In the complex times of COVID-19, Marquette students still strive to Be the Difference. Remember, one of the best ways to serve our community is by complying with public health guidance to keep everyone safe.
As you navigate opportunities to serve, please consider the following:
All service participation must comply with current federal, state, city, or university health orders and policies.
Be aware that increased workload in COVID-19, financial pressures, and racial justice work may limit the capacity of community partners to engage volunteers. Please be patient and flexible, understanding that we should not be their top priority.
Virtual service: Students are encouraged to take on virtual volunteer roles! Especially if this is a youth-serving role, volunteers should think critically and seek advice about whether the opportunity has adequate safeguards in place for community participants and volunteers.
In-person service: Students may continue to volunteer in-person with the following stipulations:
- Student volunteers are expected to inquire with the community agency about safe practices and comply with the same level of PPE as staff in a similar capacity at the service site. Students must follow both Marquette’s and the host organization’s COVID safe practice regulations.
- Community partners may have additional expectations and guidelines for volunteers, which may include safe behaviors and practices outside of the volunteer role. Before committing to a service role, students must inquire about these additional expectations and commit to adhering to them.
- Volunteers must communicate honestly with their host sites. Host sites have the authority to remove volunteers if they no longer feel comfortable with their presence on-site.
- Consider your personal risk factors when engaging in in-person service. Critically consider your own health and the health of those with which you interact closely, especially if in frequent contact with others who are at-risk.
- Students must also consider that they may pose a risk to vulnerable communities by unknowingly transmitting COVID-19 to their service site. If engaging in community service, students must commit to adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene measures in all aspects of their work/study/social lives.
- Students are encouraged to limit their service involvement to one community site as multiple engagements increases risk for a volunteer to spread disease.
- Students who present with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, suspect COVID-19 symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus must refrain from visiting their service site. Students are encouraged to utilize the university Voluntary Disclosure Form and available testing. Students are expected to communicate absences with program staff and site staff as appropriate.
- University program staff or the community partner may choose to discontinue an in-person service program if the risk level grows. Students who feel uncomfortable should be allowed to withdraw from the volunteer role with immediate notification of program staff.
- Groups (formal or informal) that wish to serve together must comply with university and city guidelines.
- Students continue to have a variety of options for transportation to a service site, all with varying level of risk depending on the circumstances. Students should take ownership of their personal safety and make decisions accordingly.
- While using transportation, all Marquette COVID-19 policies still apply, including reducing capacity, masking, health screening, hand washing, and disinfecting.
- MCTS busses are functioning at a reduced capacity (max 15 riders per bus). As such, students may not be able to board the bus at the time planned. Students are encouraged to use the MCTS app and be aware of the bus schedule as they plan their route, avoiding waiting at the bus stop for a long period of time. If delayed, students must contact their site.
- University-owned Community Service Vans may be used by student groups following existing procedures and guidelines, if users can assure that COVID-19 precautions will be taken. A maximum of two individuals may use a Community Service Van at any given time, with one driver in the front seat and one passenger in the far back row. Masking is required and windows must be open whenever possible. Each van will be outfitted with disinfecting wipes – passengers are responsible for wiping down surfaces (ie seats, armrests, doors, handles, steering wheel, etc) before using the vehicle.
- The use of personal vehicles is permitted when following existing vehicle safety policy and COVID-19 policy, including dedensification, disinfection, masking, and hygiene practices. No more than two individuals are permitted per vehicle and passengers are encouraged to sit as far away from each other as possible.
Need support in navigating these policies? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from Guidance on Undergraduate Community Service: Fall 2020, written by the Center for Community Service, Burke Scholarship Program, Service Learning Program, Campus Ministry, and Office of Engagement and Inclusion.