To ensure the safety and security of students and staff, the Department of Education released the following guidelines regarding volunteering in schools:
Under Act 15 of 2015 (the Act), which amends the provisions of the Child Protective Services Law, volunteers who are responsible for the child's welfare or who have "direct volunteer contact" with children at a school -- meaning the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children will be required to have background checks. The Act clarifies that "routine interaction" means "regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person's employment or volunteer responsibilities."
The Pennsylvania Department of Education's view is that mere visitors are not normally required to obtain background checks to the extent that such visitors are not responsible for a child's welfare or are visiting the school irregularly and not providing for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children. Some examples of situations where such visitors normally would not be required to have background checks would include, but are not limited to: Back-to-School nights, parent/teacher conferences, school assemblies, school concerts, assisting with school birthday parties, parent guest readers, chaperones for field trips and dances (so long as not routine or responsible for the child's welfare), Halloween parades, collecting tickets to sporting events, working concession stands, participating in "Career Day," Etc. In this capacity, school visitors do not need the clearances. By contrast, persons who are responsible for the child's welfare or who wish to visit the school regularly to serve as volunteers and to provide for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children would be required to have background checks. Some examples of persons needing background checks would include, but not be limited to, regular classroom volunteer assistants, recess and library volunteers, and volunteer coaches/club advisers.
Regularly-scheduled volunteers are required to submit the following items:
- Act 34 - Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check (https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp)
- Act 114 - FBI Federal Criminal History Check. You must pre-register at (https://uenroll.identogo.com/). The service code for the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit is 1KG6S7, and the location code for the IU is SP-EQUITYDR
- Act 126 - Mandated Reporter Training Certification (https://www.pa-fsa.org/Landing-Pages/Training/postcard?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4MOtzMDs4wIVSj0MCh2vhwhfEAAYASAAEgIKGPD_BwE)
- Act 151 - Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification (https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home)
- Tuberculosis Test Results