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Working and Interacting with Minors on Campus this Summer
July 7, 2022

As the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Outreach (CTLO)  https://ctlo.caltech.edu/ prepares to launch our summer outreach programs for minors, which will once again be on campus this year, we are wrapping up the onboarding process of registering our high school students as Caltech Volunteers.  We are pleased to announce that 29 students are participating in the Summer Research Connection Program. The students will be imbedded in labs and research groups across campus, working alongside mentors including graduate students, undergrads, postdocs, staff researchers and faculty. Also, in our Hybrid Summer Research Connection Program we have 28 students participating from across Los Angeles and Orange County working on research projects primarily remotely, with minimal visits to campus.

Minors working on research projects with Caltech groups (whether on-site or remotely) are registered as Caltech Minor Volunteers. This process ensures that students and Caltech staff are familiar with required procedures regarding the protection of minors. https://protectionofminors.caltech.edu/  We collaborate with department personnel across campus to help prepare them for working with minors in our summer programs. Human Resources provides Background Checks, Mandated Reporter Training and processes the registration of minors. The Mandated Reporter Training is required for anyone working directly with the minors and includes online training, acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status, and a Background Check facilitated by Human Resources.

The Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Office reviews project activities and approves the work that will be undertaken by the students.

An additional layer of protocol this year was the documentation that students are current with their Covid vaccinations and boosters. When required approvals and training are complete, the students and parents are sent a packet of forms that include volunteer agreements, patent and non-disclosure agreements and waivers.  Prior to starting any on-site activity, the students also receive general safety training from the EH&S Office, and lab-specific training in their research groups.

Our office is grateful for the efforts by teams across campus that allow us to hold these rewarding programs for our students each summer.