March 19, 2020 Sharon Purcell

Dear RFCSSQ clients,

You would be well aware of the deepening crisis caused by Coronavirus (Covid-19), the RFCSSQ is implementing precautions to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. With the COVID-19 virus impacting Australia, firstly, I wanted to reassure you that the assistance you currently receive from the RFCS Southern Queensland team will continue to be provided to you throughout this crisis however our delivery mechanisms will change based on medical and governmental advice.

Accordingly, we will ensure staff have not been outside Australia in the 14 days prior to any scheduled farm visits or meetings.
Moreover, our staff are obligated to:
• Report to us if they or their family have any flu like symptoms – we will then take steps to adjust existing arrangements.
• Be vigilant with their hygiene, both at home and during farm visits and meetings,
• Avoid mass gatherings as the virus spreads
• Not shake hands with clients
Please advise our staff if you have had any Coronavirus event at your home or premises; or if you are feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms or there is any known risk that we should be aware of before a counsellor attends a meeting or farm visit.

We are immediately replacing all face to face appointments with clients over 65 years of age with telephone or skype conversations. This is to ensure that we are vigilant in protecting the health of older clients.
In addition any clients who may have a known or chronic health condition should advise us, so that any scheduled visits may be re-organised to telephone or skype conversations.

We will also reschedule or change arrangements for any client that requests a phone or skype meeting in preference to a face to face meeting, and from 1 April 2020 until further notice will be conducting all client meetings via phone or skype. If an urgent situation arises that requires a face to face meeting, the individual situation will be assessed depending on the current circumstances with the covid-19 and our resourcing ability.

We will work hard to ensure that any inconvenience to our clients in the months to come is kept to an absolute minimum and appreciate your cooperation and understanding on this issue.
Hopefully, all our clients and staff will remain unaffected by coronavirus and we can return to normal operational processes as soon as possible.

Jenny Whip
Chief Executive Officer, Rural Financial Counselling Service (Southern Queensland)