Since CPM programs takes over the care, custody, and/or control of minors during the program, it is of the utmost importance that the programs are taking precautions to ensure the safety of the participants. During the risk assessment, the UYP office’s first priority is to check to see if the program has completed and turned in all of the items listed in the compliance checklist.
Next, the UYP office’s priority is to assess the program with the lens of a parent, or someone external to the organization, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of minors participating in the program. That includes reviewing the application for solutions to mitigate any physical, reputational, emotional, financial, or facilities risks. Examples of risk management include, but are not limited to, providing financial scholarships to students who could not afford to attend, create a new walking route to avoid walking close to a construction zone, or hiring a nurse to be on call during the program.
In order to protect the health of your staff and participants prior to the start of your program, we recommend all individuals self-monitor for 14 days leading up to the program. In order to assist with the pre-screening, University Youth Programs is providing the Pre-Camp Health Screening Form for programs to collect from staff and participants at the beginning of the program. The form should be sent out prior to the 14 days before the program starts, so staff and participants can thoroughly track their temperature and symptoms leading up to your program. Pre-camp screening is just one tool to aid programs, and programs should conduct an initial health screening at the entrance to the program and continue to screen for symptoms of COVID19 throughout the program.
Remember, it is just as important to keep effective risk management protocols in place in an online format, as it is to risk manage in-person activities. If your program chooses to allow online components to your program, here are a few risk management areas to consider:
- One-on-one communication/contact between CPM staff and youth should still be forbidden. So writing an effective protocol and including it in the staff training will be important. Here are a few examples:
- On group chats like Zoom, there should always be at least two staff members.
- If a staff member emails one or more participants, there should be another staff member CC’ed. Another option is to use an account that is monitored by multiple people and the response comes from “all staff”, as opposed to a one-to-one connection.
- Monitoring communications of staff and participants for appropriate behavior during and in association with your program should be a high priority. Therefore, setting behavioral expectations of staff and participants should be documented and communicated to all parties. Things to avoid include:
- Zoom-bombing attacks
- Inappropriate comments in chat rooms, forums, emails, etc.
If participants must leave a program early or have their driver’s license and would like to drive themselves to and/or from your program, it is beneficial to have documentation that stipulates when your program releases care, custody, and/or control of the participant. Many programs choose to create a form that is specific to their program, however if your program does not currently have a form, here are two options for unsupervised participant release forms:
All programs should have a set plan for communication between staff is very important. In the event that a message needs to get to the staff quickly, in the event of weather delay, injury, incident, or more, one standard method of communication should be used.
With the advances in technology, walkie-talkies are rarely used anymore by our programs here at Texas A&M University. Instead we have found that our programs are often using one of these three methods of communication:
- Group texts
- GroupMe App
- WhatsApp Messenger
When hosting a program for minors, it is important to consider any outside influences that could impact your program and the participants. On a college campus, most buildings where CPM programs occur also host students, staff, and faculty. So it is important to plan for how to manage the risks of outside influences impacting your program. This includes:
- Monitoring entrances and exits to the building,
- Monitoring entrances and exits to restrooms during break times,
- Monitoring the interactions with participants and individuals outside of the program, and more.
If an outside individual were to observe a program, the program’s staff and participants should clearly be identified and easily distinguished from each other.
This can be done in a variety of ways, including:
- Staff shirts
- Name tags
Be careful of wearing generic Texas A&M University clothing that could be purchased by anyone outside of the CPM. This lowers the risk of an outside individual entering the program and interacting with the participants, because the participants will be able to easily identify that the outside individual is not with the CPM.
Having signage indicating the location of events for a program is great risk management practice. Such locations where signage should be placed includes (but not limited to), where to park for check-in and check-out, the location of check-in and check-out, the location of overnight stay (if overnight program), and the main locations of the program activities.
It is important to have supervision ratios in place that help ensure the safety of our participants and the quality of our programs. The American Camps Association (ACA) has recommended the following:
|Participant Age||Number of Staff||Overnight Participants||Day Only Participants|
5 years and younger
In their article published by the ACA, practicing attorneys Charles Gregg and Catherine Hanson-Stamp discuss reasonable supervision and creating a safe environment.
All programs must obtain authorization to administer any medication, including prescription and over-the-counter, to a participant from the participant’s parent or guardian using the Authorization for Dispensing Medicationor the Authorization for Dispensing Medication – Spanish.
- The participant’s parent/guardian may not authorize administering medication in excess of the medication’s label instructions or the directions of the participant’s healthcare professional.
- Note: Parent/guardian authorization is NOT required for administering a medication to a participant in a medical emergency to prevent the death or serious bodily injury of the participant, provided that the medication is administered as prescribed, directed, or intended.
If the CPM chooses not to administer any medication, parents or guardians must be notified prior to the participant’s enrollment in the program.
- For participants 15 years of age and older, programs may use the Permission for Self-Medication Form or the Permission for Self-Medication Form – Spanish.
- This provides an opportunity for the parent/guardian to provide written permission for their child to be responsible for and administer their own medication under the condition that the participant can self-manage care and will be the only one who receives the medication.
- There is also the Parent/Guardian Authorization, Waiver, and Consent for Over-the-Counter Medication Form that allows parents to provide permission for administration of over-the-counter medications as well.
For further specific instructions for administering medication, please refer to the CPM University Rule.