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Parent and Participant Handbook for Virtual Youth Programs

at MSU St. Andrews
Midland, Michigan for Summer 2020

©  Michigan State University, 2020.

If you prefer, you may view the printable PDF version of the handbook.


Michigan State University is delighted to welcome Michigan youth to the virtual (on-line only) Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education opportunities, and the related research and creative activities, being offered during Summer 2020 by faculty and staff at MSU St. Andrews at 1910 W. St. Andrews Rd., Midland, Michigan. 

Under MSU policy, all youth programming in Summer 2020 must be entirely virtual.  Thus this handbook edition differs from the standard version intended for in-person STEAM programming at MSU St. Andrews.  It provides information to youth participants and their parents or guardians regarding the personal on-line safety and security practices, consistent with the MSU policy entitled Conducting University Youth Programs:  Minimum Operational Requirements.  That University-wide policy may be found on-line at: https://www.hr.msu.edu/policies-procedures/university-wide/youth_program_operation.html.   

These personal safety and security practices specifically address program participation by minors.  In particular, this handbook supplements activity-specific safety practices, policies, and training variously appropriate to individual STEAM program activities, including at-home hands-on activities designed to supplement on-line programming.

1.  Modes of Program Participation:  On-line (always) and Hands-on (sometimes).

Summer 2020 virtual youth programs at MSU St. Andrews are designed for minor students participating in the residence belonging to their parent(s) or guardian(s), either:

  1. purely on-line, or
  2. on-line, supplemented with hands-on effort with program-provided materials.

All on-line activity is chaperoned by adults from the St. Andrews faculty and staff, or cooperating entities (e.g., the Midland chapter of the American Chemical Society).  

The parent(s) or guardian(s) of minor participants may elect to permit a child to undertake the hands-on supplemental activities associated with the program within the family residence, in which case the parent(s) or guardian(s) will be responsible for ensuring the child and other children in the residence, if any, observe all program-prescribed safety and conduct rules.  Alternatively, the parent(s) or guardian(s) may prohibit some or all hands-on supplemental activities for safety or other reasons without adverse consequences to a child’s overall program participation.

For the avoidance of doubt, no students are permitted in the MSU St. Andrews facility during Summer 2020.

2. Emergency Notifications to Parents and Authorities

MSU will notify parent(s) or guardians(s) and provide a separate, timely, additional notification to public safety personnel in all cases of program participant endangerment or misconduct involving:

2.1 possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fireworks, guns, and other weapons;
2.2  fires, explosions, and reportable chemical spills;
2.3 MiOHSA or OHSA-reportable injuries; and
2.4 reports or suspicion of abuse, assault, or abduction.

Additional reporting of adverse events involving minor employees will be provided per policy to MSU Human Resources.

As a general rule, additional notifications will also be provided to other University entities with relevant jurisdiction;  e.g.,  the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of Research Integrity, the Office of Risk Management, the Office of the General Counsel, and/or MSU Environmental Health & Safety.

3.  Contacting the Program in an Emergency or for Routine Assistance

3.1 During business hours, please call (517) 432-4499.
3.2 Outside of business hours, please call (517) 285-5646 for Dr. Paul Hunt or else (517) 881-1650 for Ms. Loraine Hudson.

4.  Program Rules and Conduct Expectations

Participants must abide by all University regulations and may be removed from the program for violation of those rules.

4.1  The online display, advertisement, or use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fireworks, guns, and other weapons is strictly prohibited.

4.2 On-line depiction or threats of violence of any kind is strictly prohibited.

4.3  Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and other sexually inappropriate conduct are strictly prohibited.

4.4 Harassment (including that conducted on-line) and other violations of the University Anti-Discrimination Policy (which may be found at https://www.hr.msu.edu/policies-procedures/university-wide/ADP_policy.html) are strictly prohibited.

4.5  Hazing and bullying (including cyber-bullying) are strictly prohibited.

4.6  Misuse (including hacking) or intentional damage of MSU or MSU St. Andrews property (including hardware and software) is prohibited, and participants may be held financially responsible for misuse or intentional damage of such property.

4.7 All persons at MSU St. Andrews must refrain from actions that violate, or hold the reasonable potential to violate, the privacy of others.  In particular:

4.7.1 The recording of a participant’s image, voice, or academic work presentation without the prior written (e-mail) permission of the participant being recorded is prohibited.

4.7.2 The purposeful installation, transmission, or activation of computer malware or other unauthorized software to listen to or take live images of users without appropriate consent, log their keystrokes, surreptitiously access their files, emails, or text messages, or otherwise violate their privacy is strictly prohibited.

4.8  Plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication of data and other records are strictly prohibited in all research or creative activities at MSU St. Andrews, including those undertaken by youth participants.

4.9  Theft of property, regardless of owner, is strictly prohibited.

4.10  Unauthorized entry to the MSU St. Andrews facility is strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators.

4.11  Unauthorized use of scientific, maintenance, and other specialized equipment or software is strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators and others.

4.12  Violations of activity-specific health and safety rules and procedural training are strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators and others.

When in doubt concerning any safety, conduct, or technical issue, parents and participating students are urged to contact program personnel at the phone numbers listed in Section 3, above.

5.   Violation of Rules:  Consequences and Procedures

MSU St. Andrews has experienced very few infractions by youth participants or adults, and the avoidance of infractions is a primary objective.  However, in the event of infractions, the procedures described below will be applicable.

5.1  Violations of law may and should be reported to law enforcement by those with knowledge pertaining to them, and will be reported by Research & Innovation staff when known.

