We care deeply about the well-being and safety of our Best Buddies participants, supporters, and staff, and our commitment to protecting your health and individuals within the intellectual and developmental disabilities community is our highest and most uncompromising priority.
With that in mind, we have developed a new comprehensive, evidence-based COVID-19 policy using the best current legal COVID-19 workplace and event practices in the country. Additionally, Best Buddies reached out to an independent third-party infectious disease expert, Dr. Paul Farmer for medical guidance. Dr. Farmer holds an MD and Ph.D. from Harvard University and serves as the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Farmer has affirmed what we know firsthand, that a high percentage of people with Down syndrome, Autism, and related intellectual and developmental disabilities are also at a higher risk to issues related to COVID-19 exposure than the general population. Also, per the CDC:
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19.
The Best Buddies Challenge will require that all event guests wishing to attend any of the events on October 30, 2021 provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. On a case-by-case basis, if for a documented medical reason from an MD, a guest is unable to provide proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result within 72 hours of event entrance will be allowed. At event registration, all guests that have complied with this policy will be asked to affirm that they have no COVID-19 symptoms to gain entrance to the event.
Additionally, all Best Buddies Challenge events will be moved and/or held outdoors. Tents will be required to have sides opened allowing for open-air exposure.
Best Buddies is adopting this policy because COVID-19 is a critical public health issue for the population we serve, in addition to our supporters and staff. While many of us have different opinions on these issues, please know this policy is the strongest COVID-19 event safety policy that we can legally implement. This policy will be required for event access and will also require that we follow any additional COVID-19 event laws required at the Federal, State, and/or local level.
Please note that Best Buddies cannot guarantee 100% COVID-19 vaccination and/or provide any COVID-19 related health safety guarantees. Best Buddies does not recommend that any guests whom are immunocompromised and/or interact with people that have immune system issues, attend our event per the following CDC statement:
- Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others.
As the event approaches, the Best Buddies Challenge team will be emailing out and posting on the website, the specific vaccine and health verification system we will use leading up to the event and at event registration. As we are also looking into the feasibility of offering Covid-19 testing at event registration and check-in.
If you have any immediate questions, please email MarkLewis@bestbuddies.org. However, if possible, please be patient as we are working in real-time to the best of our ability. Rest assured that we are confident this is one of, if not the best legal COVID-19 medical risk management event strategies that we can implement. While this will not be easy, it is without question necessary.
For many of us, the past 18 months have been one of the most challenging times in our lives. The last thing we want to do is exclude anyone. But please remember that we are all united by Best Buddies’ incredible mission, all doing the best we can to care of our Buddies and each other in this constantly evolving and unprecedented time.
Thank you so much for your support.
Thank you for keeping our Buddies safe!