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Guidance for responding to known health conditions and emergencies


APS 10.13 requires youth programs at the University of Washington to “have procedures in place for responding to known health conditions and health emergencies experienced by participating youth.” The goal of this provision of APS 10.13 is to prompt programs to prepare to respond appropriately and consistently to known health conditions and health emergencies experienced by youth participants.

  • Known health conditions are those that affect individual program participants and are disclosed to program staff, such as diabetes, epilepsy, or allergies.
  • Health emergencies are urgent health events impacting one or more youths. They are considered distinct from large-scale emergencies such as natural disasters, active threats, or other emergent events that pose health-related threats, although such events may also have health consequences.

Use of this guide

This guide is intended to support planning and preparation for program activities to effectively identify known health conditions and respond to health emergencies. This guide will assist all youth programs with

  1. assessing risks to youth with known health conditions;
  2. assessing the potential impact of program activities on the general health and safety of participants and staff;
  3. developing effective responses to known health conditions and in the case of a health emergency; and
  4. identifying the health professionals and/or subject matter experts who can provide consultation and support for risk mitigation planning

Programs may use this guide in various ways:

  • New programs should consult this guide during the program design phase.
  • Existing programs should:
    consult this guide prior to implementing significant modifications to existing programming or expansion of activities; and
    periodically perform a review of activities to ensure their alignment with best practices.

The guide is not exhaustive and is not intended to prepare youth programs to address all known health conditions and health emergencies. As needed, consult with OYPC and other University subject matter experts to address complex questions.

Step 1: Identify and address health needs of participants

Bringing any group of people together confers an implicit potential for health emergencies or the emergence of a known health condition. The steps below constitute basic strategies all youth programs should undertake in order to identify and respond to known health conditions and health emergencies, regardless of the particulars of their program.

  1. Establish and publicize relevant participation requirements.
    • Establishing this baseline for participation allows youth and families to gauge their ability to participate without accommodations or to request specific accommodations needed to participate
    • Examples: “participants will walk 20 minutes” or “participants will lift 10 pounds.”
  2. Establish and publicize an accommodation request process. See Step 3.A below
  3. Establish and publicize program-specific medication protocols.
    • Consult with the Disability Services Office, Environmental Health & Safety, UW Division of the AGO, and others as needed to determine what medication protocols are appropriate for your program, setting, and audience.
  4. Determine, provide, and document relevant health-related training necessary for staff.
    • Examples: first aid, CPR, AED, medication administration, mental health, allergy management and response, asthma management and response, concussion prevention and response.
    • Consult with Environmental Health & Safety, OYPC and others as needed to determine what training is necessary for your program, setting, and audience.
  5. Create an Acknowledgement of Risk and Consent for Medical Treatment form. See Step 2 below for assistance in identifying program-specific risks.
  6. Collect the following as needed from participants/parents:
    • Relevant information on known health conditions that may impact participation, based on the program participation requirements outlined in Step 1.1 above.
    • Relevant allergy and medication information
    • Signed Acknowledgments of Risk and Consent for Medical Treatment forms
    • Emergency contact information
  7. Update contents of first aid kits to be responsive to your population, location, and activities.

  1. Ensure the following information is accessible to program staff when needed:
    • Participant health, allergy, and medication information
    • Parent/guardian consents for medical treatment for each participant
    • Parent/guardian emergency contact information for each participant
    • Program first aid kit and basic supplies
    • Staff training and certification documentation
  2. Effectively implement approved accommodations. See Step 3.A below.
  3. Maintain privacy of personal health information per the Privacy Policy for UW Youth Programs.
  4. Report any incidents taking place during a program to the appropriate entity.

  1. Retain all records and documentation according to UW retention schedules.
  2. Debrief with staff to assess and improve health response and related incidents in future program sessions.

Step 2: Identify and proactively mitigate specific risks that impact health

Unique risks are present, depending on the audience, locales and activities specific to your youth program. The program-specific risk assessment process includes three components:

  1. Age of participants
  2. Locations of program activities
  3. Activities included in program

Youth program personnel should examine methods for general risk reduction, while assessing the needs of individual youth with known health conditions. The examples shared below are not exhaustive. Seek assistance as needed regarding additional potential risks related to your program.