5.2  If any individual (youth or adult) associated with any MSU St. Andrews program is believed to have violated an MSU policy or the conduct rules of a specific program, a report may be filed by any one or more of the following methods:

  1. Calling Research & Innovation at (517) 432-4499 during office hours.  After hours, a phone call may be placed to Dr. Paul Hunt at (517) 285-5646 and/or to Ms. Loraine Hudson at (517) 881-1650.
  2. Emailing either Dr. Paul Hunt at pmhunt@msu.edu or Ms. Loraine Hudson at ljh@msu.edu, or both.
  3. Calling the MSU Misconduct Hotline at 1-800-763-0764.  (Additional information may be found at https://msu.edu/unit/intaudit/hotline.html .)

5.3  In all cases of alleged infractions by youth or adults, Research & Innovation will consult with the MSU Office of General Counsel concerning due process, incident and disposition record-making and retention, and age-appropriate aspects of dealing with an alleged infraction under applicable MSU policies and procedures.   Permanent dismissal of an MSU St. Andrews program participant requires the approval of either Ms. Loraine Hudson or Dr. Paul Hunt, and is appealable to more senior University officials.

5.4  Independent reports will always be filed by MSU with law enforcement, environmental protection, public health, and/or occupational safety authorities when such reporting is mandated by applicable laws or government regulations, or is judged by site personnel to be appropriate in light of immediate danger or protracted risk.

6.  On-line Operating Requirements for Students and Adults

6.1  Whenever possible, all instruction sessions will be secured with a password.

6.2 Chat box, screen sharing, whiteboards, file transfer features, and other on-line tool features that allow participants to communicate in an unmonitored fashion will be monitored by an adult program participant.

6.3 All online programming links will be provided only for intended participants and their parent(s) or guardian(s).

6.4 Public advertisement of instruction sessions and their web addresses or links is prohibited, in the interest of protecting student participants from hacking and harassment, e.g via “Zoom Bombing” or the equivalent on other videoconferencing systems.“Zoom Bombing” is the act of accessing Zoom sessions without authorization.  MSU prohibits “Zoom Bombing” and similar disruptive behaviors.

6.5  Sharing program links, passwords, or other program login information with individuals outside of the program is prohibited.

6.6 To the maximum extent feasible,all live program sessions for minors must involve at least two adult instructors.  In an emergency where such “double teaming” is impossible, Dr. Hunt or Ms. Hudson must have the link and be able to drop into the call at any time.

6.7 Adult mentors may not communicate with minors digitally or in-person for purposes unrelated to the program.

6.8 Adult mentors may not have direct electronic contact with minors without another adult mentor being included in the communication.  Program staff may contact participants only through official program channels (program E-mail, instruction platform, etc.)

6.9 During on-line videoconferencing and other on-line programming:

6.9.1 Adult mentors and participating students must wear attire appropriate for typical, in-person University and K12 programming.

6.9.2 Adult mentors and participating students must use a neutral videoconferencing background (e.g. blank wall, digital Zoom filter, limited exposure of private spaces, etc.) in the interest of privacy, safety, and the avoidance of session disruption.

6.9.3 Adult mentors and participating students may not share content inappropriate to a K12 classroom through files, images, videos, chat, audio, or other features of the digital instruction platform.

6.9.4 Generally, adult mentors may not take screen shots or record other participants’ images, information, or participation contributions during the program.  [If a program leader must record an activity for instructional purposes, the MSU Director of Youth Programs must be contacted at protect@msu.edu, the nature of the activity described, and a rationale for the recording provided.  Upon review by all necessary parties, additional guidelines will be provided if the request is approved.]

6.9.5 Anyone receiving threatening or inappropriate chat messages should immediately report it to a trusted adult.  Adult mentors who become aware of such messages must report them to a trusted MSU program official and the appropriate authorities (e.g. MSU Police, local police, Office for Institutional Equity, Children’s Protective Services, etc.).

6.9.6 Student participants can and should learn to protect themselves on-line: When creating an online profile for the instruction platform or any other online account, students should limit the information that is shared.  For example, just because an instructional platform asks for your address does not mean that you have to provide your actual personal address. If a student participant’s picture is required, the picture provided should be appropriate for the K12 school setting. Be thoughtful of the information shared in any virtual meeting.  Keep in mind that attendees could take a screenshot or record the meeting without your knowledge, even though such behavior is prohibited in the MSU St. Andrews program. In the interest of safety, do not share links, passwords, or other program login information with anyone outside of the program.

7.0  Accommodations

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services, and activities.  

Accommodations for persons with disabilities – whether youth participants or adults – may be requested by contacting Ms. Melanie Kauffman, at (517) 432-4499 or kauffm59@msu.edu, at least 48 hours before any MSU St. Andrews event.  Requests received after that time will be honored whenever possible.

8.0  Online Safety Information and Resources for Participants and Parents/ Guardians

We encourage parents, guardians, and participants to educate themselves on safety and security tips when engaging in online learning activities. Below are some resources that may be helpful:

9.0  Information about MSU Policies related to Title IX

The MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy and Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy apply to all MSU students, employees, or third-party community members, including Youth Program participants.

Consistent with Title IX, MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Anti-Discrimination Policy expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy provides a procedure for reporting and resolving complaints of sex discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual assault), which applies to youth program participants.

What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.

Discrimination on the basis of sex includes:

  • Excluding, separating, denying benefits to, or otherwise treating a person differently on the basis of sex
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual assault

MSU Title IX Coordinator
MSU’s Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s compliance with Title IX, including its complaint procedures, and is available to meet with youth program participants about matters involving sex discrimination.

Tanya Jachimiak
Associate Vice President
Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance
4 Olds Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 884-0610
Website: civilrights.msu.edu


Questions?  Please call (517) 432-4499 during office hours or (517) 881-1650 any time.