Announcement of Timeline and Guidelines for Resuming In-person University Youth Programs

February 14, 2022 - David Chupak

Upon the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU youth programs were advised to operate remotely. Following the return to in-person campus activities, an exception process was implemented to provide programs with the opportunity to request approval to facilitate in-person youth programs. In consultation with campus health and safety experts, this announcement provides an update on the status of programming modality options for MSU youth programs.

Starting March 1, MSU youth programs are permitted to resume in-person activities, at the discretion of the program leaders and the MSU offices that sponsor and/or supervise them. At that point, the exception process will no longer be active, but program leaders must continue to register their programs in the Youth Safety Portal and document safety measures per the guidance below. 

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-person University Youth Program Operations

MSU youth programs that choose to operate must follow all University directives related to COVID-19 safety, including:

Guidance to Mitigate Spread  
Additionally, MSU youth programs that occur over the span of multiple meetings or multiple days are encouraged to organize participants into small clusters, pods, or cohorts to mitigate the risk of spread in the event of a COVID-19 infection. When planning their instruction, MSU youth program leaders are advised to avoid activities such as speed friending, that would expose each participant to close contact with every other participant in attendance. 

Guidance for MSU Youth Programs Operating at Non-university Sites 
MSU youth programs operating off-campus at non-university sites are advised to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and policies of the site at which the program is facilitated. 

Procedures and Guidance for Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 Cases 

MSU offers guidance and FAQs for various scenarios related to COVID-19 exposure.  

For instances in which COVID-19 cases are suspected for MSU students or personnel, MSU youth program leaders are advised to contact the MSU Triage Line. 

For instances in which COVID-19 cases are suspected for youth program participants, MSU youth program leaders are advised to contact the local health department for the county in which the program is facilitated. Moving forward, program leaders are advised to follow the local health department’s guidelines for COVID-19 response and mitigation. 

Prior to the start of a program, MSU youth program leaders, especially those who are hosting off-campus programs, are encouraged to connect with the local health department for the county in which the program is facilitated to align their program with any local restrictions and guidelines that may apply in addition to University guidance. 

Guidance for MSU Extension Programs 

MSU Extension programs are advised to follow the guidelines and processes that have been communicated by the MSU Extension Director’s Office. 

Guidance for Overnight and Residential Summer Youth Programs, Camps, and Extended Stays 

MSU youth program leaders can plan for in-person programs for this summer, pending the status of the pandemic. Additional COVID-19 guidance specific to overnight and residential programs, camps, and extended stays for youth programs will be announced later in the Spring semester. 

Steps for Moving Forward 

Determining how to proceed. Although MSU youth program leaders are permitted to resume in-person operations, they are not required to do so. MSU youth program leaders are encouraged to consider the safety and viability of resuming in-person operations and discuss these considerations with their supervisors and the offices that supervise or sponsor their youth programs. 

Monitoring and adjusting to University guidance. Should the status of the pandemic shift and concerns for health and safety reach a critical threshold, MSU youth programs may need to postpone activities or move to remote operations. MSU youth program leaders are encouraged to review the University’s weekly COVID-19 announcements. In the event that a development in the status of the pandemic calls for MSU youth program leaders to postpone in-person events or adjust the modality of their programs, the Director of the Youth Programs: Registration, Safety Assurance, and Education Program will announce updated guidance. 

Registering MSU youth programs in advance. MSU youth program leaders are required to register their programs and program sessions in the MSU Youth Safety Portal prior to the start of their program. Although the Operational Guidelines for University Youth Programs outline a 60-day registration requirement, that timeline is flexible through March 1 for returning youth programs that are planning to resume in-person operations. Information and instructions can be found by reviewing the announcement of the Youth Safety Portal’s launch, and MSU youth program leaders may reach out to David Chupak, the Director of the Youth Programs: Registration, Safety Assurance, and Education program for additional support. 

Guidance for Programs Continuing to Operate Through Remote Modalities 

The guidelines for remote and online youth programs remain in place for MSU youth programs that continue to operate through remote or online modalities. More information on these operational guidelines can be accessed by reviewing the Operational Requirements for University Youth Programs and the remote instruction guidelines, which are listed as an attachment to the policy.  

Training and Support

MSU Youth Program Leaders are encouraged to attend the following training, professional development, and support opportunities as they prepare for in-person operations: 

  • Overview of COVID-19 Guidance and Q&A: On Wednesday, February 16, at 11:15 a.m., the University Physician, Dr. David Weismantel, MD, MS, will be available to answer questions related to the COVID-19 guidelines for MSU youth programs during the Pre-College Committee meeting. Dr. Weismantel’s portion of the agenda is scheduled for the start of the meeting and is anticipated to last approximately 30 minutes. Zoom meeting details are provided below:

 

  • Supporting Youth Mental Health: On Wednesday, February 23 at 9:00-10:00 a.m., Dr. Natalie Moser will discuss strategies for supporting youth mental health in response to the pandemic and the transition to resuming in-person learning. Registration is required in advance by Monday, February 21. For additional information, please visit the following link:

David Chupak, the Director of the Youth Programs: Registration, Safety Assurance, and Education Program, is available for consultations with MSU youth program leaders as they weigh their options and prepare for resuming in-person operations.