VOLUNTEERS AND REQUIRED CLEARANCES
The Southern Tioga School District is grateful for each parent and community member who contributes to the success of students. We have many volunteers who work in a variety of capacities in our schools.
In December 2014, the PA Legislature adopted Act 153 of 2014 as an amendment to a section of the Child Protective Services Law requiring background checks for adult volunteers in schools and other programs involving children. In July 2015, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1276 (now Act 15 of 2015) into law that makes several changes to Act 153, including the elimination of the fees associated with the child abuse and state criminal background checks, provided certain prerequisites are met. In addition, updated clearances will be required every 60 months, beginning August 25, 2015.
The Southern Tioga School District requires all volunteers in the District to obtain the certifications required by Act 15 of 2015 (see “VOLUNTEER Clearance Instructions” and “Volunteer Sworn Affidavit” link below):
- Act 114 FBI Criminal History Report ($22.60)*
- Act 151 Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance – no cost
- Act 34 Pennsylvania Criminal History Check – no cost
- Mandated Child Abuse Reporter Training Certificate – no cost
*The Act 114 FBI Criminal History Report can be waived if the volunteer is unpaid and signs an affidavit stating they lived in Pennsylvania for the past 10 years and that they did not commit certain crimes elsewhere. Volunteers who have not resided in Pennsylvania for the past 10 years but have obtained their FBI Criminal History Report and it is less than a year old are not required to obtain another Report but must provide a copy of it to the District.
Act 15 of 2015 clarifies that volunteers need to obtain certifications if they are applying for or holding an unpaid position as a volunteer with a school; as a person responsible for a child’s welfare; or have “direct volunteer contact” with children, meaning they are responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children AND have routine interaction with children. “Routine interaction” is defined as regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s volunteer responsibilities.
Act 15 of 2015 provides an exception to the certification requirements for a student who volunteers for an event on school grounds that is sponsored by the school in which the student is enrolled as long as the student is not responsible for a child’s welfare and the event is not for children who are in the care of a child-care service. Students who do not meet this exception may need to obtain the certifications required by Act 15.
If you are new to the District as a volunteer, you will be required to obtain your clearances prior to any contact with students. Upon receipt of your clearances, please send them to the school you wish to volunteer in.
Please note: Volunteers are required to obtain new clearances every 5 years. You are also required to notify the District in writing within 72 hours if you are arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying participation as a volunteer, or you are named as a perpetrator in a child abuse report. Willful failure to do so has criminal implications and may jeopardize your ability to volunteer with the District.
Act 15 of 2015 imposes other requirements on volunteers in schools, and this letter does not intend to cover them all. The Southern Tioga School District is working hard to ensure our volunteers meet all legal requirements of volunteering with us. We include for your reference a Frequently Asked Questions document developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services which explains many of these requirements.
Sam A. Rotella, Jr.
- PA Dept. of Human Services Frequently Asked Questions – click here
- Volunteer Application
- Clearance Instructions for Volunteers
- Volunteer Sworn Affidavit – click here
- Mandated Reporter Training Certificate – click here
This is approximately a 3 hour instruction with questions throughout the slide presentation. Once completed print out the certificate and provide a copy with your volunteer information.
If you need assistance with any of this paperwork, please contact Gina Van Gorden, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Southern Tioga School District Administration Office, 310 Morris Street, Blossburg PA 16912, (570) 638-2183 ext. 306 or