AUBURN UNIVERSITY GUIDELINES AND PROTOCOLS FOR IN-PERSON SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAMS

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The guidance provided in the following document is adapted from recommended practices and will be updated as additional information becomes available from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Alabama, and the Alabama Department of Public Health. These guidelines are designed to assist units with delivering various types of youth program activities safely and are subject to revision. All summer youth programs are expected to adhere to Auburn University’s Youth Protection Policy and must have approval through the Campus Event Planning System.

Summer youth programs are youth programs occurring between May 1, 2021, and August 15, 2021. Youth programs are (1) programs, events, activities, or endeavors offered by various academic or administrative units of the University; or by student organizations or other University-affiliated organizations; or by External Entities using University facilities; (2) that are designed to serve minors under age 19; and (3) during which parents or guardians are not expected to be responsible for care, custody, and control of the minors. Exclusions may be found in the Youth Protection Policy. Summer youth programs do not include events for incoming freshmen, such as Camp War Eagle, or for programs involving currently enrolled students.

The safety of the campus community remains our institution’s priority and will continue to inform our institution’s decisions regarding engagement with on- and off-campus stakeholders. When considering the implementation of youth programs for summer 2021, the university remains committed to the following objectives:

  1. Provide opportunities to host university-sponsored summer youth programs traditionally offered to off-campus groups and individuals;
  2. Achieve youth program objectives and goals in a safe environment with adherence to safety protocols designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and 
  3. Develop appropriate plans to support the youth program operations should changes in COVID-19 impact the university.

In-person youth programs at Auburn University must meet the following protocols.

  • Programs should use the venue capacity suggestions provided by Facilities, where practicable. See the Facilities website for more information. All spaces used by programs including outdoor spaces, classrooms, dining venues, and other gathering spaces, should take reasonable steps to maintain a maximum of 50% occupancy and to respect physical distancing guidelines as articulated by the State of Alabama and Auburn University.
  • Limit attendance or seating capacity to allow for distancing or host smaller programs in larger rooms. Use multiple entrances and exits and discourage crowded waiting areas. Prepare physical space so that participants can maintain a physical distance of 6 feet at check-in, during the program, and getting to and from the restroom.
  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors, sidewalks, and signs on walls, to ensure that individuals remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times. Create one-way routes and eliminate lines or queues when possible.
  • It is recommended, if practicable, to block off rows or sections of seating to support physical distancing.  In addition, the first row of seating should be blocked to allow 10 feet of space between the person speaking and those attending, if possible.
  • Activities should take place outside as much as possible. If possible, consider using tents to provide shade. Submit a tent permit request at least 10 days prior to your program here.
  • Perform a risk assessment for each program activity including assessment of (1) interactions among attendees, (2) target audience, and (3) location layout.
  • If program is outside, develop an emergency plan in case of inclement weather. When developing the plan, consider how you will maintain physical distancing between participants and comply with face covering requirements.
  • Unit staff should designate at least one qualified person from the program staff who can act as the primary contact for participants, parents/legal guardians, and staff.
  • The designee(s) should be prepared to effectively address any questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resources available for additional information. Make sure other staff, parents, and participants know how to contact this person.
  • The designee(s) should be familiar with medical matters, PPE controls, current events, university policies and procedures and all youth program guidelines related to COVID-19.

Programs should establish expectations with families participating in the program (See Appendix A for Sample Letter to Parents). Communication should include (1) the program’s strategies to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the program environment and (2) alternative strategies if disruption of programming occurs due to increased community transmission and other factors.

  • Programs accepting participants from various geographic regions should communicate that information to participants and families in initial communications.
  • Distribute information to staff and participants (and the parents/guardians of minor participants) that explain the university’s COVID-19 health and safety policies and guidelines.
  • Require participants (and the parents/guardians of minor participants) to agree to follow the University’s and the program’s COVID-19 health and safety policies and guidelines.
  • Explain the steps the program will take if a participant does not follow the policies and procedures.
  • Explain requirements for pickup of participants displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or that may have had a close contact exposure.
  • Educate staff and participants about when they should stay home if they become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case, and when they can return to the program.
  • Staff are instructed to send staff home/stay home in the event the following is reported to supervisors: (1) COVID-19 symptoms, (2) respiratory illness symptoms prior to or during work, (3) identified close contact, or (4) actively sick.
  • Staff members, volunteers, and parents/guardians must sign the program’s COVID-19 Waiver and Release (See Appendix B for Sample Waiver).

Programs should create cohorts or small groups of participants (as small as feasibly possible) and keep them together throughout the program to minimize mixing between groups. The same staff members should remain assigned to the same groups throughout the program.

