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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: May 20, 2015
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs


2.44 Minors in Laboratories or Similar Facilities


I. POLICY STATEMENT


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is committed to introducing minors to interesting and challenging scientific, scholarly, or artistic pursuits and fields at a young age. These experiences should be handled in ways that will promote the safety of the minors and will not impair the normal functions of the University.


II. RATIONALE


The welfare of children under the age of eighteen years (minors) in University laboratories is of great importance to UTSA. This policy establishes restrictions relating to and conditions under which certain minors are permitted to be in UTSA laboratories and other UTSA facilities that could pose risks to minors.  To afford flexibility, this policy also provides a process for obtaining exceptions to provisions in the policy.


III. SCOPE


This policy applies to all minors who will tour, observe, or conduct research or a scholarly or artistic activity in a UTSA laboratory as part of an organized tour/program/camp or as an individual observer or volunteer. It does not apply to emancipated minors, minors who are matriculated UTSA students or minors who are employed by UTSA. It also does not apply to athletic camps or events coordinated through UTSA’s Events Management and Conference Services or any other activities involving minors who will not be permitted access into a UTSA laboratory.


IV. WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter2/2-44.html


V. RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures policy 9.13, Minor Children on Campus


VI. CONTACTS


If you have questions about HOP policy 2.44, Minors in Laboratories or Similar Facilities, contact the following office:

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
210-458-4110


VII. DEFINITIONS


Covered Activity(ies) refers to the activities that Covered Minors may perform in certain laboratories. These may include, but are not limited to, Covered Minors observing ongoing research, scholarly or artistic activities, Covered Minors actively participating in research, scholarly or artistic activities, or Covered Minors actively participating in training exercises to learn skills associated with research, scholarly or artistic activities. [Also see Laboratory Tour definition below.]

Covered Minor(s) refers to person(s) at least six (6) years old, but younger than 18 years of age who are not emancipated, matriculated as UTSA students or employed by UTSA.  A minor student is not employed by UTSA if the University provides the student with a stipend or scholarship.

Laboratory(ies) refers to all facilities covered by the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHSRM) Laboratory Evaluation Program at UTSA, which include the following:

  1. Research and teaching laboratories such as chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, geology, biomedical engineering, kinesiology etc.
  2. Animal and plant facilities such as animal holding rooms, surgical suites, greenhouses, etc. 
  3. Environmental laboratories such as ecology outdoor nature laboratory, etc.
  4. Other facilities posing similar risks that are routinely surveyed by EHSRM such as ceramics and art studios.
  5. Classrooms being used for laboratory activities during campus or other similar programs.

Laboratory Tour refers to when one or more Covered Minor(s) visit a particular laboratory at particular times on one day to observe pre-selected and pre-arranged research, scholarly or artistic activities.

Laboratory Supervisor refers to the UTSA staff member or faculty member, including but not limited to a Principal Investigator, who has the ultimate control and responsibility for all activities and matters associated with a particular Laboratory.

Mentor refers to the UTSA staff member (director level or above) or faculty member with the responsibility for ensuring that Covered Minors have satisfied all the conditions and requirements in this policy. The Mentor is responsible for guaranteeing that all appropriate UTSA paperwork, requirements, and conditions have been completed before a minor is allowed into a Laboratory (consulting with the appropriate university offices, collecting mandatory forms from Covered Minors, etc.).  In certain cases, the Mentor and the Monitor may be the same individual. 

Monitor refers to the UTSA staff member, faculty member or graduate student with the primary responsibility for supervising Covered Minors who are assigned to the Monitor while they are in the Monitor’s designated Laboratory. In certain cases, the Monitor and the Mentor may be the same individual or if expressly stated in this policy, the Monitor may assume certain responsibilities of a Mentor.


