Risk Assessment Forms

Learning Site Self-Assessment Form (for learning site use): Whether or not the Request to Initiate Partnership form (RTIP) is used; a risk assessment should be conducted before the UAA-SL is executed and/or placement occurs. The purpose of the Learning Site Self-AssessmentThis link will open a Word document. (docx) is for the site to respond to a set of questions that could reveal inherent risks that might cause student health and safety concerns.

Note: Campuses using CalState S4 do not need to use the Learning Site Self-Assessment form as the site assessment component of the risk mitigation process is fully integrated.

Pre-Placement Assessment Rubric (for CSU campus/internal use only): The Pre-Placement Assessment RubricThis link will open a Word document. (docx) is another assessment template that may help to evaluate the risks at a potential learning site in greater detail. It is a tool that campuses can use to evaluate whether a site visit is needed. The Rubric is for use by campus personnel, be it service-learning/community engagement staff, faculty, risk management, or a combination of the three working collaboratively.

If the initial assessment reveals increased potential hazards to the student, it is strongly encouraged that a site visit be required. If additional risks were not identified, follow the suggested timeframe provided in the Rubric for conducting a site visit.

All sites require a site assessment, but not all sites require an on-site visit. The Pre-Placement Assessment Rubric, if used, can help determine if an in-person site visit is recommended. If all answers on the rubric are “no” then a site visit is not generally needed, and the site assessment can be performed through alternative types of assessment. Examples of alternative site assessments can include a review of responses submitted by the learning site and/or online research (location of site, safety of region, organizational safety record, etc.). Students should not be placed at a site prior to a completed site assessment. It is a suggested good practice to complete an on-site assessment, if possible, but it is not required if there is low risk.

Levels of Concern:

  • Acute concern: Acute concern sites should be visited in person before a University-Agency Agreement is issued and a student placed. Students must not serve at acute concern sites until a site visit is conducted and the areas of concern are addressed, a robust evaluation, and the necessary documentation for your campus is completed. For example, an acute concern is where students would be working with hazardous materials or machinery.
  • Moderate concern: Sites with moderate concerns may be contacted to discuss the areas of concern; a follow-up site visit may be necessary. If a site visit is necessary, it should take place within six months, but no longer than one year. Students may serve at this site if communication with the site eliminates or reduces the risk concerns, provided the documentation required for your campus is completed. If the risk is reduced to an “acceptable” risk to the campus, a site visit is not required. If the concerns continue after the communication, a site visit must be scheduled before a UAA is issued and students are placed; students should not be permitted to serve at the site until after a site visit is completed. Examples of moderate concern include serving in county health in which students might interact with children, youth, survivors of domestic violence or other populations that require more supervision or accommodation needs — more information is needed to determine the level of concern.
  • Minimal concern: Minimal concern sites are not required to have a site visit, and students may serve at the site once the University-Agency Agreement and other necessary documentation determined by your campus are completed. For example, students are creating a website for a non-profit organization.

Your campus risk manager is a great resource and can assist with assessing risk. Their job is to reduce the amount of risk and liability exposure, not to prohibit educational experiences that may seem “too risky.”  No opportunity comes without risks. In reality, there are very few service-learning opportunities that cannot have the associated risks mitigated enough to be considered appropriate.

In-Person Site Assessments: The site visit is an informative meeting for all parties involved. If possible, the meeting should include site leadership and any staff who may supervise students. This meeting allows all concerned to understand the expectations and parameters of the placement. In addition, the meeting should include an overview of service learning, expectations for students and the learning site, risk mitigation and safety protocols and procedures, as well as the procedures to follow if a student is injured. Any helpful forms or information should be brought and shared with the staff at the learning site. For example, if students are bringing or electronically sending forms for the supervisor to sign, review those forms at the meeting. The University-Agency Agreement for Service Learning (UAA-SL) should be reviewed as well. Information gained from your site assessment will be helpful for student orientation and training.

Most people performing site visits are not risk managers and may not be experienced in assessing risk. For non-S4 campuses, the RTIP formThis link will open a Word document. (docx) and Service-Learning Course Planning ChecklistThis link will open a Word document. (docx) are two examples of forms that have been developed as a resource template for faculty and/or service-learning staff to use either prior to meeting with the learning site by gathering the information ahead of time (through web research, review of documents provided, etc.), or during an in-person site visit.

Consider the following when an in-person site assessment is necessary:

  • Who has the authority to conduct an in-person visit? Will the community partnerships coordinator make the visits? The faculty? Who in the service-learning or risk management office is trained to perform the visits? (If your office has limited resources, you may wish to expand the number of people trained and authorized to conduct site visits.)
  • Based on the flagged risk, how are you going to evaluate that risk? Is the on-site assessment being conducted as a follow-up to an initial assessment in which potential hazards were revealed? Who should conduct the follow-up? What questions should be asked during the on-site visit? Should you consult your risk manager after you evaluate the risk on-site? Who is responsible for making the final decision (e.g., will it be a joint decision from all involved university parties, the faculty member, the service-learning office, or the campus risk manager)? Note: be sure to document in detail (this can be done electronically or on paper that is saved) anything that is discussed regarding the follow-up on-site assessment.

Risk Assessment for Remote/Virtual Learning Experiences: A virtual learning experience means service projects/activities are completed off-site (i.e., not at a physical learning site). Students will be performing learning activities via telephone or computer, including using a computer at home, at a campus-supported site or other available Wi-Fi hot-spot location away from the learning site itself. Some examples of virtual learning experiences include research, online tutoring/mentoring, translating, advocating for a cause, creating multimedia, proofreading, etc.

If a student is required to report to a physical site/location for any component of the learning activity (other than signing initial paperwork or attending a brief orientation), it is not a remote/virtual experience.

Additional Items to Consider for Assessing Remote/Virtual Learning Experiences:

  • Will the student orientation be conducted virtually? If not, where will orientation take place?
  • How will service-related activities be effectively coordinated between the supervisor and student?
  • How will the supervisor check-in with the student on a regular basis?
  • What method, if any, is in place for evaluating the student’s work?
  • Will the virtual learning activity require the student to remotely access somebody else’s private residence or other location (e.g., nursing home, hospital, etc.)?
  • If so, will they interact with vulnerable populations? Then, follow the same guidelines you would work with any vulnerable population.