Faculty

Owen Bailey cleaning up at Day of Service

 

COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQ for FACULTY

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) supports community engaged learning, service learning and volunteerism for students, faculty and staff using the South Serves Volunteerism and Service Learning Management System, in partnership with the United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA), whose hub site (Volunteer Connect) links to and shares community postings with South Serves (the system). Community agencies in the system are vetted through the UWSWA process and maintain control over the postings for their organizations.

During the current reopening phase, faculty members are encouraged to design their service learning and community engagement course(s) to include no-contact (virtual) opportunities whenever feasible.  Examples of no-contact service can be located on South Serves under the Virtual Volunteerism heading.  Here is the link to the full Community Engagement Guidelines. The OCE staff is available to assist faculty in identifying or developing virtual opportunities and can be reached at (251) 460-6116 or communityengagement@southalabama.edu.

▼   Is in-person community engagement, service learning and volunteerism allowed?
Virtual community engagement, service learning and volunteerism are the safest opportunities and, therefore, are encouraged.  If faculty choose to require in-person activities, however, faculty must follow the guidelines approved by the USA Campus Reopening Committee.
▼   What am I required to do as a faculty member if I choose to require in-person, low-contact or direct-contact service learning for my students?

Faculty must review the service/service learning opportunity posted in South Serves to ensure that it complies with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements, and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. The OCE volunteer coordinator (OCE coordinator) supports faculty who request assistance in gathering additional information needed to make a determination about specific postings/organization protocols before faculty choose to require a specific opportunity. Faculty can email communityengagement@southalabama.edu to request assistance.

For faculty requiring an in-person service opportunity NOT posted in South Serves, the faculty member must ensure the opportunity is in compliance with all USA Reopening Plan guidelines. Faculty members must receive pre-approval from the OCE Director, indicating that the opportunity is in compliance. The OCE coordinator is available to assist faculty in gathering additional information necessary to make this assessment and any changes to the service activity to ensure compliance.  Faculty can email the OCE coordinator at communityengagement@southalabama.edu for assistance with the process, or call the OCE office at (251) 460-6116.
▼   What is required of USA volunteers participating in in-person volunteering?

All USA students and/or faculty and staff participating in direct-contact and low-contact service must follow the USA face-mask and social distancing requirements while serving and ensure that: 

  • face masks are worn by all individuals in all indoor public areas of buildings and facilities, except when alone in a private office;  
  • face masks are worn in outdoor areas when individuals are within six (6) feet of one another; and 
  • individuals are able and expected to maintain six (6) feet of social distance from others.
▼   What if I have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a community partner that pre-dates COVID-19?

If a faculty member is requiring service that is a part of a pre-existing or newly developed MOU with a community organization, the faculty member (in consultation with the USA Office of General Counsel*), their supervisor and their community partner must amend the MOU to ensure it includes: 

  • requirements for mask wearing (see previous question);
  • requirements that individuals maintain social distancing by remaining six (6) feet apart;
  • the expectation that indoor gatherings of more than ten (10) people are not permitted;
  • frequent handwashing/hand sanitization;
  • all other applicable USA Reopening Plan guidelines; and reviewing the host organization’s COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that they are in harmony with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines.

*The faculty member must reach out to the Office of General Counsel for assistance with revision of any existing MOU’s.

▼   What if a student volunteer becomes positive for COVID-19, or suspects they’ve become positive, following an in-person service experience?

Any faculty or staff member notified by a student, who has recently participated in a required service learning experience, that he/she has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must email this information to their Department Chair/Director AND to the Director of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE Director) at sshelley-tremblay@southalabama.edu, in addition to immediately reporting the case to USA’s Contact Tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu, following the instructions on the University’s reopening website. The following steps will be taken:

  • The OCE Director will consult with the USA Contact Tracing supervisor, who will determine if the student was in close contact with individuals at the site and provide information regarding the quarantine period if applicable.  
  • The OCE Director may notify the community organization site supervisor based upon guidance provided by USA Contact Tracing supervisor. 
  • The Department Chair/faculty supervisor will pause the service learning experience to ensure completion of contact tracing in compliance with the University policy. 
  • The student may not return to the community organization site until they receive clearance from the USA Contact Tracing team or from Student Health. The student should report their clearance to their faculty supervisor to receive approval for their return to the community organization site.
  • After receiving clearance from USA Contact Tracing and their faculty supervisor, the student should comply with all requirements of the community organization site before returning to the site.
▼   What if I would like to sponsor or lead a service event for USA? 