VIII. PROCEDURES


  1. Restrictions
    1. Prohibited Minors: Persons under the age of six (6) are not permitted in any Laboratory.
    2. Prohibited Laboratories: Covered Minors are not permitted under any circumstances in Laboratories with high specific hazards.See Prohibited Laboratories in the Forms and Tools section of this policy.
    3. Unless an exception is granted (see Section E below), Covered Minors are not permitted in Laboratories with specific hazards.  See Laboratories Requiring Exceptions in the Forms and Tools section of this policy.
  2. Prohibition on Covered Activities
    Covered Minors are prohibited from participating in some high hazard activities, but can tour laboratories if these activities are suspended for the duration of the tour.  See Prohibited Activities in the Forms and Tools section of this policy.  

  3. Conditions related to Laboratory Tours
    A responsible Mentor must be identified for each laboratory tour and all required actions and documentation must be completed by the Mentor prior to the tour taking place.  Required actions and documentation can be found in the Forms and Tools section at the end of this policy.

  4. Conditions relating to Covered Activities
    1. Each Covered Minor who willingly engages in Covered Activities must have an identified and responsible Mentor.
    2. Before any any Minor may participate in a Covered Activity, the Mentor and Monitor must complete or ensure all required actions and documentation are completed, submitted and authorization has been received.  Required actions and documentation can be found in the Forms and Tools section at this end of this policy.
    3. Once authorization has been received the Minor can begin Covered Activities in the Laboratory.  All required actions pertaining to Covered Activities must be carried out by the Minor, Mentor and Monitor.  Required actions can be found in the Forms and Tools section at the end of this policy.
    4. Retention of Records associated with Covered Activity(ies)
      In accordance with UTSA's record retention policy, except for the Acknowledgement of Service Without Salary form the Mentor and Monitor will ensure that a signed consent form for each Covered Minor participating in Covered Activities and other appropriate documentation relating to the Covered Minor and to the Covered Activities are retained by the Department Chair under whom the Laboratory is housed.
  5. Exceptions to the Policy
    1. An exception to provision(s) found in this HOP policy may be initiated by a Laboratory Supervisor and granted if the determination is made that the pedagogical benefits or outreach opportunities associated with a Laboratory Tour or Covered Activities outweigh any potential risks or disadvantages that may result from deviations to such HOP provision(s).
    2. The Exception Form must be completed and approved.  See Forms and Tools section of this policy. Authority of the Provost: At any time, the Provost may intervene and make the final decisions on any exceptions to this policy.
  6. Suspensions of Covered Minor's Privileges
    1. The Monitor, Mentor, an EHSRM staff member, the Laboratory Supervisor, his/her Department Chair or his/her Dean may temporarily suspend (a) a Laboratory Tour or Covered Activities or (b) a Covered Minor’s participation in a Laboratory Tour or in all or part of the listed Covered Activities if violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions occur. 
    2. The Laboratory Supervisor, his/her Department Chair, or his/her Dean may permanently suspend future Laboratory Tours, Covered Activities or a Covered Minor’s participation in a Laboratory Tour or all or part of the list Covered Activities if violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions occur and are not corrected.
    3. At any time, the Provost may intervene and make the final decisions relating to any suspensions of privileges governed by this policy, and on the management of any disciplinary actions relating to violations of this policy or to misconduct associated with Covered Minors.  
  7. Role of the UTSA Laboratory Safety Committee
    UTSA's Laboratory Safety Committee will review records documenting the number and frequency of minors in labs, and, based on its review, may from time to time, provide its recommendations related to the policy to the Provost.

  8. Administrative Oversight
    The Provost maintains administrative oversight and ultimate authority to enforce requirements relating to Laboratory Tours, Covered Activities and organized programs associated with such tours and activities.   Therefore, all such violations, safety deficiencies or other conditions should also be reported to the Provost. 

IX. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION


None


X. FORMS AND TOOLS/ONLINE PROCESSES


  1. Minors in Laboratories
    1. Authorization for Minors in Laboratories
    2. Consent for Minors in Laboratories (to be used in conjunction with form A above)

  2. Minors Touring Laboratories
    1. Authorization for Minors to Tour Laboratories
    2. Consent for Minors to Tour Laboratories (to be used for tours)

  3. Exemptions/Exceptions for Minors in Laboratories

  4. Prohibited Exceptions and Prohibited Activities

  5. Required Actions and Documentation (Procedures)

XI. APPENDIX


None