UPDATED June 7, 2021: COVID-19 Protocols for 4-H Volunteers

COVID-19 safety protocols for 4-H volunteers graphic

UPDATED June 7, 2021:

The safety of our youth, families, volunteers, and event participants remains New Hampshire 4-H's overriding priority. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure, all 4-H volunteers must adhere to the following guidelines before, during, and after in-person 4-H experiences. 4-H experiences include club meetings, events, SPINs, farm visits, or any other in-person 4-H activity or program.

Prior to the 4-H Experience

1. Get approval for your activity.

Contact your County 4-H Program Manager prior to your activity for approval and any updates to the safety guidelines. All 4-H experiences MUST be approved in advance by your county Program Manager.

2.  Physical distancing and Mask wearing.

Outdoor: Participants and instructors should be managed in cohort groups (pods/households/clubs) of not more than 25. Masks are no longer required to be worn outside except in gatherings of 20 or more where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Indoor: may occur if they can maintain a person per 36 sq feet distancing. Masks should be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in common areas, classrooms, and labs.

  • If there are activities where 3-ft separation cannot be maintained, plan for other risk mitigation strategies (i.e., utilize other NPIs such as face coverings). These activities should be minimal and for a short duration (no more than 10-15minutes).
  • Cohort groups should not intermingle, including staff or volunteers. There can be more than one cohort group in a larger area if space allows for maintaining distance.
  • Outdoor spaces are preferred. For inclement weather, plan for indoor spaces that maintain physical distancing.
  • Carefully consider your space requirements when determining max capacity for all activities and the overall program.
  • Depending on the space and nature of the activity, it may be necessary to use barriers or screens for separation.

3. Share safety protocols and health screening questions and agreement of risk with participants.

Safety Protocols: Share this link with parents/guardians to communicate COVID-19 safety protocols with all participants prior to the activity: Protocols for Participants in 4-H Experiences

Health question: Upon signing into the 4-H experience, all participants (youth, parents, volunteers, etc.) MUST answer the following Health questions. If any answers reflect symptoms, the participant will be asked to leave the program.

All participants must confirm that they have read and agree to the Protocols for Participants in 4-H Experiences

During the 4-H Experience

1. Sign in to a 4-H experience.

ALL participants (staff, volunteers, parents, youth, etc.) Must answer the health questions and agree to follow any Covid-19 guidelines for the 4-H experience. If a participant is unable to follow guidelines or if any answers to health screening questions reflect symptoms, the participant will be asked to leave the program and should be isolated from the rest of the group until they can do so.

2. Keep an attendance sheet.

You must keep an attendance sheet of all participants to help with contact if needed. This sheet will need to be kept to help with notification as needed. 

>>Download attendance sheet template

3. Ensure that physical distancing and mask-wearing as needed.

Outdoor: Participants and instructors should be managed in cohort groups (pods/households/clubs) of not more than 25. Masks are no longer required to be worn outside except in gatherings of 20 or more where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Indoor: may occur if they can maintain a person per 36 sq feet distancing. Masks should be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in common areas, classrooms, and labs.

  • Participants & staff must wear disposable or cloth face coverings, particularly when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • The CDC recommends face coverings have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric.
  • Note that the use of face shields is not recommended.
  • UNH will not supply face coverings to participants. Managers should inform families to provide their own face coverings but have some on hand if one is forgotten.
  • Provide this doc from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to your staff and participants:
    Proper Face Covering Use
  • Provide ‘mask breaks’ as needed - only with additional NPIs in place (i.e., distancing, outdoors).
  • Face coverings are not required when: eating, sleeping, swimming, showering, or ‘active activities.’

4. Make hand sanitizer and/or handwashing stations available.

  • Hand sanitizer and/or hand-washing areas/stations must be available and used frequently.
  • Bathrooms must have soap and sanitation supplies w/reminders to clean areas touched after use.
  • Hand sanitizer is not a complete substitute for handwashing. Washing is preferred.
  • Encourage staff and participants to avoid touching the face.
  • Provide frequent handwashing opportunities.
  • No sharing of food or drinks should occur.
  • CDC Resources:

5. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces.

Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched. Clean with the cleaners typically used. Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label. For disinfection, the most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

Click here for US EPA doc: Six Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use.

A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and proper ventilation. CAUTION: Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

6. Do not share equipment or supplies.

Participants and instructors are not allowed to share equipment or supplies unless they are thoroughly sanitized between each use (e.g., hot glue guns, animal leads, computers, etc., must be cleaned between each use).

7. Monitor participants for symptoms.

If a participant begins to show flu-like symptoms or becomes sick during a program, they should be isolated from the rest of the group until a parent/guardian can arrange for them to leave. Recommend that they contact their healthcare professional. For testing locations and Covid-19 related questions, visit www.nh.gov/covid19, or call 211. 

Report COVID-19 symptoms or cases to your County 4-H Program Manager.

8. Return to the Program 

  • Participant return to an ongoing program: Each situation will be different; for instance, a participant may have a positive COVID-19 test result or may be suspected of being exposed to COVID-19 or may be exhibiting symptoms.

  • All staff, volunteers, and participants will follow the same requirements as for UNH faculty, staff, and students (per NH DHHS) at the time.

  • For shorter duration programs, the participant or staff member likely may not be able to return given the timing of testing, quarantine, etc.

After the 4-H Experience

1. Report COVID-19 symptoms or cases to your County 4-H, Program Manager.

2. Consider emailing or handing out a 4-H experience follow-up sheet to each participant at the end of the event.

>>Download follow-up email template/handout