Health and Safety Guidelines

In keeping with Yale’s educational and research mission, its commitment to the local community, and its desire to employ its facilities in a safe and useful manner, the University organizes and accommodates many youth programs.  In order to protect the health and safety of participating minors and to ensure that Yale can continue organizing and accommodating youth programs, adult supervisors in such programs must observe reasonable health and safety guidelines.  Program organizers are responsible for using the following checklists to assess and minimize risks. These guidelines do not apply to all programs and cannot encompass all possible risks. If you have questions about your program or how to apply these guidelines, please contact the Committee on Programs for Children and Youth.

A.  Program Management

1.  If your program is sponsored by a Yale Registered Student Organization, comply with all guidelines for the Organization’s department or school (e.g., if organized by a registered undergraduate organization, comply with the Undergraduate Regulations of Yale College).

2.  Provide minors and their parents/guardians with written materials that accurately describe the program, including any risks.

3.  Provide minors and their parents/guardians with written program rules, including a code of conduct and safety procedures, and require that parents/guardians sign a form accepting the rules.

4.  Obtain releases, waivers, and/or permissions that address:

  1. use of photographs of participants;
  2. unscheduled free time;
  3. transportation;
  4. Internet access and use;
  5. age-appropriate check-in/check-out procedures;
  6. the circumstances in which minors may be dismissed from your program; and
  7. other issues specific to your program.

A model waiver form can be found here.

5.  Permanently maintain all records and documents (e.g., employment records, participant rosters, training records, complaints, investigation results, contracts, waivers, and insurance policies).

6.  Provide parents/guardians with an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns to program staff by various methods (e-mail, phone, letter, in person, etc.).

7.  Ensure that the program has an appropriate ratio of supervising adults (exclusive of cooks, clerical and maintenance personnel) to minors:

  1. Overnight programs:
    • 1:6 for minors under age eight
    • 1:8 for minors eight years and older
  2. Day programs:
    • 1:9 for minors under age six
    • 1:12 for minors six years and older

8.  Minimize minors’ unsupervised, unstructured, or unscheduled time during the program.

9.  Develop plans and procedures for handling health and safety incidents (e.g., intruders, suspicious persons, power outages, major injuries/illnesses, missing minors, emergency evacuations, lightning and other weather events, homesickness).

10.  Hold appropriate orientation sessions for minors and staff before the program begins, including instructions on health and safety rules.

11.  Consult Yale Procurement before negotiating contracts with outside entities.

12.  If a third party requires minors’ parents/guardians to sign forms in relation to the activities of the program, provide a copy of the forms to Yale’s Risk Management Office for review.

13.  Examine equipment and premises with the goal of mitigating safety hazards and maintaining security against unauthorized persons.  Consider stairwells and elevators; tripping hazards (e.g., uneven ground surface or debris); nearby construction or maintenance work; and temporary structures (e.g., tents).

B.  Staff

1.  If your program will be staffed fully or partly by volunteers, hire, supervise and train them in the same way that you would employees.

2.  During interviews (preferably in-person), ask how applicants would respond to ambiguous situations and inappropriate interactions between adults and minors or between two minors.

3.  Train program staff and volunteers on program policies and procedures, including:

  1. emergency procedures;
  2. reporting incidents and accidents;
  3. general safety guidelines;
  4. behavior management, discipline, bullying;
  5. Yale University Policy “Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect”; and
  6. safe use and handling of dangerous materials and equipment.

C.  Medical/Health

1.  Obtain signed permission slips from parents/guardians giving the program permission to seek emergency medical care for minors.

2.  Ensure that at least one supervisor has current training and certification in CPR and first aid.

3.  Have first aid kits available at all times (including in each vehicle used to transport minors).

4.  Obtain information from parents/guardians about special medical considerations (e.g., allergies; activity restrictions; prior injuries; and possession or use of prescription medication).  Ensure the security and confidentiality of any medical information collected.

5.  Develop procedures for notifying program staff of minors’ specific needs.

6.  Avoid administering or storing minors’ medication, but if it becomes necessary to do so contact the Committee on Programs for Children and Youth.

7.  Develop procedures for notifying parents/guardians of minors’ illnesses or injuries.

8.  Report all injuries involving minors, regardless of severity, to Yale’s Risk Management Office.

9.  Maintain proper sanitation and food handling.

D.  Guidelines for Specific Activities

If your program includes any of the following activities, please click on the links provided for additional guidance.