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PROGRAM PROTOCOL FOR GROUPS

Our priority continues to be the health and well-being of our students and staff. We are basing programmatic decisions and protocols on CDC guidance along with the specifics of operating outdoor activities in wilderness environments. These Program Protocols and course activities are subject to change. Please check this page for updates. Updated 12/22/2022

PRIOR TO COURSE START


COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Status 

Participants must be either fully vaccinated OR submit a negative test result from a lab-processed molecular test (PCR or similar) taken within 5 days of course start.* 

*Exception: Per the requirement from our WFR/WFA provider, all participants on courses 28 days and longer must be fully vaccinated.  

Vaccinated 

To be considered fully vaccinated, individuals must have received their final vaccine dose at least two weeks prior to course start date (booster shots are encouraged but not required) and provide NCOBS with documentation of vaccination.  

While not required, NCOBS strongly recommends that fully vaccinated participants take a viral COVID test immediately prior to traveling to course to avoid traveling while infectious and to avoid being turned away at course start (all participants will be given an antigen quick test at course start and those who test positive will not be allowed on course**). NCOBS recommends testing within 5 days of course if using a lab-processed molecular test and between 24 and 28 hours before course for an antigen or PCR quick-test. 

Unvaccinated – Test Result Required 

The COVID-19 test must be a lab-processed molecular test (PCR or similar) taken within 5 days of course start. Antigen tests and over-the-counter tests are not accepted. Schedule your appointment in advance to avoid delays.    

  • Test results must be submitted to North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) prior to course start.  
  • To find testing resources in your area, please visit your state Health Department website or use this COVID-19 Testing Sites Locator. 
  • If you test positive, we cannot accept you onto course**.    

Recent COVID-19 Diagnoses 

Participants who have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • 90 days - 11 days prior to course start:
    • Must be fully recovered (symptoms resolved) and test negative on an at-home rapid antigen test (confirming you are no longer infectious) to attend course.
    • If you are unvaccinated and recently had COVID – we will accept your positive COVID-19 test result instead of your negative PCR test result.
    • Please notify us of the date of your positive test – having diagnosis dates on record is vital to any on-course PCR testing we may conduct.
      • If you continue to test positive on antigen tests, we are unable to accept you onto course.
  • 10 days or less prior to course start: we are unable to accept you onto course.  

To reduce the likelihood of participants testing positive upon arrival to Outward Bound, we highly encourage participants to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test 24-hours or less prior to traveling to Outward Bound. Participants who test positive should not travel and will not be accepted onto course.

Participants will take an NCOBS-administered rapid antigen COVID-19 test on course start day upon arrival. 

Participants testing positive on course start day will not be accepted on course. 

Refer to the "During Course" section below to review masking and physical distancing expectations while on course. 

 

COVID-19 Symptoms 

Participants must be free of any symptoms of COVID-19 for 72-hours prior to course start. Symptoms include fever over 100.3°F, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and fatigue. Some people may have chills, headaches, sore throat or lose their sense of smell or taste.

COVID-19 Statement of Understanding 

Participants (and parents of minor students) will sign a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding. This form will be located in your Applicant Portal three weeks prior to course start.    

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19   

Please refer to CDC Guidelines on physical distancing best practices. 

Course Status  

Participant status and/or course status may change at any time due to COVID-19.

Travel & Backup Travel Plan 

Participants on Group courses (attending as an intact group) may travel to/from course by school vehicle, charter bus, or commercial transportation. 

To reduce the likelihood of participants testing positive upon arrival to Outward Bound, we highly encourage participants to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test 24-hours or less prior to traveling to Outward Bound. Participants who test positive should not travel and will not be accepted onto course. 

Participants will take an NCOBS-administered rapid antigen COVID-19 test on course start day upon arrival. Participants testing positive, as well as any close contacts, will not be accepted on course

Out of an abundance of caution, clients should consider identifying an administrator or another adult to stay nearby for the duration of the course to be responsible for any students needing to depart course due to COVID-19. 

Backup Travel Plan for Groups Traveling by School or Charter Bus 

Clients should confirm a plan of supervision and travel home for any positive student(s) and close contacts who must depart on day 1.

Once course is in progress, if you must depart course early due to COVID-19, your plan must allow for departure within 48-hours. 

ADULTS (Age 18+) must choose either: 

  • Preferred - Arrange your own transportation home such as your personal vehicle, car rental, or providing name and contact information of pick-up person  

OR  

  • Outward Bound will provide transportation to a hotel near the airport, provided the participant meets the hotel’s age requirement for check-in.  

Hotels include:  

YOUTH (Age 14-17) must depart from the airport at course start or from the Outward Bound program location during course by private vehicle, providing name and contact information of pick-up person.  

Backup Travel Plan for Groups Traveling by Airline  

YOUTH (Age 14-17) must depart from the airport at course start or from the Outward Bound program location during course by private vehicle, providing name and contact information of pick-up person. Once course is in progress, if you must depart course early due to COVID-19, your plan must allow for departure within 48-hours.  

ADULTS (Age 18+) must choose either: 

  • Preferred - arrange your own transportation home such as your personal vehicle, car rental, or providing name and contact information of pick-up person  

OR  

  • Outward Bound will provide transportation to a hotel near the airport, provided the participant meets the hotel’s age requirement for check-in.  

Hotels include:  

Please reference the CDC recommendations for Protecting Yourself When Using Transportation and Considerations for Travelers. 

 

 

COURSE START


  • Participants will be screened upon arrival for COVID-19 symptoms and contact history, including taking temperature. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will not be allowed to start the course. 
  • Participants will take an antigen COVID-19 test on course start day. This will involve swabbing the nasal cavity (nasal mid-turbinate swab) – a simple and pain-free procedure. North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff will administer this test.
    • On courses 9 days or longer, participants will take an additional COVID-19 test on day 6 of course. North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff will administer this test.

 

DURING COURSE


Mask Wearing Protocol (For All Participants)
Updated 3/31/2022

The North Carolina Outward Bound School remains vigilant regarding the emergence of future COVID-19 variants and may adjust masking protocol if conditions warrant. 

Effective April 1, 2022, group course participants may follow their partner school/organization masking procedures when interacting with other participants in their crew.

Masks will be required in the following situations:

  • On day 1 of course until Outward Bound all participants test negative on our day 1 COVID-19 antigen test
  • While in Outward Bound vehicles
  • When within 6 feet of Outward Bound staff or members of the public

 

Mask Wearing Protocol (For Close Contacts)

Close contacts to COVID-19 positive cases at course start/during course:

  • may remain on course provided they are symptom free.
  • will mask anytime indoors regardless of distancing, and mask outdoors when six feet distance cannot be maintained.  
  • will sleep in an individual shelter until 10 days have passed. 
  • should self-monitor for COVID symptoms and take a COVID test immediately if any develop.

Masks must be a medical mask (surgical style, KN95, or N95). Close contact protocol may be lifted after 10 days have passed and the close contact tests COVID negative. 

Additional Measures
  • Enhanced personal hygiene will be practiced on every course.  
  • Participants will learn and practice Increased cleaning and sanitization protocols. 

 

OUR STAFF


  • All staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • All NCOBS employees will be tested for COVID-19 and cleared to work. 

 

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