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Policy 8.8 requires that Cornell-affiliated programs meet or exceed the following supervision ratios:

Participant Age Group

Number of residential (overnight) participants**

Number of non-residential participants**

Number of authorized persons*

5 and under




6-8 years




9-14 years




15-18 years




*At least one extra authorized person must be included to ensure adequate supervision in an emergency and to avoid 1:1 interaction with minor participants. Programs that have participants of all genders should make every effort to include authorized persons of all genders.

**Lower ratios may be utilized for certain passive activities. Higher ratios may be required for swimming, boating, wilderness, and other high-risk activities, or if the program includes participants who have disabilities. Consult the CYS office for guidance.

Supervision Means:

  • Participants are within sight, except for infrequent momentary periods.
  • Participants are within reasonable hearing distance of an authorized person who is trained to recognize inappropriate or dangerous activities and is aware of their obligation to report.
  • There are no lapses in supervision, even during breaks in scheduled activities.
  • Minors are never left to traverse campus independently while in Cornell's care.

Authorized Persons:

  • Should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities regarding supervision of the minor participants.
  • Should be actively and directly monitoring youth and scanning the environment for safety.
  • Older minors may never be included in ratios or be responsible for supervising younger minors.

These activities and locations have been shown to have a higher incidence rate of abuse and therefore require a higher level of diligence in monitoring and supervision:



  • Transportation
  • Overnights/residential programming
  • Field trips away from campus
  • Transitions between activities
  • Any situation where minors are changing clothes
  • Activities with mixed age groups



  • Bathrooms and locker rooms
  • Out of the way locations
  • Stairwells
  • Unused rooms
  • Any program room that lacks windows and is not visible to others

All activity with minors in Cornell programs must be observable and interruptible. Private, one-on-one contact between authorized persons and minors should be minimized and may only occur when vital to the structure of the program and has been approved by RMI/CYS with written parental consent.

If further guidance is needed, please contact CYS.