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"Safer at Home" discernment and discussion tool #wip

Updated: May 26, 2020

I've been thinking a lot about how I make the decision of whether I'll have contact with a particular person or place and I've also been talking a lot about this with our "quaranteam". Out of necessity and organizational practicalities, the quaranteam is made up of QCFT onsite staff and their significant others. If I wasn't the director of a nonprofit or responsible to a particular on site staff, I may have made different decisions about who is on the quaranteam and who is not.

Right now, the quaranteam is responsible to each other for the following: stay 6ft distanced from all non-teammates, wear masks when around non-teammates and especially when you cannot be 6ft apart, wash hands and door knobs often, go minimally to the store. (We just added stores back into the mix after a few weeks of instacart. Minimally = 1x every 10 days to the grocery and make a group list and send 1 tribute to any other store. Our family has decided to keep using instacart for now, but I think the interns go to the grocery.) If we keep to these agreements, then we can be in each other's homes, share meals, and hang out without masks or concern for 6ft distancing. We also acknowledge that sometimes we have to break one of the rules during neighbor visitation. For example, a disabled person needs us to place his carebox inside of his home because he cannot carry it. Our quaranteam has taken the time to review our agreements once every 14 days or so and so far, we're content.

The last time that we talked about things, though, I left our agreement a little bit unsettled. I wasn't unsettled because of the guidelines we set, but more so because of how we made the decisions. What values do you take into consideration when you make decisions regarding potential exposure during a pandemic? None of us have ever had to consider this question. I think we're still growing into our answer.

Thus far, most of our concerns have been centered around keeping ourselves "safe" from the virus and thus keeping others "safe" as well. NPR recently published an article rating popular summer activities according to risk of exposure. I found the article to be helpful in characterizing different categories of risk: Time, Space, Place, and People. Our quaranteam, thus far, has looked at the risks we take and decisions we make from this lens.

We made a shift in our team guidelines at our last meeting that struck me differently. Before, we had agreed to only shop using Instacart and, for financial purposes, that meant we only had access to Aldi. (Publix is a much higher service fee. Aldi already has an approximate $9 service fee per delivery. Bi-weekly deliveries start to add up.) After our conversation, we agreed to allow teammates to physically go into the grocery store. Additionally, we added that a "tribute" could go to the hardware store or target.

During this same conversation, I tried to open up the idea of an extended quaranteam- perhaps it would be folks who don't come into your home or share meals from your table, but maybe they ride in your car for a short period of time while wearing a mask. The quaranteam decided not to add this suggested change.

This got me to thinking....some of our decisions were made by risk of exposure plus something else. What was the unspoken something else that we were adding to our conversation?

The addition of stores was related to values- values centered around shopping, purchases, immediate gratification, saving money. The addition of extended quaranteam members would have been related to values- values of the heart, mental health, health of neighbor, connection.

I want to be careful here, I'm not certain I want to place a "good" or "bad" next to any of these value categories. (I certainly don't want my team to sense I am placing judgement on our decision.) What I do want to say here is that I think it is important to know what values are informing your decision. I also think it is important to discuss the complexities -the risk factors plus the relational/heart factors- of these decisions with your team. [And a note that a discussion of privilege, race, "essential work", etc is ongoing.]

This screenshot image is a work in progress (#wip), my attempt at providing a framework for discernment and discussion with your quaranteam. The pdf version of this file is just below the screenshot.

_Safer at Home_ discussion and decision
Download • 56KB

Here's the idea: Imagine you have a paint palette. For each answer, you will squeeze drops of paint onto your palette. Once you've answered every question, you'll mix up your colors to see what the final hue is. The final hue will provide clues about your values and what is most important to you. Noticing the different hues of your teammates, family, and friends. This might provide interesting discussion and clarity on what risks you are choosing to take.


Here's how it works. Think of a scenario in which you will leave your home and risk potential exposure to COVID19. This could be something as simple as going to the bank or as complex as going on vacation with your extended family. Answer each question in the columns and tally the amount of drops of each color you would add to the palette.

Next, go to this link and use the tool to create your final hue. (click on the corresponding color the number of times you tallied.)

Making colors is fun, isn't it?

Now, discuss with your teammates, family, and friends. Here are some guiding questions:

  • What did you notice about yourself as you answered these questions?

  • Do you like the hue you see?

  • Are your hues similar or different from your teammates, family, and friends?

  • Are you surprised at other people's hues?

  • What risks are you willing or not willing to take during these times?

  • Warm colors are reds, yellows, and oranges. Cool colors are blues, purples, and greens. Is your final hue warm or cool? In this exercise, warm color hues tend to signify decisions based on risk of exposure and keeping yourself "safe". Cool color hues tend to signify decisions based on feelings and relationship. What do you think this says about you?

  • If you were to add a new column to the spreadsheet, a new value to take into consideration, what would it be?

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