Children on campus
Southern Cross University recognises that staff and students may have family responsibilities and supports achieving a balance between these responsibilities and their work/study commitments.
Due to flexible arrangements in the workplace as well as with study, it is less likely that staff or students would find themselves in a situation where children would need to accompany them on campus. However, the University recognises that there may be unforeseen and exceptional circumstances where staff and students require dependent children to accompany them to the University.
The University provides paid and unpaid leave to cover a variety of situations for staff including carer's leave if a child becomes sick or, where childcare arrangements breakdown at the last minute, annual leave or time-off-in-lieu may be applied for.
Staff and students must consider the following before bringing children on campus:
- Staff will make all reasonable attempts to arrange alternative childcare before bringing a child to the workplace or avail themselves of flexible work practices or leave options e.g. flexitime, annual leave, where available and appropriate;
- Students should make all reasonable attempts to arrange alternative childcare before bringing a child on campus.
The following information applies to all staff and students bringing dependent children on campus whilst engaging in work or study related activities. This procedure is not a substitute for regular or occasional child care arrangements and aligns with the Workplace Health and Safety Policy.
Teaching, research and other activities at the University create hazards and associated risks which have the potential to impact on the health and safety of all persons on campus. As a result, there is a legal and moral obligation on the University and its employees to ensure the health and safety of all persons, including children who may attend our campuses.
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, all persons including staff and students on campus have a duty to:
- Take reasonable care for their own health and safety and take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others;
- Comply, so far as reasonably able, with any instruction given by the University that allows it to comply with the Act and Regulations; and
- Comply with any reasonable policy or procedure of the University that relates to health and safety.
Staff and students should be aware of what constitutes a safe work environment. Appropriate safeguards for staff and students may not be equally safe for children.
On campus, there may be risks to the child as well as risks to others as a result of the child's actions. Consideration should also be given to the potential risk of damage to University property. Allowing children to use photocopiers or computers or other University equipment is not permitted.
- Requests to bring a child to a class or office environment should be made in advance to the relevant lecturer, supervisor or manager and should be reasonable in the circumstances.
- Children must remain under the constant supervision of the caregiver at all times. This is due partially to the fact that the majority of staff at the University are not required to be screened in accordance with child protection legislation in a way that employees who interact regularly with children are screened.
- Caregivers must be sensitive to the needs of colleagues and fellow students.
- In the interest of public health, sick/ill/infectious children must not be brought on campus. A staff member or student must not threaten the health of others by exposure to a sick child.
- Caregivers must not allow their child/children access to 'restricted areas' or areas inherently hazardous to children, such as laboratories, workshops, studios, plant rooms, areas where chemicals are stored, or where machinery is used etc.
Heads of Work Units will consider requests for bringing children to the University.
While requests to do this occasionally and in exceptional circumstances should be considered sympathetically, Heads of Work Units should bear in mind the University's legal obligations not to put at risk the health and safety of staff, students or children. Bringing a child onto campus must not be an ongoing arrangement, and approved only where the employee has not been able to arrange alternative care for the child.
To avoid children being injured:
- Remind staff that children brought to the University must be under direct supervision of an accompanying caregiver at all times.
- Remind staff that they have a legal responsibility, under the WHS Act, to ensure the safety of all persons, including children, on University premises.
Where a risk is later identified, or the child becomes disruptive or is not being adequately supervised, the Head of Work Unit may request that the caregiver removes the child from campus and take appropriate leave where applicable.
Lecturers and Tutors are responsible for assessing the appropriateness of a child attending lectures, tutorials or other learning activities. While requests for students to bring their children to classes occasionally and in exceptional circumstances should be considered sympathetically, teaching staff should bear in mind the University's legal obligations not to put at risk the health and safety of both children and students.
When such requests are made, teaching staff should bear in mind the size of the classroom and other operational aspects. Children are not allowed access to laboratories, workshops, studios or other areas deemed 'restricted areas'.
Teaching staff have the right to request a child and their caregiver leave the class if it is their assessment that the child is being disruptive.