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 and urban environments. These Program Protocols and course activities are subject to change. Please check this page for updates. Updated 1/17/2024


COVID-19 and Other Illness Symptoms 

Participants must be symptom-free of COVID-19 and other significant infectious illnesses, such as the flu, 72-hours prior to course start. 

NCOBS recommends testing for COVID-19 within 24-hours of travel to course to avoid traveling or arriving to course when ill. 

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.
    • Please notify us of the date of the positive test – having diagnosis dates on record is vital to any on-course PCR testing we may conduct.
  • 10 days or less prior to course start: we are unable to accept you onto course.  

COVID-19 Statement of Understanding 

Participants (and parents of minor students) will review our COVID-19 Statement of Understanding. 

Be Prepared - Determine a Backup Travel Plan 

Should you need to depart Outward Bound due to a positive COVID-19 test result or other illness symptoms:

  • on course start day - you must adjust your travel plans that day
  • during course - you must depart within 48 hours

YOUTH (Course Age Ranges 14-18): coordinate travel with a parent, family member or other trusted adult.

ADULT (Course age ranges 18+, 18-25, 30+): coordinate travel with a parent, family member or other trusted adult OR coordinate a hotel room and shuttle to the hotel, provided the participant meets the hotel’s age requirement for check-in. 

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



 COVID-19 and Other Illness Symptoms  
Participants will be screened upon arrival for COVID-19 and other illness symptoms. If any signs or symptoms of illness exist, participants will not be allowed to start the course. 




COVID-19 Antigen Test
  • North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff may administer COVID-19 testing during course when symptoms of communicable disease are present, or when exiting close contact or isolation protocol.  
  • Should a participant test positive for COVID-19 during course, that individual will be removed from the course and placed in isolation to prevent spread.
  • Participant will need to depart Outward Bound within 48 hours of positive test result.
  • NCOBS will conduct contact tracing to determine any close contacts.
  • Close contacts may remain on course, provided they are asymptomatic, and will be expected to adhere to Mask Wearing Protocol. They will also sleep under an individual tarp instead of a group tarp.
Mask Wearing Protocol 

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

Masks will be required when:

  • A person has been determined to be a close contact to a COVID-19 positive case 
  • A person has symptoms of a communicable disease
Close contacts to COVID-19 positive cases at course start and/or 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. 

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