Pace University COVID-19 Community Service Policies for 2020-2021
(Policy updated August 11, 2020)
Pace University and the Center for Community Action and Research (with feedback from CE faculty) provides the following guidelines for all university faculty, staff, and students while the university continues to make changes to operations to meet the health and safety needs of our campus and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. View additional information about Pace University’s pandemic response.
Civic Engagement Courses
- Whenever possible, faculty will plan their civic engagement community components to be indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based service projects rather than direct service, or to be direct service projects that are designed to be contactless, remote, and/or virtual. This includes courses in which all students work with one community partner and courses in which students coordinate their own community partnership.
- To achieve this emphasis on remote projects, faculty may elect to only accept service hours completed in a remote, virtual, or contactless manner.
- Faculty still must incorporate sustained community engagement during the semester and are expected to adhere to the Core Curriculum mandate this semester to keep a CE designation. There is some flexibility in how you do this, but removing or reducing community hours may impact your designation. If you wish to remove the community component, you can contact CCAR so that we can temporarily remove the designation for the semester.
- Faculty will communicate with community partners in advance about how a potential transition to fully online instruction would impact the service-learning project, if applicable. Discuss and consider whether in-process community projects or service activities could be completed as planned, or remotely. Some project-based or indirect service activities may not be affected, for instance, beyond the shorter number of weeks remaining to complete them. Others could potentially be done as technology-mediated rather than in-person activities.
- Group student travel to off-site locations or invitations to community members to be on-campus will not be considered without additional review or permission and can be denied if deemed unsafe, or conflicting with current COVID-19 policies at Pace.
- CE Faculty will use the Civic Engagement and Public Value Community Partner Letter of Agreement to communicate the expectation of COVID-19 safety protocols for volunteers.
- If there are not any feasible options for your course to continue to work with the intended community partner, please reach out to us at CCAR. We may be able to help connect you with alternative service opportunities or partners.
Group Service Projects
- Student groups will not engage in off-campus service projects in enclosed areas or provide group transportation to off-campus service sites.
- CCAR will provide support to assist student groups in scheduling group service projects that take place outdoors, as well as in developing indirect, contactless, or remote service opportunities for their members.
- Any group service projects must follow current guidelines from the CDC and the New York on Pause Act for group size. Groups must observe all Pace University protocols related to face coverings and social distancing.
Individual Student Service
- CCAR will continue to share information with students about how to engage in volunteer service remotely.
- CCAR will support community partners sharing volunteer opportunities, both in-person and remote/virtual.
- Individual student volunteers will observe all campus protocols related to face coverings and social distancing when serving in the community.
- Students who are at risk of complications of COVID-19 are advised to avoid off-campus, in-person service opportunities and seek remote/virtual service opportunities instead.
Recommendations for Faculty and Students
Faculty members whose Civic Engagement courses include direct service are asked to consider alternative types of service-learning:
- Consider ways in which students might engage in these other types of service-learning. Examples include:
- Creating deliverables for a partner organization, such as digital media or social media content, print materials, or other information-sharing products
- Creating virtual educational materials such as webinars or streaming a presentation or performance
- Conducting background research or gathering best practices or other information requested the partner(s)
- Recording or streaming performances or workshops to benefit community partner(s)
- Creating digital and other social media content, print program materials, or other methods for information-sharing
- Undertaking research, assessment, evaluation, or feedback via phone or web-based services
- Offering (or compiling, researching, or brainstorming) strategies that provide indirect support from volunteers as a result of coronavirus
- Conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports for youth and adults
- Investigating grant or funding opportunities for the organization
- Developing plans or tools for future program assessment
- Explore ways in which direct service could be offered virtually, such as offering services via video conferencing platforms or engaging in virtual service opportunities (examples and resources for finding virtual service opportunities are currently available).
- Consider opportunities to reflect on COVID-19, global health, the impact of pandemics on communities, and ways that community members can support one another while (and by) remaining socially distant.
- In adapting the service learning component of the course, it is vital that faculty and students take the lead from the community partner and only work on mutually agreed upon projects.
- Students should review Student Service and CE Safety Guidelines for COVID-19 prior to conducting in-person service.
- Faculty and students may wish to consult CCAR’s compilation of remote volunteering projects with NYC-based organizations.
Additional Resources for Faculty and Students
CCAR urges Civic Engagement faculty and students to consider how their community work reflects a commitment to anti-racism. For support, www.pace.edu/takeaction provides resources to all members of the Pace Community looking to deepen their commitment to racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Recommendations for Nonprofit Community Partners
We understand that changes to the university’s instructional delivery method and policy for student community engagement impacts you, and we apologize for any inconveniences caused by changes to instructional delivery. Nonprofit community partners are asked to consider ways to continue to engage with our students in remote or contactless service, and we expect all nonprofit community partners to have COVID-19 related safety policies and procedures in place for volunteers.
To share remote, virtual, or contactless volunteering opportunities please contact us! For Westchester based organizations you may email Heather Novak (firstname.lastname@example.org) and for NYC based organizations you may email Erin Mysogland (email@example.com).
To share internship opportunities please contact Pace University Career Services.
As always, please feel free to contact the Center for Community Action and Research for assistance and support as you make adjustments to your Civic Engagement courses and service opportunities in the coming months. Thank you!
Adapted from https://uca.edu/servicelearning/service-learning-and-covid-19/ with input from members of the Pace community.