Service Learning COVID-19 Guidelines

9/14/2021 – Service Learning Update – Delta variant spike considerations

Clinical Service Learning (diagnose and treat clinics, screen and refer clinics, health fairs, testing activities and vaccinations):  The following steps need to be in place to allow students to continue UWSOM approved extra-curricular clinical service learning activities:

  • Triage procedures that consider common COVID 19 symptoms.
    • If the clinical partner/site is prepared to see patients under investigation for COVID (PUI), then students seeing PUI must wear medical masks, eye protection, gowns and gloves.
    • If aerosolizing procedures are conducted students must wear N95 masks in addition to the above personal protective equipment (PPE) (instead of medical grade masks).
    • If the clinical partner/site is NOT prepared to see PUI then patients should be triaged to other care sites.
    • All PUIs should be encouraged to get COVID testing.
  • Clear protocols for sanitization, social distancing, and glove wearing in keeping with clinical practice standards.
  • UWSOM students, faculty and staff are required to wear eye protection or face shields in addition to medical grade masks for in person clinical service learning events. Notably personal eyeglasses (not goggles) and masks with built in face shields are not considered adequate for this purpose. PPE availability needs to be adequate for each site and clinical project.
  • Student/preceptor personal screening and COVID symptom self-attestation. All volunteers should be screened for symptoms of COVID 19 (or other respiratory transmissible diseases) and refrain from participation if they are symptomatic or recently had a high risk exposure.
  • Agreements with community partners (clinical and non-clinical) about the above expectations and any additional community or project specific considerations.
  • The UWSOM WWAMI Foundations site dean and Service Learning Champion may decide to place further restrictions on service learning participation based on their expert understanding of local issues.

Non-Clinical Service Learning (health education, mentoring, advocacy):  Non-clinical service learning activities will follow the protocols laid out by local/state government.  Such policies are more nuanced and consider local COVID 19 infection rates and other public health considerations.  All UW students, faculty and staff should wear a mask for both indoor and outdoor service learning events.

  • Adaptation of projects to meet local stipulations around number of people allowed to be gathered (considering indoor/outdoor venues), and social distancing.
  • Given the non-clinical nature of these events the service learning leadership team feels use of cloth masks are sufficient for protection of clients from our students (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720330278?via%3Dihub

Non-UW Generated Community Service (Ex: Volunteering with the RedCross or local shelter in a lay person’s capacity):  Based on LCME considerations of both school generated service learning and community generated service opportunities being equivalent, our Service Learning Champions, and SLAC student representatives have connected students with non-UW generated community service activities with regularity.  Such opportunities can continue to be advertised locally as long as they again follow local/state guidelines for contact precautions and infection control, and students are not being asked to participate because of their unique preparation as medical students.