UPDATED March 18, 2021: COVID-19 Protocols for 4-H Volunteers

COVID-19 safety protocols for 4-H volunteers graphic

UPDATED March 18, 2021

The safety of our youth, families, volunteers, and event participants remain 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. Complete COVID-19 Safety Training.

Each 4-H volunteer conducting the 4-H experience MUST complete the UNH Extension COVID-19 safety training.

Go to Safety Training

3. Ensure that the activity venue allows for social distancing.

Participants and instructors should be managed in cohort groups (pods/households) of not more than 25 individuals if outdoors. The cohort number includes volunteers, members, and other participants. NO indoor spaces are allowed at this time. 

4. Share safety protocols and health screening form requirements with participants.

Communicate COVID-19 safety protocols with all participants prior to the activity. Communicate to participants about how they must complete the health screening form (see below) before attending the 4-H experience.

Share this link: COVID-19 Protocols for Participants in 4-H Experiences

>>Template Email to Participants

5. Complete the health screening form.

Prior to the 4-H experience, all participants (youth, parents, volunteers, etc.) MUST complete the online UNH Health Screening Questionnaire before leaving home on the day of the event.

Go to Health Screening Questionnaire

A paper version of the form may also be used. The data from all paper forms must be entered into the online version of the form within 12 hours of the completion of the 4-H experience. Volunteers may enter the data themselves or arrange in advance with the 4-H staff at their county office to enter the data.

>>Download Paper Form

When a participant completes the health screening with no issues, they will get a screen with a green check indicating that they have completed the screening. Participants must bring proof of this completion to the 4-H experience. If at any point a participant answers “yes” to one of the health screening questions, they will not be allowed to participate.

For multiple-day programs, participants must complete the screening form daily.

During the 4-H Experience

1. Verify participant completion of health screening.

ALL participants (staff, volunteers, parents, youth, etc.) must show proof of having completed the online health screening form by presenting a photo or screenshot of the green check they received indicating successful completion. Alternatively, they may present the paper version of the questionnaire if it has been completed with no issues. Proof of health screening completion must be presented at the point of entry to the event in order to participate.

2. Keep an attendance sheet.

You must keep an attendance sheet of all participants to help with contact tracing if needed.

>>Download attendance sheet template

3. Ensure that all participants wear masks.

  • 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 for ‘active activities.’

4. Ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained.

  • The density of individuals may not exceed 1 person per 36 sq ft and 6-foot separation.
  • Participants and instructors should be managed in cohort groups (pods/households) of not more than 25 individuals if outdoors. The cohort number includes staff.
  • If there are activities where 6-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 (less than 10-15 minutes).
  • 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.

5. 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:

6. 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.

7. 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).

8. Monitor participants for symptoms.

If a participant begins to show flu-like symptoms or becomes sick during a program, they should be provided a list of testing facilities, recommended to see their PCP, and asked to leave the program. For testing locations, visit www.nh.gov/covid19, or call 603-271-5980.

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

9. 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 maybe suspected of being exposed to COVID-19, or maybe 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, it is likely that the participant or staff member 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