The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Meetings to hold Religious Education on virtual platforms. Even though we are not together face to face, child safety remains a concern. The following guidance for online child safety was developed by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM).
For online program gatherings, Zoom is preferable to Skype/Facetime/Google Hangout.
- Note that Zoom keeps data from recordings, whiteboards, chat box, etc. No sensitive information should be uploaded, discussed in chats, or recorded using Zoom.
- Settings need to be managed with care. Default settings for PYM Youth Programs Zoom account include those below. These settings may be changed to meet a specific program need, but the default is reset.
- cannot join before host
- waiting room on (removed participants cannot rejoin)
- muted on entry
- participant whiteboard off
- disabling screen share
- only host can share screen
- chat function off
- virtual background off
Inform parents when we are meeting with young people, especially if they are not already participating in our programs. When parents/guardians are aware of what is happening, they can set up young people to access the session appropriately with any oversight if they want.
- For Children’s Programs and Family Meetups, adults register and are present.
- Middle School and Young Friends registration on the PYM website includes a section for parent/guardian name and email, and both the participant and adult are sent the event welcome email with: the date and time of the video conference session, who is hosting and which adults will be there, and an idea of what the program will include.
- MSF and Young Friends parent/guardian is asked for a one-time reply, which is considered consent for attending gatherings. The request for the one-time reply contains language attesting to future consent.
Registration for Youth Programs uses the PYM website (and gravity forms*) to collect information that aligns with what we ask for in-person events (name, date of birth, grade in school, meeting affiliation if applicable, etc.). Simple forms focus on participant contact information and contact information for an adult. Both are sent a welcome email, so that an adult is aware of the youth participating in an online community/gathering.
* Other youth groups, in local meetings and Quarters, might consider using Google forms.
Registered participants receive Zoom information the day before an event by email. Youth and parent/guardian email addresses are blind copied.
Community Safety and Inclusion:
PYM program staff are present on the call before the designated start time of event. Consider having at least one additional person available at this time, should one team member be prevented due to illness or emergent responsibilities.
Two adults are present (minimum) so that one can focus on facilitating program and the other person is managing functions like the waiting room, mute/unmute, etc.
Friendly Presences who participate in virtual events must have the same background check completed and on file with PYM as for in-person events.
- We do not record Zoom events or take screen shots of participants, except with full awareness and preparation for occasional, promotional snapshots or certain workshops we want to make available for access to community members who could not attend.
- We ask that participants not take “screen shots” on their own devices.
- Online participants in Youth Programs need to have on file the current-year Medical/ Permission form (includes photo permission, see below).
- Introduce hosts (facilitators, volunteer adult friendly presences)
- Participant introductions (facilitators note others in participant’s physical space)
- Guidelines are shared and agreed to at the start of the event
- Check Zoom knowledge
Inclusion and Accessibility:
- Are there children or young people who may struggle to participate in this way? What extra support can be put in place for them?
- Be aware of and sensitive to technical difficulties. Be prepared to support.
Facilitators/hosts stay online for to debrief after the session ends, or plan another time to share evaluation, affirmations, concerns, and issues that need to be addressed before the next event.
PYM PHOTO RELEASE (2019-20)
I hereby grant permission to PYM to use my/my child’s photographic or video image and audio recordings of myself/my child on its Web site, on its social media pages, or in official printed publications without further consideration, and I acknowledge PYM’s right to crop or treat the photograph, video recording or audio recording at its discretion. I also acknowledge that PYM may choose not to use my/my child’s photo, video recording or audio recording at this time, but may do so at its own discretion at a later date. I also understand that once recordings of my child and my/my child’s image is posted on PYM’s Web site, the image, video recording or audio recording can be downloaded. Therefore, I agree to indemnify and hold harmless PYM from any claims. PYM reserves the right to discontinue use of photos, audio recording or video recording without notice.
Some parts adapted from Britain Yearly Meeting, Children and Young People’s Work, Event & Activity Management Policy Procedures & Guidance 20b and Quaker online youth work example session