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    Remote Volunteers are individuals whose volunteer activities are performed from home, work, or any location other than classroom, school building, grounds or other type of school property.

    Many school volunteer roles have been performed remotely prior to COVID-19 (e.g. preparing classroom materials, organizing field trips, editing newsletters), however, school closures created a need for most traditional SPS volunteer opportunities to become remote and dependent on technology. For this reason, SPS formalized our remote volunteer roles guidelines to support schools in creating safe remote volunteer engagement pathways.

    Category A remote volunteers are screened using the same process as traditional school volunteers. Category B remote volunteers are matched with remote roles more intentionally, have their references checked specifically for online interactions with children and youth, and are required to follow extra safety protocols (see volunteer handbook for details).

    For definitions of Category A/B volunteer roles, refer to this web page.


    Becoming a Remote Volunteer

    If you already are approved to volunteer with SPS but not as a "remote/virtual volunteer", ask the staff member who recruited you for support to determine if the role will be a Category A or a Category B volunteer.

    If your remote volunteer role will fall under Category A, no additional screening is needed - just make sure your application is current and approved by your school. 

    If your remote volunteer role will fall under Category B, you will also need to purchase a national background check. Here is how:

    • Log into the volunteer portal
    • Click "EDIT PROFILE" to access your volunteer application
    • Go to a section titled "Determining Your Background Check" and select option "2. I have lived in Washington State for the past 3 years but would like to purchase a national background check."
    • Save the application at the bottom of the page.
    • An email from our national background check vendor Sterling Volunteers will arrive in your inbox shortly - check your "junk/spam/bulk" folder if you can't locate it.
    • Follow included instructions. Sterling Volunteers will notify you as soon as your background check is complete (usually 1-2 days).

    The school volunteer program liaison or the staff member who requested your support will also check your references and verify your identity.

    In lieu or a "sign-in sheet" used in school buildings for arriving volunteers, remote volunteers complete an online "sign-in sheet" or "session report form". Please ask staff for a link - an example is available here.


    Are caretakers considered “remote volunteers”?

    Caretakers play a vital role in helping students access and navigate online learning. If the caretaker only assists and interacts with their own student(s), they are not considered volunteers.

    However, caretakers are fantastic candidates for classroom and breakout room volunteers! If you support your child’s remote learning and are available to also assist other students in their classroom, please let your teacher know. Before you begin in this role, you must be approved as a Category A or B remote volunteer.