COVID-19 FAQs for Expeditions

WHAT IS OUTWARD BOUND DOING TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF SOMEONE BRINGING COVID-19 TO COURSE?
During screening, and in the communications from POBS Admissions office, students will be asked to disclose any travel or contact history that would put them in a higher risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Travel history includes any travel from/through high- or medium-risk areas as defined by the CDC at the time of the conversation, and contact history includes close contact with anyone with a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19 or anyone with an acute respiratory disease AND a relevant travel history. On courses that include a course start health check, staff will ask students about signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, and their travel and contact histories. Students who have symptoms or high- or medium-risk factors will be assessed, and staff will consult with local health authorities before including the student on course.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON COURSE TO KEEP STUDENTS SAFE?
On course, staff teach and supervise hygiene behaviors, including:
  • Handwashing or, if soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizing.
  • Sanitary food preparation and dish sanitizing.
  • Not touching one’s face with unwashed hands.
  • Covering sneezes and coughs in the crook of an arm or, if available, a disposable tissue.
  • Not sharing utensils or personal care products.
  • Given how closely students and staff on most courses live and work together, strict physical distancing within the group may not always be practical. However, at times groups will utilize distancing practices. Student groups will be effectively isolated from the public and other Outward Bound groups.
WHAT WILL YOU DO IF A STUDENT OR INSTRUCTOR EXHIBITS SIGNS OF COVID-19?
Any student with an illness that affects their ability to participate safely on course will be evacuated and parents will be notified, as always. If the symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 or there are other risk factors, Outward Bound will isolate the student and consult with local health authorities. If the student lives local to the course location, parents will be asked to arrange to pick their child up and isolate them at home. If the student traveled to the course, Outward Bound will isolate and care for the student on-site until a parent can travel to the basecamp and assume care of the student off site. Outward Bound will seek medical care based on the student’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation as practical. Any student with a respiratory illness that is not acute (does not affect their ability to participate safely) will follow the same hygiene practices as the rest of the group, plus some additional precautions while they have symptoms. (Examples might be that they are excused from preparing food for others, cleaning up after meals, given a separate shelter to sleep in, etc.)
WILL OUTWARD BOUND BE TESTING STUDENTS, OR HAVING STUDENTS GET TESTED PRIOR TO ARRIVING ON COURSE? WILL OUTWARD BOUND BE REQUIRING ANYTHING ELSE TO RULE OUT A STUDENT ARRIVING WITH COVID-19?
Prior to resuming programming, Outward Bound’s eligibility criteria and medical screening processes will be updated as needed to minimize as far as practical the risk of transmission of COVID-19 occurring on a program. The requests and requirements for applicants or for students at course start will depend on preferred practice at that time, as determined by:
  • Guidance from federal and local health authorities like the CDC and state health departments for schools, camps, outfitters and businesses.
  • Recommendations from our consulting physicians.
  • The types of tests and other screening tools considered to be highly reliable and widely available at that time.
 

 

COVID-19 FAQs for Day Programs

Pre-course

What is POBS doing during the screening process to reduce the risk of transmission?
  • A health check for staff and students will occur at the start of the program and may include a temperature check as well as screening questions to confirm that individuals are symptom-free and have not interacted with anyone with symptoms prior to their program.
  • We require a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding waiver to be completed by each participant and accompanying adults/chaperones.

 
Course Start

Under what circumstances would a participant not be allowed to come on course?
  • Temperature at course-start is over 100.5.
  • Participants display known symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or shown signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.
If a student does not clear screening (participant has a temperature, is exhibiting symptoms upon arrival or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive) is the whole course cancelled?
If the group traveled together -Yes
  • It will be assumed that any and all students could have been exposed during transport.
If the group arrived individually - No
  • Screening takes place upon arrival, a student with symptoms will be asked to leave the site before they have interacted with anyone in the group.
How can we travel to the program site?
  • Groups are responsible for arranging transport to their program location.
  • We recommend private transportation, but understand that public transit may be necessary for some. We strongly encourage you to wear a mask and follow local PA Health recommendations while in transit.
  • We cannot accommodate parents and/or spectators on site beyond the dropoff and pickup area

 
On Course

Hygiene
  • Students will be informed by staff of daily hygiene expectations at the beginning of course. These include physical distancing norms, use of face coverings, hand washing, etc.
  • Face coverings will be worn at all times while within 10 feet of another person. Mask breaks will be incorporated into the day.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided on course and staff/students encouraged to use frequently
Social Distancing & Face Coverings On Course
  • Staff and students will be required to wear face coverings at all times during the program including when on the high elements with other individuals.
  • POBS cannot guarantee complete adherence to physical distancing. Examples of when adjustment may be required, include: tending to medical needs, helmet and harness checks, etc. All staff and students will have a face-covering readily available to be worn when close proximity is required.
What will POBS do if a student/staff starts exhibiting symptoms of Covid on course?
  • If a student or staff is exhibiting symptoms on course, they will be asked to wait in a designated zone away from the group but within sight and sound. The symptomatic person will keep a face mask on at all times.
  • If the student is with a school group, we will follow the school’s protocol for removing the student.
  • If there is not a protocol, a Philadelphia Outward Bound Administrator or Coordinator will contact the school and parent to arrange a pickup.
  • Parents or guardians are responsible for transporting their student from course if they exhibit symptoms within one hour.
  • If a staff member exhibits symptoms they will be asked to return home immediately
Will we inform parents of any suspected COVID cases on their course?
  • The school or organization’s primary contact will be notified if any person on course exhibits symptoms. They will be responsible for notifying parents and guardians.
  • In the event of a suspected case during the program the course will end and all students will depart.

 
After Course

When/where do I pick up my student?
See response for course start.
What we’re doing to prevent COVID-19 from showing up on course?
While we cannot 100% guarantee that the virus won't be present onsite, we are taking every step to prevent and keep our students and staff safe.
  • Staff and students will all undergo a health check upon arrival including temperature, symptom and exposure check
  • Equipment will be assigned to each student, and will not be shared amongst the group unless sanitized.
  • Hand sanitizer will be readily available and staff and students encouraged to use frequently.
  • Appropriate face coverings will be required at all times (intermittent mask breaks will take place at a safe distance.)
  • Staff and students will practice adequate social distancing whenever possible
  • All equipment will be properly sanitized or quarantined to kill any virus that may be present.
  • All parents/guardians will sign a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding before their child attends the course

Additional updates and information may be found on Outward Bound USA's website here.