The age of participants guides understanding of the differences in capacity of participants to self-help, communicate or manage their concerns or experiences, and differences in expectations of parental communication and involvement. Note that the examples below reflect typical development and maturity of youth for an age range. Programs that serve children with atypical development should consult additional references for their audience.

Preparatory Steps to reduce risk by age group

The location of program activities may impact environmental hazards present, availability of and time to reach emergency medical services (EMS), and the types/methods of available communication for assistance.

Preparatory Steps to reduce risk by location attributes

Some activities will inherently have more risk of injury or health impacts than others. 

Preparatory Steps to reduce risk by program activities

Step 3: Consult and collaborate with campus partners as needed

Youth programming relies on collaboration with relevant campus partners. The resources identified below provide key services, information and support to youth programs in the area of known health conditions and health emergencies. Consult this section to understand when and how to engage with other University departments regarding planning and risk mitigation.

This is not an exhaustive list of University partners. Youth programs should contact the Office of the Youth Protection Coordinator with any questions or for assistance with referral.| | 206-543-6450

Most youth program participants are considered members of the public, not students. The Disability Services Office (DSO) responds to accommodation requests from employees and members of the public. DSO should be consulted regarding disability-related accommodations for enrolled youth. DSO is available to assist youth programs in determining and implementing appropriate accommodations.

An accommodation is a specific modification or adjustment to an existing standard rule or practice within a youth program, such that the youth with a disability can enjoy equal opportunity to participate. An accommodation statement should be included on program announcements, registration materials and other publications; sample statements are available on DSO’s website. Typically, the statement directs a parent or guardian to contact a program representative to request an accommodation.

Certain accommodations are required by law or regulation (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act), while other accommodations may improve a participant’s experience but are not legally mandated. It is the role of DSO – and, in limited circumstances, the UW Division of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) – not the youth program, to evaluate a parent or guardian’s request for accommodation. Programs should not make blanket statements about the availability of specific accommodations, but instead must consider each request individually, seeking guidance from DSO as appropriate.

When a request for accommodation is received:

  • If program staff can fully accommodate the request, they may notify the requestor and implement the accommodation without involving DSO.
    • Programs may proceed if staff have no questions about how to effectively implement the accommodation, and if they can consistently do so for all similar requests.
    • Commonly-requested accommodations or those that represent only minimal modifications to existing practices may fit this scenario.
  • If program staff are unsure how to accommodate the request or feel they do not have adequate resources to do so, they should consult with DSO. Programs are encouraged to involve DSO as early as possible.
  • When in doubt, programs should consult with DSO.

Youth program staff should never decline a request for accommodation unless told it is appropriate to do so by DSO and/or the UW Division of the AGO.

  • Denying an accommodation requires evidence that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the University or result in a fundamental alteration to the nature or operation of the institution, program, course, service, or activity. The determination that a requested accommodation presents undue hardship or fundamental alteration must be made by DSO and, as needed, the AGO. This determination must never be made by a youth program.
  • Denying the requested accommodation is different from denying any accommodation. In some circumstances, DSO and/or the AGO may determine that the appropriate accommodation for the participant and the program is different than the one originally requested.
  • If DSO and/or the AGO determine that a request should be denied, they will convey the rationale for this decision to the youth program and OYPC in writing. The youth program, as the representative of the University, will then notify the requestor of the decision, including the rationale for the determination and any alternative accommodations available.

Programs should document all accommodation requests they receive. Documentation should include the accommodation requested, a summary of any consultation undertaken, the accommodation offered and a rationale for that decision, and any response from the requestor.

