Virtual Youth Program Guidelines

University Protection of Minors Requirement Applies to Virtual Youth Programming

The Protection of Minors policy applies to all UO youth programs. Virtual programing should be viewed with the same lens as if it were in person programing.

Virtual Programming Requirements and Best Practices

All virtual programs should utilize UO approved software, such as Zoom or Canvas as both are FERPA compliant. Information Services has created resource pages for Zoom and Canvas, including troubleshooting and FAQs.

Rules for Using Zoom to Conduct Online Programs for Minors:

  • Two adults are required in all meetings. One of the adults must act as the “meeting host.”
  • Parent/guardian permission forms must be obtained before students can participate in a session. The host must check that all students present have submitted these forms.
  • The host must send the meeting link, call in number, and meeting ID to registered participants and their parents or guardians. Only program staff, participants, and their parents or guardians should receive the link.
  • Consider starting the meeting in waiting room if both adult hosts are not logged on.
  • The meeting host controls all muting, video functions, chat, etc., so that instructors can focus on their presentations. Hosts should also handle back-end technology troubleshooting (e.g., assisting users who cannot log on) and communication with participants before and during the workshop.
  • The host is the first line of defense against inappropriate behavior and must act quickly to cut off participants who violate expectations.
  • The private chat function must be disabled.
  • The host will place students in breakout rooms (if they are being used) and visit these rooms throughout the session for supervision).

Parents and or/Guardians Involvement

While your program may be offering guided activities, youth programs cannot “take supervision” of children in a virtual setting. Therefore, it is important to communicate the following with parents/guardians:

  • Update and provide your programs parental/guardian consent form. The form should include supervision expectations and requirements for the duration of the virtual program.
  • Inform parents/guardians of the setting requirements and materials needed to conduct virtual program activities.
  • Encourage parent/guardians to be aware of their child’s online activities.
  • Communicate with parents/guardians if you intend to send a resource box (camp in a box), including any safety considerations.

Virtual and Electronic Communication Considerations

  • Keep conversations professional and focused on programmatic and educational purposes.
  • While encouragement and support is important, especially during this time, boundaries must be maintained for the safety of both adults and the minor.
  • Ensure that comments or chat features are limited to participants and that personal information is not being shared.
  • Consider updating your program code of conduct to include online etiquette and cyberbullying.

Using Outside Resources

Please carefully consider any outside resources. When connecting parents and/or guardians to these outside resources, include language such as the following:

“The University of Oregon has no control over the content offered by third party websites. Parents and guardians should monitor the online activities of their children to ensure the content is age appropriate and to ensure the safety of their children”

Accommodation and Accessibility

The same ADA guidelines should be followed when providing virtual programming as followed in physical classrooms or meetings. Participants who need to request disability accommodations should contact their program administrator.

Reference list:
“Virtual Program Resources - COVID-19.” American Camp Association, May 06, 2020

"Best Practices for Keeping Your Online/Virtual Programming Safe for Campers.” American Camp Association, 7 April 2020

“Keeping Your Kids Safe Online During Covid-19”, U.S Center for SafeSport, April 04, 2020

“Avoiding Mischief and Mayhem in the Great Leap to Zoom: Zoomnosis”, Inside Higher, March 25, 2020

“Electronic Communications and Organizations’ Duty to Protect", PRAESIDIUM, March 04, 2020

“Prevent Cyberbullying”,, September 08, 2017