Washington State Parks Guidance on Volunteer Activity During COVID-19

(Updated 1/11/2022)

In accordance with Gov. Inslee’s August 9, 2021 emergency proclamation, and federal and state public health guidance and regulations, Washington State Parks has updated the following guidance for volunteer activities within State Parks owned and managed properties.

We recognize this guidance may affect some of you and your ability to volunteer. If you are a park host or other volunteer whose duties require working indoors or interacting with the public, we ask that you review the information below and carefully consider if you are willing and able to meet the new eligibility requirements. We respect and support your decision to continue to serve with us or opt out of volunteering at this time. 

We will continue to evaluate and update this guidance in accordance with changing public health guidelines and regulations, best practices, and/or agency needs. Thank you for following these protocols and helping keep our visitors, staff and other volunteers safe and healthy. 

vaccination requirement for indoor & customer service volunteers

All volunteers that serve in indoor settings at a State Parks facility/worksite or perform customer service functions must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of their vaccination status by December 31, 2021. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of volunteers:

  • Park hosts
  • Docents and tour guides
  • Gift shop and store volunteers
  • Interpretive/visitor center volunteers
  • Shuttle drivers
  • Administrative/clerical volunteers

Volunteers not in compliance with this policy after December 31, 2021, will not be eligible to participate in the volunteer opportunities listed above until they are fully vaccinated and can provide proof.

Acceptable Forms of Proof

The following records are considered verified proof of COVID-19 vaccination in Washington state: 

  • CDC COVID-19 vaccination card or photo of the card
  • Documentation of vaccination from a Health Care Provider or Electronic Heath Record
  • State Immunization Information System Record

Vaccine Verification Process

Volunteers may present their vaccination card or other documentation to the volunteer supervisor at their assigned park. Supervisors have been given instructions on how to visually verify and document verification status. Staff will not keep copies of your vaccination documents. Volunteers that serve at more than one park will need to verify their vaccination status with the designated volunteer supervisor at each park.

Park hosts will be contacted by the Volunteer Program with additional options to verify their vaccination status. 

MASK AND PHYSICAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS  

All employees and volunteers, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering while working:

  • Indoors – including office settings the public does not enter, unless working alone, as defined below.
  • Outdoors – when unable to maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others. Volunteers should always have a face covering available to them to put on if/when physical distancing is not an option.

Someone is considered to be working alone when they’re isolated from interaction with other people and have little or no expectation of in-person interruption. How often a volunteer can work alone throughout the day may vary. Note, when someone meets the standard for “working alone,” they do not have to mask regardless of vaccination status.

Examples of working alone include when the person has little or no expectation of in-person interruptions:

  • A lone person inside the closed cab of a vehicle.
  • A person by themselves inside an office with four walls and a door.
  • A person by themselves outside in an agricultural field, the woods, or other open area with no anticipated contact with others.

SELF-SCREENING

  • All volunteers, regardless of vaccination status, must self-screen before arriving at or entering the park. Any volunteers that feel unwell, show any symptoms of COVID-19, or are a close contact of a confirmed case will not be allowed to participate in volunteer activities.
  • Park hosts must self-screen daily. If you know or think you've been exposed to COVID-19, but don't have any symptoms, report your potential exposure to your supervisor right away. If you have symptoms, stop interacting with visitors and immediately notify park staff.
    • Hosts who are sick or symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who is, will be asked to relocate to a non-state park site, if possible. Hosts who are unable to relocate to a non-state park site may be asked to relocate to an alternate site within the park that may not have full utilities.

OTHER GENERAL GUIDANCE

  • Avoid sharing tools and other equipment. When sharing tools is required, wear gloves and disinfect tools between uses according to CDC guidelines.
  • Use proper hygiene practices and wash hands frequently. 
  • Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including masks and disposable gloves.
  • Please check with individual parks for any park-specific mitigation plans or additional guidance that may be required.
  • Please review the FAQs for additional information.