Community Engagement During COVID-19

The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement is committed to supporting student engagement, faculty and staff engagement, and community relationships even as we continue to face COVID-19 developments and challenges.

The University of Richmond is currently in the Lime Stage of its COVID-19 Response and Planning.

We understand that questions may arise as we navigate our changing climate. Below is some guidance for students, faculty, and community partners for the start of spring 2022.
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  • For Students

    Students may continue to volunteer off-campus this semester. Students exploring new volunteer opportunities are encouraged to sign up for virtual advising or to visit our office on the second floor of Tyler Haynes Commons from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday beginning Tuesday, January 18.

    The following essential steps are being required of our student volunteers for the health of the community: 

    • Masks are required on all transportation (whether University or public). 
    • Participants are expected to follow the University’s COVID-19 protocols, including the mask mandate, and the protocols of the organization/site they are visiting. If these protocols are different, participants should follow the stricter of the two. 
    • Participants should inquire about community organizations’ protocols, including but not limited to requirements for volunteers, processes for notifying volunteers of positive cases within the organization, and contact tracing methods. For example: 
      • Does the organization have distancing protocols for work, distancing protocols for meetings, or distancing protocols for programs? 
      • What are the organization’s testing and vaccination requirements? 
      • How will I be notified if the someone at the organization has tested positive for COVID-19? Does the organization engage in contact tracing?
      • If you are seeking to work virtually due to health concerns, here are some questions you might ask: 
        • Is it acceptable to begin my service virtually and if so, when would you like to revisit this conversation regarding in-person vs. virtual work? 
        • If the organization requires in-person service, and you remain concerned about COVID-19 transmission and would prefer a remote option, ask if they have an opt-out policy. 
        • If your organization does not allow you to opt out of an in-person requirement, please contact a CCE staff member to explore alternative service arrangements. 
  • For Faculty
    University-sponsored travel for students is currently allowed. In addition to following relevant campus COVID-19 policies, participants in off-campus community engagement will follow the protocols established by the organization with which they are interacting.

    As there may be uncertainty with class attendance due to COVID-19, we encourage faculty to plan an alternative assignment or strategy for students who miss the experience. Please contact Sarah Adams aat for further information and support.

    If you are thinking about incorporating community-based learning in some way into your class in the spring, but are not yet ready to submit a formal Course Support Grant, we invite you to fill out our Community Engagement Interest Form. This will allow us to begin planning and to reach out to you with support options.
  • For Community Partners
    In-person community engagement activities will remain possible this semester, and we encourage you to share virtual and in-person opportunities.

    The University is requiring all students, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested for COVID-19 and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus. The University will continue to require all students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless an exemption has been granted. Masking continues to be required on campus in indoor spaces. The CCE continues to ask faculty, staff, and students to wear masks when involved in off-campus community engagement activities that take place indoors.

    The CCE will provide relevant COVID-19 response updates to community partners as needed and ask that you provide your CCE liaison with your organization’s updates as appropriate. Please also be prepared for conversation with students about the possibility of remote work as needed.

    We respect and support that individual organizations have their own protocols for volunteers. Please note that proof of vaccination and testing information must be shared directly between students and organizational staff and cannot pass through UR online platforms (e.g., SpidersEngage) as UR faculty and staff are prohibited from having direct access to this information about individual students.