Approved Activities for MSU Extension Volunteers in 2021

The following guidelines are current as of April 21, 2021 and are subject to change. Please check back often.  

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H professionals are working diligently to chart a path toward resuming in-person programming when it is safe to do so during the current public health crisis. Though it is premature to cite a specific date, no one is more eager than our own staff to resume events, meetings and other face-to-face activities. Using guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) and the university, as well as the most current science available, we will modify all MSU Extension programming to adhere to public health standards at the federal, state, and local levels. 

The following guidelines have been developed to increase programming opportunities for MSU Extension volunteers while striving to maintain public safety. This guidance is subject to change at any time. DO NOT RELY ON A PRINTED COPY of these guidelines. Instead, return to this page often for updates. We will update this information every two weeks, or as often as guidelines change. 

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 COVID leave.” Those on “COVID leave” should contact their volunteer manager or program coordinator for further instructions. In addition, volunteers and participants should read and adhere to the MSU Community Compact’s Additional Guidance for Engaging with Partners and Public Events. 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 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.  

Approved Activities

The following activities may take place using the cautions 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.

Activities that Can Be Approved by MSU Extension/4-H Staff and Leadership

The following in-person activities may occur but require prior approval from MSU Extension. Volunteers should work with their volunteer manager or program coordinator to submit a proposal outlining details of the in-person activity, including how requirements will be met. CDC guidelines, MDHHS and MSU Community Compact’s Additional Guidance for Engaging with Partners and Public Events must be followed regardless of where the activity takes place.


  • Outdoor clean-up/maintenance service projects where individual households can maintain a six foot distance. A sign-up must be utilized to ensure no overlap of households in certain areas or time periods and an attendance record must be kept. Households should supply their own equipment and tools for the clean-up.  Examples could include fairground clean-up or other community service projects.
  • Pre-fair activities such as weighing or tagging. Please review the 4-H and fairs partnership guidelines for 2021.

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 if face-to-face programming is permitted.

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