It’s a familiar scenario to working parents – an unexpected childcare problem when you have a critical commitment at work. It has been unclear when and where it is acceptable to bring children into College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) buildings. The Athena SWAN team have worked with the Buildings team and Health and Safety team to draw up a policy on Children in CMVM buildings that makes it clear where and when children are permitted at work:
In CMVM, young people under the age of 14 are not allowed into laboratories and workshops except by specific arrangement and approval from the Head of Centre/Division.
Children and babies may be brought into non-secured areas of CMVM buildings, for example for Keeping in Touch (KIT) days, though lengthy meetings (e.g. in excess of 1h) should be held in meeting rooms rather than cafeteria or other social (non-secure) areas. Particular care must be taken at all times to supervise toddlers (mobile, but under school age; and see additional guidance available here) and they should never be left unattended.
Children may be present in secure areas that are not laboratory/workshop areas (e.g. offices) on an occasional basis, by specific arrangement and with approval from the parent/guardian’s Head of Centre or line manager.
All children, young people and visitors to CMVM buildings should be signed in at reception.
More generally, University guidance on children in University buildings states “Only under exceptional circumstances may persons using University premises bring young children into the buildings, especially outside normal working hours. However, if this is unavoidable, it is absolutely essential to provide strict and close supervision at all times. Children are not allowed into laboratories and workshops, other than in connection with open days, and work experience courses, etc”.
Guidance on young people undertaking laboratory-based work placements is available here