LEO’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Author: Leigh Lynes

Our world has changed so quickly, and we want to update our partners, supporters, and friends on how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted LEO operations.

In short, our work to build evidence about what works to end poverty has not stopped. As long as our partners—poverty’s fiercest adversaries—are serving people in need, we stand with them. In the face of layoffs, reduced income, restricted community services, and disruptions to normal family life for so many Americans, it is more important than ever that LEO’s work to find innovative and effective solutions to poverty continues.

We are taking the following steps to ensure we support the extraordinary circumstances many of our provider partners now find themselves in.  

  • Our research team has evaluated each of our studies that is currently enrolling participants or collecting data in the field in terms of human risk. 
  • We are in contact with each of our provider partners to determine if they are continuing to provide services, and, if so, what changes have been made to ensure no one is put at risk because of our research. 
  • We are working with Notre Dame’s Institutional Review Board to amend protocols to reflect the new measures in place for programs that continue to provide services and obtain appropriate consent in new ways—for example, remotely or virtually. 
  • In the instances where our partners have chosen to or been required to temporarily suspend operations, we are taking steps to appropriately document this and work with them to ensure we can, when appropriate, resume studies that have been put on hold. 

Travel restrictions have given us the opportunity to launch our first-ever e-cohort next month, when we will convene seven of our newest partners for a virtual two-day workshop. This is just the start of a journey that will lead to us, together, learning about effective anti-poverty strategies in case management, education, homelessness services, domestic violence services, and youth mentoring.

Our vulnerable low-income neighbors are more visible than ever, and we must take this opportunity to raise awareness of what they face each day. But we can’t stop there. We also must continue to learn and illuminate the most effective interventions for helping families escape poverty. This was our challenge before COVID-19, and it’s the challenge we embrace anew today.


Originally published by Leigh Lynes at leo.nd.edu on March 25, 2020.