Approved Activities for MSU Extension Volunteers in 2021

The following guidelines are current as of May 17, 2021 and are subject to change. Please check back often.  

MSU Extension has been working diligently to chart a path toward resuming in-person programming during the current public health crisis. Thanks to the thoughtfully crafted guidelines created by MSU Extension professionals, MSU Extension will resume hosting 4-H face-to-face programs that follow specific guidance and requirements.

All in-person events must utilize guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMichigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the MSU Community Compact to ensure face-to-face events continue to protect the health of all program participants, volunteers, staff, their families and the general public. When there is disagreement between the sources, the most conservative approach will be followed. MSU Extension expectations regarding programming and events will remain fluid based on ongoing changes to this guidance. DO NOT RELY ON A PRINTED COPY of these guidelines. Instead, return to this page often for updates.

Before engaging in any MSU Extension activity, it is imperative that volunteers have an Active Gold or Active Silver status within Volunteer Central, activated in 4-H Online (if applicable), and are not 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.

Volunteers wishing to engage in any face-to-face activities must also have completed the “Communicating Through Conflict” Module and read and adhere to the MSU Community Compact. We strongly suggest that you pass that information along to parents, guardians, and youth participants as well. 

All volunteers and participants must adhere to basic CDC guidelines, MDHHS and the MSU Community Compact when participating in MSU Extension events, or representing MSU Extension in any way. This includes wearing appropriate face covers over the nose and mouth, staying six feet from others who are not members of your household, washing your hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly, and monitoring your health daily. Any volunteer or participant that is unable to adhere to these guidelines must not participate in any in-person MSU Extension activity or represent Michigan 4-H or MSU Extension publicly. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in volunteer termination.  

Volunteer Activity Requests

Michigan 4-H volunteers may request approval to conduct in-person events that follow specific guidelines and requirements. These requests will be carefully reviewed by MSU Extension professionals and either denied or approved for activation; this process will take about 10 business days, so please plan accordingly. Plans for events should not move forward or be promoted until final approval is received.

Events may be submitted for any future date, however, all events will be subject to the current guidelines and restrictions at the time of the event and not just at the time of submission. Volunteers may find the MSU Extension In-Person Engagement Summary useful in their planning purposes; this must be used in concert with the MSU Extension Volunteer Planning Guide for In-Person ­­­Engagements. MSU Extension retains the right to revoke activity permissions should the need arise due to the changing status of the pandemic, organizational guidance or failure to comply with the requirements of approved plan procedures.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers may begin applying for multi-person face-to-face events on June 1, 2021. Master Gardeners can continue to utilize existing channels to obtain permission for one-person activities. Volunteers from programs outside Michigan 4-H and Extension Master Gardener should contact their local program staff for additional details regarding volunteer-led in-person programs.

Tools for MSU Extension In-Person Events

Volunteer Activities that Do Not Require Approval

The following activities may take place using the precautions mentioned above. As always, it is helpful to communicate with your volunteer manager or program coordinator about your plans. (NOTE TO MSU EXTENSION PROFESSIONALS ONLY: you must obtain a travel waiver when traveling on university business. This includes any travel in which purchases are made with your p-card or for which you will be requesting a personal reimbursement. If you are an employee traveling to an MSU Extension event as a parent, volunteer, guardian or caregiver, or performing a service in this same non-employee capacity, no travel waiver is needed. However, if you believe you may be approached as an employee at the event, please obtain a travel waiver.)

  • Any virtual programming. 
  • Contactless pick up of individually packaged items/kits at a predetermined location.
  • Contactless distribution of individually packaged items/kits via outdoor pick-up location or porch drop-off.
  • Mail/purchase items at USPS/UPS/FedEx for at-home activities.
  • Financial business related to MSU Extension groups/4-H club at banks or credit unions.
  • Collect signatures for paperwork/checks in an outdoor area. During this activity, no more than two households may gather at one time. Note that if more than two households gather at one location, individuals should  “wait in line” in their vehicles. 
  • Print/copy directions or materials for at-home activities at a printing facility/copy machine.
  • Shop for supplies for at-home experiences or virtual demonstrations.
  • Record video segments for virtual learning experiences in outdoor, public settings with up to one other adult (that involve no youth on screen and taking into consideration Virtual 4-H Programming Guidelines for Volunteers when applicable).
  • Set up or participate in a self-guided remote/independent experience for participants to partake in with their households only such as a nature hike, book walk, outdoor scavenger hunt, etc.
  • Contactless collection and/or drop-off of community service items at one location such as an individual’s porch. Examples include canned food donations, cards for senior citizens, etc.
  • Set up of a promotional club or county display at a business or other organization so long as the set-up is performed before or after normal operating hours by one single household. The display must be a stand-alone item as members and volunteers may not sit at the area during operating hours. Households must follow the MSU Community Compact, wear masks, etc.

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.

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

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. Some of these experiences may be shifted into virtual experiences.


Contact your volunteer manager or local program coordinator