From social distancing to social cohesion
While social distancing is a worldwide accepted measure for the prevention of aggressive spreading of SARS-CoV-2 virus, several spontaneous community-oriented activities and projects have started to emerge in response to the current needs of the community, such as: shortage of medical protective equipment for medical staff and lack of access to daily life supplies of elderly population.
Social isolation and the switch to remote forms of education represent strong challenges in terms of planning and implementing direct in-person volunteering and Service-Learning activities. However, in many countries, experts in Service-Learning have started to observe and document cases of community-oriented activities involving cooperation between teachers, students and community partners in times of pandemic. These cases might serve either as current examples of building reflective exercises in online classes in the direction of empathy and civic responsibility development of students, or as solid points for the justification of the need of Service-Learning institutionalization in order to be prepared to face similar challenges in the future through civic participation.
Civic engagement of Romanian students and teachers in times of Covid-19
The cases presented bellow have been collected in March 2020 from the Romanian media channels, by using the key search words: community needs, students and teachers, Covid-19. Although only few of them meet the criteria of being categorized as Service-Learning activities, the other cases, such as structured and unstructured volunteering reflect, too, modalities of civic engagement of Higher Education Institutions in times of pandemic, which would easily allow the transition to Service-Learning.