MN CovidSitters is a nonprofit corporation started by 13 University of Minnesota Medical Students (ranging MS1 - MS4) that links college and graduate student volunteers with Minnesota Healthcare Families working on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We offer free childcare, pet-care, and errand-running services (groceries, post-office runs, etc.) to healthcare workers (HCW) in need. We have partnered with a local Twin Cities company, Clinician Nexus, who developed an app to allow us to nationalize this effort.
Since starting on March 12, 2020, we have had over 306 volunteers across all school professions - nursing students, medical students, pharmacy students, student-teachers, veterinary students for pet-sitting - agree to help HCW. Through this effort we have matched over 190 healthcare families and 40 pets. Additionally, we have spoken with over 85 schools across the country and five countries (Ireland, England, Canada, Mexico, and Pakistan) to develop their platform and start CovidSitter Sister organizations for volunteers.
We reached out to the Minnesota Department of Health to discuss a safe model for matching students to families based on a pod system and they are directing HCW to reach out to our volunteer platform for help. We also are working with the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, who considers this service essential. We are branching out to rural communities to ensure that everyone in the state of Minnesota has access to our services. Our website is www.mncovidsitters.org and anyone interested in developing a CovidSitters Sister organization is welcome to work with us and Clinician Nexus to offer these free services. We are not receiving credit for this and it is entirely volunteer. While the University of Minnesota supports our efforts, they are not partnered with us because we wanted to allow access to all HCW across the state of Minnesota regardless of hospital affiliation. HCW really need our help right now and there is a dire need for childcare in this country.