Programs and Activities with Minor Participants – Online/Virtual Programs

As a result of COVID-19 many youth programs are exploring online or virtual opportunities. As you plan for moving your programs online, or explore other virtual opportunities please ensure that you comply with CSU’s Protection of Minors Policy and the following RMI guidance to ensure a successful and safe program.

Reporting Requirements

Reporting requirements per the policy still apply

Background checks

Background checks per the policy still apply

Training

Please ensure that all volunteers, and employees who are working as part of this program have read the policy and have been trained on what is expected of them.

Conduct or behavior

The requirements of the policy apply to participants, volunteers and employees. Develop program standards and expectations for participant involvement, including a no-tolerance approach to cyberbullying, etc.

Setting up an Online Program

There are a number of online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and others. Understand that, other than Microsoft, CSU ACNS does not provide help or support for these platforms. These platforms have varying security features that need to be learned before implementing an online program. Knowing how to keep unauthorized individuals from joining an online session, how to disconnect someone from a session immediately if the need arises, and how to use recording and playback features are just a few of the essential elements. When selecting a platform, also be aware that any software/service agreement being signed on behalf of CSU must have the required review and approval. Contact Procurement Services for more information.

Program administrators must be CSU faculty, staff or students and must use their CSU credentials at all times.
See ZOOM Guidance for K-12 Environment.

Safe Contact and Privacy Rules

The following safety rules apply to online programs for minors:

  • Avoid one-to-one virtual contact with a minor
  • Please ensure you have at least 2 adults online during live programs to help supervise content and participant behavior. These may be two CSU staff members or one staff member and the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
  • Access to the online program must be set so that the program leader must accept each person into the meeting location to avoid unwanted guests in the program. Consider only showing the first names of participants while in the virtual environment. Consider, if possible or available, locking the meeting for any late participants.
  • If you break participants into separate “rooms”, please ensure that you have one adult monitoring each separate “room.”
  • No private direct messaging, texting, chatting or personal emails between a minor and a program supervisor or online teacher is permissible. Group messages and posts are acceptable and must be viewable by all participants.
  • Do not share your personal, non-CSU email address, social media username (e.g., a Twitter handle) or telephone number with a minor. Provide your CSU email address and contact information to the minor’s parent or legal guardian only.
  • Minors may not engage in activities involving hazardous material (chemical, biological,) or work with mechanical tools at home during an online program. Please contact EHS if you have any questions.
  • Parents/guardians must be provided with access information for all virtual meetings and programs.
  • For participants aged 12 years old or less, please ensure that a parent or legal guardian will supervise the activity. (See parental consent form.)
  • Please review CSU’s Protection of Minors Policy and RMI’s website for additional reminders.

Recording of online sessions

If program administrators wish to record an online session, they must obtain the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

Program administrators may not record online sessions to their personal computer or device. Recordings must be made to the cloud. Recordings may be shared afterwards with participants in an un-editable format.

Required Forms

For virtual/online programming it is not necessary to complete forms relating to medical conditions & medications, health insurance information, and liability waiver.

Parents/guardians of participating minors must complete the following forms and submit them to the program administrator

Reporting Concerns

The procedures for reporting abuse and neglect remain the same for online programs. Please see CSU’s Protection of Minors Policy.

If anyone has other concerns about online programs for minors please report through the Compliance Reporting Hotline.

Program administrators should ensure that employees and volunteers are familiar with CSU’s reporting systems. It is also recommended to identify an individual to troubleshoot any technical difficulties that participants or their parents may encounter.

Accessibility Considerations

As you design a successful online/virtual program be sensitive that not all participants will be able to access these platforms. Accessibility features of the platform must be explored and learned before implementation.

Parents should contact the program director for help with all accessibility issues.

If program director is unable to find a solution, then either the parent or the program director may contact Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) for issues with electronic accessibility.

Disability Accommodations

Participants (their parent/ guardian) who need to request disability accommodations should contact the Program Director. If the program director needs assistance then they should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Virtual field trips/ experiences provided by third parties

Many organizations are offering virtual field trips and experiences which may be an exciting addition to your online/virtual program. Before incorporating this experience into your program consider –

  • The platform that is being used. What privacy and security features are included in the experience? Do they require a password to participate, or do they require authentication? Who else will be joining your campers/participants? Will these sessions be open to the general public?
  • Is an external third party offering/controlling the virtual experience? If so, do we have a written agreement with the third party addressing responsibilities for safety and liability?
  • How does the third party control access?
  • How does the third party deal with cyberbullying, sexual harassment and other menacing behavior online?

Helpful Resources

ZOOM guidance for K-12 Environment.

ACA Quality in Online Camp Programming 

ACA Best Practices for Keeping your Online/ Virtual Programming Safe for Campers

Bullying and Cyberbullying

Accessibility by Design