Roles and responsibilities in the accommodations process:

Youth program

    • Include accommodation statement in all announcements and/or registration materials.
    • Promptly consider all accommodation requests
    • Consult with DSO as early as possible regarding questions or any requests the program feels unable to immediately accommodate
    • Communicate all accommodations decisions to requestors, following consultation with DSO when needed
    • Document all accommodation requests received, determinations made, and accommodations provided
    • Implement all appropriate accommodations, following guidance provided by and with assistance from DSO


    • Review all accommodation requests forwarded by youth programs
    • Consult with AGO and other partners as needed
    • Determine and communicate appropriate accommodations to youth programs and OYPC in writing
    • For any declined accommodation requests, provide youth program and OYPC written documentation of rationale and any alternative accommodations deemed appropriate
    • Assist youth programs in identifying or securing resources available to implement identified accommodations (e.g., referral to interpreter)


    • Assist DSO in performing a legal evaluation of requests for accommodation
    • For any declined accommodation requests, assist DSO in providing youth program and OYPC with written documentation of rationale and any alternative accommodations deemed appropriate


    • Assist youth programs in connecting with DSO, AGO, and other University units/programs for assessment of and response to requests for accommodation
    • Assist youth programs in identifying and connecting to services to support implementation of accommodations
    • Maintain general knowledge of declined accommodation requests (via written communications from DSO and youth programs) to facilitate consultation and consistent practices among youth programs | | 206-543-2033

Risk Services assists UW programs and employees in identifying and reducing risks associated with program activities. Youth programs share many common activities and risks, and as such, OYPC has consulted with Risk Services in the development of many documents and resources available for youth programs. If these resources do not meet a program’s needs or if questions about them arise, programs are advised to consult with OYPC and with Risk Consulting staff.

Examples of scenarios meriting consultation include:

  • A prospective program activity entails a moderate risk of injury; the program feels it is critical to include in order to meet the program goals. What implications are there for insurance coverage, and what steps might a program take beyond the Acknowledgement of Risk to mitigate risk?
  • An approved accommodation places additional responsibility on youth program personnel (e.g., monitoring an insulin pump) or raises potential risk and safety concerns (e.g., a non-UW employed adult aide is present in the program space). What additional steps should programs take to ensure safety and consistency?
  • Third party contractors will be providing some portion of programming. What responsibilities are appropriate to assign to them versus UW program personnel? How might this be reflected in relevant contractual language?

Roles and responsibilities in the risk consulting process:

Youth program

    • Work with OYPC to identify unique risks associated with program activities and modifications to standard templates needed for specific programs/activities
    • Update and modify available standard templates to meet program specifics
    • Ensure completion of necessary forms and implementation of risk mitigation strategies by personnel, families and participants

Risk Financing and Consulting

    • Consult with youth programs and OYPC on emergent issues
    • Consult with programs on risk mitigation strategies
    • Consult with OYPC and youth programs to review and update risk mitigation protocols (e.g., standard forms, guidance documents)


    • Develop standard templates in consultation with Risk Financing and Consulting
    • Work with programs to identify unique risks associated with program activities and to make changes to standard Acknowledgment of Risk templates needed for specific programs/activities
    • Consult with programs on risk mitigation strategies specific to youth-serving programs

Youth programs may benefit from consultation with additional campus partners at UW. The table below outlines other University entities and some ways their work overlaps with or impacts youth programs, particularly with regard to known health conditions and health emergencies. OYPC can assist youth programs in connecting with these partners; contact OYPC at for referrals.

University partner Potential relevant questions or topics Key resources
1. Environmental Health & Safety
  • How can I make my lab or shop environment safe for minors?
  • What risks might be present in my outdoor program environment, and how might I mitigate them?


2. Academic Technologies Event Services
  • How do I reserve a room that will allow me to fulfill a disability accommodation?
  • How can I tell if the room I’m assigned has technology I need to fulfill an accommodation?
3. UW Facilities
  • Where do I report a problem with a facility or property on campus that has potential for injury to a minor?
  • How can a person who uses a wheelchair safely access and evacuate from a campus space?
  • Where do I report a problem with physical access to a UW building or space?
  • Can I request a modification to a building or space to support a person with a disability?
4. Transportation Services
  • How do I decide on a safe pick-up and drop-off location for my program?
  • What are the rules regarding transporting minors in UW fleet services vehicles?
  • How do I find an accessible parking location closest to my program or activity?
  • Who can use the campus shuttle (Dial-a-Ride) service? How do they gain access? Where can Dial-a-Ride take them?

In addition to campus resources, there are a multitude of external organizations that offer services and publish useful reference materials on relevant health and safety topics.