Students working on Kaboom Playground project


COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQ for STUDENTS 

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, students are encouraged to participate in 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 students in identifying or developing virtual opportunities and can be reached at (251) 460-6116 or

▼   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 students choose to participate in low-contact or direct-service opportunities, they must follow the guidelines approved by the USA Campus Reopening Committee.
▼   What is required of me as a USA student if I choose to participate in in-person, low-contact or direct-contact service?
Students 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.
▼   What is required of USA volunteers participating in an in-person service experience?

Students, faculty and staff participating in direct and/or low-contact service opportunities posted in South Serves must review the opportunity to ensure it is in compliance with all USA Reopening Plan guidelines AND complies with the community site COVID-19 Protocols.

Individuals participating in direct-contact and low-contact service must follow the USA COVID-19 guidelines to ensure:

  • face masks are worn by all individuals in all indoor public areas of buildings and facilities, except when alone in a private office; 
  • 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; 

In general, students, faculty and staff should not engage in direct service with populations considered the most vulnerable, as determined by the CDC. These populations include, but are not limited to: the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, children fighting pediatric illness, and immuno-compromised individuals. Exceptions to this specific guidance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will require review by the OCE Director and include additional review by the USA COVID-19 supervisor and the USA Reopening Committee. Faculty, staff or students should contact the OCE Director at for assistance with the evaluation process.

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.
Before returning to campus and before attending on-campus classes, or other activities USA faculty, students and/or staff who have participated in an in-person direct-contact or low-contact service activity must complete a health screening form.  Jag Healthcheck can be accessed directly at or by downloading the recommended GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App
▼   What if I become COVID-19 positive or suspect I am positive following an in-person service experience?

If a student experiences symptoms of COVID-19 after participating in a service opportunity or becomes aware that they have been exposed to COVID-19 during a service activity:

  • they must stay home, indicate this information on Jag Healthcheck and contact Student Health; 
  • they are required to immediately report confirmed cases of COVID-19 to USA’s Contact Tracing team at (instructions on how to report are contained in the student section of the University’s reopening website); and they must report a probable or confirmed case to the Director of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE Director) at
▼   What if I would like to design and/or lead a service event for USA? 

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

How can you get involved?

Sign up for SOUTH SERVES so you can serve the community and build your volunteer résumé