While online platforms such as Zoom have been fantastic tools for keeping in touch this past year, nothing compares to face to face interaction.

As we anticipate the return of in-person support groups for Scleroderma Victoria, we need to ensure that volunteers and attendees follow our COVID Safe Plan. Here’s the step-by-step process for your next event.

Who is responsible for the plan?

Everyone in the group needs to play their part, but the responsibility ultimately lies with the group support leader. If there are any positive cases of COVID connected with the group, the leader must immediately notify supportgroups@sclerodermavictoria.com.au.

It’s also essential for the leader to regularly check the DHHS website for updates to restrictions – things are changing daily, so it’s important to stay informed.

As a leader, how do I prepare for a group meeting?

Current guidelines ask that group meetings be held in commercial spaces with enough room for attendees plus appropriate social distancing. The venue should confirm whether they can accommodate you.

As the group leader, you need to send an email to supportgroups@sclerodermavictoria.com.au two weeks in advance, advising us of:

  • The date, time, location of the proposed event;
  • The anticipated number of attendees and details of any guest speakers or special attendees;
  • Your contact details;
  • Whether the venue has confirmed that they can accommodate the anticipated group size; and
  • That you have read and understood the Scleroderma Victoria Support Groups COVID Safe Plan.

If there are no concerns, we’ll put the word out on our website and social media platforms.

What should I do at the meeting?

On the day, you’ll need to:

  1. Provide disposable facemasks, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes. The wipes are for use on ‘high-touch’ items such as pens. You are entitled to reimbursement from Scleroderma Victoria for out-of-pocket expenses. 
  2. Complete a COVID-19 declaration and submit it to supportgroups@sclerodermavictoria.com.au. If you feel unwell or show symptoms of COVID-19, you must not attend the event.
  3. Check-in sheets and pens must be provided at the venue to collect the details of all attendees. 

What do attendees need to know?

Attendees should bring their own facemasks and sanitiser. It is also vital that they accurately complete their details on the group sign-in sheet, and comply with the social distancing guidelines. 

After the meeting

You need to collect up all the sign-in sheets and keep them in a safe place for 60 days. You should also send a copy (scan or photo) of the sign-in sheets to supportgroups@sclerodermavictoria.com.au

What if there’s a positive case?

If you become aware of a COVID-19 case or a close contact connected to an attendee, you must immediately notify supportgroups@sclerodermavictoria.com.au. Scleroderma Victoria will help you inform the venue and give attendee details to the Victorian government for contact tracing.

More information

If you have any questions about the guidelines, contact us for more information.

A copy of the COVID Safe Plan can be found here (include link).

For those who would prefer not to attend an in-person group support meeting, we’re continuing to host online events. Check our events page for more details.

By working together, we’ll keep our community safe.