Approved Activities for MSU Extension Volunteers in 2021

The following guidelines are current as of October 14, 2021 and are subject to change. Please check back often. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift and change, Michigan State University issued new guidance for the broader MSU community on October 13. These changes impact attendees of MSU Extension programs occurring on non-MSU property. Effective immediately, the following guidelines apply to indoor MSU Extension or Michigan 4-H programs or events:

  • Those who participate in MSU Extension programming indoors on MSU property or any property reserved/rented for an MSU event are required to wear a face covering. This applies to anyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status (unless they have a medical exemption).
  • Those who participate in MSU Extension programming indoors on non-MSU property are encouraged but not required to wear masks unless required by local regulations or the venue. This may include off-site Michigan 4-H, Extension Master Gardener or other programs hosted by MSU Extension volunteer groups. MSU Extension personnel in attendance are required to wear a face covering.

For the purpose of MSU Extension events and programs, indoor events are considered those in an enclosed building with limited airflow. Barns and other outbuildings that have multiple doors that can be fully opened to maximize air flow are considered an outdoor, open air facility.

Who must wear a mask?

The following chart may be useful to clarify masking requirements for MSU Extension professionals and program participants. For the purpose of this chart, MSU Extension volunteers and 4-H members are considered participants.


Is the event being held on an MSU property or on a property that is being rented/reserved exclusively for an MSU activity?



Is MSU a sponsor of the event or program?


✓  MSU Extension personnel

✓  Participants

✓  MSU Extension personnel

  • Participants are encouraged, but not required to wear masks unless required by local regulations or the venue.


✓  MSU Extension personnel

✓  Participants

  • All MSU Extension personnel and participants are encouraged, but not required to wear masks unless required by local regulations or the venue.

✓   Indicates that a mask must be worn.

Masking Exceptions

In situations where a mask moving out of place could limit one's vision and lead to a dangerous situation for the individual and others, there are exceptions to the indoor mask requirement. They are as follows: 

  • For shooting sports programming: For individuals required to wear masks indoors, masks may be removed by participants while on the firing line and by range/safety officers while giving rules and commands. After the firing session, shooters must put their mask back on before moving from their place at the shooting line.
  • For equine and livestock activities: To ensure no vision impairments, youth participants required to wear masks indoors may remove their masks when actively leading, riding or driving a large animal (such as beef, dairy, horses, llamas, hogs, sheep and goats). Masks need to be put back on immediately after the animal has been tied up, penned or stalled.

Volunteer Information

Before engaging in any MSU Extension activity, it is imperative that volunteers have an Active Gold or Active Silver status within Volunteer Central, be activated in 4-H Online (if applicable), and not be listed as "on leave.” Those on leave must contact their volunteer manager or program coordinator for further instructions before participating in MSU Extension events or activities as a volunteer. The Communicating Through Conflict training module is no longer required of volunteers wishing to engage face-to-face.

The health and wellbeing of MSU Extension participants, volunteers, professionals and their families remains of utmost importance. Continue to keep a record of attendance with contact information for each in-person engagement, via meeting minutes, registration, attendance logs or other methods. Volunteers and youth are also reminded about additional best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:  

  • Posting signage about indoor mask requirements (when applicable)
  • Meeting outside when possible
  • Keeping participant numbers below maximum capacity to allow for social distancing
  • Offering hand sanitizer at touch points
  • Frequently sanitizing surfaces

Flexibility continues to be key and groups should continue to provide options (including virtual) for participation to ensure all participants can remain involved given their individual circumstances.

As always, MSU Extension expectations regarding programming and events will remain fluid based on ongoing changes to this guidance. In the coming weeks, local program staff may also offer additional guidance and recommendations for in-person programming, as necessary to meet local needs and issues. Please stay tuned for this helpful information and communicate any questions or concerns directly with your local professional. 

In-Person Meeting Best Practices 

As volunteers begin to re-engage in face-to-face experiences, MSU Extension would like to remind individuals of these helpful best practices to optimize meetings and events:

Overnight Camp Guidance

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H will not host or sponsor any overnight camps in 2021. This includes both events that regularly take place on the MSU campus and those that take place throughout the state. Some camps that were previously overnight camps may be presented as virtual opportunities or may shift to day camps. Limited exceptions will be considered.

Guidance on State-to-state, National and International In-Person Experiences

In general, MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H will not host, sponsor or participate in any state-to-state, national and international experiences requiring overnight stays in 2021. Limited exceptions will be considered.


Contact your volunteer manager or local program coordinator