Programmatic Requirements and Guidelines

The following Programmatic Requirements and Guidelines are intended to be used in conjunction with University Policy 811, University Programs or Activities Involving Minors. In addition to meeting these requirements, individuals must meet requirements related to background checks and training.

General Guidelines and Adequate Supervision

*Implementation date of updated supervision standards is August 12, 2024*

Ensure adequate supervision of minors while in a Program. Currently, the university recommends the following ratios for day programs: one Authorized Adult for every five minors ages 5-8, one Authorized Adult for every 10 minors ages 9-14, and one Authorized Adult for every 12 minors ages 15-17. For residential (overnight) programs, the university recommends: one Authorized Adult for every five minors ages 5-8, one Authorized Adult for every eight minors ages 9-14, and one Authorized Adult for every 10 minors ages 15-17.

Avoid exposing minors to adult topics and activities, such as exposure to sexually explicit material, alcohol, or harmful or potentially hazardous substances, tools, or equipment. Please see the Youth Protection Code of Conduct for additional standards.

If the activity involves more than 75 minors, consult RUPD about appropriate drop off and pick up areas for on-campus activities. For these activities, the program sponsor should also devise age-appropriate procedures for parents or guardians to pick up minors following the day's activities or the end of the Program. Consider the age of the minors, areas with less vehicle traffic, and the ability for minors to enter or leave vehicles without walking in the street.

Avoid picking up or dropping off minors at their homes unless this aspect is included in the registration process and is specifically authorized by the parents or legal guardian and includes at least two Authorized Adults.

Minor Safety and Emergency Planning

Programs should refrain from engaging in one-on-one contact with a minor. If one-on-one contact is necessary, such as a music lesson or lab internship, this aspect must be included in the registration/signup process and specific authorization is required by the parent or legal guardian. This includes in-person or virtual programs as well as on- or off-campus activities. All one-on-one programs involving minors must be registered and provide specific information on the supervision and location of the program.

When possible, individual meetings or programs with a minor are to be held in an open, public or otherwise interruptible, observable and well illuminated area. If that is not appropriate or possible, then the door to the room should be left open, or a window that allows unobstructed observation should be present.

Create an emergency action plan that includes establishing procedures that will be used for emergency notifications to RUPD, a minor's parent or legal guardian, and appropriate university offices (e.g. Ethics, Compliance and Enterprise Risk, Dean of Undergraduates, Academic Deans or others) in the event of an emergency involving a minor. This plan must include a complete list of minors participating in the Program and their emergency contact information. This information must be stored on site for the duration of the program. The department must identify the person responsible for managing this information. Immediately contact RUPD (713-348-6000) if a minor becomes lost.

Minors in Laboratories

Consult with Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) if you plan to tour a lab, host a minor for an internship, or schedule lab work that involves minors. Follow appropriate safety measures approved by EH&S as outlined in 'Guidelines for Minors in Laboratories' at Students under the age of 14 are not permitted access to any research lab where chemical, radioactive material/lasers or biological agents are present. Without prior approval from EH&S, students between the ages of 15-18 are restricted from any hands-on activity in labs where chemicals, radioactive materials/laser or biological agents are present.

Releases for Liability/Media and Record Retention

Obtain liability releases and/or consents for medical treatment from the parents or legal guardians when these are appropriate for the activity. Obtain a media release from parents or guardians if the minors will be photographed or recorded during the activity and the photos or recordings will be published. Releases must be obtained for on- or off-campus programs as well as virtual programs. Maintain these documents in a protected file for a period of 12 years. Rice approved releases can be found here.

University departments that oversee programs or sponsor activities involving minors are responsible for maintaining program registries, releases and third-party contracts (if applicable) for a period of 12 years after the completion of the program or activity (unless instructed otherwise by the General Counsel's office). Thereafter, records should be destroyed on a specific schedule and in an appropriate manner.

Third Party Facility Users

Third-party facility users who sponsor programs or activities involving minors on-campus must be aware of, and comply with, Policy 811, University Programs or Activities Involving Minors. Facilities users must sign a facilities use agreement and submit it to the Rice program manager prior to commencement of the Program. The Rice program manager should include a copy of this agreement during the registration process.

Third-party facility users are required to register their Program as well as certify that the background check and training requirements are met by all adults interacting with minors during the Program. Third-party facility users are also required to include a Rice liability waiver in their registration materials for all minors participating in the Program. A current waiver can be found here.