The COVID-19 pandemic impacted education and all associated activities including student service programs. However, service has never been more important and school service programs are adapting to COVID-19 changes by offering more indirect service opportunities, expanding the types of service accepted by their school or districts, and a stronger focus on social-emotional development.
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x2VOL by intelliVOL Reports an Increase in Indirect Service, Social-Emotional Learning, and More Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic (Graphic: Business Wire)
Before COVID-19, schools and districts across the United States had robust service programs where students were encouraged and often required to participate in community service during their high school years. COVID-19 forced service programs to adapt to the changing landscape while continuing to engage their students in life changing service.
Service leaders were surveyed at the end of the spring semester and again at the beginning of this fall semester to understand the impact of COVID-19 on school service programs. In the spring about 15% of service leaders reported that they were going to decrease their service requirement for the fall, while this fall 39% reported that they did decrease their hours requirement. In both the spring and the summer approximately 30% of service leaders said they were not changing their service program, while 70% reported they were making modifications. While service may be changing, it is still a vital element of a student’s education.
As states and districts across the country made decisions on how school was going to take place in the fall, leaders were also considering the changes necessary to maintain their service program and encourage personal development within students while keeping them safe. x2VOL hosted a discussion among service leaders in September to discuss the changes COVID-19 had on their service programs.
As a part of the modifications made to service programs, service leaders adapted their service programs a few ways:
Transitioning to a more indirect service model where students serve from a distance vs. a direct service model where students would be in person and hands on with the
communities they were serving
- Expanding the types of service accepted such as serving families in the home, advocacy as service, and research and reflection
- Encouraging or requiring additional reflections from students as a way to process the cultural and social events that occurred in 2020 and as a way to develop socially and emotionally from service experiences
“We are seeing that students are more motivated than ever to serve in their communities,” said Michele Pitman, Founder and CEO of intelliVOL. “With today’s technology, service programs are able to adapt to the changing conditions so they can continue to engage students in service and growth during this time.”
In a recent article, Pitman expands on the impact that COVID-19 has had on private and public schools across the country, how they are modifying their service programs, and how students are adapting to the changes.
During COVID-19, service hasn’t stopped. Although students have transitioned to distance learning or learning from home during this pandemic, they are finding creative ways to participate in service from home such as hosting virtual 5ks to benefit local organizations and causes, taking part in advocacy as service, and growing closer with their families by serving at home and taking on more responsibility in their households. Additional online and socially distant service opportunities for students can be found on the x2VOL Blog.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, x2VOL announced that they recorded over 50 million student service hours, which created a $1.25 Billion economic impact* further proving students’ passion for their communities and serving others.
x2VOL by intelliVOL is an award-winning tracking and reporting platform for student service hours used by private and public schools and districts nationwide to customize service goals, centralize service hours, and provide diverse service opportunities. x2VOL provides students with an online and mobile way to track and report service hours specific to the goals of their school while engaging them with local nonprofits. Service records are authenticated and verified for each student and can be attached to their college applications, scholarship applications, or resumes. x2VOL is the most widely used service tracking and reporting platform in K-12 education with 50 million approved service hours, generating a $1.25B economic impact. Learn more at x2VOL.com or email x2VOL@intellivol.com
*Economic impact and cost of volunteer time sourced from Independent Sector.