  • A cohort group can be an age group or a pre-assigned program group that should, to the extent possible, remain consistent over the course of the program.
  • If cohort groups mix for programs or activities, consider other mitigation measures such as physical distancing or face coverings if appropriate and practical for the activity.
  • All Auburn University employees and students who are present at the program should self-screen daily and stay home if they are not feeling well or if they have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Communicate to parents/guardians the benefits of designating one parent/guardian to pick up participants every day.
  • Units should stagger participants’ arrival times to minimize to limit contact between cohorts and with other participants’ families.
  • Units should assign drop off windows for participants. Parents should be encouraged to minimize drop offs to allow for the continual flow of traffic, say goodbye close to or inside their vehicles, and wear a mask when exiting the vehicle.
  • All participants must sign-in daily and respond to a screener form. (See Appendix C for Screening Questions Sample). The program may choose to ask these questions and have parents sign in the participant or have the questions posted and ask parents to read before signing the participant in.
  • Individuals exhibiting symptoms of illness should not be permitted to attend the program. Any individual who develops symptoms during the program should be required to leave.
  • Educate staff, parents, and participants on the university’s COVID-19 health and safety policies and guidelines at the beginning of the program.
  • Stagger pick-up times to minimize to limit contact between cohorts and with other participants’ families.
  • Escort participants to their parent’s/guardian’s vehicle rather than having the adult exit the vehicle.
  • All program and activities must have prior approval to be held. Program Directors should submit all required planning information for approval through the Campus Event Planning System. Youth programs should also register in the Youth Protection Registration System.
  • Keep COVID-19 Waiver and Releases on file for three years.
  • Take pictures of your set-up and signage and floor markings, pre-function and during the program. Keep the documentation for three years.

If a staff member is informed that someone that attended the program has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19:

  • Immediately notify participant’s parent/guardian if the participant is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Parents/guardians should be notified in initial communication of pickup requirements of participants in the event of illness.
  • Contact your supervisor immediately to report the situation. The Program Director should contact the Sponsoring Unit’s COVID-19 Liaison.
  • If a staff member or program participant tests positive for COVID-19, inform those who had close contact with that person to stay home, self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
  • The privacy of the individual must always be maintained. Do not disclose the name or any personal information about the individual.
  • Have a plan in place for quarantine/isolation and supervision of participants until a parent/guardian arrives. For overnight programs the plan should include medical care and food services.
  • Any staff or participants who get sick should be isolated (moved away from others) immediately. A sick staff member should be sent home if they are able to safely return home.
  • Provide an area that can be used to isolate a staff member or participant exhibiting symptoms.
  • Ensure there is enough space for multiple people placed at least 6 feet apart if more than one participant or staff member becomes ill.
  • Ensure that the sick person has hygiene supplies available, including a face covering, facial tissues, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Identify two staff members who will bring food and hydration, and who will check on participants who are sick while they wait for them to be picked up. Two staff members are required at all times in order to avoid 1:1 interaction with minor participants. This includes overnight programs and situations where parents/guardians are not immediately able to pick up a participant.
  • Limit the number of staff who have face-to-face interactions with people who are sick. Staff should wear a face covering when interacting with sick people, remain as physically distanced as possible, and thoroughly wash hands afterwards.
  • Establish procedures for safely taking sick participants to a healthcare facility if needed.
  • Close off the areas used by the sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting can be performed.
  • If the participant gets sick during the program, wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. Outdoor venues and equipment should be cleaned without delay.
  • Staff and participants who test positive may not return until they have been released by their physician. If another participant or staff member is a household member of the person with a positive diagnosis, they also should not return until they have been released by their physician.
  • Develop a plan to remove staff and participants who have had potential contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Staff or participants who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to be separated and sent home for their quarantine period. Follow the plan made in advance with parents and staff for getting participants home. This includes roommates who should be sent home to quarantine.
  • Develop a plan to identify and accommodate staff and participants at an elevated risk for complications related to COVID-19. Encourage and support them to take additional preventative measures, including consultation with their healthcare provider.

 

 

Safety Expectations

Units sponsoring summer youth programs are responsible for implementing the following strategies to support behaviors designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Failure to comply with the following measures may result in an individual’s removal from a program or the cancelation of a program.

