on-one Cultural Orientation, customize the information as appropriate to the specific case.
- As possible and appropriate, incorporate visuals to enforce understanding of COVID-19 symptoms and how it spreads.
COVID-19 Responsibilities Activity
This activity is ideal to articulate the importance of protecting oneself and others from COVID-19 and to share information about resettlement to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be applied in-person and virtually.
- Ask participants: What steps can you take to protect yourself from COVID-19? What is the role of the Resettlement Support Center or Resettlement Agency during COVID-19? Record the responses.
- Provide participants with Resettling to the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic fact sheet or play the podcast.
- Compare information from the fact sheet or podcast to answers provided by participants about protecting against COVID-19. Correct the responses as necessary.
- Use Responsibility Cards to reinforce information provided in the Resettling to the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic fact sheet or podcast.
- Provide participants with the image on the responsibility card and ask: what action is happening in the image?
- Once participants identify the action, ask: Why is this action important in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19? Sample answers have been provided on the responsibility cards.
- Ask participants: What questions do you have about resettlement to the United States during COVID-19? Document questions and respond as appropriate. Questions may include: how to communicate with the Resettlement Support Center or Resettlement Agency, delivery of documents, and accessing specific services. Answers will vary.
- If conducting virtually, provide physical Cultural Orientation packet of materials ahead of time, including as appropriate the fact sheet and Responsibility Cards.
- Prior to conducting this activity, check the latest information and guidance on COVID-19 and adapt information based on the local context.
COVID-19 Scenarios Activity
This activity is ideal to explore local guidance on COVID-19 and reflect on how to find accurate and up-to-date information. It can be applied in-person and virtually.
- Ask participants: What is the current guidance on COVID-19 where you are located? Correct answers as necessary.
- If not provided previously, review with participants the COVID-19 Understanding Guidance and Rules fact sheet or play the podcast.
- Provide participants with scenarios found in the List of Scenarios. Discuss scenarios with participants, highlighting as appropriate local guidance on COVID-19. Scenarios and answers are based on the fact sheet mentioned above and podcast; however, scenarios also build on information shared in CORE’s COVID-19 How to Protect Yourself and Stop the Spread of the Virus video and Resettling to the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic fact sheet and podcast.
- Ask participants: How would they find accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19? Share how to find local information and encourage participants to check the COVID-19 page on the Settle In website, Settleinus.org.
- You may add additional scenarios or reduce the number of scenarios, as relevant for your given context.
- You could change the scenarios into role plays.
Ideally, Cultural Orientation is meant to be delivered in-person and in a group setting. However, this may not always be possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the need for remote Cultural Orientation. In order to ensure refugees still receive critical Cultural Orientation messages in these instances, CORE recommends the following resources to assist providers in remote and telephonic Cultural Orientation delivery.
Telephonic Cultural Orientation Guidance and Curricula
CORE has developed guidance and curriculum for conducting telephonic Cultural Orientation as a form of remote Cultural Orientation, when in-person is not possible. For telephonic Cultural Orientation, as with any form of Cultural Orientation, the topics covered should be consistent and align with the Cultural Orientation Objectives and Indicators.
How to Deliver Remote Cultural Orientation
Ideally, Cultural Orientation is meant to be delivered in-person and in a group setting. However, this may not always be possible. In order to ensure refugees still receive critical Cultural Orientation messages in these instances, CORE recommends the following remote delivery approaches and tips.
Refugee Resettlement during COVID-19 FAQs
The impact of COVID-19 on resettlement varies across the U.S. and will change over time depending on local and state requirements. To document the changes, CORE has added this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to answer questions about new pre-departure procedures and what refugees can expect upon arrival.
- The CDC has various resources available, all searchable by language, or via the CDC’s Print Resources page.
- The Washington State Department of Health has a hub of information related to COVID-19 which is updated daily. Topics include screening, grocery shopping tips, washing your hands, and more and are translated in a variety of languages.
- UCLA is maintaining a searchable resource hub that includes resources in over 40 languages. Users can search by language and also by topic.
- John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health COVID-19 Communication Network: The COVID-19 Communication Network is a reliable site for social and behavior change (SBC) professionals, and other responders in need, to access and share high-quality communication materials, tools and resources from global partners to address the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.
Working with Clients:
- CDC: COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups
- CDC: Communication Toolkit for Migrants, Refugees, and other Limited-English Populations
- CDC: COVID-19 in Newly Resettled Refugee Populations
- Universal Service Administrative Cultural Orientation. Lifeline Support Program: This is a federal program that assist individuals in getting phone or internet assistance based on income.
- Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication: CERC in a Infectious Disease Outbreak
- UNICEF: Family Therapist, Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
- Disaster Ready: COVID-19 Learning Resources
- University of Minnesota: Principles of Disaster Preparedness & Infectious Disease Outbreaks course
- Switchboard: Helping Your Clients Navigate Economic Hardship During the COVID-19 Crisis
- Switchboard: Wellbeing for Service Providers during COVID-19: Managing our Own Emotional Needs While Helping Refugee Clients
- Switchboard: Language Access in Times of Crisis: Getting Started With Video Remote Interpreting