Hello!

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at one of the six schools of the Erie Catholic School System: Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Peace, St. George, St. James, St. Jude or St. Luke Catholic School.  We hope you will find the answers to any questions you may have about volunteering here.

As the Erie Catholic School System strives to ensure a safe environment for all our students, we created this page to review the requirements that are mandatory for all our volunteers. There has been some confusion related to the volunteer requirements, so we want to clarify what is required for our Erie Catholic school volunteers.

In the past, we utilized the Occasional Volunteer requirements for someone who volunteered once per month or less in the school. However, this did not take into account the type of contact the volunteer would have with our children. Because of the nature of the volunteering opportunities in our schools, it is almost impossible to ensure that a volunteer does not provide “care, supervision, guidance or control of children and routinely interact with them.” Such contact with our students is considered “direct volunteer contact” and falls under the definition of a Regular Volunteer, not an Occasional Volunteer. To better protect our volunteers and our students, it is necessary that we acknowledge the direct volunteer contact that occurs in our buildings, and to require all of our volunteers to fulfill the Regular Volunteer requirements going forward.

If you still have questions after reading through this page, feel free to reach out to your particular school's office.

With faith in our future!

Damon Finazzo

 

Read the Policy for the Protection for Children 

1.      Volunteer Application for Working with Children 

Frequency: once upon start; please make sure to specify the names of two personal references.

2.      Statement of Intent for Compliance

Frequency: once upon start, and as required upon future policy releases.

3.      Mandated Reporter Compliance Document 

Frequency: annually.

4.      Federal Criminal History Record 

Frequency: Every 5 years

If you have lived in Pennsylvania for the past 10 continuous years then you can complete this:

Affidavit (Disclosure Statement Application)

Otherwise, you must complete this:

Federal Criminal History (fingerprinting) using Service Code 1KG6Y3

5.      PA State Police Criminal Record Check 

Frequency: Every 5 years

6.      PA Child Abuse History Certification 

Frequency: Every 5 years

7.      VIDEO: Pennsylvania Mandated Reporter Training

Frequency: Every 5 years

8.      VIDEO: Diocesan Creating a Safe Environment Inservice (online)

Frequency: Every 5 years

Coaches 

Additional requirements for coaches:

9.      VIDEO: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Training

Frequency: Every year

Take the sudden cardiac arrest course (20 min.) and print the certificate – certificate is to be kept on file at your parish or school.

10.      VIDEO: Video: Concussion in Sports Training

Frequency: Every year

Take the concussion course (20 min.) and print the certificate – certificate is to be kept on file at your parish or school.

Drivers

Volunteer drivers must be at least 21 years of age.  They must also provide the item below as well as all items  for the Regular Volunteer listed above.

11.      Volunteer Driver Information Sheet 

Frequency: once upon start

12.      Copy of valid Pennsylvania drivers license.

Frequency: Upon driver's license renewal

13.      Proof of insurance

Frequency: Upon policy renewal

Scouting 

Please see the Diocese of Erie website for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts clearance requirements.

 

There is an additional clearance required for all volunteers from the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth; however, the school office will request this directly.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is my first time volunteering. What do I need?

Please see above for the list of clearances for regular volunteers.

I only volunteer two or three times a year and have always been considered an Occasional Volunteer. Why do I have to get the extra items required as a Regular Volunteer?

In the past, parents, guardians and friends of the schools have often registered and obtained the clearances for an Occasional Volunteer. Our first priority remains the safety of our children. The additional safeguards required of Regular Volunteers are required by the state and the Diocese to help screen out any potential risk to our children. We support any such measure that increases the safety of our children. Erie Catholic is also concerned about the protection of the volunteers themselves as well as having a heightened awareness of the legal responsibilities of the School System. As noted above, it is our experience that nearly all our volunteers may be put into situations where they provide for the “care, supervision, guidance or control of children" and routinely interact with them.

If engaged as an Occasional Volunteer, many people are not aware of the limitations it brings. It happens very quickly that they may be asked to supervise a child or to accompany them outside the presence of a regular volunteer or school staff, e.g., for a trip to the bathroom. It is difficult to distinguish Occasional Volunteers from Regular Volunteers. Finally, having a two-tiered volunteer system where some volunteers can help only in certain capacities or having to deny someone’s assistance because they are don’t have the necessary clearances can cause hurt and misunderstanding.

Therefore, Erie Catholic now requires registering and obtaining the clearances as a Regular Volunteer to help in our schools.

Are chaperones for field trips required to have clearances?

 Yes.  Chaperones are considered regular volunteers and must have all documentation necessary for that classification. 

Are parents attending weekly mass required to have clearances?   

 If the parent is attending mass, No.  However, if the parent will be taking on a role of supervision with the students, then Yes, clearances would be required.

What are the requirements when parents are asked to transport students? 

The driver must: 

·         be at least 21 years old,

·         complete the Regular Volunteer Clearances, and

·         complete the diocesan Volunteer Driving Information Sheet

Additionally, if it is an official school function—parents must have their own child in the vehicle with other children OR they must have another adult in the vehicle when none of the children are their own.  (This is not the same as a coach driving school van to competitions.)

What is the difference between a Volunteer and a School Visitor?

School visitors are non-recurring visitors that are never to be unaccompanied in the school building or classroom or during a school event; school personnel must always be present. Some examples are Service Workers, Assembly Presenters, Classroom Guest Presenter, Classroom Guest reader and Parents or Guardians sharing a Birthday Lunch with their child. Visitors should never be in a position of care, supervision, guidance or control of children.