  • All program staff, volunteers, and participants must adhere to Auburn University’s Usage of Face Coverings to Counter COVID-19 Policy.
  • Disposable face coverings should be available for participants. Be prepared to turn away anyone who does not adhere to face covering requirements.
  • Participants with accommodations that require face shields instead of cloth face coverings must provide the appropriate documentation supporting this request.
  • Physical distancing should be observed during program activities.
  • Special attention should be given to maintaining physical distancing in areas commonly known to be high traffic in buildings, such as entrances and departure sites.
  • Encourage the participants to come up with physically distanced greeting procedures rather than handshakes or hugs.
  • Consider using barriers such as stanchions, directional signs, as well as other spacing indicators.
  • All participants and staff should practice enhanced personal hygiene. This includes washing hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching door handles, equipment, handrails, or other public surfaces.
  • Ensure adequate restroom facilities are available for proper handwashing.
  • If possible, set up alcohol-based (60% or higher) sanitizing stations on-site and stationed at entry areas.
  • Provide hands-free trash receptacles, soap and towel dispensers, door openers, and accessible hand sanitizer.
  • There is a campus-wide effort to increase sanitation of university facilities and promote public health practices.
  • Disposable cleaning wipes must be available to wipe down spaces regularly.
  • Organizers should also plan to clean high-touch surfaces, such as tables, chairs, pens, clipboards, etc., throughout the event duration with appropriate cleaners and disinfectants (such as sanitizing wipes).
  • Disinfect participants’ space before, during, and after the program using disinfectants approved by the EPA for killing the virus causing COVID-19. This includes surfaces, doorknobs, rails, tables, desks, etc. If rotations occur, clean between each rotation as well.
  • Facilities Management may be contacted to request enhanced cleaning services for special circumstances.
  • If possible, each participant should have their own set of materials to engage in the program.
  • Discourage participants from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect (i.e., pens or touch screens.
  • Units providing meals must contract with Tiger Dining to align with campus COVID-19 food safety and hygiene standards. Tiger Dining may provide services whereby staff can (1) serve food to students or (2) make food available for students to pick up on their own in such a way that only one item is touched.
  • Individually wrapped or sealed food and beverages are preferred. Seated meals and buffets served by Auburn University approved caterers are permitted. Avoid offering any self-serve food or drink options.
  • If snacks are served, use only prepackaged food, such as muffins, crackers, etc. Snacks can only be served by adults wearing proper equipment (face coverings and gloves).
  • If drinks are to be served, use only unopened canned or bottled, single-use options, drinks.  Drinks can only be served by adults wearing proper equipment (face coverings and gloves).
  • Jugs of tea, 2-liter sodas, refillable fountain drinks, and tea and coffee containers are not allowed. Ice should not be served from a cooler or other communal receptacle.
  • If possible, offer multiple mealtimes in an expanded window in order to decrease the number of diners in the dining area at a time. Clean and disinfect the dining area between mealtimes.
  • If possible, assign seats to diners for the duration of the program.
  • Offer the option to dine in or outside the dining area by allowing participants to eat in other spaces.

 

Special Considerations

In addition to the considerations above, Overnight Residential Programs and Athletic, Cheer, and Dance Camps should also consider:

In addition to the considerations above, overnight residential programs should also consider:

 

  1. Room/Housing Accommodations

 

  • Limit access to residence halls and rooms only to staff and participants assigned to that space.
  • Station dispensers of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the entrance or have participants wash their hands with soap and water immediately upon entry.
  • Communal spaces should be monitored, and large groups should be discouraged from congregating.
  • If feasible, reduce the number of participants in each room.
  • Maintain cohort groups in housing and keep groups small.
  • Keep the same staff members assigned to housing through the program; do not rotate staff between housing.

 

  1. Room and Sleeping Accommodations
  • Arrange the rooms to create at least six feet of space between beds. Utilize head-to-toe orientation where feasible.
  • For bunk beds, position the head of the participant in the top bunk opposite the position of the participant in the bottom bunk.  Six feet separation is not required between the top and bottom bunk because of the physical barrier between participants.
  • For side-by-side beds, position the head of the participant in one bed opposite the position of the participant in the adjacent bunk.
  • Personal fans should be pointed at one individual only; ceiling fans are permissible.
  • Implementation of handwashing measures should be contemplated for the sleeping accommodation area.  If handwashing facilities are not immediately available, use of hand sanitizer stations is acceptable.
  • Participants should keep personal items in their bag or tote and store their bag or tote in a designated area separate from roommates’ belongings.
  • Personal belonging should be limited to essential items plus a limited number of non-essential items.

 

  1. Shared Bathrooms

 

  • Avoid sharing common bathroom supplies (towels, soap, toothpaste, etc.).  Instruct participants to bring their own bathroom supplies and a container for toiletries to be stored in for the duration of the program (for example, a bathroom tote or a 1-quart clear plastic bag labeled with their name).
  • Encourage staff and participants to avoid placing toothbrushes or toiletries directly on counter surfaces.
  • Create a staggered bathing schedule and limit the number of people using the facilities at one time.

