The Morgridge Center for Public Service encourages all students to seek virtual or no-contact engagement opportunities unless they are required to do in-person engagement for graduation, certification, or licensure (see UW-Madison guidelines here). We recognize that some students may be doing other in-person engagement or service activities regardless of our recommendations, and want to provide the following safety protocols and information so students can keep themselves and community members as safe as possible.
This document contains guidelines to inform students what behaviors and actions need to be taken while volunteering with an off-campus nonprofit organization during the COVID-19 pandemic, if they so choose to do that. These guidelines and commitments are in place to ensure the safety of both student volunteers and organization staff members, and to promote a positive work environment.
Commitments before volunteering
As a student volunteer, and a representative of the Madison community when I am engaging through a course or UW-sponsored program, I understand that my actions and attitudes while volunteering affect the outcome of my experience for myself and the organization and community I serve. Before volunteering, I have acknowledged and agree to the following:
- I am a representative of UW-Madison if I am engaging through a course or UW-sponsored program, and my actions and attitudes reflect on the university community overall
- I want to volunteer from a genuine desire to respond to community priorities to the best of my ability and learn about the community, not solely for my own benefit
- I understand that nonprofit organizations may need to make changes and adapt to situations in their community, which may affect my volunteer assignment; I will take this opportunity to learn to be flexible and adaptable, and will keep an open mind to lessons I can learn
- I will be consistent, honest, and direct in communicating with the organization and fellow volunteers
- I will approach any volunteer experience as an opportunity to learn from the expertise and experience of nonprofit staff and community members; everyone I interact with has something to teach me
- I will encounter people who have life experiences, perspectives, and views different from my own, and I can learn from this diversity; I will be open-minded and respectful when interacting with and listening to people who are different from me
- I will do my best to communicate the limits of my time, experience, or skill to the organization and avoid committing myself to responsibilities I may not be able to successfully fulfill
I also understand that we are currently living in a pandemic, and MUST follow all designated policies and procedures to ensure the safety of myself and others from COVID-19. If I choose to volunteer in person with an off-campus nonprofit organization, I will take the following precautions:
- I WILL follow all university safety protocols AND the safety protocols of the organization with which I am volunteering.
- I WILL NOT attempt to volunteer if I have any of the symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health. (Symptoms found here).
- I WILL NOT volunteer if I live with or am in frequent contact with people in higher-risk categories for the virus.
- I WILL ask about any risk that may be associated with the task. I WILL NOT take part if I feel uncomfortable with the risk level.
- I WILL follow the CDC recommended precautions, which are as follows:
- Clean and wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after volunteering (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when unable to wash hands).
- Avoid close contact with others, and maintain a physical distance of six (6) feet from others.
- Cover nose and mouth with a face covering when around others.
- Cover nose and mouth with a tissue or inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing, then clean hands by washing or using hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching my eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- I WILL learn about and commit to following the organization’s safety precautions before volunteering.
- If an organization will need to screen all volunteers before the experience, I WILL arrive early to the site to give enough time to complete the screening process.
- I WILL use my own personal protective equipment or personal protective equipment that the organization offers me while I volunteer.
- If up to seven (7) days after volunteering I experience any symptoms or test positive, I WILL notify the organization.