In order to responsibly run programs in the age of COVID-19, Northwest Outward Bound School is asking all students and families to follow the guidelines and requirements listed below. These were designed with several goals in mind: To keep students, staff and local communities healthy, to prevent unintentional spread of communicable disease, and to allow students to experience an Outward Bound course with the positive outcomes we have always delivered. It is imperative that you do your part to help every NWOBS student and family have a meaningful and positive experience. For more information, visit ourCOVID-19 FAQ page.
NWOBS is encouraging all eligible students to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and if possible to get it far enough ahead of course start to be considered fully vaccinated by the time they arrive on course. Groups consisting entirely of fully vaccinated individuals can be considered a “family unit” from the outset of course. Most courses will consist of individuals with a range of vaccination status. Please plan on adhering to all NWOBS COVID-19 protocols including masking and social distancing protocols, regardless of vaccination or COVID recovery status.
The precautions outlined below may be more stringent than current CDC recommendations and requirements in some states. We are adhering to Oregon and Washington state guidelines and as an organization we will err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of our students and staff.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an ever-evolving situation and our practices have changed and will continue to change as new information becomes available and local, state, and national recommendations shift. NWOBS will decide when and under what conditions any courses will operate using our safety protocols and informed by guidance from local, state and national authorities. Please know that while NWOBS is making every effort to implement protocols that mitigate the risk of transmission, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present on course. For specific information relating to your course, please be in touch with your Course Advisor, or email [email protected]
In order for you or your child to participate in this Outward Bound course we are requiring the following:
PRIOR TO COURSE START
Participants must notify their course advisor of any underlying health conditions that could put them at increased risk from contracting a communicable disease, and check in with their physician about any additional risks.
Participants (and parents of minor students) will sign a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding. This document clearly outlines the mitigation steps Outward Bound is taking, expectations of students, and the risks associated with COVID-19.
A COVID-19 test is required prior to course arrival (more details on this will be provided directly to enrolled students).
From 72 hours prior to course until course start, participants are to be COVID-19 symptom-free.
Participants may be required to arrive and depart via personal vehicle. It is possible that commercial transportation such as airlines, trains, or buses will not be allowed.
In the 14-days prior to course start, students should follow CDC recommendations on limiting the spread of COVID-19. These include:
Staying home as much as possible
When out of the home, keeping six feet of distance from other people as much as possible
Washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and always after touching surfaces that other people touch (such as elevator buttons, handrails, door pulls and fuel pump handles)
Avoiding crowded spaces, including public transportation
Wearing a mask when close proximity to people in public spaces is unavoidable
Avoiding contact with people who are sick
*While many states no longer require fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks, we ask that all students exercise judicious consideration in the days and weeks leading up to their course. The above recommendations can help mitigate the spread of communicable disease including Covid-19.
Participants must arrive at the course start neither experiencing nor presenting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Participants will be screened upon arrival. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will be isolated and not be allowed to start the course.
A crew can achieve "family unit” status through a series of testing (pre-course, Day 1, and around Day 6). If all members of course have all negative test results (or are fully vaccinated), the group can be considered a “family unit,” and masking and physical distancing restrictions can be lifted. Exact testing schedules may vary depending on course logistics and course length. Fully vaccinated students may test fewer times on course than non vaccinated students, per CDC guidance.
If a student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms during a course, they will be evacuated for testing. Upon receiving a negative test, and with the advice of a healthcare professional, the student may be able to return to the group.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will leave the course for further testing and consultation with local health authorities and healthcare providers. If the student is deemed unable to return to course, a parent (or family appointed guardian) of minor students is required to take over their care, preferably within 24 hours, but no later than 48 hours).
If a student has a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, Outward Bound will consult local public health authorities to determine whether to have other students in the same group evacuated and/or tested.
If there is a positive result during on-course testing, the individual with a positive test result will be physically isolated from the group and the entire group will continue masking and distancing, or resume masking and distancing, if the group had been functioning as a family unit.
Participants must agree to wear a cloth face cover (such as a mask) when instructed to do so. Masks must cover both the nose and mouth and fasten either at the back of the head or behind the ears. Masks should consist of multiple layers of fabric and should not have a ventilation valve.
Groups will utilize physical distancing practices when practicable, both from one another and the public.
Sleeping arrangements will be configured to allow for social distancing.
Staff will conduct daily symptom checks.
Staff will thoroughly teach and supervise student hygiene practices. If participants are unwilling to use these practices, they will be sent home. These will include but are not limited to:
Respiratory etiquette including stepping away from others and coughing and sneezing into one’s crooked arm or shoulder
Not touching one’s face with unwashed hands
Not sharing personal items like water bottles, towels or face coverings, for example
Hygienic food preparation and serving
All NWOBS employees will be tested for COVID-19 and cleared to work, or will have provided proof of vaccination or recovery, per CDC guidelines and definitions.
Staff will regularly check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms are displayed, staff will not return to work until appropriate, as indicated by negative test results.
Outward Bound Instructors have received enhanced safety and health training related to COVID-19. This includes managing mitigation efforts, symptom monitoring and responding to signs and symptoms of respiratory illness.