During the continuing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consider how to engage with the wider community in a safe and effective way. The impact of the pandemic on the New Haven community has been severe, disproportionately affecting communities of color and low-income residents. While there may be a greater imperative to support our neighbors through volunteering and mutual aid, there is also a greater risk of doing harm by spreading the virus. The following considerations are offered to help individuals determine what kinds of engagement are valuable and of minimal risk:
The New Haven community knows what it needs and wants and can best inform us as to how we can be of service. Please follow the lead of community partners and respond to specific requests rather than impose your own solutions on them.
Remote and virtual engagement
Whenever possible conduct your volunteer efforts without physical contact by adapting service to remote and virtual settings. The less physical contact between campus residents and residents of the wider New Haven area the better.
Adhere to existing policies and safe practices
Despite the need to be flexible and adaptive, it is important that all existing policies and safe practices (such as the University’s policy on the Health and Safety of Children and Youth) are followed.
Follow safety guidelines of community partner agencies
Many community service programs (such as the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen) are essential to the most vulnerable members of our community and have implemented health and safety rules to ensure that their work may continue uninterrupted. Many of these programs depend on volunteers and will expect them to follow their guidelines, which are based on current State of Connecticut public health directives.
Uphold the Yale Community Compact
When choosing to volunteer in-person, you are expected to maintain the requirements of the Yale Community Compact to ensure that you do not put at risk the members of the campus community, including the staff and faculty who reside in the city and the surrounding area.
Keep informed on local and State guidance
Model responsible citizenship through awareness of and adherence to guidance and/or emergency orders issued by the City of New Haven and the State of Connecticut. Note that each of these sites contains a link to sign up for emergency notifications and alerts.
For questions or further information please contact Peter Crumlish, Executive Director & General Secretary, Dwight Hall at Yale; or visit the Dwight Hall at Yale website.