1. Purpose of policy
The following policy outlines the conditions under which children are permitted to be on University of the Sunshine Coast premises.
2. Policy scope and application
This policy applies to all University of the Sunshine Coast staff, students and visitors.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
Children means persons under the age of 18 years, who are neither enrolled as students at the University of the Sunshine Coast nor engaged in employment that requires them to be on University premises under supervision.
Parent/carer means the person (employee, student or community visitor) who brings the child on to the premises.
Workplace means a place on University premises where employees work or are likely to work in the course of their employment.
4. Children of USC Staff and Students
4.1 The University recognises that there will be occasions when it may be necessary for children to accompany their parent/carer on campus. However, the University must also conduct its operations in an efficient and effective manner and the provisions for children on campus must take proper account of the University’s operational requirements.
4.2 Permission to allow a child to accompany a parent/carer on campus will be sought from a staff member or student’s supervisor or lecturer/tutor, and permission will remain at the discretion of the supervisor or lecturer/tutor. All requests will be considered sensitively and reasonably with regard to all factors relevant to the circumstances.
Factors to consider when making a decision to permit a child on campus include:
- Safety of the child in the relevant environment
- Level of interference with other staff, students or visitors
- Sickness and level of contagion of the child
- Frequency and duration of attendance
- Content of lecture, discussion or activity (e.g. sensitive or explicit subject matter may be inappropriate)
- Size of venue and availability of seating
- Other staff and students not being interrupted, inconvenienced or disrupted
- Continued behaviour of the child
- Notification to the supervisor or lecturer/tutor.
4.3 The parent/carer is directly responsible for the behaviour of the child under their care and the parent/carer may be asked to remove the child from a class/workplace should the child’s behaviour prove disruptive.
4.4 While a child is on the premises, the parent/carer must not request colleagues or staff members to take temporary charge of the child.
5. Accompanied children on campus
5.1 Children regularly visit the University in school and other groups, which are authorised in advance as appropriate. Such groups are a welcome part of campus life. While on the premises, children in authorised groups are the responsibility of the teacher, parent(s) and/or nominated guardian(s) or caregiver(s) accompanying them.
6. Unaccompanied children on campus
6.1 Like other community members, children may access the University’s campus and select facilities. The University assumes no responsibility for the supervision of unaccompanied children on campus. Unaccompanied children who create a disturbance or pose a risk, may be directed from the premises. In such instances, the Chief Operating Officer, will act in accordance with appropriate Acts, Statutes, Rules, policies and procedures. In public areas such as the Library, any member of staff on duty has the authority to direct that children be removed from the area.
6.2 Many children use the University grounds as a thoroughfare at various times. Children are not permitted to ride their bicycles on the central premises, travel through any buildings, loiter in any University buildings or make undue noise while on the premises. Staff or students who notice any such disruptive behaviour should report the incident to Security immediately. Where appropriate, the relevant school/s, if known, will be notified of any disruptive behaviour of their students on University premises.
7. Workplace Health and Safety
7.1 The University recognises its statutory and common law responsibilities for protecting non-employees, including children, from exposure to risks to their health and safety arising from University activities. Accordingly, children will not normally be allowed in areas that have identifiable hazards including, for example:
- Science laboratories
- Trade workshops
- Construction sites or areas undergoing minor works/maintenance
- Machinery areas and areas where grounds equipment is in use
- Art studios, computer laboratories, and areas displaying inappropriate or graphic material
- Chemical and dangerous goods storage areas
- Clinical areas
- Storage facilities
In special circumstances children may be granted permission to enter hazardous areas, for example during Open Day activities, as part of a school visit, or work experience program. Such permission will only be granted with the full knowledge of the area’s supervisor and consideration of appropriate supervisory measures.
7.2 University staff may refuse permission to access any area within the premises because of reasonable concerns related to workplace health and safety issues.
7.3 Parents and caregivers must recognise that some environments and facilities which are safe in terms of the relevant health and safety legislation may represent risks for small children (e.g. stairs, self-closing doors, electrical fittings, office equipment). The major and primary responsibility of care remains properly with parents and caregivers.
7.4 The parent/carer must ensure that their children do not engage in activities that may pose a threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of others.
8.1 Parents, caregivers, and, where relevant, teachers, are responsible for the safety of children in their care whilst on University premises and must ensure their safety and supervise them at all times. The University does not accept liability.