Mediating During a Pandemic

Mediating During a Pandemic

Over the last few months, it has been evident that people are resilient. Everyone felt the impact of COVID-19 and everyone needed to make adjustments. Hopefully soon we will be looking back at the difficult adjustments we made and be looking forward to things getting back to normal. Or as some are saying, looking forward to getting back to what the new normal will be.

These past few months can be compared to a mediation. People don’t participate in mediation because things are going well or because it is necessarily easy. They are there because they need to deal with issues, make adjustments and determine how to move forward. Moving forward and making adjustments to the new normal is hard, but in the end those changes usually work out well.  

During the pandemic, Nebraska mediators and facilitators have also had to adjust so they could continue to provide mediation services. The regional mediation centers adjusted to local directed health measures to keep participants, mediators, and facilitators safe. While each center looked a little different there were similarities. Some mediations and facilitations continued in person and followed safe practices (social distancing, facemasks, sterilizing meeting space after each use, etc.), other times everyone participated remotely, or a hybrid of in-person and remote participation was used.

It was a lot to deal with in a short amount of time. However, with a flurry of learning, mediators and facilitators became experts in managing their processes using online meeting platforms. More importantly, families had access through this technology and it was very well received. Moving forward, technology will most likely continue to be utilized, allowing even greater access to justice through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). 

With the courts opening back up, mediators are onsite to provide a process for people to work through the issues they are facing. Mediators from Concord Mediation Center are once again at the Douglas County courthouse to mediate small claims cases, ready to serve with facemasks on and observing social distancing.