 

  1. Cleaning and Disinfecting

 

  • Sleeping accommodations should be cleaned and sanitized daily consistent with common space cleaning practices.
  • Wash soft materials used by one participant (such as linens, bedding) between sessions/visiting groups and soft materials used by more than one participant (such as towels) should be washed daily.

In addition to the considerations, above, programs where participants are involved in team athletic activities, cheer, or dance activities should consider the following:

 

  1. Physical Closeness of Participants

 

  • The size and type of the program activity should be determined based on the ability of participants from different households to stay at least 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart. Space participants at least 6 feet apart on the field (e.g., during warmup, skill building activities, simulation drills, while explaining rules). Participants and staff should not congregate within 6 feet of a person from another household except to the extent necessary—and only to the extent necessary to directly participate in the activity.
  • Activities that require contact or close proximity (within 6 feet) between participants may make it more difficult to maintain physical distancing, compared to activities where participants are not close to each other. For close-contact activities (e.g., football, basketball, cheer, etc.), activities should be modified to safely increase distance between participants. For example, participants and staff can focus on individual skill building versus competition. Increase distance for high-intensity activities
  • Program staff can also modify practices so participants work on individual skills, rather than on competition. Program staff may also put participants into small groups (cohorts) that remain together and work through stations, rather than switching groups or mixing groups.
  • Discourage participants and staff from greeting others with physical contact like high fives, handshakes, and other physical contact except to the extent necessary—and only to the extent necessary--to directly participate in the athletic activity.
  • Designate staff to monitor physical distancing and other protective measures among participants during program activities.

 

  1. Face Coverings

 

  • Require the consistent and correct use of masks, by making sure that staff and participants are covering their noses and mouths.
  • Consider having additional masks on hand in case a participant forgets one or needs to replace a moist mask with a dry one.
  • Participants who are engaged in high-intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. Limit high-intensity activities when indoors.
  • Risk often increases when participants are not actively engaged in activity, for instance when they are taking a break or socializing. Ensure that masks are used at all times.

 

  1. Level of Intensity of Activity

 

  • Activities that are high intensity or require a high level of exertion (such as full competition) present a higher level of risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 than lower intensity activities (such as discussing strategy and rules, walking through plays), particularly when indoors.
  • Higher intensity activities are safer when done outdoors.

 

  1. Length of Time Participants are Close to Each Other or to Staff

 

  • Activities that last longer pose more risk than shorter activities. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires quarantine.
  • Limit the time participants spend in close contact to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

 

  1. Setting of the Event or Activity

 

  • Indoor activities pose more risk than outdoor activities.
  • Minimize the amount of time spent indoors.
  • If it is necessary to be inside, ensure the facility has proper ventilation and filtration systems and open windows and doors to increase airflow throughout the space.

 

  1. Touching of Shared Equipment and Gear

 

  • Ensure adequate supplies of shared items to minimize sharing of equipment to the extent possible (e.g., protective gear, balls, bats); otherwise, limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of participants at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
  • Discourage participants from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect.
  • Recommend participants bring their own equipment such as bats, helmets, water bottles, etc.
  • Do not let participants share towels, clothing, or other items they use to wipe their faces or hands.

 

  1. Physical Distancing While Not Actively Engaged in the Activity

 

  • During times when participants are not actively participating in practice or competition, attention should be given to maintaining physical distancing by increasing space between participants on the sideline, dugout, bench, etc.
  • Additionally, program staff can encourage athletes to use downtime for individual skill-building work or cardiovascular conditioning, rather than staying clustered together.

 

  1. Size of the Program Group

 

  • Programs with a large number of participants in activities may increase the likelihood of spread, compared to those with fewer team participants. Consider decreasing group sizes, as feasible.
  • Keep participants together in small groups with dedicated program staff, and make sure that each group of participants and staff avoid mixing with other groups as much as possible.
  • Consider having the same group of participants stay with the same staff or having the same group of participants rotate among staff.

 

  1. Nonessential Visitors, Spectators, Volunteers
  • Programs involving external groups or organizations are discouraged from allowing nonessential visitors, spectators, and volunteers during Program activities.
  • Programs, at their discretion, may allow visitor/spectator attendance at any performance, graduation or closing ceremony contingent on the facility allowing for physical distance between visitors; as well as participants and unvaccinated visitors/spectators being strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.

 

Appendix A – Sample Letter to Parents

Appendix B – COVID-19 Waiver

Appendix C - Screening Questions Sample

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