Email the OCE staff at communityengagement@southalabama.edu for support in planning and, if necessary, guidance in seeking an approved plan specific to the event from the USA Reopening Committee. 

▼   Can a faculty member arrange transportation for students to participate in a community engagement or service activity?

USA Faculty and staff must not provide for or arrange group transportation to off-site service locations.

▼   What am I required to do as a faculty member if I choose to participate in the Employee Community Volunteer Program?

Faculty choosing to participate in the Employee Community Volunteer Program, who choose a low-contact or direct-contact service opportunity, must review the opportunity posted in South Serves to ensure that it complies with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines, PPE requirements, and ADPH/CDC guidance.

COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQ for STAFF

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) supports community engaged learning, service learning and volunteerism for students, faculty and staff using the South Serves Volunteerism and Service Learning Management System, in partnership with the United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA), whose hub site (Volunteer Connect) links to and shares community postings with South Serves (the system). Community agencies in the system are vetted through the UWSWA process and maintain control over the postings for their organizations.

During the current reopening phase, staff members are encouraged to design co-curricular and curricular experiences to include no-contact (virtual) opportunities whenever feasible.  Examples of no-contact service can be located on South Serves under the Virtual Volunteerism heading.  Here is the link to the full Community Engagement Guidelines. The OCE staff is available to assist University staff in identifying or developing virtual opportunities and can be reached at (251) 460-6116 or communityengagement@southalabama.edu.

▼   Is in-person community engagement, service learning and volunteerism allowed?
Virtual community engagement, service learning and volunteerism are the safest opportunities and, therefore, are encouraged. If staff (for either a course or co-curricular experience) choose to require in-person activities, however, staff must follow the guidelines approved by the USA Campus Reopening Committee.
▼   What am I required to do as a staff member if I choose to encourage in-person, low-contact or direct-contact service learning for my students?

Staff members must review the service/service learning opportunity posted in South Serves to ensure that it complies with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements, and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. The OCE volunteer coordinator (OCE coordinator) supports staff who request assistance in gathering additional information needed to make a determination about specific postings/organization protocols before staff choose to require a specific opportunity. Staff can email communityengagement@southalabama.edu to request assistance.

For staff sponsoring or leading an in-person service opportunity NOT posted in South Serves, the staff member must ensure the opportunity is in compliance with all USA Reopening Plan guidelines. Faculty members must receive pre-approval from the OCE Director indicating that the opportunity is in compliance. The OCE coordinator is available to assist faculty in gathering additional information necessary to make this assessment and any changes to the service activity to ensure compliance.  Staff can email the OCE coordinator at communityengagement@southalabama.edu for assistance with the process, or call the OCE office at (251) 460-6116.

▼   What is required of USA volunteers participating in in-person volunteering?

All USA students and/or faculty and staff participating in direct-contact and low-contact service must follow the USA face-mask and social distancing requirements while serving and ensure that: 

  1. face masks are worn by all individuals in all indoor public areas of buildings and facilities, except when alone in a private office;  
  2. face masks are worn in outdoor areas when individuals are within six (6) feet of one another; and 
  3. individuals are able and expected to maintain six (6) feet of social distance from others.
▼   What if I have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a community partner that pre-dates COVID-19?

