Service-Learning and COVID-19

UCA COVID-19 Service Recommendations for 2021-2022

The UCA Division of Outreach & Community Engagement provides the following guidelines for all university faculty, staff, and students as COVID-19 continues to present challenges to our communities during the 2021-2022 academic year. Additional information about the university’s pandemic response is available at (Page updated August 16th, 2021)

Service-Learning Classes

  • Service-learning classes for 2021-2022 may include direct, indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based service projects, and direct service-learning may include in-person or remote, virtual, or contactless service
  • If applicable, faculty are asked to communicate with community partners in advance about the partner’s COVID-19 volunteer safety procedures, as well as how a change to the instructional delivery method would impact the service-learning project

Group Service Projects

  • UCA Outreach will provide support to assist student organizations in scheduling on-campus and off-campus group service projects, and in developing indirect, contactless, or remote service opportunities for their members
  • Group service projects hosted by student organizations must be approved through the campus event approval process on CubConnect
  • The following additional guidelines apply to off-campus group service projects:
    • Student groups will communicate with community partners to ensure that they are prepared to follow the organization’s COVID-19 volunteer safety procedures, with the knowledge that some organizations’ procedures may be more restrictive than campus
    • Students participating in off-campus group service projects will observe the current campus protocols for COVID-19
  • Student groups may request assistance from UCA Outreach in scheduling or developing a group service project using the Service Project Support Request Form in CubConnect

Individual Student Service

  • UCA Outreach will continue to share information with students about how to engage in volunteer service remotely or in-person
  • UCA Outreach will support community partners sharing volunteer opportunities for students, both in-person and remote/virtual; UCA Outreach will use the Service-Learning Community Partner Letter of Agreement to communicate the expectation of COVID-19 safety protocols for volunteers
  • Students participating in off-campus group service projects will observe the current campus protocols for COVID-19
  • Students who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are advised to avoid off-campus, in-person service opportunities and seek remote/virtual service opportunities instead
  • Students will review Student Volunteer Safety Guidelines for COVID-19 and complete the Volunteer Waiver and Release prior to conducting in-person service.

Recommendations for Faculty

Faculty planning service-learning projects in 2021-2022 may choose to include direct, indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based service projects, and may include direct service projects that are designed to be in-person, contactless, remote, and/or virtual.

Faculty who plan in-person direct service-learning projects are advised to create alternate service-learning plans in case of changes at the community partner organization or the university, and to accommodate student absences due to illness or exposure to COVID-19.

  • Examples of indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based service-learning include
    • Advocacy within the university community, including working with students on civic engagement projects or projects that raise awareness or take action on issues of unequal access or outcomes in higher education
    • Research, assessment, or evaluation in collaboration with a partner organization
    • Deliverables created for a partner organization, such as digital media or social media content, print materials, logos, or handbooks
    • Creating virtual educational materials such as webinars or streaming a presentation or performance
  • Examples of direct service offered in a virtual or contactless setting include
    • Tutoring or mentoring through video conferencing platforms
    • Delivering meals or conducting well checks over the phone
    • Hosting or assisting with a virtual event for a partner organization
    • Allowing students to locate and select their own virtual service opportunities (resources available at

The 2020-2021 academic year presented an opportunity to rethink how we use service-learning and to adapt our service-learning projects to address current, pressing issues in society. Additional resources for faculty to reflect on COVID-19 and its impact on communities, mutual support within communities, civic engagement, racial justice and equity, and critical service-learning can be found here.

Recommendations for Nonprofit Community Partners

Our nonprofit partners have been impacted in so many ways by COVID-19, and we understand that nonprofits may or may not be able to host in-person volunteers at this time, and that your capacity to partner with the university may be limited. We will inform our nonprofit partners of any campuswide changes to UCA’s instructional delivery, and encourage nonprofits to continue to consider remote, virtual, and contactless ways to keep volunteers engaged. We continue to ask all nonprofit community partners to have COVID-19 related safety policies and procedures in place for volunteers.
  • Develop COVD-19 related safety policies and procedures for volunteers.
  • Continue to list your service experiences on GivePulse, with an emphasis on remote or contactless opportunities. Please note that student groups are not permitted to conduct off-campus group service at this time.
  • Virtual service opportunities include ways that volunteers can support your organization from home or online, such as
    • Writing cards, sending letters, or doing craft projects (such as making toys for shelter animals, knitting hats and scarves for homeless individuals, or making blankets for seniors)
    • Becoming social media ambassadors, hosting online fundraisers or donation drives, or raising awareness of your organization and related social issues through advocacy
    • Offering a skilled service that they can do remotely, such as web development, graphic design, writing/editing, translation, or sewing
    • Offering online delivery of services such as financial coaching, tutoring and mentoring, enrichment activities or classes, or theater or musical performances
    • Recording theater or musical performances, audiobooks, or how-to videos
  • Consider asking individuals to pledge to volunteer at a future event or make a financial contribution to a specific need your organization has related to COVID-19 or disruptions to operations
  • Recognize your great volunteers on social media, or take some time to share stories of past service events to keep your volunteers engaged if they are unable to serve!

Additional Resources for Nonprofits

Contact Us

As always, please feel free to contact Dr. Lesley Graybeal, Director of Service-Learning and Volunteerism, at, for assistance and support as you make adjustments to your service-learning courses and service opportunities in the coming months. Thank you!