SSL Guidelines for Virtual/Remote SSL Opportunities

To meet the service-learning needs of our students during this time period, students can now earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for virtual/remote service completed from home under the sponsorship of an approved nonprofit organization or MCPS school staff member. Students may engage in the specific virtual/remote MCPS SSL opportunities outlined below until schools return to normal status.

School-hosted virtual/remote MCPS SSL opportunities will be communicated by school staff to the students involved. Nonprofit-hosted virtual/remote MCPS SSL opportunities will be posted on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and tagged with the blue MCPS SSL banner and graduation cap graduation cap. Students may also continue to earn SSL hours for traditional MCPS SSL opportunities offered by a nonprofit organization or MCPS school staff member in a public space under the direct supervision of a nonprofit representative or MCPS school staff member.

Student participation in any MCPS SSL opportunity is at the discretion of the student’s parent/guardian. The nonprofit organization or MCPS school staff member is responsible for maintaining student safety and privacy. The nonprofit organization or MCPS school staff member will determine the number of SSL hours awarded based on the evidence submitted by the student. Parents/guardians should contact the nonprofit supervisor or MCPS school staff member directly with any questions and/or concerns about a specific MCPS SSL opportunity.

Learn more in this presentation detailing the state of Maryland and MCPS requirements for SSL, how students can earn SSL hours, and an overview of the MCPS SSL program and its resources.

MCPS SSL Guidelines for Virtual/Remote SSL Opportunities

Please review these temporarily amended MCPS SSL guidelines created to ensure that any virtual/remote service during this time maintains the safety and privacy of our students and adheres to the proper supervision and monitoring needed for SSL as a state graduation requirement.

Until MCPS schools return to normal status, students may earn SSL hours for virtual/remote MCPS SSL opportunities under the sponsorship of a nonprofit representative or MCPS school staff member adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Students must be made aware of the need that will be addressed by the service, overall expectations, and safety information.
  • In place of direct supervision of service, the nonprofit representative or MCPS school staff member must determine a reasonable equivalency of SSL hours based on evidence of service performed (X number of items = X number of hours, such as 20 lunches or hot meals = 3 hours), to be approved by the MCPS Office of Student Service Learning. This equivalency must be clearly communicated to students and families.
  • The nonprofit representative or MCPS school staff member (not a parent/guardian or relative of the student) must review the submitted evidence, maintain a log, and verify student service on MCPS Form 560-51: Student Service Learning Activity Verification.
  • For the safety of MCPS students, student privacy and confidentiality must be maintained at all times.
    • Nonprofit organizations may engage students in virtual platforms, provided that:
      • Parent/guardian provides written approval of the student’s participation in virtual platforms with nonprofit organizations and the parent/guardian acknowledges and understands that they assume all risks and hazards which are conducted as part of the associated virtual activities.
      • Nonprofit organizations accept full responsibility and any liability for a student’s participation in any virtual platforms. MCPS assumes no responsibility or liability for a student’s participation in any virtual platforms for remote SSL opportunities with nonprofit organizations.
      • Students use personal/private accounts (not MCPS student accounts) to engage in virtual platforms with nonprofit organizations.
      • In nonprofit organization-hosted virtual platforms, students may ONLY engage with others under the supervision of a nonprofit supervisor. The nonprofit supervisor will initiate and host all virtual sessions. If the nonprofit supervisor is not available to initiate and host the virtual session, the session will not occur. Virtual sessions will not be recorded.
    • In MCPS-hosted virtual platforms, students may ONLY engage with other students under the supervision of an MCPS school staff member (i.e. students may not lead a virtual breakout room or host their own virtual session with students). The MCPS school staff member will initiate and host all virtual sessions. If the MCPS school staff member is not available to initiate and host the virtual session, the session will not occur. Virtual sessions will not be recorded.
    • Students may engage in email or phone conversations ONLY with the nonprofit supervisor of the service activity, not with anyone outside of the organization.
    • Students may NOT share or upload any videos, pictures, or images of themselves, unless the nonprofit organization has obtained a signed form or waiver from the student’s parent/guardian authorizing permission/release.
    • Students’ personal information, including their names and email/home address, must be protected and not shared. Nonprofit organizations will not share any information collected from participants with any other third party.

Students may NOT earn SSL hours for the following activities:

  • Service without sponsorship of an approved nonprofit organization or MCPS school staff member.
  • Service that involves direct interaction with recipients of the service through phone calls, emails, or virtual communication of any kind, unless the service is hosted by a nonprofit supervisor or MCPS school staff member in a virtual platform as described above.
  • Service supervised solely by a parent/guardian or relative.
  • Service supervised solely by an individual younger than 18 years of age.
  • Service resulting in money, goods, services, or other compensation.
  • Service that involves hosting collection drives or fundraising without direct supervision of a nonprofit representative or MCPS school staff member in a public space.
  • Service that involves fostering an animal.

Students should email the completed SSL form directly to the school’s SSL coordinator:

All SSL forms for service completed from the summer of 2019, 2019-2020 school year, and summer of 2020 should be emailed to the school’s SSL coordinator.

If you have any questions about these guidelines or the MCPS SSL program, please contact your school’s SSL coordinator or the SSL Dropbox at ssl@mcpsmd.org.