If a staff member is sponsoring service that is a part of a pre-existing or newly developed MOU with a community organization, the staff member (in consultation with the USA Office of General Counsel*), their supervisor and their community partner) must amend the MOU to ensure it includes:

  1. requirements for mask wearing (see previous question)
  2. requirements that individuals maintain social distancing by remaining six (6) feet apart;
  3. the expectation that indoor gatherings of more than ten (10) people are not permitted;
  4. frequent handwashing/hand sanitization;
  5. all other applicable USA Reopening Plan guidelines; and 
  6. reviewing the host organization’s COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that they are aligned with with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines.

*The staff member must reach out to the Office of General Counsel for assistance with revision of any existing MOU’s.

▼   What if a student volunteer becomes positive or suspects they’ve become positive following an in-person service experience?

Any faculty or staff member notified by a student, who has recently participated in a required service learning experience, that he/she has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must email this information to their Department Chair/Director AND to the Director of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE Director) at sshelley-tremblay@southalabama.edu, and immediately report the case to USA’s Contact Tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu. The steps will be taken:

  1. The OCE Director will consult with the USA Contact Tracing supervisor, who will determine if the student was in close contact with individuals at the site and provide information regarding the quarantine period if applicable.
  2. The OCE Director may notify the community organization site supervisor based upon guidance provided by USA Contact Tracing supervisor.
  3. The Department Chair/faculty supervisor will pause the service learning experience to ensure completion of contact tracing in compliance with the University policy. 
  4. The student may not return to the community organization site until they receive clearance from the USA Contact Tracing team or from Student Health. The student should report their clearance to their faculty supervisor to receive approval for their return to the community organization site.
  5. After receiving clearance from USA Contact Tracing and their faculty supervisor, the student should comply with all requirements of the community organization site before returning to the site.
▼   What if I would like to sponsor or lead a service event for USA?

Email the OCE staff at communityengagement@southalabama.edu for support in planning and, if necessary, guidance in seeking an approved plan specific to the event from the USA Reopening Committee.  

▼   Can a staff member arrange transportation for students to participate in a community engagement or service activity?

USA faculty and staff must not provide for or arrange group transportation to off-site service locations.

▼   What am I required to do as a staff member if I choose to participate in the Employee Community Volunteer Program?

Staff members choosing to participate in the Employee Community Volunteer Program, who choose a low-contact or direct-contact service opportunity, must review the opportunity posted in South Serves to ensure that it complies with the USA Reopening Plan guidelines, PPE requirements, and ADPH/CDC guidance.

How can you get involved?

▼   Offer to Teach a Service Learning Course
DEFINITION:

The National Service Learning Clearing House defines Service Learning as “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.”

SUPPORT FOR FACULTY IN OFFERING A SERVICE LEARNING COURSE

The Office of Community Engagement team is available to support faculty and departments as they work to integrate Community Engagement and Service Learning into their course offerings.  Please feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment - (251) 460-6116.

ONLINE RESOURCES:

  1. Campus Compact Toolkit Modules: Designing & Delivering a Service-Learning Course by Dr. Matt Roy (Assistant Provost & Director of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, UMASS Dartmouth) and Dr. Dwight Giles (Professor, College of Education and Human Development and Senior Associate with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education): https://compact.org/resource-posts/designing-delivering-a-service-learning-course/
  1. The National Service Learning Clearinghouse (a searchable database of resources) https://community-wealth.org/content/national-service-learning-clearinghouse
▼   Present Your Work

The following conferences occur annually and offer opportunities for presentation of original scholarship along with professional development around Community Engagement and Service Learning.  Please follow the links below to identify conference specific calls for proposals.

▼   Seek Funding for your Community Engaged Scholarly Work

The federal government posts grant opportunities through grants.gov which often require community engagement as a component of the calls for proposal. In addition, the following entities provide regular opportunities to apply for funding to support community engaged scholarly work and research:

National Foundations:

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Wallace Foundation

The WK Kellogg Foundation

Local and Regional Funders:

The Alabama Power Foundation

The Community Foundation of South Alabama

The David Mathews Center for Civic Life

The National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine

▼   Request a Training

Request training on SOUTH SERVES by emailing communityengagement@southalabama.edu.