Solutions to help navigate virtual summer camp risks during COVID-19. 

Although summer camps will now be held virtually online, there remains the potential for inappropriate behaviors that must be effectively managed. Similarly, existing policies on screening, selection, training, monitoring and supervision of the institutional representatives are critical. Here are some key risk management tips to consider when planning your virtual camp:

  1. Be diligent with proper supervision of institutional representatives with the ability to interact with youth. A key safety factor is to require a minimum of two adults at all times during virtual sessions.
  2. Make sure that whatever web platform you use, that it is vetted and approved by your IT department and is appropriate for the age of the youth.
  3. Have a plan in place on how to identify and approve participant’s entry for every session. Some schools verify the full name of the participants, but then only show the participant as the first name and last initial while in the virtual setting.
  4. Check that your virtual platform settings are appropriate (use of waiting room, limit use of backgrounds to pre-approved appropriate images, etc.)
  5. Document the training for your teams on how to appropriately use virtual platforms, plus the reporting and escalation process should an inappropriate activity take place.
  6. Keep your programs check in and check out times consistent to avoid inappropriate interactions, and consider disabling the chat feature in the virtual platform.
  7. Refer to the Higher Education Protection Network (HEPNet) as a good source for additional considerations on interactions with children and youth.
  8. Be mindful of cyber bullying and other inappropriate behavior that emanate from online or social media activities outside of the formal virtual experience. 

For additional risk considerations, read our Think Tank: Managing the Risk of Minors on Campus.