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Community Engagement Guidelines - COVID-19


William & Mary’s Office of Community Engagement values and promotes active citizenship - that is, prioritizing community in our values and life choices. The COVID-19 crisis has made this seemingly simple thing even more complex than it typically is.

In these times of increasing community distress in areas of physical and mental health and economic stability, we have an urgent call to support our community through responsible, mutually-beneficial, justice-based engagement.

We also prioritize the health and safety of community members and students, and seek to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in any community engagement activity.

As we prioritize all of these communities, we have developed guidelines that allow us to continue supporting our partners and engaging students in meaningful service, while mitigating risk. 


The following guidelines will apply to all OCE-sponsored engagement, including in our programs and via GivePulse, our listserv, or other promotion.

These guidelines will be changed and updated, as needed, based on the most current public health guidance and Virginia regulations. Updates will be posted on our website, in our listserv, and social media (@oceatwm). You may contact oce@wm.edu with additional questions.

Engagement Formats, in Priority Order
  • Remote service and internships, supporting capacity of community partners; advocacy (including for anti-racist and health equity policies); remote civic engagement (e.g. participating in civic meetings virtually)
  • Outdoor: physically distanced (at least 6’) with masks, in walking or biking distance
  • Delivery (e.g. food distribution): one person per vehicle, or roommates in shared vehicle

Students will be responsible for providing and properly wearing their own masks, completing health assessments before leaving campus for service, and sanitizing hands before going on site. Community partners will be responsible for ensuring that all others on site properly wear masks, ensuring that projects and space allow for at least six feet of physical distance.

Any in-person service as part of OCE programs will have a Partnership Agreement completed by the partner and the OCE before service begins. OCE staff will have a thorough conversation with partner staff to learn their safety protocols and ensure that our safety protocols can be upheld by the partner.

  • Only one person (the driver) may use OCE vehicles at a time. Students may drive themselves and their roommate(s) using their own vehicles.
  • If using OCE vehicles, students will adhere to vehicle use protocols established by Environmental Health & Safety.
Adapting to Changing Conditions

In-person service will immediately discontinue at any particular site when any party is uncomfortable or any party does not fulfill their responsibilities for taking precautions. Reinstatement will follow further (remote) conversation with and agreement between students, partner staff, and OCE staff.

In-person service will discontinue immediately at all sites when a positive case emerges at the site, or when Virginia enters Phase I or II. The OCE may also discontinue support of in-person service based on other measures, as this situation is fluid.